If you need to find the best browning sauce substitute, there are plenty of alternatives that will do the job and taste great.
What Is Browning Sauce?
Browning sauce is a dark-colored sauce usually made with seasonings, vegetable stock or concentrate, and some caramel or sugar. The sauce is used to give dishes a rich, savory taste, as well as help with adding some color to the dish.
What Does Browning Sauce Taste Like?
Browning sauce is often described as having a rich, slightly sweet, savory, and somewhat smoky taste.
Common Uses for Browning Sauce
- Often a base for sauces, gravies, and stews
- Helps to thicken the sauce, gravy, or stew
- Adds a deep rich brown color to the dish
How to Choose a Substitute for Browning Sauce
To choose a substitute for browning sauce, you need to consider the function you need the sauce to serve. If you need it as a thickener, ensure your alternative has some thickening agents in it. On the other hand, if you need browning sauce for the color, choose a substitute that is also dark in color.
10 Best Browning Sauce Substitute Options
1. Homemade Browning Sauce
There is a very basic recipe you can use if you need to use browning sauce that only calls for 2 ingredients. It might take some time, but it is the best option if you are in a pinch. My Forking Life has an easy-to-follow recipe.
2. Dark Roux
Roux is a basic mixture of flour and fat, cooked and used as the base of most gravies and sauces. If you continue to cook this roux until it is a deep rich brown, it can replace browning sauce. Acadiana Table has an easy, fool-proof recipe to make your own.
3. Gravy Powder
You can find gravy powder packets in any supermarket, and they are an easy and quick way to add a lot of flavor to your own gravies, stews, and soups. It will definitely thicken your sauce, so omit or reduce other thickening agents in your recipe. McCormick shows you how to make it in less than 5 minutes.
Molasses and browning sauce resemble the same flavor profile. Dark molasses are the closest to browning sauce, as light and backstrap molasses can yield very different results. Rachel Ray uses molasses in her gravy recipe.
5. Worcestershire Sauce
If you haven’t heard of Worcestershire sauce yet, you’re in for a treat. The sauce is made from several ingredients, one of them being molasses, and some others include anchovies. It might sound odd, but it adds richness to any sauce and is best paired with red meats. The Spruce Eats explains how to use the sauce.
6. Steak Sauce
Steak sauce is often referred to as A1 sauce, but there are many brands that make a steak sauce that is ideal to use. It is made with a tomato base and has a lot of vinegar added, which gives it a tangier taste than browning sauce. The Manual shows you how to use this sauce.
7. BBQ Sauce
Barbeque sauce also has a tomato and vinegar base, similar to steak sauce, but it is much sweeter than a steak sauce, making it ideal to use as a tasty and sweet alternative to browning sauce. All Recipes have a recipe to make your own.
8. Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a deep brown-colored sauce that is similar to browning sauce but is much sweeter and often used as a glaze to coat meats and veggies before grilling. It makes for a flavorful alternative to browning sauce. The Spruce Eats shows you how to use the sauce to make the most of it.
9. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is very salty, but it can add a wonderful richness to your dish and provides a deep brown color too. Make sure to adjust the salt in your recipe to avoid it being over-salted. Dark soy will add a richer color to your dish. The Kitchn explains the differences between all the types of soy sauce.
10. Soy & Molasses
If you need to make a sauce that is both rich in color, sweet, and salty, mix soy sauce and molasses together to make a browning sauce that you will love. Southern Living shows you how to mix these two ingredients and use the sauce on some salmon for a delicious meal.
Tips for Browning Sauce Substitution
- Adjust your sugar and salt – many alternatives lean towards being more or less salty and sweet than browning sauce, so adjust the salt and sugar in your recipe for the best results.
- Glaze – if you need to use browning sauce to glaze your food, use an alternative that is high in sugar for the best browning.
- Thickener – some alternatives like Worcestershire and soy sauce won’t thicken your sauces, soups, or stews, so make sure you add a thickening agent to your dish for the same consistency.