White wine is an indispensable ingredient in a wide range of recipes. Though it imparts a distinct flavor, you may use a proper substitute if you run out of this ingredient.
What about preparing a creamy mushroom risotto or a smoky lamb chop with sauce without using white wine? When used for cooking, white wine evaporates, leaving a wonderful flavor that is hard to substitute. At times, you may run out of this ingredient, and wonder what to use instead of white wine.
Although using a substitute for white wine will not give the same intense flavor to your dishes, you can use some other ingredients that are available in your pantry. Such substitutes may also prove handy for teetotalers, and those who do not like to use alcohol in their dishes. Such people may use non-alcoholic white wine that is easily available in the market. Let us take a look at some of the common alternatives to white wine.
When you prepare a recipe that calls for white wine without mentioning the specific type, it generally means a dry white wine. Always use a good bottle of wine that you would not hesitate to drink. Never go for cheap varieties as they will end up ruining the taste of your dish. Some dry white wines that are good for cooking are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc. If white wine is not available, you may use its substitutes.
If you are looking for white wine alternatives, the best bet is white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar. For this purpose, mix three parts of white grape juice with one part white wine vinegar. Always stick to this ratio, because if you put too much of white wine vinegar your dish might be too sour to taste.
In some recipes, white wine is used for a tangy and tart flavor. In such cases, you may use white wine vinegar or lime juice as a replacement. However, dilute the substitute with equal amounts of water, before use. If the recipe calls for two tablespoons of white wine, mix one tablespoon of lime juice or white wine vinegar with a tablespoon of water, and use it in place of white wine. You may also use diluted apple cider vinegar for this purpose.
Other good substitutes for white wine are ginger ale and apple juice. You can replace white wine with an equal amount of ginger ale or apple juice. If you are out of both these substitutes, use any fruit juice that is not too sweet. In that case, mix the juice with a bit of vinegar.
The kind of white wine substitute that you can use also depends to a great extend on the kind of recipe you are cooking as well as the method of cooking. If you are preparing a soup, like a hot and sour shrimp soup or a French onion soup, the best white wine substitute would be chicken or beef broth. If you are a vegetarian, replace white wine with vegetable stock. You cannot use grape juice or ginger ale in these recipes, as they will make the soup taste sweet.
If white wine is required for marinating meat then it is best to use a vinegar and grape juice substitute. The vinegar will cut the sugar in the grape juice and if you use this for marinating meat it will also make the meat more tender and succulent.
Most chefs avoid using anything other than white wine for making a creamy and mouth-watering risotto. White wine is an essential ingredient for making risotto as it imparts a piquant flavor that complements the creaminess of the dish. But if you are looking for a good substitute of white wine in risotto, the best option is chicken broth mixed with a few drops of lime juice. Avoid using any kind of vinegar as it will completely ruin the taste of risotto.
Some people use water instead of white wine. While water compensates for the liquid part, it lacks flavor. So herbs like bay leaves are used in soups and stews. In that case, remove the leaves, once cooking is done.
Dry Vermouth or sherry can also be used to substitute white wine in some recipes. Other options include sharp tasting cheese like white cheddar or feta cheese, clam juice, bouillon, or the liquid from canned mushrooms, etc. Although they do not impart the same taste to the dish, the flavor profile is close enough to white wine.