Can You Substitute White Wine For Red Wine In Tomato Sauce?

Ah, tomato sauce, that infinitely versatile, infinitely customizable condiment that brings rich, fruity, savory flavor and a delightfully thick texture to our favorite pastas, pizzas, meatballs, and other hearty dishes. Whether your tomato sauce of choice is a simple marinara, a spicy arrabbiata, or a rib-sticking Bolognese, you've likely stirred up many a pot of tomato sauce in your day, as this is a pretty approachable — and oh-so-useful — dish to make at home.

Recipes for tomato sauces run the gamut, but the steps many variations have in common are cooking onions and garlic in a good fat such as olive oil or butter, and utilizing peak-of-season tomatoes, either fresh from the vine in summertime or plopped from a can at other times of the year. Another common ingredient that can bring a ton of flavor to tomato sauce is wine. Many of us have drizzled some red vino into a tomato sauce for added depth of flavor and acidity, but if you run out of red wine and want to use white, that's a perfectly fine substitution, according to Kitchn.

Both red and white wine add oomph to tomato sauce

It's well known that wine can add bright acidity to tomato sauce, but did you know that vino helps bring out the sauce's flavor in other ways? According to Indiana Public Media, the alcohol in wine binds to both water and fat molecules, allowing it to coax flavor out of ingredients. That's because some flavors are fat-soluble and some are water-soluble, and since wine binds to both types of molecules, that whole range of flavors can be coaxed forward.

Many of us are accustomed to adding a dash of red wine to our tomato sauce for these very reasons, typically at the beginning of the cooking process when vegetables, such as onions and garlic, have softened (via Kitchn). But if you've ever run out of red and wondered whether you can substitute white wine, the answer is yes, according to Kitchn. Both types of wine will perform that flavor-coaxing magic since both contain alcohol. The outlet notes that red wine gives the sauce a boost of richness and fullness, while white adds fruitiness. So the next time tomato sauce is on your to-do list, know that either red or white vino will do the trick.