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What kind of white wine do you use for cooking?

asked by Lu almost 5 years ago
12 answers 11550 views
F83774ec c18a 46a4 8dff 00877f15aed6  image
Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 5 years ago

I've always wondered about the "don't cook with it if you wouldn't drink it" thing. I'm not a big white wine drinker, so I never know what to buy for cooking and just try to go for the "reasonably-priced, relatively dry" option. What I find though is that when I buy blind like this I sometimes up with a nasty, cheap wine-taste in the food. (Trouble is, I buy wine at Trader Joe's b/c it's so much cheaper there, but their stock changes weekly, so if I find one I like I can't always find the same bottle the next time I look for it.)

Trader Joe's has plenty of drinkable wines for under $10, so just going by price doesn't always work. Sorry I don't really have a good answer for the question, just wondering how others weigh in on the issue.

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added almost 5 years ago

I would suggest that opening a bottle to cook with is the perfect excuse to serve the rest of the bottle with the meal. Conversely, I cook with wines I enjoy and can afford to drink. Works perfectly for me.

The first time I heard "if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it", it was an admonition to avoid anything labeled "cooking wine" (do they still sell that stuff?) and not to cook with old, stale leftovers. It seems like it should go without saying, a dish is only as good as its ingredients. But that doesn't mean you have to use expensive bottles, the esoteric qualities that command high prices are most often lost in the cooking process.

As to what to buy, the best advice I have is best phrased as what to avoid, and that's heavily oaked wines. The astringent flavor only concentrates during cooking and, quite frankly, I classify such wines as undrinkable to begin with. Unfortunately, most California chardonnays fall into that category so unless it says "unoaked" on the bottle, keep looking.

I've yet to meet a sommelier who didn't list a Riesling amongst their favorites. I've had really good luck with TJ's German Rieslings including that they remain consistent.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 5 years ago

I so agree with Chef Ono on the oaked/unoaked!

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 5 years ago

Yes, that salted, lousy, VERY expensive wine is still on grocery store shelves all over the US.

I cook with "old stale" wines all the time. If it sits in the fridge longer than what I want to drink it, I just leave the stopper in it until I'm cooking something I want to use it for.... or a week (whichever comes first).

I generally cook with dry vermouth -- the Dolin brand -- there IS a difference! Got that from Julia Child who reminded that since Vermouth is a fortified wine, it has a longer shelf life than "dry white." Unless I already have an inexpensive bottle open, I go with the vermouth. I probably go throuh a bottle every couple of months.

The green boxes of Bandit brand Pinot Grigio are good for cooking (and drinking) too and because it's a box, it keeps a bunch longer than a bottle.

19f2e275 c635 488f 8322 530158a23e00  food52
added almost 5 years ago

I tried to use those grocery store wines ONCE, and when my first taste test was so overly salty, that I had to toss the whole pot of sauce. The wine didn't even lend a good flavor. Where that stuff comes from and why does it sells is beyond my comprehension. IF anyone takes anything from this thread, its that those bottles are worthless. no good for drinking, no good for cooking. Plenty of cheaper, drinkable wines at the liquor store that are a bazillion times better for cooking than that junk.

0bc70c8a e153 4431 a735 f23fb20dda68  sarah chef

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 5 years ago

Price or varietal? As far as varietal goes, I look for a (dry) riesling, chardonnay, semillon, sauv blanc, pinot grigio - any of these work, and I'd choose based on what I'd like to sip from :) Gewurtztraminers, moscatos and and sweeter rieslings are great for desserts (though the dry options can also work, since you're usually adding sugar as well).

I agree that you don't need to spend a fortune - I challenge most palates to taste a $10 bottle versus a $20 bottle in your average sauce. That said, if it's the star and going to be concentrated, such as in a beurre blanc, you don't want to go *too* downmarket.

Something like St Hallett's Poacher's Blend is a good contender as it's also enjoyable to drink.


(I don't know anything about this website other than it has a pic of the label and a rough price)

E7b6597b db6e 4cae b9f3 699b508f4ed3  036

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 5 years ago

I usually end up adding what I am drinking (sort of proving that saying) - that said - I am not a butter or oak fan. I like my wine dryish - LOVE falanghina (harder to find - bit more spendy) but very often it's something like King's Estate pinot gris from Oregon which runs around $14.00/bottle. I also drink a lot (!!!) of dry rose (hello Provence) in the hotter months so that gets dumped into whatever is cooking on a frequent bases. If I am drinking red then I'll open one of those whites or pinks, use what I need, and fridge the rest until I am ready to drink it.

Wholefoods user icon
added almost 5 years ago

I generally stick with sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio/pinot gris, usually in the small 4-pack bottles so it doesn't go to waste. If I only need 1/2 cup or less, I'll even use white vermouth.

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 5 years ago

For French cooking (other than Alsatian), Chablis has never let me down. For Alsatian dishes, I go local, generally cooking with whatever I'd serve with the dish. ;o)

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 5 years ago

Cavit Pinot Grigio. Less than $10, dry very drinkable.

19f2e275 c635 488f 8322 530158a23e00  food52
added almost 5 years ago

I keep a box of burgundy and a box of chablis on hand for general deglazing and cooking. I've been known to sneak a glass here and there while I'm cooking too ;) The boxes sit nicely, ready to use on a shelf close by my burners. Perfectly easy to store and use over a long period.

I'f I need something more specific for a dessert or something, I'll purchase a separate bottle of whatever it is that I need for that moment, but the burgundy/chablis duo works quite well for me in the majority of my cooking.

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