The number of times people have asked for red wine substitutes in person and over the internet is countless.
Are you also wondering what makes a good red wine substitute?
Do you want to find out the ultimate ingredient that substitutes for red wine perfectly?
Well, you’ll be glad to hear that after thorough research and testing, I have finally made a list of red wine substitutes that work amazingly well with all sorts of recipes.
Yes, savory or dessert, we got them both covered! And the best part is, all of them are non-alcoholic!
Best Substitutes for Red Wine:
Use 1 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice to replace 1 cup of red wine
Use 1 cup of red grape juice + 1 tbsp lemon juice to replace 1 cup of red wine
Use 1 cup of pomegranate juice + 1 tbsp vinegar to replace 1 cup of red wine
Vegetable Stock: Use 1 cup of vegetable stock to replace 1 cup of red wine
But do these substitutes taste the same as red wine? Do they have any kind of health benefits like red wine? Let’s find out.
Before we begin to learn in detail about the red wine substitutes, it’s necessary to know the purpose of using red wine in dishes.
Read about white wine substitutes.
The Purpose behind Using Red Wine:
Red wine is used in 4 ways in the kitchen when cooking:
- To add to marinades
- To use as a liquid agent
- To dash as a flavor enhancer on finished dishes
- Lastly, in a wine glass, to keep you cool
Red wine has an acidic taste, which intensifies the taste and aroma of the dish. If used in the right quantity, it doesn’t mask the flavors of the dish; instead, it brings out all the flavors together!
Did you know WATER can be used as a substitute for red wine?
When used as a liquid agent in recipes, water can quite easily substitute red wine. Just add a dash of lemon to add some extra flavor!
Stated below are some of the best red wine substitutes that work well in all sorts of recipes:
When looking for a red wine substitute for cooking desserts, look no further than fruit juices. Whether you are making a fruit compote or a cake, fruit juices can substitute red wine amazingly well.
But that’s not all, as good as they taste in desserts, they work exceptionally well in savory dishes too.
There are three fruit juices that make the best substitute for red wine:
- Cranberry juice
- Red grape juice
- Pomegranate juice
Can You Substitute Cranberry Juice for Red Wine?
Yes, cranberry juice can easily be used in place of red wine, in all kinds of dishes, whether sweet or savory.
However, the one you drink with your cocktails is usually sweetened and will not match the exact taste profile of red wine, especially if you are using it to make a savory dish.
If you are making a dessert, a sweetened cranberry juice shall also do the trick, make sure to minus some amount of sugar from the original recipe, to avoid a sugary disaster!
While we advise you to get unsweetened cranberry juice for using in marinades or savory dishes as a red wine substitute.
Is Cranberry Juice the Same as Red Wine?
Cranberry is naturally a very sour and tarty fruit.
The juice found at stores is added with extra sugar, which is what makes it a refreshing, crowd favorite beverage.
But when it comes to using it as a substitute for red wine in recipes, it is better to make use of the unsweetened cranberry juice.
It has the exact taste and tartness found in red wine.
Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice:
- Cranberry juice is best known for both treating and also preventing urinary tract infection, which is a common occurrence in females. (6)
- Cranberries contain an adequate amount of vitamins E and C, which work as antioxidants and fight against the free radicals of our body. Protecting against heart diseases and cancer. (7)
- Cranberry juice also helps kill and prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria such as H.pylori in the gut. (8)
Can You Substitute Red Grape Juice for Red Wine?
As they both share the same color and taste profile, red grape juice can replace red wine in any given recipe.
However, due to fermentation, red wine is more acidic and tarty in taste than fresh juice, while the red grape juice lacks a bit of acidity, which can be easily added with a tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice.
Whether you are replacing red wine for a dessert or a main course, red grape juice can make the dish taste and appetizing, as Red wine by hitting all the right notes.
Is Red Grape Juice the Same as Red wine?
Red wine itself is made up of red grapes, which are fermented, which makes red grape juice the most relatable in terms of color, consistency, and generic taste.
However, red grape juice is far sweeter and lacks the kick of tartiness, red wine has.
Although the difference is quite noticeable on its own, with the addition of lemon or vinegar, it is hardly noticeable!
Health Benefits of Red Grape Juice:
- Red grapes are also known for improving memory and attention. (9)
- They are also known for helping diabetics, with maintaining and reducing the blood sugar levels. (10)
- Red grapes are heart-healthy fruit, which helps maintain blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol. (11)
Can Pomegranate Juice Replace Red Wine?
Like grape juice, pomegranate juice is also sweet and fruity, with less tartness compared to cranberry. But nothing a few drops of lemon juice can’t fix.
Surprisingly it has the right amount of acidity, which makes it an excellent red wine substitute in recipes, especially where it is used in marinades.
Is Pomegranate Juice The Same as Red Wine?
Pomegranate juice, as the name suggests, is derived from the sweet and pleasantly tarty fruit pomegranate.
Juice of the Red pomegranates Make the best red wine substitute in terms of taste, looks as well as flavor.
And the right acidic profile of pomegranate makes it an even more favorable substitute, as it can be used quite easily in both savories and desserts!
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice:
- Studies suggest that Pomegranate juice has been effective against a number of cancers, especially prostate and breast cancer. (12)
- Its anti-inflammatory compounds help reduce joint pain and also useful in treating arthritis. (13)
- Consumption of pomegranate juice also helps fight bacterial as well as fungal infections. (14)
All in all, fruit juices can easily be used as a red wine substitute in desserts, such as cakes, sauces, meat marinades, and even as salad dressings.
Now let’s talk about some vegetable-based substitutes for red wine. But before that, if you are interested to read about the substitutes for white wine vinegar then read our article on White Wine Vinegar Substitutes.
Can You Substitute Lemon For Red Wine?
If the recipe calls for a red wine to add acidity to the dish, look no further than using lemon to substitute for red wine.
Lemon has the right kind of acidity that resembles that of red wine. Like red wine, it doesn’t overpower the flavors of the dish; instead, it fortifies them all together.
Is Lemon and Red Wine The Same?
Lemon and red wine vary vastly in both looks and flavor. But if providing flavor and acidity to the dish is the requirement, they can be used interchangeably.
Unlike red wine, lemon adds no color to the dish, and that may affect the overall look of the dish. Compared to red wine, lemon is used in a far less quantity.
Due to its extraordinary sour flavor, lemon can not be used alone in large quantities, while a small quantity of lemon can alone be substituted in place of red wine in marinades and sauces.
In large amounts, you will have to use a milder liquid, like grape juice or chicken broth along with 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice to replace red wine.
Lemon can be used in both savory and desserts.
Health Benefits of Lemon:
- Lemon boosts the absorption of iron through the gut into the blood, which helps prevent anemia. (15)
- Consuming lemon juice helps lower the risk of cardiac arrest or stroke. (16)
- Lemon is considered a superfood and is known for boosting immunity. (17)
Can You Substitute Canned Mushroom Liquid for Red Wine?
If you have ever used canned mushrooms, you’ll know that they come simmering in a liquid.
This liquid absorbs some of the flavors of the mushrooms, which makes it acidic and tastes similar to red wine.
The canned mushroom liquid tastes fantastic when substituted for red wine in savory dishes. However, it’s not the ideal red wine substitute when looking for a sweeter taste.
Is the Canned Mushroom Liquid and Red Wine The Same?
Canned mushroom liquid and red wine are miles apart from each other when it comes to taste and looks.
But when substituted in dishes where an acidic note is required, the canned mushroom liquid can do wonders.
Although it’s favorable to use the mushroom liquid in savory dishes, in case of an emergency, it can be used in sweet-tasting dishes too.
Though you will have to mix it with another sweet-tasting liquid such as grape juice, pomegranate juice, or cranberry juice.
Canned Mushroom Liquid Health Benefits:
While there are amazing benefits of mushrooms, there are none noteworthy benefits of the liquid it comes with when canned.
In fact, canned mushroom liquid has a high sodium content, which makes it unfavorable for people suffering from high Blood pressure. However, you can also find low sodium varieties at various stores.
Can You Substitute Tomato Juice for Red Wine?
Tomato is an acidic vegetable with a bitter after taste. Like red wine, it too is used to fortify the flavors together.
It is often used as a base in stews and as marinades. It goes well as a red wine substitute in savory dishes.
Is Tomato Juice the Same as Red Wine?
Although tomato juice varies a lot in taste, it plays the same role in dishes as red wine.
Hence, it can be substituted for red wine in most recipes. However, it does affect the overall taste of the dish. So you might want to use it with caution.
The tomato juice had a particularly bitter aftertaste, which might not go well in a few recipes, so add little by little and keep tasting. Also, you can dilute tomato juice with other fruit juices, to subside the bitterness.
Best used for marinades!
Health Benefits of Tomato Juice:
- Tomato is a heart-healthy vegetable that helps lower cholesterol and keeps the blood from clotting, reducing the risk of a stroke. (18)
- It is rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, which has tremendous benefits on health. From lowered body fat, especially around the waist, to fighting the free radicals and preventing the risk of chronic diseases – lycopene does it all. (20)
- Studies have proven that tomatoes not only reduce the risk of cancers such as skin cancer and prostate cancer but in the case of prostate cancer particularly, it is seen to reduce the growth of cancer cells and even destroy them. (21) (23) (24)
Basically there are three types of stocks:
- Chicken Stock
- Beef Stock
- Vegetable stock
Let’s find out how we can substitute stocks for red wine.
Are the Stocks Same as Red Wine?
Stocks are a little less acidic than red wine, but they bring out all the right flavors in any dish pretty well. In recipes where red wine is used as a liquid agent, stocks make a flavorful substitute.
While we won’t recommend using this red wine substitute in desserts, it can be used to make all sorts of savory dishes.
Tip: for an extra kick of flavor, add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice in every cup of stock used
Can You Substitute Stocks for Red Wine?
There are three types of stocks that you can use to substitute red wine.
- Beef stock
- Chicken stock
- Vegetable stock
Each stock has a particular flavor that works well in all kinds of savory dishes. Whether you are making a roast or some stew, stocks can work charmingly well as a red wine substitute.
Although stocks are milder in flavor compared to red wine, they can add tons of flavor to the dish.
Health Benefits of Beef Stock:
- Beef stock is rich in added vitamins and minerals that are needed for strengthened bones.
- Collagen in the beef stock releases the buildup of new amino acids, which are a building block of our body.
- Amino acids glycine naturally present in the broth also helps fight insomnia. (2)
Health Benefits of Chicken Stock:
- Chicken stock helps fight inflammation and makes digestion easier.
- The collagen from the cartilages helps strengthen the joints and fight osteoporosis.
- It also aids in healthy weight loss, according to studies. (1)
Watch how you can make chicken stock.
Health Benefits of Vegetable Stock:
- Vegetable stock is rich in minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which helps fight a number of ordeals – from hypertension to inflammation. (3)
- Vegetable stock helps keep one hydrated and satiate their hunger cravings.
- It also helps boost immunity and is especially good for those suffering from chronic diseases, such as cancer.(4)
Watch how you can make vegetable stock at your home.
Dry Red Wine Substitute:
In order to substitute dry wine, it is essential you first learn what dry wine is.
There are two types of wine:
- sweet wine
- dry wine
Sweet wine contains residual sugar, which the winemakers leave through by stopping the fermentation process midway. It has hints of sweetness.
Whereas dry wine is fermented all the way through, leaving no residual sugar. This type of wine has no sweet taste, although you can still smell the fruitiness.
1 Cup of Dry Red Wine Can be Substituted With:
1 cup of the canned mushroom liquid
1 cup of reduced beef stock
1 cup of stock + 4 tbsp of vinegar
1 cup of unsweetened pomegranate juice + 2 tbsp lemon
1 cup of unsweetened red grape juice + 1 tbsp lemon
1 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice
Note: Since dry wine has no sugar residual, it is best to use fresh fruit juice and not the packaged ones that are dozed with excess sugar. In case the fresh fruit also tastes sweet, add some lemon or vinegar to it, to strike out the sweetness.
When it comes to choosing the perfect red wine substitute, it all comes down to the purpose of using red wine.
When using it as a marinade use:
- Tomato juice
- Lemon juice
When using as a base for stews use:
- Fruit juices – pomegranate, red grape or cranberry
- Canned mushroom liquid
- – vegetable, chicken or beef
If I were given a choice to pick one favorite wine substitute, it would definitely be fruit juices.
They have all the right amount of acidity, and they work well in all sorts of recipes, whether you are making a stew, a glaze, or some marinade for your roast.
Second in line is lemon, as it too can be used in all types of recipes ranging from sweet to savory. From making sauces, marinades to helping fortify the flavors in a stew, lemon works as an amazingly good red wine substitute.
Which red wine substitute do you use the most in your recipes? Tell us in the comments below.
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