Tips For Cooking With Wine

Wine! It is so versatile - in the glass and on your plate!

Cooking with wine can definitely  bring about it's own pleasure. This goes way beyond food and wine pairings.

In fact, using wine in the kitchen can be even more creative.

To achieve the culinary glory of wine requires one simple thing: experimenting with wine as an ingredient in a recipe.

Some chefs - especially those versed in European recipes - use wine as a cooking ingredient liberally and for more types of recipes than one might expect...

Ingredients all play a specific role in cooking. Some add spice to a food, while others tone down heaviness. Whatever you add to or use to create a dish has a purpose.

Butter, spices, milk, flour, baking soda, eggs, meat and fish all bring something (if you pardon the pun) to the table.

This is also true of wine.

As an ingredient, the purpose of wine is to fortify existing aromas and flavors. Adding wine can increase, augment and even accent the flavor of the other ingredients.

For example, wine adds flavor to seafood without smothering it in fatty batter. In fact, some cooks replace fat, shortening, butter and related ingredients with wine. (It not only sounds healthier, it sounds tastier, too!)

Cooking with wine

Uses Of Wine

Wine typically serves three major roles in the kitchen. (That being said, do not let this stop you from experimenting to your closet-chef's content.) The most common uses for cooking with wine are the following:

  • Marinade
  • Cooking liquid
  • Flavoring – usually in a finished dish

The usage, the food, the type of cooking wine, and the type of wine served, will all dictate the amount of cooking wine added in the recipe.

Yet, in all cases, be sure to avoid extremes. Too little wine is wasted, drowned by other ingredients and lost during the process of cooking; too much wine is overbearing.

And for those who are wondering about adding alcohol in their recipes, rest assured: the alcohol does evaporate during the cooking process, due to the high temperatures.

This leaves a highly concentrated flavor. Perfect for the taste buds of foodies!

Tips For Cooking With Wine

These simple rules apply whenever wine is used in cooking. No matter how elaborate the dish, or how expensive the wine, consider the following as gold:

  • Never, ever use an "off" or tainted wine – the flavor will saturate or at least affect the taste of the dish you are preparing
  • Never use any of the so-called "cooking" wines you find at a store - they're diluted and oftentimes flavorless, and from questionable wine sources.
  • Avoid tart white wines – the acidity may be too concentrated
  • Use white wines, but always add to any recipe with care
  • In some wines, the sugar may become concentrated during the cooking process. Add any sweet wine with a very gentle hand to not overly sweeten the meal
  • If the wine has been aged in oak barrels and has a heavy oak flavor, it may aromatically over saturate the cooking
  • Remember, if a wine's bouquet is fruity, lightly aromatic and/or flowery, this characteristic will not survive the cooking process.
  • Among the best wines for food are those that are full-bodied – white, red or rosé
  • Never add wine to a food just prior to serving. Wine needs time to simmer and be absorbed into the food. It needs to become a part of the overall flavor experience. It can only do this if it cooks slowly with the dish it is to influence.
  • Here are some recipe ideas for you to try

Wine In Food: Some Suggestions

When using wine as an ingredient, remember to consider the desired end result. This will help you select the right wine for the job. If wine is a principal ingredient, such as it is in Coq au Vin, opt for a high quality wine. Consider the potential of non-vintage Burgundy or Bordeaux or even a California Cabernet Sauvignon.

In more general cooking, consider Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhone or California Gamays. All are excellent wines to use in cooking.

For white wines, look to Muscatel, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or many New World jug wines.

Cooking With Wine Recipes

Meat with Wine Recipes - Beef & Lamb & Goat & Rabbit 

Rooster with Wine Recipes - Chicken with Wine Recipes

Fish with Wine Recipes - Seafood with Wine Recipes

Vegetables with Wine Recipes

Pasta with Wine Recipes - Risotto with Wine Recipes

Escargot with Wine Recipes

Let The Wine Flow

Above all, cooking with wine should be fun! Try to discover what works best for you by starting simple:

  • Add a dash of wine to an old, familiar recipe.
  • Liven up even a plain stew dish with a small amount of red wine.
  • Full-bodied Chianti would be an excellent choice for beef stew.
  • It is also amazing what a little bit of white wine e.g. Chardonnay, can do to your Grandmother's Famous Spice Cake.

And one last tip: the more you refine your own tastes and preferences for drinking wine, the more you'll feel confident cooking with wine, knowing what wines work best in what recipes, and pairing wine with food.

So let the wine flow and see what happens! 

Hungry for more wine recipes?

I highly recommend this book:

The Wine Lover's Cookbook! 

(Book review on its way!)

* * * * * * *

› Cooking With Wine

* * * * * * *

To be kept in the loop on HVV happenings...
join our monthly e-zine
On The Vine...

Uncork the fun!


  • winery events
  • monthly calendar
  • upcoming festivals
  • feature articles
  • product reviews
  • wine interviews
  • exclusive offers
  • and more! 

On The Vine is sent at the beginning of each month, straight to your inbox!

* * * * * * *

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Have A Great Story About This Topic?

Do you have a great story about this? You can share it here without needing a Facebook account! You can even upload pictures!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

What's New?

  1. Dr

    Dec 04, 14 04:30 PM

    When France lost Algeria in 1960, a great worry of winemakers wad what are we going to do now? French wines from many regions WERE B,ENDED WITH MUCH STRONGER

    Read More

  2. How to make port wine - and history!

    Dec 04, 14 03:26 PM

    How to make port wine - delicious, heart-warming, the perfect gift

    Read More

  3. Wine accessory shopping for the holidays

    Nov 01, 14 04:25 PM

    Wine accessory shopping for the holidays

    Read More