If you're cooking dinner and realize you don't have the wine on hand that your recipe calls for or you'd simply prefer to leave the booze out, don't be so quick to dismiss that recipe. It's easy to make a quick substitution with something you probably have in the kitchen. Here's what to use instead when a recipe calls for red or white wine.
What's the Wine For?
It's useful to think about the function of wine in the recipe. Sometimes wine is incorporated to add acidity, sugar, depth of flavor, or brightness to a dish. Other times its purpose is to provide moisture, tenderize meat, or to deglaze a pan.
Knowing, or even taking a guess, is helpful in choosing a good substitute. Here are a few guidelines, but we encourage you to experiment and get a feel for your particular ingredients and tastes.
Use These Substitutes for Red Wine
- Red wine vinegar: The acidity in vinegar makes it a good substitute for deglazing the pan.
- Grape, pomegranate, or cranberry juice: These rich-flavored juices are also acidic which makes them a good substitute for deglazing a pan. Their deep fruit and berry flavors will also add depth of flavor to a recipe. For a punchier substitute, try mixing a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of juice.
- Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock: Even though it's less acidic, and more mild in flavor than red wine, stock is an ideal candidate for adding flavor to a dish. For extra flavor, try mixing a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of stock.
Use These Substitutes for White Wine
- White wine vinegar: This is an ideal substitute for dry white wine, especially when its purpose is to deglaze a pan. Made from white wine, white wine vinegar has many of the same flavor characteristics, minus the alcohol.
- Lemon juice: This is another good substitute for deglazing. Fresh lemon juice is a good way to replicate the tangy flavor white wine brings to a dish. Dilute the lemon juice with an equal amount of water to prevent it from being too overpowering.
- White grape juice: Use white grape juice as a substitute when you want to add sweetness, or deglaze the pan. For a punchier substitute, try mixing a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of grape juice.
- Chicken or vegetable stock: Substitute stock for white wine when you want to add depth of flavor to a dish. For extra flavor, try mixing a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of stock.
Your turn! What are your go-to substitutes when cooking without wine?