Have you ever been in a situation where you’re cooking dinner and suddenly realize you don’t have white wine on hand and it’s an important ingredient for the recipe? Well, I have, and many times it has come to whether I should leave it out or got me thinking about what I can substitute for white wine?
The best substitutes for white wine are apple juice, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, grape juice, and ginger ale. And for more flavor and close substitution, I’ve found dry vermouth, beer, canned mushroom liquid and even water to work better in most recipes.
I have found it much convenient and rather more flavorful to substitute white wine with something already available in the kitchen. Substitutes not only are an excellent way to use already available ingredients but also help in elevating flavors in the dish.
Best Substitutes for White Wine in Cooking
White wine is a cooking staple for many cooks and is best used for its versatility. It is good to use to deglaze pans for sauces, add acidity or depth of flavor, add a bit of sweetness or it can be used to tenderize meat.
Similarly, dry white wine is also used in many recipes as it is white wine but one that isn’t sweet. It mostly used for adding high acidity to dishes.
So, when thinking about a good substitute for white wine or dry wine in cooking it is important to keep in mind the flavor profile as that would help in choosing a good substitute.
The idea is to choose a substitute according to the recipe type, its flavor, and taste.
Here are some of the best substitutes for a white wine that I have come across and used in different recipes that work great. The best thing these were readily available in my kitchen. Read the short summary about them in the given infographic image if you are in a hurry and below it, you can read full details as well if you have a few minutes.
1. Can I substitute Red Wine for White Wine in Cooking?
White wine and Red wine are both frequently used in cooking to increase acidity or complexity in a recipe. Sometimes recipes get very specific about which wine to use, but there’s no hard and fast rule.
I’d say, go for it and substitute red wine for white wine. Experiment with the flavors and try something new. As a general fact, all wines behave the same chemically, so using red wine in a recipe that calls for white wine won’t spoil your dish.
The only thing to keep in mind; however, is that using red wine might alter the flavors in the dish a little so taste it as you go to see how it works with flavors in the recipe. It might also add a bit of color to the dish.
Health Benefits of Red Wine
Red wine is high in resveratrol and therefore offers many health benefits
- It can help improve cardiovascular health
- It helps boost omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells
- Red wine helps keep the blood vessels healthy
- It may help prevent vision loss
- It helps improve lung function
Red Wine Bad Impacts on Health
- Overconsumption can lead to addiction
- There is a risk of liver disease
- Excessive consumption can lead to high-calorie intake and ultimately weight gain
2. Apple Juice
If you want a white wine substitute that adds sweetness to your dish, then apple juice is a good substitute. It’s also one of the best non-alcoholic substitutes for white wine in cooking.
The sweetness of apple juice and its light color is what makes it easy to use as a substitute in recipes. However, it’s only useful if the recipe calls for a small amount of wine.
Use the ratio 1:1 when replacing apple juice for white wine. But if you’re looking for adding acidity to the dish, I’d say balance the sweetness of apple juice with vinegar or lemon juice.
I would suggest using apple juice in recipes for lighter sauces.
Health Benefits of Apple Juice
- It helps in improving heart health
- It can help relieve the symptoms of Asthma
- Apple juice helps improve digestion and may help treat constipation
- It may help improve eye health
- It helps boost metabolism
Apple Juice Bad Impacts on Health
- It may contribute to weight gain
- Apple juice high in sugar and low in fiber
- It encourages tooth decay
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar makes a great substitute for white wine in cooking. Whenever I happen to have it on hand, I use it in place of white wine in recipes.
Apple cider vinegar shares the same flavor profile as white wine, its sweet but also has the acidity just like the wine. It’s also a perfect substitute for dry white wine too.
If a recipe calls for white wine and you have apple cider vinegar on hand use a mix of 50-50 (half apple cider vinegar and half water) in place of white wine or substitute one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for every two tablespoons of white wine.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- It helps lower blood sugar levels and fights diabetes
- It can help in weight loss
- Apple Cider Vinegar helps improve heart health
- It helps lower cholesterol level
- It can help kill harmful bacteria
Apple Cider Vinegar Bad Impacts on Health
- It may contribute to digestive side effects
- Apple Cider Vinegar may weaken dental enamel and cause tooth decay
- It has the potential to cause throat burns
4. White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar, as the name implies, is a vinegar made from white wine so absolutely you can use it as a substitute for white wine.
It’s also the closest non-alcoholic substitute for dry white wine in cooking. As it is made from wine, it has the same flavor profile. So, you can’t go wrong with it if a recipe calls for white wine and you use white wine vinegar instead.
Think about using white wine vinegar in sauces, salad dressings, or marinades. For recipes that need a bit of tartness, add white wine vinegar in place of white wine and enjoy your dish.
Health Benefits of White Wine Vinegar
- It helps control blood sugar levels
- It can help in weight management
- White Wine Vinegar helps reduce cholesterol
- It can help treat ear infections, nail fungus, and warts
- It can help kill harmful bacteria
White Wine Vinegar Bad Impacts on Health
- It may contribute to worsening of inflammatory conditions
- White Wine Vinegar may erode tooth enamel
- It may alter the effects of certain heart or blood sugar medications
Read more about what I can substitute for white wine
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is often a staple in cooking. Its sour flavor makes it a key ingredient in many recipes.
If you can’t find any other substitute for white wine, lemon juice is the best option. I find lemon juice to be so versatile, just like apple cider vinegar. It not only adds a tangy taste but also gives the dishes the acidity to enhance its flavors.
As it functions quite like white wine and shares the same flavor profile too, feels free to use lemon juice in place of white wine in cooking.
However, lemon juice is more tart than white wine, so you might need to dilute it with equal parts of water before adding it to your recipe. This way the tangy flavor of lemon juice won’t overpower your dish, and you’ll have the right flavors.
Health Benefits of Lemon Juice
- It’s rich in vitamin C that helps to boost the immune system
- It may help with kidney stones
- Lemon juice is a good source of potassium and phosphorus
- It helps balance the pH level in the body
- It helps to detoxify the body
Lemon Juice Bad Impacts on Health
- It may cause acid reflux
- Its high citric acid content can enable the tooth to decay
- Overconsumption can lead to canker sores
6. Chicken or Vegetable Broth
Chicken and vegetable broths or stock make an excellent substitute for white wine. I often use chicken or vegetable broth in cooking to add depth of flavor to recipes.
Also, it makes an excellent base for so many recipes that include soups and sauces.
Chicken or vegetable broth has the same function in cooking like wine. However, the broth is savory, less acidic, and mild in flavor compared to white wine. But don’t let that put you off from using broth in your recipes.
If you’re looking for a similar flavor, try adding one tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of broth in the recipe. It is also one of the best non-alcoholic substitutes for white wine.
Health Benefits of Broth
- It is highly nutritious and helps boost the immune system
- It helps protect the joints and improve bone health
- Broth may help reduce inflammation
- It may help heal the gut
- It helps fight infections
Broth Bad Impacts on Health
- It may contain heavy metals that are bad for the body
- Broth may cause diarrhea
- It contains high levels of glutamate
7. Dry Vermouth
Vermouth is often recommended as the best substitute for white wine. It’s also one of the cheapest substitutes too.
For recipes that call for white wine, vermouth can easily be used as a substitute and the best part one bottle of vermouth goes a long way. However, the flavors of vermouth are a bit stronger than white wine, so when using in a recipe, try with a small amount first so that it doesn’t overpower the dish with its flavors.
Dry vermouth is a good substitute for dry white wine in cooking. There are other varieties of vermouth available too, which are a good substitute for white wine in different recipes like sweet vermouth for recipes with a sweet flavor and dry vermouth for an herbal flavor in dishes.
Health Benefits of Vermouth
- It aids in digestion
- It helps protect the immune system
- Vermouth improves appetite
- It helps reduce inflammation
- It may help reduce stress
Vermouth Bad Impacts on Health
- It can expire and go bad making it harmful for consumption
- Vermouth may cause weight gain
- It may cause diarrhea
8. Grape Juice
If you ask me, grape juice is hands down the best substitute for white wine. Just dilute it with white wine vinegar or just vinegar and its good to be added to any recipe.
Grape juice has a similar flavor profile and color to white wine, only that it’s a bit sweet and less acidic. This can easily be achieved by adding a bit of vinegar to grape juice.
Just be careful with the grape juice to vinegar ratio as it may add more tartness to your recipe. When combined with vinegar, grape juice is good to be added to marinades and is also one of the non-alcoholic substitutes for white wine
Health Benefits of Grape Juice
- It helps keep the heart healthy
- It improves the functioning of the brain
- Grape Juice is a high energy booster
- It helps reduce bad cholesterol
- It helps keep the toxins away from the body
Grape Juice Bad Impacts on Health
- It can cause allergies in some people
- It may aggravate kidney problems
- Overconsumption may cause diarrhea
9. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale can be a substitute for white wine in cooking as it has similar sweet taste and acidity to white wine.
It also shares a similar appearance to white wine, making it a good substitute in various dishes. The acidity in ginger ale makes it an excellent ingredient to be used for tenderizing meat.
However, there is a certain flavor difference between ginger ale and white wine. Although they have similarities in dry and sweet taste yet, ginger ale should be used in recipes where it calls for a slight ginger flavor.
Use an equal amount to ginger ale to white wine in a recipe.
Health Benefits of Ginger Ale
- It helps improve digestion
- It helps boost metabolism
- Ginger Ale helps relieve arthritis
- It helps fight cold and flu
- It may help reduce stress
Ginger Ale Bad Impacts on Health
- It can cause gastrointestinal ailments
- Ginger Ale may cause heartburn
- It may cause diarrhea
10. Canned Mushroom Liquid
Of course, liquid from canned mushrooms can easily be used as a substitute for white wine in cooking. Because when mushrooms are canned, they are often mixed with a liquid that absorbs its flavor. Thus, making a good substitute for white wine in cooking.
As mushrooms have savory taste, it’s ideal to use the canned mushroom liquid as a substitute for white wine in savory dishes. But, if your recipe calls for a sweeter flavor, try mixing the canned mushroom liquid with grape juice or pomegranate juice for a little sweetness.
For example, in a recipe that calls for white wine, you can substitute a combination of half canned mushroom liquid and half grape juice.
Also, as mushrooms are high in sodium, so be careful with the sodium content in your recipe and use low sodium canned mushroom liquid, if possible.
Health Benefits of Mushroom
- It can help improve heart health
- It may help boost memory
- Mushroom can assist in strengthening bones
- It’s a good energy booster
- It may help reduce stress and anxiety
Mushroom Bad Impacts on Health
- It may lead to allergic reactions
- Mushroom may cause digestive distress
- It may cause bleeding disorders in some
Beer can serve to be a good substitute for white wine in cooking. If you’re out of white wine, you’ll have beer on hand, if nothing else.
Beer has more taste and flavor profiles than white wine, making it a good substitute. Also, it means different variations can be used in a recipe that calls for white wine. For example, if you’re making a creamy risotto or a flavorful steak sauce, beer can be a perfect bet.
Easily substitute beer for white wine in your recipe for distinctive flavors and taste. Don’t shy from experimenting with flavors.
Health Benefits of Beer
- It can help prevent heart diseases
- It may help improve memory and thinking skills
- Beer helps lower the risk of diabetes
- It can help stimulate appetite and digestion
- It may help reduce stress and anxiety
Beer Bad Impacts on Health
- Overconsumption may lead to high blood pressure
- It may cause insomnia
- It may cause stomach ulcers
If you don’t have any of the ingredients listed above available and you are stuck at what to use a substitute for white wine, then water is the answer.
Water is the simplest and the most readily available substitute for dry white wine in cooking. While the water might not contribute much on the flavor it does add to the liquid part.
However, for flavor, water can be infused with herbs like bay leaves to be used in savory dishes or fresh herbs in sauces. For adding sourness and a bit of sweetness to a dish try mixing regular vinegar and sugar with water in your recipe for an enhanced flavor.
Health Benefits of Water
- It helps maintain the fluid in the body
- It helps in calorie control and weight loss
- Water helps improve the kidney function
- It is an excellent fatigue buster
- It helps boost skin health
Water Bad Impacts on Health
Drinking too much water can have harmful impacts on health
- It can cause hyponatremia, a decrease in sodium levels in the body
- Water may overburden the heart and kidneys
- It may pose a risk of chlorine overdose
What is a Good Substitute for White Wine in Cooking?
There are so many ingredients available that have similar flavor and taste profiles to white wine, and that can be used as substitutes for white wine in cooking.
As a direct substitute, I believe grape juice is a good substitute for white wine because it can easily replace white wine in equal quantity in recipes whereas other ingredients might need to be mixed with one or more ingredients to make a good substitute.
As for dry white wine, a good substitute is a dry vermouth as it shares a similar flavor profile too.
It is, however, to keep the flavor in mind when choosing a substitute for white wine in cooking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with flavors and taste. Taste test as you cook to achieve the desired flavor in your dish.
I think we can all agree that sometimes you don’t have white wine available and you can’t give up on a recipe just because one ingredient isn’t available.
It took me a lot of time to think about ingredients like that and to look for suitable substitutes for a white wine that can easily be used in cooking. To my surprise, the ones listed above are mostly available in the pantry, and with a little experiment with flavors, the dishes and recipes came out to be delicious.
So, if you’re ever stuck on which substitutes are good for white wine, come back to this list and see which ingredients you have on hand and start cooking your dish. I bet you’ll be deliciously surprised by the results.