Drinking red wine is fun and delicious but it is also used as a major ingredient in cooking. However, not everyone prefers to drink red wine, and sometimes it is just simply unavailable.
This doesn’t mean that your dish has to suffer without the taste of red wine. There are plenty of great alternatives out there that taste just as good as your beloved glass of red wine.
We’ve put together a list of some good red wine substitutes you can choose from that will work well in most recipes calling for red wine. Check out our list below for some ideas on what to try next time you go shopping for a bottle!
Table of Contents
- What is Red Wine?
- 11 Best Red Wine Substitutes
- What does Red Wine Taste Like?
- Can I Use Red Wine Vinegar Instead of Red Wine?
- What Can I Use Instead Of Red Wine In Beef Stew?
- What Can I Substitute For Red Wine In Soups?
What is Red Wine?
Red wine is a type of wine that typically tastes stronger and fuller than white wine. It is made using the juice from dark-colored grapes. The actual color of red wine can range from deep purple to dark red, depending on the grapes used.
The main ingredient in red wine is the skin of a red grape. The process is similar to that of white wine, but instead of removing the skin immediately after pressing, they are left to ferment and age with the grape itself.
The substance that makes red wine its deep red color is called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are also responsible for the flavors in wines that most people tend to enjoy, which means that even if you don’t drink it, the right substitute will bring out similar flavors in your dish.
11 Best Red Wine Substitutes
1. Red and White Vinegar
Red and white vinegar are great substitutes for red wine because of their color, acidity level, and flavor.
They work perfectly in place of one another so either one will be a great addition to your recipe! White vinegar may help to mellow out the rich notes of the red wine you usually use, but if you think about it, it might actually bring out the flavor of your dish.
2. Red Grape Juice
Red grape juice is another excellent substitute for red wine because of its similar color and flavor profile.
It is just as tangy, thick, and rich as red wine so it can be used to bring out similar flavors in your dish. The main difference between the two is that grape juice doesn’t have any tannins or alcohol.
This works well in dishes with strong flavors like stews, chilis, or sauces that use wine as an ingredient base for the sauce.
3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is another great substitute for red wine and there are several reasons why:
It has a similar color and flavor profile as that of cranberries, which some people may enjoy more than red wine. They’re both pretty tart, so they balance each other out well. It’s even used to make cranberry wine! It’s got a rich, fruity flavor and will help brighten up your dish.
Cranberry juice works well in dishes where you might want to add a bit of sweetness like red wine does. Try using it in marinades for meat, or even with seafood!
4. Pomegranate juice
Pomegranate juice is another great substitute for red wine because of its unique tart flavor profile. It is thick and rich just like red wine. It has a potent, fruity flavor that can certainly hold its own when substituted for red wine.
It’s a great choice when you might want to add some sweetness and you just have a bottle of pomegranate juice on hand and not red wine!
If you want to capitalize on the fruitiness of this juice, go with dishes that include desserts, fruit salads, or even grilled veggies.
5. Tomato Juice
Tomato juice is another great substitute for red wine because it has a similar flavor profile but still manages to take on its own unique identity.
This juice works well in dishes where you want to include juices from tomatoes like marinades, sauces, stews, and more.
6. Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock would be a great choice if you don’t have red wine or any of the substitute ingredients on hand! Even though the vegetable stock may not share the same color as red wine, it does share its flavor profile.
You can use this in place of red wine in most dishes, including most sauces. It also works well in dishes where you wouldn’t want to dilute flavors with grape juice or cranberry juice.
7. Cherry Juice
Cherry juice is a great substitute for red wine because it has a similar color, mouthfeel, and flavor profile as cherry wines.
It’s thick, tart, and fruity just like red wine and it’s packed with antioxidants.
You can use this juice in most recipes that call for red wine, including hearty stews, chilis, beef bourguignon, marinades for meats, or even barbecue sauce! It’s also great used with lamb.
8. Apple Juice
Apple juice is a great substitute for red wine and it makes a nice addition to many different types of dishes.
It has a similar color, acidity, flavor profile, and mouthfeel as red wine. The main difference between the two is that apple juice doesn’t have any tannins or alcohol like red wine does. This means that you won’t need to worry about using apple juice in dishes that are really rich or heart, like beef bourguignon.
You could use this in place of red wine when you’re making sauces, marinades for meat, glazes for chicken or pork chops, etc. It’s also great used with lamb! Try adding some apple juice into a sauce for a pork chop to make a complete meal.
9. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is another great substitute for red wine because it has a tart, acidic profile similar to the taste of red wine.
It brightens up your dish and can lighten up heartier meat dishes like beef bourguignon or coq au vin. It also works well with braised meats that are more delicate in flavor.
The only difference between lemon juice and red wine is that you won’t need to worry about pairing them in the same way that you would with wine and food.
Don’t be afraid to add a splash of lemon juice when cooking chicken or pork chops with red wine sauce! It will only make your dish better. Use this in place of red wine with beef bourguignon, or even in place of red grape juice.
10. Raspberry Juice
Raspberry juice is a great substitute for red wine because it’s thick, tart and fruity just like red wine.
It’s also packed with antioxidants and other health benefits, so you’ll be doing your body a favor when using raspberry juice as a substitute for red wine.
You can use this in place of the grape juice or cranberry juice that many recipes call for. You can also substitute it in place of red wine, but make sure to use the same amount of raspberry juice as you would red grape juice.
More often than not, you won’t have red wine on hand and no substitute ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a delicious wine-based dish! Instead of using red wine, use water as a substitute.
Water works well for almost every recipe and it lets the flavors of the other ingredients shine through because you won’t be diluting them. It’s also a great option if you’re gluten-free, don’t like red wine, or simply don’t have any on hand!
This substitute is perfect for dishes where your goal is to keep the flavors of the sauce or broth strong.
What does Red Wine Taste Like?
Red wine is known for its deep, dark flavor. It’s rather bold on the palate and it has a host of flavors that are created during fermentation.
Wine enthusiasts describe the blend of flavors in red wines as earthy, leathery, woodsy, blackberry, cherry pit, cocoa powder, plum skin, tobacco leaves, wintergreen, and many more depending on the grapes used to create the wine.
These flavors are what make red wines so versatile in pairing with your favorite foods.
Can I Use Red Wine Vinegar Instead of Red Wine?
Red wine vinegar is a common substitute for red wine in many recipes. It has the same gelatinous gelatin as red wine and it is an ingredient in many dishes.
However, red wine vinegar works well in dishes that don’t require reduction. It also adds a savory punch to your dish that will only take it further! To use red wine vinegar in place of the red wine, you will need to add about three times as much.
If you’re looking for something to add to your beef stew recipe, try red wine vinegar.
What Can I Use Instead Of Red Wine In Beef Stew?
If you don’t have any red wine on hand, but still want to enjoy beef stew, then you can use something that will give your dish the same flavor.
To start with, you’ll need about 3/4 cup of beef stock or broth for every 1 cup of red wine. After that, simply add ingredients like thyme and salt to give your beef stew the same flavor.
It is easy to make at home, but you can also use store-bought beef stock. It’s flavor will give the characteristic sweetness and depth of red wine without adding tannins that would come with using red wine itself.
A good trick is also to add red wine vinegar or red wine vinegar for red wine. Finally, if you want to consider another option for beef stew, remember that cranberry juice can be used instead of red wine.
What Can I Substitute For Red Wine In Soups?
Many meats and vegetables are often added to soups. If you want to add red wine, it’s extremely easy, but if not, you can choose one of the following options:
Tomato juice is a perfect substitute for red wine in minestrone.
Cranberry juice is another good option to use instead of red wine when making minestrone soup, especially if you want your dish to be sweet and tart.
For most soups that include vegetables like carrots or potatoes, try using pomegranate juice instead of red wine.
Pomegranate juice has a low sugar content, which is perfect for pairing with vegetables. You can also add beef stock (beef broth) instead of red wine.