There are a number of white wine-inspired recipes for pasta sauces, soups, and chicken or turkey dinners, but how do you know which white wines work best in the kitchen? Well, you’ll have to follow a few rules.
Instead of sweetness, the wine should impart acidity. Super sweet wines, such as Moscato or sweet rieslings, can caramelize too quickly in the kitchen, especially when used to deglaze a skillet. Full-bodied wines, such as oaked Chardonnays, should be avoided because they will dominate your food.
So take a look at our top recommendations for dry white wine for cooking.
Tips for Choosing the Best Dry White Wine for Cooking
Here’s a rundown of what to do (and what not to do) while cooking with wine:
- Choose a dry wine with plenty of acidity and citrus notes: Don’t use sweet wines unless you’re creating a dessert. (They’ll simply add to the sweetness.) Savory foods will benefit from a crisp white wine with subtle fruit flavors, notably citrus.
- Choose a wine with a low alcohol content: Stick to low-alcohol white wines to prevent overpowering your food with an alcoholic flavor (under 12.5 percent ABV).
- Avoid oaky whites: In general, avoid robust, buttery, oaky wines (think oaked Chardonnays) because they can overshadow the dish and leave a bitter aftertaste.
- Don’t waste your money: There’s a valid reason why you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on a bottle of white wine for cooking. Not only does the majority of the alcohol evaporate, but the heat also destroys the subtle nuances that a more expensive wine should have. It’s better to preserve your money for bottles that you’ll drink and enjoy on their own.
Crisp Dry White Wines
- Pinot Grigio
- Vinho Verde
- Picpoul de Pinet
Crisp dry white wines are commonly used for cooking seafood dishes because they add a fruity, mineral character to them. Also, their acidity pairs well with fatty fish.
So here are some distinct types of crisp dry white wines, as well as the dishes to which they are best suited.
This white equivalent to Pinot Noir pairs well with a range of foods thanks to its crisp and refreshing flavor. For example, it may be used to brighten up veggie dishes such as vegan cauliflower scampi in a lemon garlic white wine sauce. It’s also amazing for light pasta dishes or you can pick one of the amazing recipes for slow cookers, such as this creamy chicken.
If you’re planning to cook with Riesling wine, always go for dry instead of semi-sweet or sweet versions. The high acidity will provide velvety chicken a tangy counterpoint and won’t dominate seafood recipes.
Rich Dry White Wines
- Chenin Blanc
There are many creamy and rich white wines to choose from, but Chardonnay is the most common. You can use it for cream sauces, gravy, and poultry. However, it’s important to reduce the wine before adding it to a cream sauce or gravy in order to balance the acidity.
While there are numerous recipes with Chardonnay, we absolutely loved this delicious scallop chowder.
Marsala is one of the most well-known cooking wines. There’s even a dish named after it—Chicken Marsala. Of course, this isn’t the only recipe with Marsala.
In fact, this Sicilian wine is used in numerous Italian dishes, such as risotto and pasta. For example, you can try this recipe for tasty spaghetti with mushroom Marsala sauce.
Herbal Dry White Wines
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Grüner Veltliner
- Dry Vermouth
Sauvignon Blanc has a floral, herbal, and fruity flavor that is ideal for numerous recipes. Therefore, you can use this classic light wine to add zest to seafood meals such as shrimp scampi or vegetarian dishes. Its noticeable acidity and herbal aromas are also amazing for various marinades.
High-alcohol wines, such as fortified wines, aren’t usually recommended for cooking. But as always, there are some exceptions. Take, for example, dry vermouth.
This aromatic drink is quite versatile as you can use it for preparing various dishes—from deglazing a pan to poaching fish to braising meat. Dry vermouth will add a mild, herbaceous flavor to your meals.
How to Cook with Dry White Wine
Here are the most important tips on cooking with white wine:
- When preparing cream sauces, you should cook wine separately and reduce it to half the amount you started with. After you boil it down, add the cream. The majority of recipes call for 1/2 to 3/4 cup of wine.
- Deglaze a pan with a few tablespoons of wine after sautéing vegetables.
- When steaming or poaching shellfish, add wine to the broth (mussels, clams, oysters).
- A few tablespoons of wine can be added to marinades to help tenderize the meat and caramelize during cooking.
- The longer the wine is cooked, the less alcohol is left in the dish. To eliminate the alcohol, it can take up to 2.5 hours of boiling.
- White wine that has been opened and refrigerated can be consumed for up to a week and used in cooking for up to two weeks.
We all know how enjoyable it is to drink wine. However, cooking with it can make all the difference since good dry white wine can easily turn an ordinary meal into a memorable one.
There are a wide variety of white wines to choose from, ranging from peppery Sauvignon Blanc and pleasant Pinot Grigio to dry Riesling and crisp sparklers. All you need to do is pick your favorite recipe and start cooking!
What are the examples of dry white wine?
There are a number of dry white wine options, so here are some of the most popular ones:
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Dry Vermouth
- Dry Marsala
- Vinho Verde
Is cooking wine the same as dry white wine?
Cooking wine is of lower quality than regular wine, which is finer and more flavorful. Therefore, it will impart a greater flavor to your foods than cooking wine. While many chefs use cooking wine since it provides the extra flavor you require, keep in mind that it may contain preservatives, sweeteners, and salt.
What can you sub for dry white wine?
In most cases, you can substitute chicken or vegetable broth for the wine and your dish will still be delicious! If you want to add a little extra acidity, a splash of wine vinegar will do the trick. Just keep in mind that some dishes, such as the classic Chicken Marsala, rely on wine for their flavor, so you may not want to substitute a different wine for that particular dish.
Is dry white wine the same as white wine vinegar?
This type of vinegar is made from dry white wine; therefore, it is very similar. It has many of the same flavor characteristics as white wine. However, it has no alcohol content. You can even use it as a substitute for dry white wine for cooking, especially when deglazing a pan.