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Pantry Staples

What to Use Instead of Wine

Making a dish that uses wine and you’re fresh out? Or prefer to skip the alcohol? We’ve got you covered with three ways to replace wine using ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

There’s nothing worse than being partway through a dish and realizing you’re missing an ingredient. Or, in the case of wine, perhaps you really want to make a dish, but you prefer not to use alcohol. Either way, don’t worry, wine is easy to replace in your dishes.

There are ingredients that can stand in for wine in recipes and still give you great flavor. It’s best to do this when a recipe calls for a small amount of wine, as in deglazing a pan or adding oomph to a sauce. If a recipe relies heavily on wine, as in wine-poached pears, it’s better to abandon ship and seek out a recipe where wine isn’t a key ingredient. 

What’s it for?

When thinking of making an ingredient swap, it’s a good idea to note what the ingredient is doing in the recipe. Is the wine there to deglaze a pan and flavor the fond? Is it there to add acidity, brightness, depth or sweetness? Once you figure that out, it becomes easier to see what other ingredients can step in. Here are three workhorse ingredients that can be used to replace wine.

1. Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can replace white wine in some recipes. It’s bright, with a little sharpness and slight sweetness. If you want it a little sweeter, use apple cider vinegar and a drop of honey or maple syrup. (We suggest using a raw, unfiltered variety of apple cider vinegar.)

White wine vinegar is a good swap for dry white wine. It’s made from white wine, so it has a similar flavor profile. It will be far more acidic than wine, so be sure to dilute it with water or broth.

Just as with white wine, you can use red wine vinegar to replace red wine, but it lacks the richness of wine, and it is quite acidic. Dilute it with water, and consider adding a splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice for depth.

2. Juice

Speaking of juice, you can use it as a substitute for wine as well. Makes sense, since wine is fermented juice. The trick is to make sure your end result isn’t too sweet.

Use white grape juice or apple juice as a sub for white wine. Dilute it with some water, and add a splash of white vinegar to counter the sweetness and add acidity.

Unsweetened pomegranate or cranberry juice make a good substitute for red wine. Unsweetened cranberry juice is quite tart, so you may want to balance it with a little bit of honey or maple syrup. Add a splash of white vinegar to pomegranate juice to cut the sweetness and add acidity.

3. Broth

Vegetable or chicken broth can sometimes replace white wine; for red, swap in beef broth. Broth will add depth and richness to a dish, but it lacks the brightness and acidity of wine, so consider stirring in a splash of vinegar or citrus, too. Use unsalted broth if you have it; if not, be sure to taste and see how salty it is before adding, and adjust the seasoning of the dish as needed.

Update your pantry shelf to bring big flavor into your cooking with 7 Pantry Items That’ll Turn Your Healthy Cooking Up to Eleven. Also read 4 Global Spice Blends You Should Have in Your Pantry.