Ever thought of an excellent white wine substitute for your next party or get-together? Don’t worry; this article gives you the best replacements that match the taste and purpose of white wine.
What is White Wine?
Contrary to the name, white wine is a gold or yellow-colored wine produced with grapes with white or black skin.
Did you know that white wine is an accidental creation? White wine can be traced back to the Ancient Times when Ancient Greeks and Romans used it in the Middle East.
As it spread to more regions, the flavor of the white wine changed – from a sweeter to a citrus variety.
Earlier, what was reserved for the elite classes is now one of the most popular forms of wines -made everywhere and with many grape varieties like Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon.
In terms of flavor profile, you can find a more sweet and fortified flavor or a sparkling kind of white wine, so why substitute?
1) Why Substitute Needed?
Besides being a popular alcoholic beverage, white wine is also used in cooking – it adds diverse flavors to dishes like richness to cream-based sauces, acidity to meats, and flavors dishes like mussels, stews, and risotto. But, there are cases when you have to replace white wine, like:
1) Ingredient is unavailable – there are many instances when we don’t have this alcoholic beverage at home; in such cases, a substitute comes in handy since we cannot skip the ingredient.
2) A non-alcoholic dish or ingredient – Even if the dish’s star is white wine, certain people, like kids and pregnant women, cannot consume them. For them, substitutes that fit their taste are better fitting.
Below listed are some of the best substitutes for white wine, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that match its taste and flavor.
2.1) White Wine Vinegar or lemon juice
Vinegar, consisting of water and acetic acid, is a popular ingredient used in cooking. Other ingredients used to produce it include coconut water, apple cider, rice, or malt.
Red or White wine Vinegar matches white wine in terms of flavor profile, and they do not alter the dish much.
Other light-coloured options, like rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar, can also be used. The color of vinegar must be kept in mind, as a dark balsamic one could affect the flavors in a dish.
White wine or apple cider vinegar is the best substitute for liquid-based dishes like marinades and salad dressings and non-veg dishes like chicken and fish. Red wine vinegar is best for beef, pork, and other veggies.
However, since vinegar is more acidic than white wine, diluting it before adding it to any recipe is recommended. For instance, water and white wine vinegar can be mixed in a 1:1 ratio.
Note: Vinegar is a non-alcoholic substitute, but it contains alcohol that disappears when fermented for cooking. Still, it should be used with caution.
2.1.1.) How to use it?
1) If your recipe requires only a bit of white wine, adding 1/2 tbsp of white wine vinegar would be enough.
2) If your recipe calls for white wine as a significant ingredient, dilute 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar with broth for 1/2 cup of white wine. Just add a little bit of lemon for the acidity to kick in.
2.1.2) Health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Like white wine vinegar but less acidic, apple cider has more health benefits, like losing weight, a better heart condition, and reduced dandruff. The apple in the vinegar makes it more healthy.
2.2) White Grape juice
Since white wine and white grape juice are made with grapes, the flavor remains the same, just with a sweeter profile.
White grape juice with vinegar can give marinades for meat and vegetables a tangy and tart flavor.
Health benefits of using white grape juice include boosting immunity, lowering the risk of heart disease, and so forth.
Although wine has fewer carbs and fewer calories than grape juice, it is a non-alcoholic substitute. Besides, both of them can also be used together to make drinks like sangria.
2.2.1) How to use it?
White grape juice can be used as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
However, if a recipe uses 1/2 cup of white wine for savory dishes, replacing it with a diluted 1/4 cup of grape juice and water is a good option. Adding lemon juice or vinegar would provide acidity as needed.
2.3) Chicken broth
Some of the best liquids that act as a base for sauces and soups are broths or stocks like vegetable stock. The Chicken broth is a good option.
Since broth and wine play the same role in cooking, that is, in tenderizing the meat, they can serve as excellent substitutes.
While beef broth can replace red wine due to its richer flavor and color, vegetable and chicken broth can substitute white wine. This depends on the recipe and one’s tastes.
Chicken stock would also be among the best substitutes when the recipe calls for a liquid. Even though they are less acidic and have a comparatively mild flavor, they do better than plain water.
Adding lemon juice or vinegar can provide the extra flavor and acidity needed in a savory dish.
2.3.1) How to use it?
Substituting chicken broth for an equal amount of white wine would work. Add 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice to the broth for more flavor.
Note: If you are using store-bought broth, go for the no or low-sodium one, so it doesn’t mess with the salt content in the recipe.
2.4) Apple juice
For a sweet substitute, apple juice would be perfect. It adds to the light color and sweet taste of cooking.
However, apple juice is an appropriate substitute only when the recipe uses less wine. You can replace white wine in sauces to marinate light dishes with apple juice.
Using apple juice would also promote healthy eating as it ensures good heart and brain health and hydrates the body.
2.4.1) How to use it?
Apple juice can replace white wine in a 1:1 ratio. Adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar might moderate the sweetness in salty or savory dishes.
2.5) Ginger ale
Ginger ale will give a satisfactory result for a dry substitute. It works perfectly in sweet wine recipes, adding the extra spice and dryness required.
Ginger ale is made of ginger, lemon, cane sugar, and lime. These flavors make it a good acidic and sweet substitute.
Ginger ale makes meats softer and tender, matching white wine in its appearance. However, it is advisable to use it in dishes that work well with ginger flavor.
Ginger ale is a popular carbonated drink that provides health benefits: reducing nausea and inflammation, treating migraines, and supporting general health.
2.5.1) How to use it?
For recipes using a sweet wine, substitute ginger ale in equal amounts.
For savory dishes that use dry wine, dilute the ale by half with broth or water and a tbsp of lemon or vinegar.
2.6) Canned mushroom liquid
Canned mushrooms are mixed with a liquid that absorbs their flavor, which acts as a non-alcoholic substitute.
Canned mushroom liquid has a savory taste but can also be used for a sweeter tone when mixed with cranberry juice, grape juice, and pomegranate juice.
Note: Canned mushroom liquid can have a high sodium content. Choosing low-sodium canned mushrooms is a better option.
2.6.1) How to use it?
More than white wine: Can mushroom liquid replace red wine with a ratio of 2:1 (added with a fruit juice of your preference for a sweeter taste)?
2.7) Tomato Juice
With an acidic and bitter flavor, tomato juice can replace many dishes, particularly those that require marinating.
However, tomatoes differ significantly from wine, so taste testing while cooking is advisable to achieve the desired flavor.
To add sweetness, mix it with a juice of your choice. It is a better replacement for red wine due to its similar color and acidic level.
Tomato juice is also a healthier substitute as it contains essential nutrients like vitamins A and C and is rich in antioxidants.
2.7.1.) How to use it?
Tomato juice can replace wine in cooking with a 1:1 ratio (this depends on the flavor one aims for).
2.8) Fruit juices
2.8.1) Pomegranate juice
Pomegranate juice fits a rich, acidic, and fruity replacement profile. It matches the flavor, acidity, and aroma of the red wine.
It can also be used to replace white wine in salad dressing, sauces, and vegetable glaze. Adding a little bit of vinegar would give it a stronger taste.
The health benefits of pomegranate juice include lower blood pressure and rich antioxidants, reducing the risk of heart disease.
2.8.2) Cranberry juice
The tart flavor of cranberries matches the acidic flavor of red wine and deepens taste in many dishes.
The sweetness of cranberries can also be used as a substitute. Adding vinegar would moderate the flavor as per one’s choice.
The health benefits of cranberry juice include reducing urinary tract infections, combatting inflammation, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
2.8.3) How to use it?
A ratio of 1:1 works fine when substituting these fruit juices with wine.
2.9) Red wine
Red wine is a preferred substitute for meats like lamb, beef, chicken, and duck, making them more moist and juicy. It can also replace white wine in sauces, like the Bordelaise sauce.
However, red wine’s different tastes and appearances should be kept in mind. Red wine is not a good option in some recipes like seafood dishes.
Here are some suggestions to try out red wine as an ingredient.
2.10) Dry Vermouth
A cheaper alcoholic substitute would be dry vermouth, especially sauces.
It provides a more robust flavor than white wine, so using it with caution is advisable, especially while making dishes like chicken and pasta sauce.
Adding fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, along with dry vermouth, would enhance the aromatic experience of the dish.
Different types of vermouth are – Sweet vermouth (mainly for desserts) and dry vermouth (for drinks and main dishes). The latter also has a longer shelf life and lasts more than white wine when opened.
One of the best alcoholic substitutes is beer, which matches the flavor and can be used in different food items.
The robust flavors in beer work well with red meat, fish, and veggies. However, while cooking, reduced beer should incorporate flavors into the dish.
It can also be used to make sauces, glazed, and soups. Some of the dishes with beer as a replacement are roast chicken, onion soup, vegetable stock, and mussels.
Although considered less healthy than wine, beer does offer health benefits when moderately consumed like:
1) Healthy heart
2) Preventing kidney stones
3) Lowering bad cholesterol
4) Strengthening bones
5) Reducing stress
Replacing wine with plain water would work if nothing is available, especially if only a liquid is needed to avoid a dry dish.
Mixing water with sugar or vinegar might add the acidity and color required in a dish.
How to use it?
In the case of water, different ratios would work. Some possibilities are:
1) 1/4 cup water, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1/2 cup vinegar to the wine you choose.
2) 1 cup of wine to 3/4 cup of water.
3) What is the best option?
Whether using alcoholic or non-alcoholic substitutes, the flavor one needs and the type of dish need to be kept in mind when choosing a good substitute.
Just remember: Choose a substitute above rather than skipping the ingredient, whether a main one or just used for adding flavor; white wine plays an essential role in any recipe.
But if you love white wine and use it in all the possible dishes, that works, too. You are no different.