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The 6 Best Browning Sauce Substitutes

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Browning sauce might not be the most commonly used condiment in the kitchen, at least when compared to ingredients like chili flakes or mustard.

Browning Sauce Substitutes

However, if you’re looking to add a lot of rich flavor to a meal, whether that’s for a Sunday roast, a Thanksgiving extra, or a nice side to a steak main meal.

However, that also means that Browning sauce is a tricky ingredient to substitute for something else if you have none in your pantry.

Alternatively, you like the texture, viscosity, or flavor of it, but don’t like the other aspects.

So, what do you do in these scenarios? Well, you could simply give up on your meal plan, and quit.

Alternatively, you can get a little creative, and use one of the browning sauce substitutes that we have discovered for you.

They may not be a perfect 1-to-1 to browning sauce, but they get close, and all taste great.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll like these substitutes more than the original!

What Is Browning Sauce?

So, there may be a few people reading this list, and wondering what exactly browning sauce is, or what it’s made from. And not just for the people that may confuse it with other brown condiments.

After all, if you’re looking to know what flavors and aspects to replicate in your sauce substitute, you need to know what makes it so special in the first place!

Browning sauce is made from a combination of different sauces and spices, that come together to create a gravy-like sauce that is rich in flavor, with hints of caramel, smokiness, plenty of savory goodness, and even a little extra sweetness when it comes to the taste and aftertaste.

In terms of the texture, browning sauce is pretty smooth, with a consistency that runs Worcester or steak sauce, but slightly thicker.

Not only is browning sauce a great condiment on its own, but it’s also a phenomenal base for many stews, soups, broths, 

1. Homemade Browning Sauce

Starting our list, we have a DIY cooker’s favorite option. After all, what could be a closer match to browning sauce than the real stuff itself?

Despite its reputation as a premium condiment or base, browning sauce is phenomenally easy to make, provided that you have the right ingredients handy.

All it takes to make your browning sauce is mixing up an equal amount of Worcester and steak sauce together while applying light heat, and you have a pretty good approximation of what browning sauce should taste like.

Alternatively, mixing brown sugar into your mix can also produce a more accurate texture, though it can take a little longer.

This does also make it one of the more resource-intensive and time-consuming substitutes that you can use, but it also produces the best results. Because, again, this is effectively browning sauce!

Now, are we cheating when we say that one of the best substitutes for browning sauce is… well, more browning sauce? We’ll let you be our judge here.

Then again, with a flavor that is almost a 1-to-1 match, you really can’t do much better than this option!

2. Worcester Sauce

Well, we did already talk about how Worcester sauce is half the ingredients needed to make a good browning sauce. So, why wouldn’t it also be a pretty good substitute on its own?

Worcester sauce has a comparable flavor to soy sauce but is noticeably richer in many ways.

There is a noticeable spice ingredient element to it (though not enough to make it noticeably hot), and there’s even a hint of caramel to it.

Worcester sauce is also commonly used as a base for other sauces and ingredients in recipes around the world, so it will fill many of the same rolls as browning sauce does.

Plus, it can be used in 1-to-1 ratios, so you don’t have to worry about messing around with percentages for other recipes.

It’s not a perfect substitute for browning sauce, however. You’ll probably notice that this sauce is much saltier than browning traditionally is.

However, in almost every other way, you can’t go wrong with some good Worcester sauce. Try this British staple sauce out for yourself, and see what we mean!

3. A1 Sauce

So, if you don’t have either Worcester sauce or its components handy for a substitute, what other sauces can you turn to in a pinch? Well, A1 sauce is probably our next best option.

Made from spices, vinegar, and tomatoes, you’ll find a truly rich combination of flavors in this favorite sauce that is more than up to the task of substituting browning sauce.

You’ll notice that there is a strong combination of both sweetness and spices in this sauce, with a lot of overlapping elements with browning sauce in those palates.

And, benign a similar consistency to browning sauce, you’ll find that this will make an effective base in a ton of similar recipes, with a slightly more fruity or herbal flavor to it, thanks to the tomatoes and vinegar.

It can even make a pretty good dressing in salads, as it turns out. So it might be a little more versatile than browning sauce!

Of course, with such a different range of ingredients being used here, the flavor isn’t exactly a 1-to-1 alternative.

But if you like some pungent and tomato-rich flavors on your palate, this particular sauce will serve you well.

4. Dark Roux

Dark roux might not be the most well-known sauce that you’ll find on this list. But it does make for a surprisingly effective substitute for browning sauce in a pinch!

Dark roux sauce is made by mixing flour and fat, cooking together, then adding to your base for whatever other recipe that you’re planning to make, especially something like a roux.

So, as a base, it’s a pretty good substitute. However, you’ll probably find that it doesn’t work quite as well when it comes as a sauce in itself.

It lacks a lot of the extra flavors that browning, or even many of the other substitutes in this guide, often have.

So, as a condiment, it might not be the best. But as a sauce base, you’ll be able to find plenty of uses for dark roux as an alternative to browning sauce.

5. Teriyaki Sauce

This famous sauce, popular in many forms of East Asian cuisines, is also a surprisingly good alternative to browning sauce if you know how to use it.

Best known for its tangy, salty, and sweet flavor, teriyaki sauce also has a distinct texture to it, noticeably thicker than something like browning sauce.

However, it does have a lot of similar flavors and is an incredibly popular sauce to use as a base in many Japanese stir-fries and other searing/frying meals, although we don’t recommend using it in soups or stews (it doesn’t mix very well).

So it’s not as different as you might think!

6. Barbecue Sauce

Okay, this last option is a little strange, even by the standards that we’ve set in this guide.

However, if you’re in a pinch, then barbecue sauce does a surprisingly good job of substituting browning sauce.

We probably don’t need to explain what exactly barbecue sauce is. If you’ve been to a grill out, then you’ve probably seen or tasted it before.

The bigger question is if it’s any good as a browning sauce substitute.

Well, the smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy elements of barbecue sauce do fit surprisingly well for a browning sauce substitute, it turns out!

If we have any issue, it’s that the sweetness of barbecue sauce is a little too much. Plus, barbecue has a noticeably more tangy aftertaste to it than browning.

But give this condiment, and you might be surprised!

Final Notes

So, with all of these condiment options laid out for you, we have just one question:

Which one will you substitute for first when you next run out of browning sauce?

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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