There’s nothing quite like a cool, crisp glass of white wine on a hot summer’s day. Try one of these delicious summer wines and you’ll see what we mean.
White wine is also a useful ingredient to have to hand when cooking, with light, summery dishes in particular often calling for a splash or two. White wine can bring many things to a dish, including acidity, sweetness and depth of flavour. It may also be used to deglaze a pan or to tenderise meat. But if you’ve run out, or you prefer not to cook with alcohol, there are several white wine substitutes that will also do the job.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a great substitute for white wine. It has a similar flavour profile, with both sweetness and acidity, and can be used to add depth of flavour or to deglaze a pan. It does have a slightly stronger tangy flavour than white wine, however, so you may wish to mix it with a little water, particularly if your dish has a delicate balance of flavours.
White Wine Vinegar, as you may have guessed from the name, is a vinegar made from white wine, and so it shares many of the same flavours, with the advantage of being completely alcohol free. Being a vinegar, it is more acidic than white wine, so as with apple cider vinegar, you may wish to dilute it with water.
Apple Juice is a good option if your recipe calls for a sweet white wine. It will add a touch of sweetness to your cooking, but it does lack the acidity, so it works best with a dash of lemon juice or vinegar to balance the sweetness. Because it lacks some of the complexity of white wine, it is best used to make lighter sauces, and should be avoided for particularly savoury or salty dishes.
White Grape Juice has a similar grape flavour and colour to white wine, but without the alcohol. Like apple juice, however, it is sweeter and lacks the acidity of white wine. Add some vinegar or lemon juice for a more balanced flavour, and avoid heavier, saltier dishes.
Ginger Ale may not have the exact flavour profile of white wine, but it does have similar levels of both sweetness and acidity, and is a good replacement for a sweet white wine. It will add a noticeable hint of ginger, however, so you may need to consider whether this will clash with other flavours in your dish.
Chicken Broth is another option that differs somewhat from the flavour of white wine. While it does lack some acidity and complexity, it can still be used to add flavour to your dish, and you can try adding a dash of vinegar for more interest. You can also use vegetable stock for vegetarian or vegan recipes. It is important to remember that many stocks have added salt, so you may need to reduce the amount of salt you add to the dish.
Water can be used in a pinch, if you don’t have anything else to hand. It has a neutral flavour, so it will neither enhance or detract from the flavours of your dish. It will maintain the correct moisture levels, however, and can also be used to deglaze a pan. Unlike our other options, you should not replace white wine with the same amount of water. Instead, use ¾ cup of water for every cup of wine in the recipe.
Recipes with white wine substitutes
Many of our white wine substitutes are used in recipes in their own right. To get more of an idea what these ingredients can do for your dish, take a look at these mouthwatering recipes.
Apple cider vinegar provides sweetness and acidity to cut through the rich, spicy sauce in this firecracker salmon dish from The Kitchn.
White wine vinegar adds acidity to the chicken broth reduction, and deglazes all those delicious pan-fried flavours in this pan fried chicken with white wine vinegar glaze from Vinegar Tips.
Apple juice provides the perfect counterbalance to the salty bacon in this creamy West Country gratin from BBC Food.
White grape juice pairs beautifully with sweet honey and tart lemon juice to make a syrupy reduction for this grape and honey glazed pear reddish from Recipe Land.
Ginger ale makes the perfect sauce for this pork medallions recipe from Bread Booze Bacon, with just that touch of sweetness that compliments pork so well.
Chicken broth provides a mellow savoury base for sweet honey and pungent garlic in this easy honey garlic chicken recipe from Cafe Delites.
Sometimes, however, only wine will do. If you’re craving a crisp, refreshing white, either for cooking or drinking, a pinot grigio is the perfect easy-drinking white wine for relaxed and informal occasions. A pinot grigio from the north of Italy would make the perfect ingredient and accompaniment to this delicious cheesy parmesan risotto recipe.
Two other great wines to use in the kitchen are sauvignon blanc and an unoaked chardonnay. Both crisp and with a high acidity, they’re particularly tasty paired with seafood dishes or creamy sauces. Sample one alongside this easy gourmet lobster recipe created by Giancarlo Morelli. Finally, don’t discount fortified wines from use in your kitchen; madeira, sherry and marsala all work well as a savoury addition to gravy, with meats or in some sweet deserts.