It’s pretty much a universal experience at this point: you start working your way through a recipe only to discover about halfway through that you’re missing a crucial ingredient. At this point, you can either head off to the grocery store to pick up the offending ingredient or use a substitute.
Along with vinegar, one ingredient that often slips me up is wine. It’s rare that I don’t have a bottle of wine somewhere in the kitchen; however, there’s no guarantee that it will the correct wine for the recipe. In any case, unless I plan on drinking the rest of the wine over the next few days, I am loath to crack open a bottle just to add a few tablespoons to a recipe.
Does this struggle sound all too familiar? If the answer is a resounding yes, then I’ve got some good news for you: there are a number of ways to substitute wine when cooking. So if you find yourself without a bottle on hand or, for whatever reason, want to avoid using alcohol in your recipe, here’s how to cook without wine.
Depending on the recipe there are a number of liquids that can be substituted for red wine.
In the case of simply deglazing a pan, red wine vinegar is an ideal substitute for the real thing. The acidity in the vinegar will perform pretty much the same function as the wine. Avoid the temptation to use red wine vinegar as a substitute in another situation, though, as the flavor profile is vastly different from red wine.
If the recipe requires red wine to add color and flavor, a combination of vinegar with either grape juice or cranberry juice can be an appropriate substitute. This combination can also be used to deglaze a pan.
Finally, beef stock, or vegetable stock, is a great alternative to red wine. The stock will add a depth of flavor similar to wine. In order to get as close a match as possible, try adding a small amount of vinegar to the stock as well.
Once again, in the case of simply deglazing a pan, white wine vinegar is an ideal substitute for white wine. If you’re worried about an overly acidic taste, try mixing the vinegar with a little bit of water.
If you need to deglaze a pan or add a little bit of tangy sweetness to a dish, try using lemon or apple juice instead of white wine. When using lemon juice, try mixing it with water to lessen the acidic qualities. For apple juice, try combining it with a little vinegar to cut away the sweetness.
Finally, chicken stock is an ideal alternative to white wine when you need to impart more robust flavor to a dish.