Brown sauce on chips

British Brown Sauce

The original recipe for HP Sauce was invented and developed by Frederick Gibson Garton, a grocer from Nottingham. He registered the name H.P. Sauce in 1895. Garton called the sauce HP because he had heard that a restaurant in the Houses of Parliament had begun serving it. For many years the bottle labels have carried a picture of the Houses of Parliament. Garton sold the recipe and HP brand for the sum of £150 and the settlement of some unpaid bills to Edwin Samson Moore. Moore, the founder of the Midlands Vinegar Company (the forerunner of HP Foods) subsequently launched HP Sauce in 1903.

HP Sauce became known as “Wilson’s gravy” in the 1960s and 1970s after Harold Wilson, the Labour Prime Minister. The name arose after Wilson’s wife, Mary, gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which she claimed: “If Harold has a fault, it is that he will drown everything with HP Sauce”.

HP Sauce is to the British what Ketchup is to the Americans. It took years to create this clone, it’s original, and it’s pretty near perfect in my humble opinion. Try it for yourself. Recipe volume can be increased 4 times without affecting the flavour. The best homemade HP sauce. Add a scotch bonnet chilli to spice it up.


  • 150 ml of water
  • 250 ml white wine vinegar
  • 300ml cider vinegar
    2 small cans/tubes tomato paste
  • 4 apples
  • 3 small red onions
  • 250 ml of orange juice
  • 250 ml apple juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jar approx 300ml tamarind
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates (chopped fine)
  • 1/4 cup prunes
  • 3 tablespoons black treacle
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder


  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Total time: 2 hours 5 mins
  • Makes: 1 litre +

Rough chop 4 apples and 3 small red onions. Fine chop 1 clove of garlic.

In a large pot, add the water, white wine vinegar, tomato paste, apple juice, orange juice, dates, prunes, black treacle, tamarind, garlic, apples and red onions.

Stir to blend.

Over medium heat and cover, bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat to a slow simmer and simmer covered for 25 – 30 minutes.
Using a spice grinder, thoroughly grind cloves, black peppercorns, cardamom, mustard seed, cayenne, salt, and cinnamon and allspice.

After simmering in step #1, use an Immersion Blender to puree mixture and reduce lumps.

Add ground spice mixture to the pot, stir to blend and simmer (covered) for another 30 – 45 minutes.

Add cider vinegar to the pot, stir to blend and return to a simmer.
Simmer until thick.

Put a small amount of water into jars/bottle and heat until water is steaming either in an oven or in the microwave, to sterilise the bottles. Poor water out before using.

Ladle hot sauce mixture into hot, prepared sealable bottles and seal.
Allow it to cool.

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