Dry white wine is a classic ingredient in the cuisines of wine-growing regions such as Italy, France, and other warm areas of Europe. However, if you can't -- or choose not to -- consume alcohol, or if you're out of dry white wine, don't worry. You can still make just about every recipe that calls for dry white wine. You just need to have a list of good substitutions and a little information about when to use each one.
One easy substitution for dry white wine is white wine vinegar. Made from dry white wines, these vinegars have many of the same flavor characteristics as white wine, but without the alcohol. If you don't have white wine vinegar, use another light-colored vinegar such as apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Even white vinegar may work. Since rice vinegar is less potent than most vinegars, you can substitute one part of it for one part of dry white wine. If you are using apple cider vinegar, use half the amount your recipe calls for and replace the remaining liquid with water.
Dry white wine, when cooked, creates tangy flavors that are especially well suited when served with fish or as a sauce over delicate meats like chicken breasts. When you are working with this kind of recipe, lemon juice makes an acceptable substitute. As with vinegar, you'll need to dilute it by half in order to mitigate its tart flavor. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice tastes much better than bottled juice, and you don't need specialized equipment to get it. "Cook's Illustrated" magazine recommends cutting lemons in half and pressing a fork into the flesh to extract the juice.
Though many recipes employ dry white wine for its tangy flavor, some recipes -- especially long-cooked soups and stews -- use dry white wine for the depth of flavor it adds. Replicating this is not difficult. Chicken broth, which is made from the richest cuts of chicken and a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices, works well as a white wine substitute. For the greatest possible flavor augmentation, "Country Living" recommends simmering the other ingredients in the broth. Use low-sodium broth to avoid making your soup or stew too salty.
Water and Herbs
Water is the simplest and most readily-available substitute for liquid ingredients like dry white wine, but doesn't contribute much flavor. You can overcome that limitation by adding herbs. Bay leaves work well for savory soups and stews as long as you remember to remove the bay leaf when the recipe is done. For sauces, try fresh herbs. Parsley is good with chicken, while dill works very well with fish. Lightly-crushed rosemary also works in a wide variety of recipes, but, as with bay leaves, you'll need to remove the sprigs after cooking.
- Cooks Illustrated: Juicing Lemons; November 2000
- Country Living: Chicken Soup