Cooking Without Alcohol: Substitutes for Red and White Wine

What do you do when a recipe calls for wine and you don't have any on hand? Whether you're actively avoiding alcohol or you simply ran out, in most cases you can substitute another liquid.

First, it's useful to think about the function of wine in the recipe. Does the wine add acidity, sugars, depth, brightness? Is it used to provide moisture, tenderize meat, or to deglaze a pan? Knowing, or even guessing at, this can help you decide on a good substitute. Here are a few guidelines, but we encourage you to experiment and get a feel for your particular ingredients and tastes.

Red wine substitutes:
• Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
• Grape, pomegranate, or cranberry juice
• For acidity or deglazing, add about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar per cup of stock or fruit juice
• For sweetness, add sugar or honey

White wine substitutes:
Verjus
• Chicken or vegetable stock
• White grape or apple juice
• For acidity or deglazing, add about a tablespoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice per cup of stock or fruit juice
• For sweetness, add sugar or honey

If trace amounts of alcohol aren't a concern, you could also use non-alcoholic red and wine wines. (Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not completely evaporate during cooking.)

Do you have any tips for cooking without wine? Please share!

Related: Best Substitutes for Cooking Wine?

(Image: Daniel Taeger/Shutterstock)

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Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel

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