How to use White Wine for cooking?

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Feedback: I use the Franck Massard Mas Sardana Cava NV by Franck Massard sparkling wine. Great pairing with a variety of ingredients with cheeses (Sour Cheese & Cream), vegetables (Yam, Carrots, Pumpkin, Harvest Vegetables), and proteins (Mollusk, Shellfish, Cured Meat). Very cheap to use for cooking.

Personal Review

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     Yes. I cook with white wine a lot. And the simple reason is it’s just a very convenient source of sweetness and acidity. Slightly sweet and sour flavors enhance most foods, and white wine goes with most foods. It just doesn’t contain any really strong or particular flavors that would clash with other flavors.

Well, why not cook with grape juice instead of white wine?

Here’s my reason why. White wine is perfectly balanced between sweetness and acidity. So why not just cook with vinegar? I freaking love vinegar. I cook with it all the time, but it just tastes so much sourer than wine. And I usually use it in things that don’t need extra moisture when I need a little extra sweet and sour and some of the moisture I get for the wine.

    And often, in cooking, you only need a little liquid. Any liquid for soups or stews. It could be water and broth, but I tend to use white wine more in most cases where I will be using broth. Also, add liquid Chicken Bullion. A container is just animal solids plus water. Bullion is just animal solids.

So why not take water out of the equation and have animal solids plus alcohol? Why not cook with any alcohol-free sweet and sour liquid? Are you just a lush? You won’t get drunk on alcohol-based dishes, and I’ll prove it to you in an upcoming blog. The wine itself can be a good thing to cook following Wine and the essential wine book(Hammack & Puckette, 2018). In addition, I enjoy Harold McGee’s book “On Food and Cooking” which writes:

“Alcohol provides a third kind of liquid in addition to water and oil into which flavor and color molecules can be extracted and dissolved as well as reactive molecules that can combine with other substances in the food to generate new aromas and greater depth of flavor.”

This is why people put vodka into tomato sauce; even though vodka is just alcohol and water, it has no flavor. It’s just there to add extract flavor from the tomatoes. I saw a family do it once, and it wasn’t my cooking style. So it’s an experience I will only do for special occasions.

(Option 1) Regular Tomatoes Sauce vs (Option 2) Vodka Tomatoes Sauce

Let’s test (Option 1) with half a can of crushed tomatoes going into a pan with a pinch of salt, and I’ll cook that for 10 minutes. (Option 2) The other half of the tomatoes goes in with a pinch of salt and an ounce of vodka; cook that for 10 minutes and put into a bowl. If you like to compare tastes, give it a try. The Virgin tomato sauce tastes fine. The boozy tomato sauce tastes noticeably better—just fuller, more complex.

What else can White Wine be useful in the kitchen?

Alcohol can also help make the pastry. You have to add a certain amount of liquid to the dough to make it come together into a ball that you can work with. But if you add too much water, it’ll react with the wheat proteins and create gluten, the stuff that makes bread chewy. So you generally want the pastry to be crumbling, not chewy.

Alcohol will make the flour wet to shape it, but it won’t react to gluten. So that pastry dough I made with wine in my chicken pot pie not only had the lovely, sweet, and floral qualities of said wine, but it was also more crumbly. At least, in theory, I’m a little bit skeptical of my reasoning here, just because why only has about 12% alcohol in it? I’m not quite sure that’s enough to make a difference. It still tastes good, though.

Free Wine List

Quality wine ranges in different prices based on the location of the land the grapes were grown. So, I have a list of recommended ingredients popularly paired for cooking and sides drinking white wines.

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What about Wines for the Meat Lovers?

Red wine is popular in many cultures worldwide, especially in the USA. I usually drink red for sure. When I cook, red wine has this lovely, meaty, dark, robust flavor that can be nice, but red wines also have a lot more tannins, which means they can get bitter and astringent when you cook them way down. For example, we pour some red wine on a hot pan and reduce it to a glaze. The taste is intense and not in an excellent way.

If we reduce some Pinot Grigio. That tastes like sour candy. Lots of the things I cook with wine are already pretty immediate and intense from my personal experience. It may be suitable for other meals and tastes. I’ve tried it. White wines give an excellent balance and dark meaty flavors with brightness and sweetness.

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In general, white is good at waking up flavors. It just livens up everything for what it’s worth. I started to enjoy my cooking and drinking more when I released myself from the orthodoxy that red wine must always go with red meat and white wine must always go with white meat; quote the great chef Grant Achatz the rules. “Do whatever you want.” Read more about wines.

Prefer an alternative?

I’m a home cook

I don’t drink alcohol, not at all. I am your cook. So what can I use instead of white wine? Probably lots of things, but for white wine, in particular, the first thing that comes to mind is this white balsamic vinegar is a sweet vinegar to intend to use on its own.

You’d want to use it in combination with water or stock. Try doing a little experiment.

Yeah, I’d say use one part vinegar to seven or eight parts, water or stock. But honestly, I wouldn’t measure it. I splash a little into the food, cook it for a minute, taste it, see if I like it repeats, et cetera. But keep in mind that this vinegar, like most vinegar, is made from wine and has some trace amounts of alcohol.

But again, a lot of the foods you eat, including some you might not expect, will be the subject of the next blog. Click Meal Plan Press to find ways to eat healthily to suit your lifestyle and budget.


Hammack, J., & Puckette, M. (201 ). Wine Folly: Magnum Editi n. New York: Avery.

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