Consumption of wine started a long time ago. With both red and white wine occupying tables, wine comes in different colors, tastes, and flavor from people can choose from.

Many people consume wine as an alcoholic beverage. However, wine can be used for various purposes. For example, red and white wine are sometimes used as cooking ingredients. Many recipes utilize these wines to improve flavor, change color, enhance moisture, deglaze pans, and tenderize meat. Some people choose not to use wine because it is an alcoholic beverage or they don’t have wine to complete their recipe. Worry less. You can use other alternatives for wine to give your food the intended and desired delicacy. This article states some non-alcoholic substitutes for the wine you can use in cooking.

1.      Vinegar (Red and White)

Vinegar is a widely used kitchen ingredient. Since it is fermented, vinegar is acidic in nature. Some compounds found in wine, acetic acid, and water are also present in vinegar since they are used to make vinegar. This substitute for wine can also be made from malt, rice, coconut, or apple cider. If you are looking for vinegar to replace wine, then you should opt for red or white one. Their flavors are similar to that of wine, and using them won’t alter the taste of your food. You can comfortably use wine vinegar in marinades, salad dressing, and other liquid-based recipes. For preciseness, vegetables, beef, and pork are best suited for red wine vinegar, while chicken and fish can be cooked using white wine vinegar.

Since wine vinegar is more acidic than regular wine, it would help if you diluted it first before using it in recipes. You can do this by adding water to wine vinegar at a ratio of one to one.

2.      Lemon Juice

Many people use lemon juice in cooking different foods – and for a good reason. It substitutes wine in cooking since it has a sour flavor which gives its dishes an excellent taste. Lemon juice works better if used in marinades like tenderizing meat. It is for this reason that lemon juice can come in handy if you don’t have or use wine. It is worth noting that the taste of lemon juice is quite tart, and therefore, you should not use it to replace white in an equal ratio lest it alters with the taste of your food. As a smart cook, you will need to dilute lemon juice with water at an equal ratio before adding it to your recipe. For example, if your recipe requires that you use 2 cups of white wine, you will have to replace it with one cup of lemon juice combined with 1 cup of water. Besides being a good substitute for wine, lemon juice also provides vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.

3.      Apple Juice

Many recipes call for the use of this sweet beverage. If you had to use white wine in completing your recipe, apple juice could be an excellent alternative because of it of its light color and sweetness. You can replace white wine with apple juice at a ratio of onetoone. Noteworthy, apple juice only replaces white wine perfectly if the recipe requires it only in small amounts. Doing otherwise may just spoil the taste and flavor of your food.

4.      Grape Juice (Red and White)

This is another excellent non-alcoholic substitute for wine. Its flavor profile gives it the attention it deserves. Grape juice replaces wine at a ratio of 1:1 since its flavor and color take closely after that of wine. You definitely know that if your recipe calls for a white wine, then white grape juice is the option. The same goes for red wine and red grape juice. Just like any other type of juice, you can increase the tartness and acidity of grape juice by adding a little vinegar. This will qualify your grape juice for additional duties like tenderizing meat. It will be unfair not to mention the rich polyphenol antioxidants content in grape juice. These may lower the risk of heart disease and boost your immune system.

5.      Pomegranate Juice

With its fruity flavor, pomegranate juice is a beverage that perfectly replaces wine in cooking. It can be used in any food to increase the flavor as it is sort of acidic. So, which does it replace,  red or white wine? Definitely red wine, that is, if you want the same acidity, flavor, and aroma. Keep in mind that pomegranate juice has a compromised acidity, so it will do better if you add a tablespoon of vinegar to obtain a stronger flavor. Only use pomegranate juice in salad dressings or to glaze pans for vegetables. Besides being used in cooking, pomegranate juice may benefit your health. It contains antioxidants that can lower blood pressure and thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

6.      Ginger Ale

Ginger can be used to flavor soft drinks like ginger ale. Ginger ale also contains cane sugar, lime, and lemon. It has a similar appearance to white wine, so that it can work best as its substitute in cooking. Ginger ale replaces white wine at a ratio of 1:1. It works better in marinades since it has an acidity that tenderizes the meat, breaking down protein in it for ease of chewing.

7.      Water

What went wrong with human taste? It is hard to imagine that water can be a good substitute for wine. You may completely lack the alternatives mentioned above. And so, what is left for you? Water. Unfortunately, your finished food won’t have the same color, acidity, and flavor that you would have rather achieved with wine. However, it prevents your food from drying when cooking something that can spoil the intended taste. Alternatively, you can add vinegar or sugar to water and use it in flavoring your dish.


Wine is a popularly used flavoring agent for culinary purposes. For one reason or another, some people don’t take wine while others may as well lack it – while their recipe needs wine. If this is the case, you can replace wine with vinegar juice, pomegranate juice, or grape juice, among others, to give your food the same flavor and color.

Elena Ognivtseva
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Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS

I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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