Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: July 26, 2023

How to Substitute White Wine in Cooking

Do you need some white wine for a recipe, but you’ve just run out? No problem, read on and find out the perfect white wine substitute when cooking!

cooked fish and white wine

Need some white wine for your recipe but there’s none left in the house?

Or perhaps you’re preparing a meal for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol and need to find something you can use as a white wine substitute in a recipe that requires it?

There’s no need to despair as there are a number of things you can use as a white wine substitute that you’ll already have in your cabinets at home.

Here, we take a look at some of the best ingredients that you can easily find in your kitchen that will make your recipe taste great without having to go out and buy a bottle.

White Wine Vinegar

If you’re looking for something quick and easy to use as a white wine substitute in cooking, white wine vinegar will do the job admirably.

Vinegar is an acidic, fermented liquid which is frequently used in a range of recipes. Mainly, it consists of water and acetic acids together with compounds which are found in regular wine.

This makes white wine vinegar an ideal white wine substitute for cooking. The flavor is similar to that of wine while the vinegar won’t have a negative effect on the dish’s flavor.

white wine vinegar

You can use this ingredient to substitute for wine in fish and chicken dishes, although you may need to dilute it a little by mixing it with water at a ratio of 1:1 so that it won’t be too acidic.

Related: How long does white wine last for?

Ginger Ale

As a carbonated soft drink with ginger flavor, ginger ale is an ideal replacement if you need an alternative to white wine for your recipe.

You can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio. Thanks to its high acidity level, it tenderizes meat wonderfully so it’s soft and easy to chew.

Ginger Ale

There is, of course, some difference in flavor between white wine and ginger ale. While both are similarly sweet and dry, ginger ale works best in recipes which require a slightly spicy flavor.

White Grape Juice

The rich flavor of white grape juice makes it an ideal alternative to alcohol in a recipe. Both beverages have an almost identical color and flavor so grape juice can be used to replace wine in your recipe at a ratio of 1:1.

If you’re preparing a marinade for vegetables or meat, you can add some vinegar to the grape juice to reduce its sweetness. This makes it an ideal dry white wine substitute.

White Grape Juice

Interestingly, grape juice isn’t just ideal for use in cooking, it is also packed with antioxidants which can boost your immune system and lower the risk of heart disease. This makes it a healthy choice too!

Recommended: Here’s a list of wines for people who don’t like drinking wine!

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is a liquid which can be used as a flavorsome base for a number of dishes. It represents a good non-alcoholic alternative to white wine in your recipe, and it can be used at a 1:1 ratio.

Vegetable Stock

Stock has a savory, mild flavor which is less acidic than white wine. Therefore, if you need more flavor or want to tenderize the meat in your recipe, add a tablespoon of vinegar to each cup of vegetable stock used in your dish.

Apple Juice

If you need a sweet white wine for your recipe, substitute it for apple juice. Its light color and seet flavor makes it a perfect non-alcoholic alternative and can be used at a ratio of 1:1 in your recipe.

Apple Juice

It works best if you only require a splash of white wine – the flavor can be affected if you need a lot more wine. You can, however, add a little vinegar to your juice to add flavor and acidity to your recipe.

Lemon Juice

If you need the sourness of white wine in your recipe but need a non-alcoholic alternative, lemon juice is a greatchoice. 

If you add some lemon juice, the flavor will be enhanced, particularly if you want a more tart or tangy flavor.

Since lemon juice is also acidic, it’s a good choice for marinades since it can aid in the tenderizing of meat.

Lemon Juice

Don’t add a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to white wine, however. It’s extra tartness and acidity when compared to wine means that it could end up overpowering your food’s flavor. Instead, dilute it with an equal part of water to lemon juice.

Just a half cup of lemon juice can provide up to 94% of your vitamin C needs for the day along with magnesium, vitamin E, B vitamins and potassium. This makes it a nutrient-rich choice to add to your recipe.

Related: Grab an amazing bottle of dry red wine for under $30! Don't miss our recommendations!


In an emergency and if you don’t happen to have any of the above ingredients to hand in your kitchen cabinets, you can just use water from your faucet to replace the white wine in your recipe.

Although water contributes no color, acidity or flavor to your food, it will provide liquid and this will stop your dish from coming out much drier than intended.


If you’ve got some regular sugar or vinegar on hand, you could mix it with the water and this will help in enhancing the food’s flavor.

Add a quarter cup of vinegar to a quarter cup of water and then add a tablespoon of sugar for the best results.

Do White Wine Substitutes Work?

As you can see, there are a number of ingredients which have very similar properties to white wine and which can be used in cooking as a suitable alternative if you can’t get hold of any white wine or if you need to use a non-alcoholic substitute.

While some of these ingredients, like grape juice, can be used to equally replace the wine in your recipe, you may need to mix other ingredients with some alternatives to ensure they substitute the wine properly.

It’s always important to remember the flavor you’re aiming for when replacing white wine in any recipe. If you need to create a sweet flavor, for example, using a sweeter ingredient like ginger ale is the best choice. On the other hand, for a more savory taste, opt for a more acidic ingredient such as white wine vinegar.


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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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