9 Best Cooking Sherry Substitutes

Anyone who enjoys cooking knows that sherry can be a great ingredient to have on hand. It has a unique flavor that can really enhance a dish, and it’s also surprisingly versatile.

Cooking sherry is perfect for deglazing pan sauces, making savory reductions, and adding depth of flavor to soups and stews.

And while it may be tempting to cook with whatever type of sherry you have on hand, it’s important to use a cooking sherry that is specifically labeled as such.

However, cooking sherry can be expensive, and it isn’t always easy to find. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the best cooking sherry substitutes.

Cooking sherry is lower in alcohol than drinking sherry and has added salt and other ingredients that make it more suitable for cooking. Here are my favorite cooking sherry alternatives you should try.

9 Best Cooking Sherry Substitutes

The best substitutes for cooking sherry are white wine and drinking sherry. You can also use sherry vinegar, dry vermouth, and apple cider vinegar as cooking sherry substitutes in most recipes.

Whether you’re looking for a cheaper option or non-alcoholic substitutes or you just don’t have sherry on hand, these substitutes for cooking sherry will do the trick.

1. White Wine

White Wine

White wine is a classic cooking sherry substitute. It has a similar acidity and can help to brighten up a dish. Be sure to use a dry white wine, as sweeter options will make your dish too sweet.

Just keep in mind that white wine will not have the same depth of flavor as sherry, so it may not be suitable for all recipes.

A fruity white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc makes an excellent sherry substitute in cooking.

2. Drinking Sherry

If you have drinking sherry on hand, you can absolutely use it as a substitute for cooking sherry. It will add a similar flavor to your dish and can be used in the same way. 

The main difference between the two is that cooking sherry has added salt and is lower in alcohol, so you may want to add a pinch of salt to your dish if you use drinking sherry.

Just keep in mind that it is higher in alcohol, so you may want to use a little less.

3. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is a great substitute for cooking sherry because it has a similar acidity and flavor profile. It’s perfect for deglazing pan sauces and adding brightness to a dish.

Sherry vinegar is made by fermenting sherry wine, so it still has a bit of a alcoholic taste.

It’s important to remember that while sherry vinegar is more acidic than dry sherry, you should use less of it. Use 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar for each ¼ cup of sherry wine.

If you are looking for a completely non-alcoholic option, look for an apple cider or white wine vinegar instead.

4. Dry Vermouth

Vermouth Substitutes

If you’re in a pinch and need a cooking sherry substitute, your best bet is to use dry vermouth. Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that is aromatized with herbs and spices.

It has a similar alcohol content to sherry, so it can be used in recipes that call for sherry without affecting the overall flavor profile of the dish.

In addition, dry vermouth has a more complex flavor than sherry, which means it can add an extra layer of flavor to your dish. When substituting dry vermouth for cooking sherry, use an equal amount in your recipe. 

5. White Wine Vinegar

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic sherry substitute, white wine vinegar is a good option. It has a similar flavor profile to sherry, with a slightly acidic taste that can help to balance out other flavors in a dish.

White wine vinegar is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different types of recipes. Whether you’re making a marinade or a salad dressing, white wine vinegar can help to add flavor and depth to your dish.

Replace ¼ cup of sherry wine in your recipe with 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

6. Brandy


Brandy is a type of distilled wine that is made by fermenting grapes. It has a similar flavor profile to sherry, with a slightly sweet and fruity taste.

While brandy is not as dry as sherry, it can still be used in recipes that call for sherry. Also, since brandy has a higher alcohol concentration than sherry, it takes longer to evaporate.

Just keep in mind that it will add a bit more sweetness to your dish. If you want to avoid unpleasant tastes combined with your meal, purchase unflavored brandy instead.

To substitute brandy for sherry, use half amount in your recipe.

7. Red Wine Vinegar

It is a type of vinegar that is made by fermenting red wine. Red wine vinegar has a slightly tart and acidic flavor, with a hint of sweetness.

It’s perfect for adding depth of flavor to sauces, dressings, and marinades. When substituting red wine vinegar for sherry, use a half amount in your recipe and it’s best to dilute it with some water first.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

It is a type of vinegar that is made from apple cider. Apple cider vinegar has a slightly sweet and tangy flavor, with a hint of apple flavor.

It is a good all-purpose vinegar and can be used as a non-alcoholic substitute for sherry in cooking many recipes. It may be used in a variety of recipes, including soups, sauces, stews, and marinades.

Simply add 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1/2 cup of water. This will give you the equivalent of one cup of sherry. 

9. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a type of flavoring that is made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol. It has a sweet and rich flavor, with a hint of vanilla flavor.

Vanilla extract can be used in place of sherry to add sweetness and depth of flavor to a dish.

When substituting vanilla extract for sherry, mix one tablespoon of vanilla extract with two tablespoons of water for each tablespoon of sherry called for in the recipe.

Related Questions

What does cooking sherry taste like?

Cooking sherry has a complex flavor profile. It is slightly sweet, with a hint of fruitiness. It also has a slightly acidic taste, which can help to balance out other flavors in a dish.

Is sherry and sherry vinegar the same thing?

While sherry and sherry vinegar may share a similar name, they are actually quite different.

Sherry is a type of fortified wine, while sherry vinegar is a type of vinegar that is made from sherry wine. While they have similar flavors, they are not interchangeable in all the recipes.

Dry sherry vs Sweet sherry

The main difference between dry sherry and sweet sherry is the sugar content. Dry sherry has less than 0.2% sugar, while sweet sherry can have up to 45% sugar.

Sweet sherry is typically used in desserts, while dry sherry is more commonly used as a cooking ingredient.

Drinking sherry vs Cooking sherry

The main difference between drinking sherry and cooking sherry is the alcohol content. Drinking sherry has an alcohol content of around 20%, while cooking sherry has an alcohol content of around 15%.

Cooking sherry is also typically less expensive than drinking sherry.

What can I use sherry for?

Sherry can be used in a variety of recipes, including soups, stews, sauces, and marinades. It can also be used to deglaze a pan or to make a simple reduction sauce.

Sherry is also a common ingredient in many Spanish dishes, such as paella and Gazpacho.

What is a non-alcoholic substitute for dry sherry?

Non-alcoholic substitutes for dry sherry include white grape juice, apple cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar.

Each of these substitutes will add a slightly different flavor to your dish, so be sure to choose one that will complement the other flavors in your recipe.


There are a variety of substitutes that can be used in place of sherry. The best substitute for sherry will depend on the dish you are making and your personal preferences.

I hope this guide was helpful in finding the best sherry substitute for your needs. Do you have a favorite cooking sherry substitute? Share it with me in the comments below.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

Leave a Comment