The Alcohol-Free Ingredient Swap For White Wine

Ever wonder why so many risotto or seafood recipes call for a splash of white wine? It's true that a glass of vino can make dinner taste better once plates hit the table, but wine can also perform culinary wonders during the cooking process. However, if you're looking for an alcohol-free alternative, there's a simple swap to achieve an almost identical outcome.

Aside from imparting flavor, Allrecipes explains that the acids, tannins, and alcohol in wine can help dissolve fats and tenderize proteins. Though you could use any bottle of white, Cook's Illustrated suggests using a dry, acidic, and unoaked wine as it won't turn syrupy or bitter as it reduces. But, just because a wine reduces, that doesn't mean that all of the alcohol will.

Given that alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, Wine Enthusiast reports that initially, it can evaporate faster, but then slowly diminish until a negligible amount of alcohol remains. That said, for an alcohol-free option to deglaze pans and create depth, there is one pantry staple that'll do the trick.

Replace white wine with apple cider vinegar

Finding a suitable replacement for white wine can be tricky, but as long as you're not flambéing or following a recipe that requires a bottle of wine like this boeuf bourguignon recipe, a non-alcoholic swap is totally possible. All you need to do is consider and compare the alternative ingredient's aroma, flavor, and color with that of white wine. Following these criteria, Wine Insiders recommends replacing white wine with apple cider vinegar for the best results. 

Based on their similarly sweet aroma and aged flavor profile, the vinegar seamlessly matches the acidity found in reduced white wine. Plus, it won't change the color of the dish like a darker vinegar might. Although the same amount of apple cider vinegar can be substituted for wine, The Pioneer Woman explains that you might need to balance the level of acidity with a dash of something sweet like fruit juice or honey, should the flavors be sharper than expected.