Brown sauce

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Brown sauce
-2019-09-04 Bacon sandwich with HP sauce, Cromer.JPG
HP Sauce on a bacon sandwich
Place of originUnited Kingdom[1][2][3]
Main ingredientsTomatoes, molasses, dates, apples, tamarind, spices, vinegar

Brown sauce is a condiment commonly served with food in the United Kingdom and Ireland, normally dark brown in colour. The taste is either tart or sweet with a peppery taste similar to that of Worcestershire sauce.

Brown sauce is typically eaten with meals such as full breakfasts, bacon sandwiches and chips.

A combination of malt vinegar (or water) and brown sauce known simply as sauce or chippy sauce is popular on fish and chips in Edinburgh, Scotland.[4][5]


The first brown sauce was HP Sauce, invented in the United Kingdom by Frederick Gibson Garten in the 1890s in Nottinghamshire.[1] An alternative claim states that an earlier brown sauce was created in Leicestershire by David Hoe in the 1850s, who sold his recipe to Garten.[2][3]

Another sauce, Yorkshire Relish, is of a similar style to brown sauce and originated in Leeds, England in 1837, and is relatively unknown in the UK today.[6]

A recipe for "sauce for steaks" composed of ale, wine, ketchup, black pepper and butter appeared in an 1843 cookbook published in London entitled English Cookery.[7]

Common brands[edit]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

HP Sauce is the earliest brown sauce, and is the most popular brown sauce in the United Kingdom, accounting for around 75% of sales. Daddies, OK Sauce and Wilkin & Sons are other popular brands. Another is Hammonds of Yorkshire,[8] popular in Northern England.[9]

In Ireland[edit]

Chef and HP Sauce are popular brown sauce brands in Ireland. Another sauce, Yorkshire Relish, is a similar style of sauce that originated in Leeds, England in 1837,[6] and is now produced in Ireland and is currently manufactured in County Dublin under the YR Sauce brand.

Generic brands[edit]

Most supermarket chains in the UK[10] and Ireland also stock their own brand of brown sauce. As with other condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, brown sauce is widely available in catering sachets and dispenser bottles in restaurants.

Similar products[edit]

Many countries have their own sauces which are similar to brown sauce, often containing comparable flavour profiles, ingredients, and uses. Examples include Japan's tonkatsu sauce and Jamaica's Pickapeppa sauce. In China, a similar soy-based sauce thickened with potato or corn starch is also known as "brown sauce" (棕色酱 or "Zōngsè jiàng"). "Steak sauce" is a similar product in the United States.[11]


Between 2013 and 2014 the sales of brown sauces in the UK decreased by approximately 19%, according to market research company Mintel, but more than 13 million kg (29 million lb) is still consumed each year.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b Kotecha, Ameer (2021-06-17). "The very British history of HP sauce". The Spectator. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  2. ^ a b Fortey, Neil (2021-01-30). "A Saucy tale - from Easthorpe to the Houses of Parliament". Bottesford Living History. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  3. ^ a b Murphy, Shayna (2021-09-22). "HP Sauce: The Sticky History Behind the UK's Favorite Brown Sauce". Mental Floss. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  4. ^ "Chippie Sauce",
  5. ^ "Salt 'n' sauce - Scotland's culinary divide". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  6. ^ a b "Goodall, Backhouse and Co". Graces Guide. 2022-06-15. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  7. ^ English Cookery. London: Cradock & Co. 1843. p. 56.
  8. ^ Amos, Mike (2010-08-11). "What sauce". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  9. ^ "Hammonds Sauces - good, honest flavoursome sauces". McCormick Flavour Solutions UK. 2021-04-05. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  10. ^ Bullard, Alexandra (2022-01-09). "'I compared HP sauce with Tesco, Lidl and Waitrose and one of them was vile'". MyLondon. Retrieved 2022-06-25.
  11. ^ Baxter-Wright, Dusty (28 March 2017). "Americans don't know what Brown Sauce is and it's mind blowing". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  12. ^ Naylor, Tony (2015-01-05). "Brown sauce sales are falling: has Britain finally come to its senses?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  13. ^ Hyslop, Leah (2015-01-05). "Are we falling out of love with brown sauce? Sales of brown sauce plunged by nearly a fifth last year, figures suggest". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2018-03-11.