Substitute for Red Wine in Cooking

Substitute for Red Wine in Cooking. The fourth option is unexpected.

Do not want to add alcoholic drinks in your recipes or do not have red wine ready to be used at home and is wondering what are the best substitutes for red wine in cooking? Do not worry, we will list in this article the best replacements for it.

Made from dark grapes, red wine is one of the most famous beverages in the world. And it is largely used in cooking to deglaze a pan, moisturize recipes and ingredients and to tenderize some types of meats to make them easier to eat. Sometimes it is added to give the recipes acidity or brightness.

It is tricky to substitute the red wine in some recipes since it depends on what is its role in it. So, we recommend that you pay really good attention to the dish you are about to make, run some tests before so you do not change the taste or texture too much.

Substitutes For Red Wine In Cooking

But with the list of replacements below we are sure your recipe will be a success.

1. Wine Vinegar

Red and white vinegar are one of the best replacements for red wine in cooking since their composition is remarkably similar: they are both fermented liquid with acetic acid, so it will be the perfect substitute to tenderize your recipe.

Red and white vinegar will not change the flavor or texture of your recipe so much, but vinegar is a little bit more acid than the wine, so it is recommended to dilute the vinegar in water before adding to the recipe. After that the replacement can be done in a 1:1 proportion.

The red wine vinegar will suit better with red meat, beef, pork, and vegetables, while the white vinegar will perform better with fish, chicken, salads and vegetables, or any other recipe that does not require the typical taste of the red wine vinegar.

2. Red grape juice

Red grape juice is your go-to substitution for wine in cooking if you are looking for a non-alcoholic option.

They both have the same color, texture, and taste, so no major changes will be done on your recipe. Just pay attention to the sugar level in the juice to adjust the salt in your recipe. Some red grape juice brands are sweeter than others, so your recipe may need some little adjustments, but nothing too drastic.

Other than that, red wine and red grape juice can be replaced on the same proportions.

3. Cranberry juice

Another juice that can be a great replacement for the red wine.

Cranberry juice is also very similar to red wine in texture, color and taste, since both have the same acidity. Just make sure to pick a juice with no addition of sugar so you can replace them in a 1:1 proportion in almost all recipes. If you feel that the juice is sweeter than the wine would be you can adjust the other ingredients in your recipe or dilute the juice with some water to neutralize it.

4. Ginger Ale

Ginger Ale is a carbonated soft drink with a very characteristic ginger flavor, as the name suggests. It is usually consumed alone, but it can also be largely used in cooking, especially as a meat tenderizer, since the acidity in ginger can break down the proteins found in meat, making it softer for consumption.

This soft drink also contains lemon, cane sugar and lime, but the ginger flavor is the predominant, so keep that in mind when adding to your recipe. The ginger flavor will probably transfer itself to your recipe, so do not replace the red wine for it if the taste of the other ingredients does not work well with the ginger taste.

If the ginger is not a problem to your recipe, then the ginger ale can replace the red wine on the same proportions in almost all recipes. 

5. Pomegranate Juice

Another juice with texture and color similar to red wine. The pomegranate juice is incredibly healthy – it has antioxidants and helps to lower the blood pressure – and goes very well with salads and vegetables.

The only watch out is that pomegranate juice is not as acid as the red grape juice and cranberry juice, so depending on what the wine was being used on your recipe it may not work well. But, If the pomegranate juice is all you have at home and the acidity is a must to your recipe, you can mix it with any vinegar you have.

It can also be a 1:1 replacement depending on the sugar levels on the juice.

6. Tomato juice

Tomato juice has an acidity of its own and a very bitter and characteristic taste, so depending on the role of the red wine on the recipe, this can be the perfect replacement, especially if the wine was being used to marinate something.

The taste is not the exact same as the red wine taste, so be careful to balance the other ingredients to make the recipe work well. But


Either you do not want to use red wine when cooking because of the alcohol or you because you ran out of it, there are several substitutes that can still guarantee your recipe success.

It is important to keep the red wine purpose in mind when choosing the replacement: if the red wine was being used to tenderize or marinate, go for the tomato juice, vinegar, or ginger ale, replacements that have acidity in it. If the red wine role was being used to add its characteristic flavor to the recipe, then all the juices will work fine, especially the red grape juice with no sugar.

Always test the ingredients together before you do the actual recipe to see if the results will be as expected.

The options mentioned above are all easy to find, non-expensive and you probably already have them ready to be used at home. So, let us know which one worked better for you and what recipe you made.

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