It's Perfectly Okay To Cook With Boxed Wine

Boxed wine has come a long way. Once upon a time, it was equated with inferior wine for a cheap price, best reserved for Generation Xer's sorority parties. However, today's selection of boxed wine has expanded far beyond the questionable ones from the '60s. In fact, today's boxed wine is actually quite easy on the wallet and taste buds alike. 

An average box of wine contains anywhere from two to four 750 ml bottles worth of wine, and often costs less than $30 (via Liquor). Perhaps the most enticing feature of boxed wine is its lasting power. The wine itself is stored in an airtight bag within the box. In fact, according to Decanter, because oxygen doesn't touch boxed wine, it can often last much longer than an open bottle of wine.

Of course, the most important issue is how the wine tastes. No matter how much wine you get for your money, if it tastes bad, you're never going to buy it again. Market Watch reports that boxed wine sales grew 13.5% in 2020, a lot of which probably had to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, but consumers are coming back for more. The magazine suggests that those who have actually tried boxed wine agree that it is a satisfactory everyday sipper, while the skeptics tend to be those who've not ventured outside of the world of bottled wines. 

Because the wine stays fresher longer and you've not spent your entire paycheck on it, you can enjoy drinking it every night and cooking with it as well.

Pass the box

Even for well-seasoned home cooks, it can be hard to read a recipe you really want to make and see that it calls for a substantial amount of wine. After all, you've read all of the tips you need when cooking with wine, and you don't want to break the number one rule of the practice: never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink. As a result, whatever bottle you've purchased is quite good. And, while you know the recipe is going to be superb, it's still hard to watch that wine glug into anything but your wine glass. 

Well, when you have four bottles worth of fresh boxed wine at your service, the situation doesn't sting quite so much. You can also consider the fact that many professional chefs use boxed wine as their cooking wine, per Martha Stewart. If it's good enough for true professionals, certainly there's nothing to be afraid of. No matter how much wine a recipe calls for, rest assured, the alcohol itself will burn off when heated properly, leaving only the concentrated flavors of the wine behind so no one will be getting tipsy at the table (at least, not from the food). 

You may not realize just how much you can cook with wine. Red or white wine can flavor anything from sauces, risotto, stews, and gravies. It can be used as a deglazing agent, in marinades, in pot pies, and in wine-heavy meals like beef bourguignon and coq au vin. Of course, don't forget those big-batch cocktails for parties, like sangria and spritzers. A great box of wine will work beautifully for all of the above.