8 Best Dry White Wine Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Choosing between the right dry white wine substitutes can mean the difference between a great meal and one that misses the mark.

Dry White Wine Substitutes

Many recipes call for dry white wine, such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Using dry white wine in cooking is popular, especially for sauces and risottos. However, if you prefer non-alcoholic recipes, or if you’re simply out of your favorite white wine, there are several substitutions that work well. The substitute you choose should depend on the kind of recipe you’re making.

Chicken Broth or Vegetable Stock

This works best for savory recipes like stews or soups. They will add some flavor to the dish, without contributing too much sugar or sweetness. Chicken broth with a bit of lime juice is a preferred substitute for white wine in any risotto recipe, whereas vinegar will ruin the dish.

Two glasses filled with red and white wine each surrounded by grapes

White grape juice can be used as a substitute for white wine. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

White Grape Juice

When you cut white grape juice with white wine vinegar, it is perhaps the most faithful substitute for dry white wine in cooking. Use three parts juice to one part vinegar. This substitute adds the expected sweetness of the wine, but also the sharp dryness you want. Use juice and vinegar when the recipe depends heavily on the taste of white wine for the flavor profile.

Dry Vermouth or Sherry

This is a great substitute if alcohol in the dish is not an issue. However, be sure to use the driest sherry available.

Clam Juice

This marine-derived juice or the juice from canned mushrooms will work as a substitute in savory dishes. Neither tastes like dry white wine exactly, but both will add similar flavor profiles. Adding in a splash of lemon juice will also add tang to the earthiness of both.

Lemon Juice

If the recipe calls for dry white wine to deglaze a pan, try using lemon juice diluted heavily with either water or white grape juice. This will ensure the dish isn’t missing any brightness from the wine. Diluted lemon juice is also the best substitute to use for any fish dishes.

Ginger Ale or Apple Juice

These can be used if you have no white grape juice available. That being said, both will add a lot of sweetness to your recipe, so add a splash of white wine vinegar, if possible, to cut the sugar.

Lime Juice

This is another great citrus juice that will maintain the brightness and tartness of dry white wine. Try using a substitute ratio of one to one lime juice and water.

Plain Water

Regular, filtered water can substitute in any recipe as well but will result in a lack of flavor in the dish unless countered with herbs.

Word of Caution: Cooking with alcoholic beverages results in only some loss of alcohol content. Foods baked or simmered in alcohol can retain anywhere from 4 percent to 85 percent of the alcohol, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data lab. 

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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