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Cooking with Wine

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2010

The best all-purpose cooking wines are medium-bodied, non-oaked varieties that aren't too sweet.

REDS Go with blended (nonvarietal) American and Australian wines, or a French Côtes du Rhône.

WHITES We prefer clean, crisp, dry Sauvignon Blancs to sweet Rieslings or heavily oaked Chardonnays, which can dominate subtle flavors.

Shopping Tip

Since wine has a brief shelf life—only a few days after a bottle is opened—we recommend boxed wines, which store the liquid in an airtight, bladderlike plastic sack that collapses as the wine is removed. Dry vermouth, with a shelf life of several months, makes a good substitute for white wine.

Storage Tip

Measure 1 tablespoon of wine into each well of an ice cube tray and freeze. Use a paring knife to remove each cube, then store in a zipper-lock bag. Add the frozen cubes to sauces as desired.


Broth can work just fine as a nonalcoholic replacement for wine in soups and stews. For every 1/2 cup broth used, stir in 1/2 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar or lemon juice before serving.