Delicious Substitutes for White Wine in Cooking

Sometimes recipes call for white wine, but you may not have it on hand. Or you don’t consume alcohol at all. Whatever the reason, there are some delicious substitutes for white wine in your cooking.

White wine being poured into pot on stove

In fact, you should try them just for the flavor!

The Role of White Wine in Cooking

White wine is a truly useful ingredient that adds flavor and aroma to many dishes. It balances tastes, tenderizes meat, and makes sauces and desserts more exciting.

But why exactly do you need it? White wine:

  • Makes food tastier: It adds a tangy kick that enhances flavors.
  • Adds sweetness: White wine’s natural sugars make certain recipes even tastier.
  • Makes food smell amazing: The fragrance of wine elevates the overall dining experience.

Choosing Substitutes

When you’re deciding on a substitute for white wine, it’s important to consider the following:

  1. Acidity: If a recipe needs acidity, choose a substitute with a similar level of acidity.
  2. Sweetness: Think about whether the dish requires a touch of sweetness.
  3. Flavor profile: Consider the flavors in the recipe and choose a substitute that complements them.
  4. Personal preference: Ultimately, choose a substitute that suits your taste.

Sometimes you’ll need to combine two or more substitutes to get exactly the right flavor for a dish. This is easy to get the hang of with a little experimentation.

Substitutes for White Wine in Cooking

Now let’s explore some fantastic alternatives to white wine:

1. Vegetable or Chicken Broth

Broth is an excellent substitute for white wine as it adds both acidity and flavor. Use the same amount of broth as you would white wine.

Vegetable broth works well in vegetarian dishes, while chicken broth adds richness to recipes with poultry.

Broth adds a lot of body, but no sweetness or acidity. If you need either of those, you may need to throw in a touch of another substitute.

2. Citrus Juices

Lemon, lime, or orange juices can provide a tangy and refreshing substitute for white wine. They add acidity and bright flavors to your dishes. Start with half the amount of juice required and adjust to taste.

These are great to use in combination with ingredients like broth when some acidity is called for.

3. Vinegar

White wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can stand in for white wine. They add acidity and a slight tang that complements many recipes. Start with a smaller amount as vinegar can be strong.

4. White Grape Juice

If you want a non-alcoholic substitute that replicates the mild sweetness of white wine, try white grape juice. It adds very similar fruity flavors as wine to dishes without overpowering them.

Use the same amount of grape juice as you would white wine.

5. Apple Juice

In recipes where acidity isn’t critical, apple juice can be used as a substitute for white wine. It gives recipes a subtle sweetness and fruity undertones that work well in both savory and sweet dishes.

Tips for Using Substitutes Effectively

Now that you have all these substitutes at your disposal, here are some tips for using them:

  • Experimentation is key: Don’t be afraid to try different substitutes to find your preferred flavor profile.
  • Start with small amounts: It’s always better to start with less and gradually add more if needed.
  • Taste as you go: Regularly taste your dish while cooking to ensure the flavors are balanced.
  • Consider cooking time: Some substitutes may require longer cooking times to mellow their flavors, so adjust accordingly.
  • Keep the dish in mind: Choose substitutes that complement the other ingredients in your recipe.

Recipes Showcasing Substitutes for White Wine

To get you started, here are two example recipes that showcase the versatility of substitutes for white wine:

1. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi (Using Citrus Juice)


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over the shrimp.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir well, allowing the shrimp to absorb the flavors.
  7. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh parsley.
  8. Serve over pasta or with crusty bread.

2. Mushroom Risotto (Using Vegetable Broth)


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (such as cremini or button), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onions until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms release their moisture.
  4. Add Arborio rice and stir well to coat with butter.
  5. Gradually add vegetable broth, one cup at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed.
  6. Continue adding broth and stirring until rice is cooked al dente (around 20 minutes).
  7. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.