What Can You Use as a Substitute for White Cooking Wine?

We've given you some great wine recommendations, along with fun wineries to visit, which means you're prepared not only to drink some good wine, but also cook with it. A lot of recipes call for adding wine, but what happens if you start cooking, get a third of the way into the recipe and realize you don't have any wine (asking for a friend)? There are a few things you can substitute for cooking wine.

Wine isn't always added to a recipe for the taste. Wine can help tenderize meat, add acidity, deglaze a pan, and brighten the other flavors in a dish. So if you don't keep wine in your house or are just out of it, you may need to find a nonalcoholic substitute for cooking wine in a recipe.

What is a Good Substitute For Cooking Wine?

We have a list of the best substitutes for white wine, most of which you probably have in your kitchen already. These alternates aren't a less-than-choice. Each of them are strong stand-ins; these good substitutes provide the same result as wine in your recipes.

The most important thing to know when choosing a great substitute is what purpose the wine serves in the recipe. Let's look at the different liquids you can substitute for cooking wine and how they provide what the recipe calls for.

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Cooking Wine

White grape juice and apple juice

If the purpose of white wine is to provide additional sweetness, juice is a good swap. Keep an eye on the sugar level though, and balance the juice with vinegar or lemon juice if needed to get a similar flavor.

Apple cider

If you're looking for a dry white wine kind of sweetness, use apple cider instead of juice. It has less sugar than apple juice.

Cranberry juice or pomegranate juice

Just like grape or apple juice, cranberry juice or pomegranate juice can work as a substitute for red wine. Don't use cranberry cocktail or a blended pomegranate juice, which can be too sweet for some savory dishes.

Ginger ale

Use an equal part of ginger ale as a substitute for cooking wine if you need to deglaze a pan.

White wine vinegar or red wine vinegar

White wine or red wine vinegar is the closest you can get to dry wine without the alcohol. It has the same flavor profile as wine, though it works best when the recipe calls for the addition of something tart. If your recipe is for a marinade, vinegar (and apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar work well here, too) also provides the acid that helps tenderize the meat.

Lemon juice or lime juice

Citrus provides a tart and tangy flavor. If you don't want the lemon or lime to stand out as a specific taste, mix the juice with an equal amount of water.

Chicken broth or vegetable stock

Stock works best when you don't want any additional sweetness added to your dish. It does add depth and richness.

Can I Substitute Red Wine for White Wine in Cooking?

You sure can, but be mindful of the flavors of the wine you are substituting into the dish. If you are subbing a red for a dish like steamed mussels, try adding a bold spice to compliment the dish.

It's just as important to know what not to use as a white wine substitute. If you're making risotto, use chicken stock, vegetable stock or water instead of fruit juice or vinegar in order to not add sweetness or acid.

Same thing goes for substituting white wine for red wine in a recipe. You can do it, but keep the taste of the wine in mind. A sweet wine may not work in every recipe that calls for red wine.

This article was originally published on December 27, 2019.

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