Is Worcestershire Sauce Gluten-Free?

3 Safe Brands of Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce

worcestershire sauce poured on steak
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It's easy to find a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. Lea and Perrins, the most popular brand, is safe for those who are eating gluten-free. There are a few other safe choices, including one that's gluten-free and vegan (most Worcestershire sauces contain anchovies, which means they're not vegetarian or vegan).

However, many Worcestershire sauces sold in the United States are not considered safe on the gluten-free diet. You will need to stick with the three brands that are safe:

  • French's Worcestershire sauce
  • Lea and Perrins Original (in the United States only)
  • The Wizard's Gluten-Free Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce gets its distinctive flavor from the tamarind tree, which produces pods that are used in cuisines worldwide. However, it generally gets its distinctive dark brown color from soy sauce, and that often is not gluten-free. Soy sauce is most often the problematic ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.

Therefore, you can't just consume any brand of Worcestershire sauce and assume it's okay. The odds are good that it will include wheat-based soy sauce.

Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce Brands

These three gluten-free Worcestershire sauce brands are readily available in the United States.

French's

This is one of the more popular brands of Worcestershire sauce in the U.S. It contains distilled vinegar (which can be derived from gluten grains), molasses, anchovies, tamarind extract, citric acid, xantham gum, and spices.

This brand often is in use at restaurants and in other food service applications. The parent company, McCormick & Company, Inc., states on its website that French's Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free.

Lea and Perrins Original

Lea and Perrins is the Worcestershire sauce many people picture when they think "Worcestershire sauce." The iconic paper-wrapped bottle with its maroon, black, and tan label is familiar to most who enjoy this condiment. Ingredients include distilled white vinegar (which can be derived from gluten grains), molasses, sugar, onion, anchovies, tamarind, chili pepper extract, and other spices.

This sauce, made by the Kraft Heinz Company, is labeled "gluten-free" in the United States only. In versions sold in Canada and in other countries (and on Amazon), the distilled vinegar is replaced with barley-based malt vinegar, which is not gluten-free.

If you're traveling, always know which version you have before you consume it. The Canadian version has an orange label, so it's easy to distinguish between the two versions. Kraft Heinz policy is to clearly label sources of gluten, including barley, on the label, so if the first ingredient is "malt vinegar" and not "distilled vinegar," don't eat it. 

The Wizard's Gluten-Free Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

If you want a gluten-free and vegan Worcestershire sauce, this sauce likely is your only option (short of making your own). The Wizard's brand, owned by the organic label Edward & Sons, offers Worcestershire sauce made with apple cider vinegar, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), organic molasses, cane juice, tamarind, and various organic spices (including shiitake mushrooms).

Note that Edward & Sons makes two different versions of Worcestershire sauce. The Original Organic Vegan Worcestershire includes wheat-based soy sauce, so make certain to purchase the GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) variety. The one that includes wheat-based soy sauce has a red and purple label, while the one that includes tamari has a white and purple label.

Worcestershire Sauce Without Gluten Ingredients

While they may not have the "gluten-free" label, these Worcestershire sauce brands are made with no gluten ingredients, and may be safe for those on a gluten-free diet. Purchase and consume with caution, however, as there may be cross-contamination with gluten-containing foods.

Bull-Dog

This is a Japanese brand that's available in the U.S. through Amazon and other outlets. The Tokyo-based company, with its feisty-looking bulldog emblem, makes several popular condiments.

Bull-Dog's Worcestershire sauce does not in;clude gluten-based ingredients (notably wheat-containing soy sauce). However, the company does make other sauces with gluten-based ingredients in the same facility, so you can't count on this sauce being protected from gluten cross-contamination.

Heinz

This Worcestershire sauce contains white distilled vinegar (which is sourced from corn or grain), molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, non-wheat-based soy sauce, and various spices.

The Kraft Heinz company policy is to clearly label sources of gluten, and none are present in this sauce. However, the company does not consider it gluten-free, because of the potential for undeclared gluten in ingredients it sources from other distributors and the possibility of gluten cross-contamination in processing.

365 Everyday Value

365 Everyday Value is Whole Foods' in-store house brand. The company's organic Worcestershire sauce includes organic white vinegar (which can be derived from gluten grains), organic molasses, organic cane sugar, organic caramel color, and various organic spices.

The product has no gluten ingredients but is not labeled gluten-free. It includes a disclosure that the product is made in a facility that also processes wheat and other allergens.

TryMe Wine & Pepper Worcestershire Sauce

This non-traditional take on traditional Worcestershire sauce includes sherry and hot pepper, making it more like a thicker sherry pepper sauce than a Worcestershire sauce.

Ingredients include distilled vinegar, sherry wine, caramel color, hydrolyzed corn protein, anchovy flavor, tamarind, red peppers, sugar, and xanthan gum. This sauce doesn't include gluten ingredients, though the vinegar used may include vinegar made from gluten grains. In rare cases, the caramel color may also contain gluten. As always, be sure to read the label carefully; when in doubt, contact the company directly.

Worcestershire Sauce With Gluten Ingredients

If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten-sensitivity, you'll want to avoid the following Worcestershire sauce brands that contain gluten ingredients.

Annie's Homegrown

Many people turn to Annie's for vegan and organic alternatives to mainstream foods, and some of the brand's products are gluten-free. Unfortunately, Annie's Worcestershire sauce contains wheat from conventional soy sauce.

Bourbon Barrel

Bourbon Barrel's Worcestershire sauce is a different take on the popular sauce. It's made with sorghum and apple cider vinegar, both of which give it a sweeter, tangier flavor; it's vegetarian; and it's aged in bourbon barrels.

Some people may react to bourbon, which is made from the gluten grains wheat and barley. But this brand is definitely problematic because of the wheat-containing conventional soy sauce. It's not gluten-free, so avoid.

Heinz 57 Steak Sauce with Lea and Perrins

Yes, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free, but Heinz 57 steak sauce is not. It contains barley in the form of malt vinegar. Therefore, you should avoid this steak sauce-Worcestershire sauce combo.

If you want a combined Worcestershire sauce-steak sauce, consider mixing a gluten-free sauce from this list with a gluten-free steak sauce. There are several good choices.

A Word From Verywell

If you're looking for a Worcestershire sauce you'll find at any grocery store, you're safe with Lea & Perrins Original, which is considered to be gluten-free. If you'd prefer a vegan sauce, The Wizard's is your best bet.

It's important to note that Worcestershire sauce in other countries—notably the United Kingdom and Europe—often does contain gluten in the form of barley-based malt vinegar. You should avoid Worcestershire sauce (and unfortunately, other condiments, such as relish and pickles) when traveling, unless you know for certain that malt vinegar wasn't used. 

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