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This HP Sauce recipe makes 15 half pint jars. Also known as A1 steak sauce or Brown sauce, this condiment is perfect for savory foods!
We love this homemade HP Sauce recipe! I make some every year, water bath can the full mason jars and then store them in my food pantry. Perfect on steaks and roasts, this brown sauce adds a delicious flavor to tomato dishes.
Here’s how to make your own home made HP Sauce – invite a friend to spend an afternoon chopping and cooking, open a bottle of red wine, have a wonderful visit, make this ultimate condiment and split the rewards.
This HP sauce recipe with plums, apples, onions and spices has earned its spot on my once a year canning list.
HP Sauce Recipe and Canning Instructions
I’ve got the detailed recipe here for you – plus, the water bath canning procedure to safely preserve the Brown Sauce in jars. This will allow you to store your jars in the pantry or kitchen cupboard. But first, a bit more info about this much loved condiment.
What is HP Sauce?
HP Sauce is a condiment that is used in many dishes. Popular in the United Kingdom (UK), Canada and other parts of the world, it is a favorite for brushing onto grilling meats. It is often used as part of a full English breakfast.
The original brown sauce recipe was created by Frederick Gibson Garton in Nottingham in the late 1800’s and was used in the kitchens of London’s Houses of Parliament. For years it was a closely guarded secret recipe for this distinctive sauce.
You can find it sold by the bottle – glass, not plastic. Product packaging includes a drawing of the Houses of Parliament on the label.
The commercial manufacturer is Heinz and it is made in Holland. You should be able to find it where you buy groceries, or at a speciality convenience store.
It can be either tart or sweet or both, depending on the ingredients. Commercial HP sauce has glucose-fructose syrup, rye flour, malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, barley, tamarind extract, molasses, artificial colours, artificial preservatives and artificial flavours.
(Our homemade recipe has none of these ingredients.)
What does HP Sauce taste like?
HP Sauce is so good! It is so flavorful; it’s spicy with fruity tones along with a zing of vinegar. It’s thick, but not as thick as ketchup. You can thicken it to whatever consistency you like, just let it cook longer. The longer it cooks, the thicker your sauce will become.
Does HP Sauce need to be refrigerated?
Because of the vinegar in the recipe, Hp sauce does not need to be refrigerated. However, we do keep ours in the fridge after we open the jar. Of course, if you follow the canning recipe below, your sealed jars are perfectly safe in your cupboard or kitchen pantry.
Wondering what HP Sauce is used for?
HP Sauce Uses
There are many ways to use it!
- Brush onto grilling meats like sausage, steaks, bangers, chicken or heartier meat dishes like pork pies.
- Use for marinating steaks.
- Add to tomato based dishes such as Bolognese sauce.
- Brush onto vegetables grilling on the barbeque.
- Add to white rice instead of soy sauce.
- Adding to casserole ingredients before baking (especially good with cheese)
- Add to your crockpot of baked beans.
- Delicious to add to baked beans over toast.
- Use as a spread for a tomato and bacon sandwich.
- Use in stews, soups and gravy.
- A dollop of HP goes great on baked potatoes and chips (french fries).
How to use HP sauce for steak?
Use HP sauce for steak the same way as you would with any other kind of meat. If you are grilling steak, cook one side and when you turn the steak over to cook the other side, simply brush the sauce over the meat.
Use a little or a lot – if you like this sauce, you just cannot use too much!
HP Sauce Substitutes:
There are several different kinds of steak sauces available at your grocer. But, they are not the same!
These may be good, of course, but they are not the same – in taste, brand or flavor:
- A-1 sauce
- Branston sauce
- Brown sauce
- Heinz original steak sauce
HP vs A1 Sauce
Hey, it’s totally a matter of preference. We enjoy A1 sauce, but we like HP Sauce more. All I can say is we’ve converted a few A1 diehards over to our homemade HP!
HP sauce is a favourite with Canadians and of course, English folks!
HP Sauce Ingredients:
I always make my sauce in late July, as that is the only time of the year I can find prune plums locally. Sometimes, the grocery store doesn’t even have those. So I have made my sauce with red plums – it tastes a little bit different, but is still really so very good!
Another year, I couldn’t even find red plums locally so I resorted to making this condiment recipe with yellow plums. It tasted delicious and had more of a caramel color.
- prune plums
- red onions
- malt vinegar or cider vinegar (better than using white vinegar)
- Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
- salt and pepper
Made with the highest quality ingredients, this recipe is suitable for vegetarians and those with diet restrictions. This recipe makes about 15 half pint jars of HP Sauce.
Let’s get started making HP Sauce!
Cut the apples, plums and onions into fairly small pieces. When preparing the apples, I cut each apple into 4 pieces and core them but I don’t bother to peel them.
Because I will use a sieve, that will take out all the peels. With the plums, I just cut each plum into small pieces, leaving me with just the pit.
Place the fruit and chopped onions into a large stockpot and add just enough water to prevent any scorching, about 2 cups of water, no more.
Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and let it cook on medium heat until the fruits and onions are softened. Stir fairly often as you don’t want any scorching on the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat and let it simmer.
Once it’s cooked through and all the fruit is softened, you can use an immersion blender or a potato masher to start breaking down the fruit. Let it continue cooking for another half hour on a low heat.
Using the Sieve or Food Mill
Get your sieve ready and fill part way with the cooked fruit. Press the pulp through the sieve, emptying into a large cooking pot. Really work that pestle and push as much pulp as you can through the sieve.
Left behind in the sieve will be all the peels from the fruit. Discard that, add it to your compost or even better, feed it to your chickens, they will love it!
Thickening Homemade HP Sauce
Set your pot on a medium heat, and add the vinegar. Then add all the seasonings and sugar. Boil this until it becomes thick. You will need to stir it regularly and it will take several hours to reduce and thicken.
Adjust the heat, lowering it as needed and let the sauce continue to reduce down and thicken. Scrape the sides with a spatula if needed.
Look at the color difference after a couple hours of simmering on the stove! It’s beginning to thicken nicely and it’s almost ready to taste!
After an hour, taste the sauce to see if it is to your liking. We found the taste changed quite a bit as the sauce cooked down, so keep that in mind.
By the end of the afternoon, we had taste tested the sauce several times and enjoyed a nice glass of homemade Rhubarb wine! Once the sauce is reduced to the thick consistency you want, turn your stove down to Low and get out your canning jars for the next step!
Note: Only store in the fridge, enough jars that you will use up in 2 or 3 weeks. The rest of the HP Sauce needs to be water bath canned for safe preservation.
How to Can Homemade HP Sauce
I like to can this homemade brown sauce recipe in half pint mason jars. You can certainly use pint jars if you wish, (can for 20 minutes) and if you have a larger family, this might be your best bet.
This condiment will easily last 3 weeks in your fridge, once the jars are open. Ours never lasts that long because we use it so much!
Fill the water bath canner with enough water to completely submerge the jars. Turn this water on to boil and meanwhile, wash the canning jars and use tongs to set them inside the boiling water. Leave them there for 15 minutes to sterilize the jars.
Meanwhile, heat some water on the stove and add the canning seals. You don’t need to boil the water but make the water hot and leave the seals in the hot water until needed.
Filling Canning Jars
Leave a 1/4 inch of headspace in each jar. After filling, use a wet clean dishcloth or paper towel to wipe around the rim of each jar. If you don’t do this, and there is a bit of sauce on the rim, the canning lid will not be able to seal properly.
Wipe each rim, add your seal and screw on the ring finger tight. Your jars are ready to go into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Once the hot water has come up to boil, set your timer. Process half-pint jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, depending on altitude.
Up to 1000 foot elevation, 10 minutes. Between 1001 – 3000 feet above sea level, add another 5 minutes. So I will be processing for 15 minutes, as we are at 2850 foot elevation level.
Add this HP Sauce recipe to your seasonal canning calendar!
Give this recipe a try; you may love it so much, you’ll never buy a1 sauce or any of those other steak sauces again!
Small jars of this sauce make a perfect gift for your favorite chef, too! Don’t have time to make a batch?
Here’s where you can buy the brand name HP Sauce – made by HP Foods.
More Recipes for You
This home made Rhubarb Wine recipe is a great way to use a large rhubarb harvest.
Here’s the very BEST Salsa recipe around! Canning instructions too.
The perfect Pickled Beets are a treat on a pickle tray or included in your dinner recipes.
Want a sweet sauce? Here’s a Mango sauce you will want to try.
- Cut apples into pieces, removing the core.
- Cut prune plums into pieces, removing the pit.
- Chop onions.
- Put these ingredients into a large stockpot and add just enough water to prevent any scorching on bottom of pot. I used 2 cups water.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer until ingredients are soft.
- Use an immersion blender or potato masher to begin crushing the apples and plums.
- Once soft and cooked, press this through a sieve. Press hard to remove as much as possible. Press into a large cooking pot.
- Set aside the pulpy skins.
- To the sauce, add the vinegar, seasoning, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let this mixture thicken (will take a couple of hours).
- Once thick, ladle into canning jars. Leave 1/2 inch headroom, add seal and ring.
- Water bath can the jars for 10 minutes (up to 1000 ft elevation). Above 1000 ft, boil jars for 15 minutes.
- Using canning tongs, remove jars and set on a thick towel on the counter. Leave alone for 24 hours.
- After the 24 hours, check each jar that it has sealed. Unsealed jars can be water bath canned again or placed in fridge to use within 3 weeks.
You can use half pint or pint jars for your Brown Sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 240 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 63Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 1g
Originally published Aug, 2021; latest update November, 2022