Do’s & Don’ts of Cooking With Wine

Cooking with wine is a fun way to add some new flavors to your recipe or to try something new. For me, it’s the easiest + fastest way to add instant flavor without having to spend hours in the kitchen. As long as you follow these general recommendations, you’ll have a fabulous meal!

Do use wine in place of water.

This is a great place to get started. The next time you find a dinner recipe like this , especially something you’d make in your slow cooker or Dutch oven, try using wine instead! A perfect example of this is Tyler Florence’s pot roastIn this recipe, you’d sub 1 cup of whatever red wine you have on hand for the water and serve the dish with the rest of the wine. YUM!

Don’t use “wine” from the vinegar aisle.

The first major rule of cooking with wine is to only cook with wine you’d drink. You’ve probably seen those little bottles of “cooking wine” at your grocery store, but, do not be tempted. This is not a product that will enhance your recipe. “Cooking wines” are usually extremely high in salt, sugar, or acidity while also being too low in any flavors you’d want in your recipe. Skip.

Do pick up a cheap bottle if you don’t have any open bottles on hand. Don’t spend more than $10 on it.

Do use wine that’s been open for a few days.

This is a great way to use up that last of that bottle from the other night. Using wine that ‘s been open for a few days is actually preferable in some recipes, because it will have a slightly higher acid content. Think marinades and dressings with your wine thats more than just a few days old.

Don’t use weeks old wine.

How do I know if my wine’s too old?

  1. Give it a sniff. If it smells like anything you wouldn’t want in your mouth (wet dog, mold, nail polish remover, natural gas…); dump it.
  2. If it smells okay, taste it. If it tastes metallic, “shiny”, “fuzzy” or just generally sharp and off, skip.

That’s all for our basic Do’s & Don’t’s. Cheers!