I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of steak sauce substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured I’ve got you covered.
The best substitutes for steak sauce are the homemade version and an easy mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. The British staple brown sauce also has a very similar flavor profile to steak sauce. If you want something restaurant-worthy, try whipping up a pan sauce with your steak drippings.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I cooked up steaks to put all the different steak sauce substitutes I could find to the test (of course I invited all my friends round to share the steaks!)
Steak sauce is a brown condiment made from tomatoes, vinegar, and raisins. It has a savory flavor with hints of tang, sweetness, and spice.
I was looking for a substitute that can hold up just as well next to my juicy steaks.
Here’s what I tested and the verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade classic steak sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Worcestershire sauce + ketchup||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Brown sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Pan sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Teriyaki sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|American-style BBQ sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Bearnaise sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
Common uses for steak sauce and the best substitutes
Steak sauce is often served alongside juicy steak, but here are some other ways to use it and the best substitute for those situations:
- Marinades and glazes: Try using homemade classic steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or brown sauce. You can also use commercial teriyaki sauce, but you’ll need to dilute it first.
- As a sandwich/burger sauce: Try using homemade classic steak sauce, brown sauce, teriyaki sauce, or BBQ sauce.
- As a dipping sauce: Try using homemade classic steak sauce, BBQ sauce, or brown sauce. You can also just use ketchup!
Homemade classic steak sauce
Whipping up a delicious classic steak sauce that will impress your family and friends is a breeze!
My go-to recipe is from Todd’s Kitchen. It uses kitchen staples like Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, raisins, and vinegar to re-create the savory and tangy flavors.
You can customize the sauce from this basic recipe by adding ingredients like garlic powder for extra depth or a few drops of your favorite hot sauce for a spicy kick.
You can even experiment with a touch of honey or molasses for a sweeter note!
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with homemade classic steak sauce.
In a rush and don’t have time to whip up a homemade sauce? Try a simple mixture of Worcestershire and ketchup!
Worcestershire sauce on its own is already packed with salty, tangy, and sweet notes similar to steak sauce. Adding ketchup makes it thicker and enhances the sweet notes.
This dynamic duo is excellent not only for steaks but also for burgers, meatloaf, and even as a dipping sauce for fries.
Psst… not got any Worcestershire sauce? Try out some of these tried and tested Worcestershire sauce substitutes.
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with a mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.
Brown sauce is a staple in English cuisine. It’s normally paired with breakfast foods, but I loved it with my steak!
It shares similar ingredients to steak sauce but goes a step further with the addition of dates and spices like star anise, bay leaves, and cloves.
These addition give it a warm and fruity flavor.
It can be quite a divisive sauce – so I would let your guests taste it first before smothering it all over their steak.
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with brown sauce.
Who needs steak sauce when you can create a flavorful accompaniment from your steak drippings?
To create a pan sauce, simply deglaze your pan with an acidic liquid (wine, citrus juice, or vinegar), then add stock and any herbs and spices you want (just not salt).
Finish the sauce with a knob of butter or a splash of cream to emulsify it and give it a silky, luxurious texture.
The resulting sauce will be thinner than steak sauce but will be jam-packed with flavor.
I went with a classic red wine pan sauce with my steak because it has the perfect acidity that pairs well with beefy flavors.
But you can also try deglazing with balsamic vinegar for a tangy twist.
And if you prefer a lighter, more refreshing pan sauce, skip the alcohol and use lemon juice as a base.
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with pan sauce.
Teriyaki sauce isn’t exact flavor match for steak sauce, but it’s a tasty substitute that’ll bring an Asian twist to your steak.
It has similar savory flavor notes but has more sweetness and a subtler hint of tang than steak sauce.
Teriyaki sauce is readily available in most grocery stores, but I always make mine from scratch because I find the commercial ones a bit too thick and sugary.
It’s super easy, and you only need 4 ingredients for Just One Cookbook’s recipe: soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake.
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with teriyaki sauce.
American-style BBQ sauce
Bring the flavors of a backyard cookout to your steak with an American-style BBQ sauce.
This basic sauce has tangy, sweet flavors with a hint of smokiness and heat, making it a great alternative to traditional steak sauce.
You can choose from various store-bought BBQ sauces or create your own blend with ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices.
Psst… steer clear of North Carolina BBQ sauces – they’re vinegar-based and are far tangier than steak sauce.
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with American-style BBQ sauce.
We’re moving away from steak sauce now. But bearnaise sauce is also a traditional accompaniment for freshly-seared steak.
Instead of tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce, this French sauce has a base of butter, egg yolks, and vinegar.
This results in a rich, luscious sauce that offers a creamy contrast to your steak.
Check out this guide from RecipeTin Eats to make this restaurant-worthy sauce.
How to substitute: Replace steak sauce in a 1:1 ratio with bearnaise sauce.
Other substitutes to consider
The options above are my top picks for steak sauce substitutes.
But here are other ideas for sauces that go great with steak!
- Chimichurri sauce – this Argentinian favorite will bring a fresh, zesty flavor to your meal. Aside from cutting through your steaks’ rich, meaty flavors, it will also add a bright pop of green to your plate.
- Compound butter – this is a great alternative if you’re not a fan of thick sauces. A simple garlic butter compound butter will enhance your dish’s flavors and make it more decadent.
- Blue cheese sauce – blue cheese sauce is a traditional steak accompaniment that will bring a creamy, salty contrast to your meat.
- Mushroom sauce – another classic steak accompaniment that is creamy, earthy, and chock-full of umami goodness. It’s also great with other proteins like chicken and pork.
- Horseradish sauce – adding horseradish brings a sharp, tangy kick that perfectly contrasts with your steak.
- Demi-glace – this is a glossy brown sauce made from reduced beef stock and red wine. It has a deep, meaty flavor with a subtle sweetness. I’ve also done an experiment to find the best demi-glace substitutes.
- Oyster sauce – despite the name, this Asian condiment doesn’t taste fishy. Instead, it has a salty flavor with a subtle sweet note that goes well with different proteins and even vegetables.
- Skip it – you can heed the steak purists’ advice and skip the steak sauce too. If you feel like you really need some extra flavor, you can use a spice rub on your steak. There are tons of ready-to-use blends you can try, or you can make your own blend. My go-to is from All Recipes, which features a mixture of basic spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano.
Substitutes to avoid
These were suggestions I encountered during my research, so naturally I tried them.
But after the experiment, I don’t recommend using them as a substitute for steak sauce.
- Soy sauce – this alone won’t work as a substitute for steak sauce. It’s packed with umami that can enhance your dish, but it has a one-dimensional salty flavor. You’ll need to pair it with other condiments to create a flavorful sauce.
- Miso paste – this fermented soybean paste is salty and has deep, umami flavors that can jazz up your dishes. But it’s better used as a flavor enhancer instead of a straight condiment.
15 Best Steak Sauce Substitutes + 2 To Avoid
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup dijon mustard
- ¼ cup sultanas
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp chili sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ small onion, chopped
- 1 orange, juiced and cut into quarters
- Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture and stir occasionally until it comes up to a simmer.
- Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. After this, strain the sauce and use immediately or transfer in a mason jar and store properly.