You Only Need 2 Ingredients To Imitate The Aroma Of Vodka In Cooking

Vodka is used in cooking to deglaze pots and pans, enhance texture, and bring out other flavors of the dish. Unlike other alcohols, which contribute additional flavors, vodka takes on the flavors of ingredients and elevates them, making vodka crucial for various sauces and glazes, most famously vodka sauce penne pasta. Once it's cooked in, the vodka aroma won't survive, however, it's an element that has the overall effect of making dishes more cohesive.

But if you're someone who doesn't want to use vodka when you're cooking, fear not. You can get similar alcohol-free results in an easy way. A small mixture of apple cider and lime juice can create the same effects as vodka — and, as a bonus, these staple ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.

Creating a mixture of equal parts apple cider and lime juice is all you have to do as a replacement. You'll then follow the measurement for the vodka but with your replacement. The acidic lime juice will help deglaze your pan and emulsify your sauce or glaze, while the apple cider brings in that sweet, sharp aroma associated with vodka. You don't have to go overboard with using these ingredients as they aren't meant to flavor your dish, just enhance it in a similar way that vodka would have.

Other substitutes for vodka

The juice of a lemon can also be an easy non-alcoholic substitute for vodka. The acidity from the citrus will help to bring together all the elements of your dish texturally. Lemon is also a helpful ingredient if you over-salt. However, the citrus fruit does have a distinctive flavor, so you will be left with hints of lemon in your dish, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you want to dilute the lemon flavor, simply create an equal-parts lemon and water concoction. 

Adding white vinegar to your cooking is another vodka substitute. It works similarly to lime juice and apple cider, but with fewer sweet notes and more briney flavors coming through, which can be a good contrast for tomato-based sauces such as vodka pasta. If you choose to use white vinegar you'll only need a small amount as a little goes a long way. White grape juice is a milder vodka substitute, as well. This has more sweetness to it but still carries some of that sour, strong aroma we typically find in vodka.