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The Truth About Cooking With Wine

Updated on December 23, 2016

Do I Have to Buy Good Wine for Cooking?

The first thing people usually wonder is if the quality of wine matters for cooking. The truth is, there is no need to buy expensive wine to cook with. Once you cook and reduce wine, all of the qualities that make it a good wine dissipate. What is left is the fruitiness and acidity. Besides, why would you want to use that good bottle of wine if you don't have to? Drink the good wine while you cook with the cheap wine. It won’t make a noticeable difference in the food and it will be a much more enjoyable experience. Keep in mind, cooking wine increases the acidity so cooking with an acidic wine will make your food taste tangy. Also, wine does not lose its sugar from cooking, so don't use a sweet wine unless you want your dish to taste sweet as well.

Does all of the Alcohol Evaporate When I Cook With Wine?

People usually assume when you cook with wine, the alcohol just cooks away. The truth is, it doesn't always cook away completely. If you were to boil the wine it would evaporate very quickly as it does evaporate faster than water. However when simmering food with wine, it does take time for the alcohol to dissipate. For example, it takes about 10 minutes to reduce about half of the alcohol in an average wine. After about an hour of simmering, about 25% still remains. Even after 2 hours of simmering, about 5% still remains. That may not seem like much to some but may matter greatly to others. If your wondering if you can serve a dish cooked with wine to kids, generally the answer is yes its fine. Just keep in mind the longer and hotter you cook the wine, the faster the alcohol will cook away. Another tip is keep it uncovered for a bit after you add the wine to allow the alcohol to escape. An open lid allows faster evaporation.

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