The Ingredient You Can Use In Place Of Sherry For Cooking

Cooking with alcohol is a longstanding tradition designed to add mouthwatering depth of flavor and aroma to your dishes (via Food52). From flambes made with liquor to red wine marinades, there is no shortage of alcohol-enriched recipes. Naturally, the alcohol content cooks out of the dishes, but the amazing taste stays. One flavor-enhancing wine that you might not be familiar with is sherry.

Masterclass explains that sherry is a fortified wine with many varieties, used for both drinking and adding flavor to your dishes. There is a distinctly different "cooking sherry" that adds salt and preservatives to a lower-quality sherry wine to extend its shelf life. Fortified wines are wines that include distilled spirits (via Healthline). This boosts the alcohol content and adds more flavor. Besides sherry, other examples of commonly used fortified wines include port wine, Madeira, marsala, and vermouth (via "Managing Wine: Volume II: Oenology and Wine Quality").

A splash of sherry can add a delicious flavor (usually "a nutty, dried fruit flavor" via The Spruce Eats) to your recipe, but you might not always have the wine on hand. The good news is there's an easy swap for the boozy stuff that might already be in your pantry.

Bringing the flavor without the alcohol

If you don't have any sherry at home or if you're simply not interested in cooking with alcohol, a great substitute is apple cider vinegar (via The Spruce Eats). If a recipe calls for dry sherry, you can swap in full-strength apple cider vinegar for small amounts. However, it is important to remember that if you were to use over two tablespoons, you'd probably want to dilute the apple cider vinegar with water. Additionally, if a recipe calls for sweet sherry, you can sweeten up your apple cider vinegar by adding a little sugar.

According to Healthline, apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting crushed apples with yeast and turning them into alcohol. Then, bacteria continue the fermentation until acetic acid is formed. At this point, what were once crushed apples is now vinegar. Although it is fermented, no alcohol remains in the vinegar after the process is complete, says Barnes Naturals.

According to Tastessence, apple cider vinegar is a great substitute for sherry in savory recipes like marinades and soups, but not for sweet recipes. In place of sherry for those recipes, Tastessence states that vanilla extract is a great replacement.