A sharp glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a chilled Chardonnay, white wine has long held a place in the kitchen, whether it’s a glass in hand while cooking or a splash in the pot when dealing with a recipe that calls for that special flavor. But wine may not be the best solution for everyone, whether from lifestyle choice or wanting to watch your alcohol intake, finding alternatives for white wine in cooking can help you to stay on track.
While some people may not flinch at the idea of adding wine to their cooking, there is good reason to be mindful. Like everything we choose to consume, wine has an impact on our health and wellbeing.
Lisa Richards, from The Candida Diet reminds us that "wine can lead to increased glucose, liver enzymes, inflammation, poor sleep, headaches, and weight gain."
Her main concern? The liver.
"Liver health should be a major concern for wine drinkers. The liver processes everything that enters the body, working to rid the body of toxins along with healing itself."
While you may feel mindful in skipping out that glass of weekday wine with your meal...
...what about when cooking?
There are tons of Italian and French dishes out there that calls for using white or red wine in the ingredients list. Wine brings its own flavor profile, adding acidity, deglazing pans, bringing out depth in a certain ingredient, and helping to bring moisture to the meat in a dish. Wine is often called for in everything from a pan sauce to marinades and even salad dressings.
But fear not, for all those looking to cut down or skip out on their wine intake, we have explored some of the best non-alcoholic substitute options so you can keep cooking.
7 Substitutes for White Wine When Cooking
Sweet and light, apple juice can be a great white wine substitute. It has that slight bite, that sharp acidity, and similar coloring to white wine too. It's a great choice for those recipes that call for not too much white wine or for marinating dishes. In a similar vein, apple cider vinegar can be another good substitution as adding a bit of vinegar can bring that subtle sweetness, sharpness, and a hint of complex flavors too.
Best dishes for this substitution: Dishes that use rice wine
Any kind of stock will do the job - vegetable stock is lighter and of course the apt choice for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. The beef broth will bring a darker deeper flavor and the chicken broth has that salty depth. You can even use the mushroom liquid from canned soup. It's worth noting that broths and stocks don't have acidity so while they do bring liquid and way more flavor than just adding water, they won't add that sharpness to your dish. You could add in a tablespoon of lemon juice alongside each half cup of broth or stock to ensure that you get that citrus juice sharpness.
Best dishes for this substitution: For deglazing pans and slow cooker meals.
There are so many different kinds of vinegar out there that can be a perfect substitute for skipping out on cooking wine. From beautiful dark balsamic vinegar to highly acidic white vinegar, light and delicate rice wine vinegar, heady malt vinegar and even classy champagne vinegar. White wine vinegar is the closest call you will get when looking for a close call option. It can also be great at helping to deglaze the pan too. Try not to be too heavy-handed when it comes to vinegar as a substitute as the acid level can be much higher than wine. If you are using a recipe that calls for a substantial amount of wine either in sauces or to bring depth to your risotto you can balance out the white wine vinegar substitute with broth too.
Best dishes for this substitution: chicken dishes, seafood, and home-cooked sauces
White Grape Juice
One of the closest options you can get when it comes to a nonalcoholic wine substitute, white grape juice can save the day when you need that grape flavor without turning to a boozy bottle of wine. It's worth remembering that grape juice (while it shares the same make-up as all those wines out there) can be much sweeter. You need to dilute accordingly or use it very lightly if you don't want to turn your dinner into dessert. For every half cup of white cooking wine that the recipe calls for, you can use a quarter cup of white grape juice topped with an equal amount of water and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to balance it out.
Best dishes for this substitution: Stir fry dishes and anything with a slight sweet or sour profile.
Tart and ruby red, cranberry fruit juice is an excellent alcohol-free alternative for when you need to swap out red wine for something that isn't marsala wine or cooking sherry or the usual substitutes. Cranberry juice can be tempered with a touch of vinegar to reduce the sweetness and it has the added benefit of being awesome for its antioxidant properties and reducing the risks of UTI's. If you are swapping out your red wines for cranberry or any kind of juice, try and find juices that don't have any additional sugar added as they could sweeten your dish too much. If you don't like cranberry then pomegranate juice can be a similar swap out for red wine and deep burgundy wine in particular.
Best dishes for this substitution: casseroles, savory pies, and stews or dishes that use beef.
Fiery and with just the right amount of spice, ginger ale is actually an awesome non-alcoholic alternative for wine. Ginger ale is a good one to turn to when you want to tenderize meat as the acidity will help to break down the protein. It also has a similar sweetness and dryness that matches white wine.
Best dishes for this substitution: Chicken dishes and some sweet desserts
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FAQ About Subbing For White Wine in Recipes
What can I substitute for dry white wine in a recipe?
One of the best ideas for subbing dry white wine in a recipe is turning to white wine vinegar as it shares many of the same flavor profiles.
When a recipe calls for white wine what should I use?
Any of the above suggestions are awesome ways to swap out white wine for something that won't add to your alcohol intake. From apple juice to vinegar and ginger ale, these are all solid solutions. If you don't mind the booze but want to swap out wine for a different purpose you could choose dry sherry or dry vermouth for a similar taste experience.
What can I use as a substitute for white wine in shrimp scampi?
Instead of white wine in this buttery garlic dish, you can add chicken stock and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for that bright bursting flavor. If you don't have chicken stock then you can also choose unsweetened white grape juice too.
Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white wine vinegar?
You can swap out white wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar although they do have slightly different flavor profiles so be aware of this especially when using in delicate light sauces.
What are your favorite swap out choices when cooking? Share all your thoughts with us in the comments.
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