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Cooking foods with White Wine or Red Wine

Updated on January 18, 2013

How to use wine

So, I decided to answer the question asked on Hubpages, "How to use wine". Having sold wine for several years in a previous life I have a good working knowledge of the various types of varietals, their flavor profiles and unique qualities.

I also love cooking and figure this topic allows me to make some cool dishes too! A win-win for sure.

Wine selection

Now this won't be an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good idea of what to do with whatever you have on hand.

First and foremost you should choose something you would drink in the first place. In fact the more experience you have with the wine itself the easier it will be to pair with the dish. This goes for white, red, dessert or main course. In theory I generally agree with pairing your drink with the food your eating but I truly believe you should enjoy what it is you are drinking and not "worry" about whether or not someone "thinks" it pairs perfectly.

Honestly, initially when you are trying to cook with a wine you have on hand it doesn't matter if it is Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Champagne an Albarino from Spain or a blend from California that you love, just stick to some basic rules so that you can, in some cases, break them and you will be fine and will learn in the process what works best for the meal and your taste buds.

White wine with seafood, pork or fowl and Red wine with beef, lamb or other heavier meats. This will mostly keep you on the right track with choosing a wine but there are subtleties. Read below to get a better idea of the uses and inspirations from recipes that come out of using wine.

Side note: Unless your going to do a particular pan sauce like a Marsala which calls for Marsala wine to use in the recipe then the general rule is that cooking wine is cheap and full of salts and additives so just stay away and find an alternative.

Wine Recipes

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Red Wine ReductionBeurre Blanc SauceSangriaMulled WIne
Red Wine Reduction
Red Wine Reduction
Beurre Blanc Sauce
Beurre Blanc Sauce
Mulled WIne
Mulled WIne

Classic Wine Pairings

Here are some traditional pairings of wine for cooking:

Young, full bodied red wine
Red meat, red meat dishes

Young, full bodied, robust red wine
Red sauces

Earthy red, full bodied red wine
Soups with root vegetables and/or beef stock

Dry white wine and Champagne or dry fortified wine
Fish/shellfish/seafood, poultry, pork, veal

Dry white wine or dry fortified wine
Light/cream sauces

Crisp, dry white wine and Champagne
Seafood soups, bouillabaisse

Sweet white wine or sweet fortified wine
Sweet desserts

Dry, fortified wine (i.e.: sherry)
Consommé, poultry, vegetable soups

Getting started with a wine reduction.....drink some first!
Getting started with a wine reduction.....drink some first!

Uses for wine in your cooking


1/2 to 3/4 cup raw wine = 2 tablespoons of wine reduction

My understanding is that to properly reduce wine and capture the most flavor it is wise to take your time. When I say that I don't mean that you can't do a quick reduction if time is of the essence but just that there is a difference. In any case keep in mind the idea is that you are enhancing the flavor of the dish.


You can cook out the alcohol, or not, and add all kinds of good spices/herbs to make killer marinades using white or red wine.

Any marinade that contains acid, alcohol or salt should not be used for to long, because it will "cook" or denature the food in it. Marinades that contain no salt, acid or alcohol can be marinated overnight or, in some cases, longer. Just a heads up


I don't even know if I want to get into this. There are so many! For a clear broth do white wine and for a dark broth use red. Get crazy!


Just mix up some fruit with a cheap but tasty red or white wine and enjoy!

Mulled Wine

Wine Recipes

Quick Beurre Blanc:

Ingredients - Makes 2 cups

  • 3 ounces shallots, peeled and finely chopped -
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar -
  • 1/2 cup white wine or Champagne -
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream or other liquid replacement -
  • 1 pound butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

Salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy saucepan combine shallots, white wine or Champagne, and white wine vinegar. Simmer mixture gently until nearly all liquid has evaporated. Check saucepan to ensure that it has not browned. Browning will discolor the sauce. Wipe off browning with a wet towel. Add heavy cream or liquid replacement. If cream is not being used, an equal amount of water or other liquid must be added to prevent sauce from becoming too thick. Add prepared butter. Over high heat, whisk sauce until butter has melted. Season to taste. Add a few drops of wine vinegar if sauce seems flat. Add butter if sauce is harsh or acidic.


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    • celeBritys4africA profile image


      10 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I am cooking with wine, meat and dessert.

    • jestone profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from America!

      Good Question, no reason why you couldn't that's for sure.


    • easyfreerecipes profile image


      10 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      why is it you never really see a white wine reduction. i have seen some used in a sauce, but not really a reduction in the sense that red wine is used.....?

    • profile image

      Rose Barrett 

      11 years ago

      I like where jestone's head is at. Never even though about marinating a veggie burger in wine. Sounds like a great idea though.

    • jestone profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from America!

      The other great way to spice up a burger that is vegetarian is to marinate a portabella mushroom in red wine, with other spices etc., and then grill it. I do that for my vege friends and they love them!


    • purpleangel47 profile image


      11 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      The Thai-style peanut sauce sounds delicious! I've never had rice wine. I'm a vegetarian ... I eat lots of rice and veggies and soy burgers and I'm always looking for ways to spice up my food choices. I've been wondering how one of my veggie burgers would taste marinated in a red wine but haven't tried it yet. I'm gonna bookmark this article because I've never been adept at choosing wine. Thank you for your efforts.


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