Best White Wines For Cooking

Want to know the best white wine for cooking? You’ve come to the right place. If you are looking for a white wine with a bold flavor that doesn’t overpower your food I would strongly recommend a Chardonnay. If you’re not a big wine drinker but like the idea of a crisp and fruity white this article will help you realize there are many more options than just Pinot Grigio.

What is White Wine For Cooking?

White wine is an important ingredient in many recipes. It adds a depth of flavor to meat dishes and seafood, especially when combined with other flavors like garlic, ginger, and lemon.

It’s made from green or yellow grapes that are pressed to extract their juice. White wines do not undergo the fermentation process that gives red wines their color. The color of white wine comes mainly from the skin of red grapes. This is why many whites have a slight orange color while others have yellow, green, or clear tones.

Types of White Wine For Cooking

When it comes to food, different ethnic cuisines require different ingredients. Some are more elaborate than others. Here we discuss the type of white wine for cooking:

1. Sweet White Wine

Many of the sweeter white wines tend to be produced in Germany, although many other countries produce their own versions of sweet white wine. It will give a dessert or salad dressing an extra kick.

Sweet wines like Gewurztraminer, Moscato (or Muscat) and Sauternes are examples of sweet white wines. It have a higher sugar content at the time of harvest. If you’re cooking with wine, use the same kind that you would drink with your meal.

2. Dry Wines

Dry wines contain less than 0.5 grams per liter of residual sugar, while medium-dry wines can have up to 3 grams per liter. They are perfect for savory sauces and chicken or pork dishes because they won’t add any additional sweetness.

Dry white wines include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chenin Blanc.

3. Medium White Wine

Medium-bodied white wines fall somewhere between the dry and sweet types in terms of sweetness level. They have a slight fruity flavor and are described as creamy because they are full-bodied without being overly sweet or dry. These types of wines do well with seafood dishes that have a bold flavor like crab cakes or shrimp scampi. Some examples include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

6 Healthy Benefits Of Cooking With White Wine

White wine is a great ingredient to have on hand, but not just for drinking. It’s also a great ingredient to cook with. But, when you use it in your cooking, you’re not just adding flavor — white wine also has some impressive health benefits.

Here are six health benefits of cooking with white wine:

1. Versatile

White wine is a versatile ingredient. It can be a base for sauces, soup and stews; added as flavoring to dishes like chicken casserole or risotto; or used in marinades and dressings.

2. Health Benefits

This is one of the most surprising uses of white wine. A moderate amount of white win can make you healthy. It is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. This makes it a healthy drink and there are many health benefits related to its use

3. Its Sweetness

The sweetness of white wine comes from fructose and glucose, which are found naturally in grapes but not in other fruits or vegetables. This makes it perfect for use as an ingredient in desserts such as cakes and cookies or even as an alternative sweetener for coffee or tea.

4. It adds acidity

One of the most important elements of cooking is balancing flavors, and white wine can add just the right amount of acidity to a dish. This tart taste can help balance out rich or sweet foods and bring out other flavors in the dish.

5. Low In Alcohol

White wine is especially good for cooking because it is low in alcohol content, so there is no need to worry about the alcohol burning off when cooking with it. If you’re serving children or just prefer your dishes to have no traces of alcohol in them, white wine will be cooked off more quickly.

6. Does Not Stain Easily

White wine does not leave behind stains easily; therefore, it is usually safe to use in cooking without worrying about the color of the winemaking the food look unpleasant. The color of the wine does not affect the taste or texture of the food either.

10 Best White Wine For Cooking

#1 Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is an Italian white wine made from the Pinot Gris grape. It comes in a variety of styles. It ranges from light and crisp to fuller-bodied and richer, but it tends to have a similar flavor profile no matter the style. It also has relatively high acidity, which can make it a great cooking wine.

It’s a dry wine, so it won’t add sweetness to your dish. Instead, its flavor profile of citrus, melon, and mineral will enhance those elements that are already present in your recipe.

The best pinot grigios for cooking will be the lighter-bodied varieties, as they’re not as likely to overpower the other flavors in your dish. If you do want to go with a richer style, stick to recipes that will pair well with its more intense flavors.

Best used for: Crisp, light-bodied wine that pairs well with lighter foods like seafood and poultry. It is also a great complement to many Italian dishes.

#2 Vinho Verde

One of the most versatile wines for cooking is Vinho Verde, named for the green landscape of its home region in northwestern Portugal. The name means “green wine,” but not for its color; instead, it refers to the wine’s youthfulness. Vinho Verde is typically bottled early and meant to be drunk young. It’s also lower in alcohol than most wines, usually between 8 and 11 percent ABV, so it won’t overpower your food with boozy heat or add lots of calories.

Most Vinho Verde is made from the Alvarinho grape, although some versions are blends that include other grapes like Loureiro, Arinto, and Trajadura. These wines tend to have a light body and flavor profile that includes notes of citrus fruit and green apple.

Best used for: This makes them excellent choices for dishes like salmon with lemon-herb sauce, chicken salad or poached white fish.

#3 Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is the third most widely planted grape in France and California. This varietal produces a dry white wine with grassy, herbal and tropical flavors that can range from light-bodied to full-bodied depending on where it’s grown.

The grape is one of the few varieties that are prone to botrytis, a type of mold that shrivels the grapes. The mold adds rich, honeyed flavors to the wine and gives it a fuller body and higher alcohol content.

Sauvignon blanc is best known as the grape behind New Zealand’s famous Marlborough sauvignon blanc. The wines from this region have intense citrus and green fruit flavor.

Best used for: Chardonnay is often overlooked as a cooking wine, however, it can be used in sauces, stews, and braising. It’s also a great dipping wine when paired with food such as crudite or a cheese plate.

#4 Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a white grape variety, which originated in France. The Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines.

It’s a green-skinned grape variety that originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand.

Chardonnay is a medium-bodied, dry wine that has a high acidity and overall flavor intensity. It typically has notes of butter, citrus and stone fruit such as apple, pear and peach. A common descriptor for this wine is “oaky” due to its ability to take on the flavors imparted from the oak during fermentation and maturation.

Best used for: Chardonnay is best enjoyed as an aperitif or with fish and poultry.

#5 Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc is the best white wine for cooking, and it’s quite versatile. It’s useful for making a reduction sauce for chicken breast, and it pairs well with garlic, onion, and other herbs.

It’s a great choice for cooking because it’s a neutral white wine that can be used in a variety of dishes. The flavor is not as strong as other options like Chardonnay, so it won’t overpower your dish. Pinot blanc has a delicate taste that will complement most recipes without overpowering them.

Pinot Blanc is also known to have notes of lemon and pear which make it perfect for adding to chicken or fish dishes with fruit sauces such as apricots.

Best used for Seafood, chicken, and vegetable dishes.

#6 Dry Riesling

Riesling is one of the most versatile grapes in the world. It makes wines that are bone dry, sweet, citrusy, and minerally to wines that are honeyed and even petrol-like. So it makes sense to have this grape variety on hand to pair with food.

What you need is a dry Riesling. This type of wine has more restraint and less sweetness than other styles of Riesling. Choose one that has stone fruit, citrus, and mineral flavors, because these characteristics will be enhanced when cooked.

Best used for: Sauces and snacks, gravies, and meats.

#7 Dry Vermouth

This is a fortified wine flavored with botanicals, which are dried plants and flowers. The best dry vermouths come from France and Italy, but you can also find them in the U.S. These are great for cooking because they’re light in alcohol and strong on flavor.

Dry vermouth is made from white or red grapes (or a mix of both). It’s aged for about two years, then flavored with botanicals such as thyme, lavender, rosemary, and chamomile. These flavors help to enhance the food — especially meat — without overpowering it.

Since vermouth is fortified with alcohol, it has a longer shelf life than regular wine (as long as it hasn’t been opened). If you keep an opened bottle in the refrigerator, it should stay fresh for several months (just like other wines).

Best used for: Salads, pasta, and fish are popular foods that need some extra flavor.

#8 Marsala

Marsala is a fortified Italian wine, which means that spirits were added to it during the winemaking process. This makes it much less susceptible to spoilage — you’ll still want to keep it in a cool, dark place, but you can expect that it’ll last for at least a few years after opening.

Marsala wine is one of Italy’s most famous wines and comes in various qualities and ages, ranging from sweet to dry. It’s often used as cooking wine and can be found in the grocery store next to other cooking ingredients. Sweet Marsala, on the other hand, is more commonly served after dinner as dessert wine or with coffee.

It has a rich amber color and is savory with notes of walnut skin and figs, making it an excellent match for mushrooms and pork chops, or even just as an addition to risotto

Best used for: Dry Marsala is best used in pasta sauces and chicken or veal dishes. It’s also a key ingredient in tiramisu.

#9 Champagne

Champagne, that famous sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France, can be a great cooking wine. It is light-bodied, not as sweet as other wines and has a moderate alcohol content. Champagne has a delicate aroma and an acidic flavor that pairs well with foods such as chicken, fish, pork and vegetables. It can also be used in sauces for meat dishes. The alcohol content in Champagne ranges from 12 to 16 percent.

Chardonnay is one of the most common white wine varieties used for cooking. It is aged in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks, giving it a rich flavor profile. Chardonnay has a medium body and is moderately acidic with moderate alcohol content between 13 and 14 percent. Its flavors include apple, pineapple, pear, lemon, lime, and honeydew melon.

Best used for: Serve it with poultry dishes like roasted chicken or turkey or seafood such as salmon or halibut.

# 10 Dry Sherry

This fortified wine is a byproduct of the sherry-making process. After the initial fermenting, the winemaker will add brandy to the still-alcoholic juice. This stops fermentation and results in a higher-alcohol product, usually somewhere around 15 to 20 percent alcohol by volume.

In general, dry sherry is used as you would a light-bodied red wine (Merlot). The deep flavor of this wine makes it an ideal substitute for red wine when cooking beef. The food will take on a rich, deep flavor without becoming bitter or acidic.

Best used for: It makes an excellent marinade for meats and pairs well with poultry, pork, and lamb.

What To Look For In White Wine For Cooking

When you buy White wine for cooking, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. High Acidity And Bright Citrus Notes

The acidity of white wine used for cooking should be considered. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a great choice because it’s very dry, has high acidity, and has bright citrusy notes. Pinot Grigio is another good choice because it’s also quite dry and has bright citrusy flavors that add a nice brightness to simple seafood dishes.

2. Not High In Alcohol

Look for a white wine that’s not high in alcohol — you don’t want to cook with one that’s more than 11 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) — and one that you’d actually enjoy drinking yourself, since if it tastes good on its own, it will taste good in your dish.

3. Don’T Go For Oaky Whites

It’s not that the oak will be unpleasant — it just won’t give you the flavor you’re looking for. When cooking with wine, you want the flavors of your dish to shine, not the wine. If you’re using wine in a sauce, for example, and you’ve got a big glass of chardonnay breathing on your counter, it can be tempting to throw it in the pot. But if it’s an oaky chardonnay, those flavors will overpower everything else in your dish.

4. Don’T Go For Cheap Stuff

It’s not necessary to buy expensive wine — but cheap cooking wine doesn’t belong in your kitchen either. That stuff is usually full of salt and other additives that are only intended to make bad wine palatable when consumed straight from the bottle. It won’t do any harm when used in a dish, but those additives will alter the flavor of your food and make it less appealing than if you had used plain water instead.

5. Choose Dry Over Sweet

The general rule is to cook with wines you would actually drink — so avoid anything too sweet or syrupy, including Moscato and Reisling. Dry white wines like pinot grigio have a slightly acidic flavor that balances out rich sauces and spice-laden dishes.

6. Don’T Bother Splurging

When it comes to cooking with wine, you don’t want to use an expensive bottle of wine. Many people argue that you shouldn’t cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink. I agree with this to an extent, but it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive bottle on the shelf. A $5-$10 bottle is perfectly acceptable for cooking and won’t break your bank if you end up wasting some by adding too much to your recipe or by having some leftover.


1. Do I Need To Use Good Wine For Cooking?

Yes, please. Do not use wine that tastes bad when you drink it as it will taste bad in your food. There is no need to spend a fortune on a bottle of wine, but there is also no need to use an expensive bottle either. Look for a middle-of-the-road wine with a price tag somewhere between $10-$15. To find out which wines work best with different dishes, read our Guide to Cooking With Wine (PDF).

2. Can I Cook With Wine That Is Past Its Prime?

No, do not cook with any alcohol that has gone bad. You can tell if alcohol has gone bad based on the smell of the liquid: It’s probably too old if it smells like nail polish remover or vinegar. If you’re not sure about the quality of the wine, use it for drinking instead of cooking.

3. What Kind Of White Wine Should I Use For Cooking?

Dry whites are your best bet — pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are all good options. You can also go with a sweet or medium-dry white if that’s what you have on hand.

4. Do I Have To Use Wine When Cooking?

No, you don’t. But it’s a very common ingredient in cooking, and adds depth and complexity to sauces, stews and other dishes. If you don’t want to cook with wine, you can substitute equal amounts of stock or broth (and if the dish calls for salt, reduce the amount you add), or just leave it out altogether.

5. Why Do You Use White Wine For Cooking?

White wine is a great addition to many recipes. Not only does it add a lovely flavor to dishes, but it also enhances the taste of the other ingredients. In fact, white wine can be used in almost any type of dish, from sauces to salads!

6. What Is The Best Wine To Cook With?

When it comes to cooking with white wine, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are great options. These wines are light in flavor and have a crisp acidity, which means they won’t overpower a dish.

7. How Do You Thicken A Sauce With White Wine?

If you want to thicken the sauce, simply remove the chicken from the pan, then add some butter and flour to the sauce. Turn up the heat to high and whisk until it thickens. Turn down the heat and add some cream. Let simmer for about 3 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Is It Ok To Drink Cooking Wine?

You can drink it, but you really shouldn’t. Cooking wines are not made for drinking, they are very high in sodium (usually over 1000 mg per serving) and have added flavors that don’t belong in your mouth. They also tend to be low-quality wines that are not meant for anything other than cooking, so even if you were able to get past the salt content, they would still taste pretty bad.

In summary

The best white wine for cooking is Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a strong herbaceous smell, which can help in the reduction of excess oil while cooking. While most wines are not recommended to cook with, Sauvignon Blanc is an exception and will ultimately save you money in the long run as opposed to using inferior alcohols.

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