8 Best White Wine Substitutes For Cooking

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Finding a substitute for white wine is surprisingly easy, and you may not even have to leave your kitchen!

What is White Wine?

White wine is a variety of wine made through the fermentation of certain “white” grapes, which produces an alcoholic beverage that is also used in cooking. As a culinary ingredient, the sharp and acidic nature of white wine can help to make certain meat more tender, and counter the effects of fat in a dish. The range of uses for white wine in the kitchen is impressive, ranging from the marinara sauce and cheese fondue to slow-cooked meals, risotto, and famous French dishes like coq au vin. [1]

However, some people abstain from consuming alcohol, or from using it in their cooking, so knowing the best substitutes is important, particularly if you love to cook.

White Wine Substitutes

The most effective and readily available white wine substitutes include chicken broth, white grape juice, lemon juice, and apple juice, among others.

Wine glasses and a half-filled bottle of white wine with a plate of cheese slices and grapes on a wooden table

White wine is a pantry staple for certain kinds of cuisine. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Chicken Broth

While chicken broth lacks the acidity of the white wine, it can help to tenderize meat in your meals, and also adds a rich, hearty flavor to many dishes.

White Grape Juice

White grape juice is extremely close to white wine, considering that wine comes from grapes. This juice can mimic both the flavor and effects of white wine, not to mention its positive effects on brain aging and behavior. [2]

Lemon Juice

Providing even more acidity than white wine, lemon juice is a very popular substitute for white wine in cooking.

Apple Juice

Apple juice provides the sweetness of white wine but lacks the acidity in some cases.

Dry White Wine Substitutes

Sometimes, a recipe calls specifically for dry white wine. The best substitutes for dry white wine are ginger ale or apple cider vinegar.

Ginger Ale

Similar to white wine, the acidity of ginger ale is able to help tenderize the meat and can provide an acidic bite in your recipes. [3]


Although not the most exciting ingredient to add to a recipe, water can replicate the function of white wine in cooking, if not the flavor.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a very effective dry white wine substitute, as it features both the acidity and the sweetness of many types of common cooking wine.

White Wine Vinegar

In the production of white wine vinegar, most of the alcohol disappears, but the taste is far more potent than regular wine, so dilute the vinegar and use it only sparingly.

Word of Caution: If you are following a total avoidance of alcohol, you may want to skip using different kinds of wine vinegar as they do still contain some level of alcohol. Furthermore, 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. [4]

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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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