Brown sauce recipe

Niamh Shields
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Sweet with dates and molasses, sour with tamarind and malt vinegar and gently spiced, brown sauce compliments meat and cuts through richness. 

For a fresher, brighter taste without any additives it is very easy to create your own and in not much time at all. I prefer a fruitier brown sauce with a brighter less heavy flavour.

HP Sauce themselves recognized the potential for an alternative fruitier version this when they launched their own H.P. Fruity Sauce. Mine doesn’t contain orange and mango like theirs, but it does contain sweet / sour granny smith apples with a bass notes of rich dates all teased out by treacle and lifted with tamarind and vinegar. It is lightly spiced to support it. Read more about the history of brown sauce here.

Note: This recipe makes three bottles of sauce.

At a glance
  • Cuisine British
  • Recipe Type Condiment
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Preparation time 30 mins
  • Cooking time 60 mins
  • Serves 3 people
  • 800 g (28.2oz) Tomatoes (tinned)
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 125 g (4.4oz) Dates (chopped)
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples (peeled and cored)
  • 75 g (2.6oz) Dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Treacle
  • 175 ml (6.2fl oz) Malt vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Tamarind pulp
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 tsp Mustard powder
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp Oil, for frying
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika


  1. Soak the tamarind in enough boiling water to cover it for half an hour. Mash it and then strain through a sieve. Save the water.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat, add the finely chopped onion and sauté for five minutes until softening but not brown.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sea salt, and allow to cook for one hour.
  4. Blend the sauce and season to taste with sea salt.
  5. If you want your sauce to be smooth like shop bought brown sauce, pass it through a sieve.
  6. Sterilise your bottles by putting them through a hot dishwasher cycle or by heating them through in a 180 deg C oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Let the sauce cool down and add cold sauce to cold bottles / jars. Cover and store in the fridge.

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