Knowing the best white wine to cook with gives you a way to add delicate flavors to many of your favorite dishes. There is no single bottle of wine that works work for everyone. Instead, let’s start with a few principles for cooking with wine and then specific wine suggestions
The Best White Wine To Cook With: 3 Guiding Principles
Principle 1: Cook With Quality Wine
When you make white wine sauce or something else, it is best to choose a quality bottle of wine. Some people intentionally choose inexpensive wine for cooking that they would not otherwise drink. That rule of thumb means you deprive yourself of a pleasant wine-drinking experience. Instead, please pick up a decent bottle and consider serving it with the meal. Life is too short to trouble yourself with bad wine!
Principle 2: Many Bottles of Wine Can Work Well In Cooking
You have other options if you don’t like Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio. For example, you can try Riesling or even get creative with sparkling wines. When you first start cooking with wine, it is usually best to follow the directions. Later on, you can branch out and try different wines.
Principle 3: Understand The Role Of Alcohol Content In Your Meal
As a rule of thumb, thirty minutes of cooking reduces alcohol content by 10 percent. When wine is cooked for an hour, the alcohol content is reduced even further. As a result, the alcohol flavor in the dish will be minimized. If you strongly dislike the taste of alcohol, there are alcohol-free options on the market (though I prefer traditional white wines).
Best White Wine To Cook With: 3 Examples
Now that you know a bit of wine and food principles, it is time to look at a few specific examples.
Pinot Grigio: The Most Popular White Wine For Cooking
Without question, Pinot Grigio is the most popular white wine for cooking. It is a classic cooking wine because it is crisp and relatively neutral. That neutrality matters because Pinot Grigio can pair more dishes without dramatically changing them. There’s one more reason why Pinot Grigio is popular. It is one of the most popular Italian white wines (it is among the best white wine with Mediterranean food) and has a long history of using pasta sauces. Generally speaking, buy the best affordable wines you can afford (e.g., a DOCG Italian wine is a good bet).
What To Cook With Pinot Grigio
Seafood and Shellfish
The crisp nature of Pinot Grigio means it can enhance seafood and shellfish dishes effectively. For inspiration, check out this 20-minute Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood from the Food Network. The recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of Pinot Grigio (i.e., 354 ml of wine – just under half of a traditional wine bottle).
Pinot Grigio is an excellent wine to add to pasta dishes. For instance, try making White Wine Pasta Sauce with Garlic & Herbs. I like the suggestion that the chef enjoys a glass of wine while cooking – that’s another reason to avoid bad wine while cooking. The recipe mentioned above takes about 30 minutes to make.
Riesling: Refreshing Acidity For Your Meal
What comes to mind when you think of acidity? You might imagine some horrible industrial accident. Yikes. In reality, the acidic flavor in wine and your food can be pretty enjoyable. Just think about how refreshing lemonade can be on a hot day – the acidity in the drink is a big reason why that drink is so enjoyable.
When choosing the best white wine to cook with, it pays to start with an understanding of tradition. Traditional cooking wisdom tells us that Riesling wine is a good choice if you make a dessert or a flaky fish dish. Indeed, you can color outside the lines and use it in other dishes if you like!
Making Fish With Riesling
Do you have a bottle of Riesling and some fish? Fantastic. You can look at making baked fish with wine. This dish has seven ingredients and takes approximately one hour to prepare. In terms of wine, this dish takes 1/4 cup of Riesling wine (i.e., 59 ml or about 8% of a full bottle of wine).
A Dessert Dish With Riesling
You can create a new dessert dish using Riesling. According to Yummly, the Basil and Strawberry Riesling Sorbet is an excellent dessert. This dish requires approximately 1 cup of Riesling wine (i.e., 236 ml of wine or about one-third of a full bottle of wine). While this dessert looks very attractive, keep in mind the preparation time of 65 minutes. While waiting for dessert may not sound like fun, it does give you some time to rest from eating between your meal and dessert.
Most guides to the best white wine to cook with focus on Riesling and Pinot Grigio. Those wines are just the beginning – there are also sparkling wines to consider.
Generally speaking, sparkling wines are best used in sauces for meats and seafood dishes. If you happen to have an older bottle of open champagne (or one of the more affordable champagne alternatives), you may be able to use the older wine as light vinegar. Cooking with an already-open bottle of sparkling wine is a creative idea if you have a small amount of wine left in the bottle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are all wines cooking wines?
Theoretically, yes – you can cook with any wine. There are also alcohol free wines that people. IF you are just getting started using a recipe for the first time, it is usually wise to follow it to the letter. If you are asked to add dry Riesling, then add dry Riesling. After making the dish several times, you can experiment with variations like semi sweet Riesling.
What if a recipe calls for wine and I don’t have it?
The simple answer to this question is to make something different or go out and buy a bottle of wine. Let’s set aside those easy solutions and answer the more profound question: What is a good substitute for wine? There are alternatives to consider for your favorite recipes when you are fresh out of dry wines and other cooking wines.
- White Wine Vinegar.
The single best substitute is to buy white wine vinegar. Since it has no alcohol content, white wine vinegar is a popular choice. Remember that white wine vinegar has a reasonably strong taste, so you will want to mix in some water.
- Pomegranate Juice.
When you lack red wine, pomegranate juice is a good choice. There are also some potential health benefits due to the antioxidants in the juice. Pomegranate juice is also less acidic than wine which some people prefer.
- Apple Juice.
Do you need a touch of acidity in your dish, but you don’t want to pour wine from your pricey bottle? Apple juice is an excellent choice because it is similar to white wine in flavor and choice.
- Lemon Juice.
Sometimes you need a dash of bitter flavor to add interest in an array of recipes. In that case, lemon juice is a simple and easy way to add amounts of acidity without adding any alcohol content. The citrus note of lemon juice makes it an excellent white wine substitute.
Which wines are needed for Chicken Marsala?
Chicken Marsala is an interesting dish because it usually calls for two types of wine (suppose you prefer chicken salad instead? If so, check out this guide: what wine goes best with chicken salad). First, you need some Marsala wine. Second, you need some cooking sherry – any type of dry sherry is a good bet. Aside from wine, you will also need some skinless chicken breasts and other ingredients for the dish.
Curious About Other Styles of Wine?
Beyond the best white wine to cook with, there are many other styles of wine you can enjoy (as long as you know How Long Does White Wine Last After Opening). For example, you might want to dive into the world of fortified wines – start by learning about tawny port. Prefer sweet wine instead? Check out this guide to sweet wines for beginners.