Non Alcoholic Substitutes for Alcohol/Wine in Cooking

Here’s a listing of various substitutions – and again, I can take no credit for much of this; I’ve garnered information over the years, checked my books and scoured the web.  Let me know if something works really well, or conversely, if it doesn’t.  Check also under Alcohol/Wine Substitutes for a lot of discussion and the guidelines I use for substituting.  Scroll down to the bottom of that page ratios and suggestions for wine and alcohol substitutes both with and without alcohol in recipes requiring larger amounts.

Beef Stew with Wine (or not) and Bacon.
Beef Stew with Wine (or not) and Bacon.

Here are recommendations for some specific substitutions, all non-alcoholic and in alphabetical order:

  • Amaretto – Non-Alcoholic almond extract. (Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for 2 tablespoons Amaretto.)
  • Anisette – Anise Italian soda syrup or fennel. Also use the herbs anise or fennel.
  •  Apple Brandy – Apple juice, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, apple cider, or apple butter. See brandy.
  • Apricot Brandy – Syrup from a can of apricots in heavy syrup, or apricot preserves.  See brandy.
  • Beer or Ale – A strong chicken, beef or mushroom broth, or non-alcoholic beer.
  • Beer or Ale (Light) – Chicken broth, white grape juice or ginger ale
    Bourbon – Orange or pineapple juices, peach syrup, or non-alcoholic vanilla extract. (Substitute equal amount of liquid 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.)
  • Brandy – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of brandy or rum extract for 2 tablespoons of Brandy. When liquid amount is critical to the recipe, use water or fruit juices corresponding to flavor of brandy, for instance, white grape juice, apple cider or apple juice, diluted peach pear or apricot syrups.  See apricot brandy, apple brandy, calvados,
  • Calvados – Apple juice, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, apple cider, or apple butter.  See brandy, apple brandy.
  • Chambord – Raspberry juice, syrup or extract.
  • Champagne – Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling white grape juice.
  • Cherry Liqueur or Cherry Brandy – Syrup from a can of cherries in heavy syrup, or cherry Italian soda Syria or cherry preserves. See Kirsch & brandy.
  • Claret – non-alcoholic wine, diluted grape juice or cherry cider syrup.
    Coffee Liqueur – To replace 2 tablespoons of liqueur, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chocolate extract mixed with 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, which has been mixed in 2 tablespoons of water. Can also substitute espresso, non-alcoholic coffee extract or coffee syrup.
  • Cognac – Juice from peaches, apricots, or pears.
  • Cointreau – To replace 2 tablespoons of liqueur, use 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate or 2 tablespoons of orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract.tablespoons of orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract.
  • Crème de cacao – Powdered white chocolate combined with water, or non-alcoholic vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
  • Crème de cassis – Black currant Italian soda syrup or black currant jam
  • Creme de menthe – non-alcoholic mint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, spearmint extract, or spearmint oil with a little water added. If green color is needed, add a drop of green food coloring.
  • Curacao – To replace 2 tablespoons of liqueur, use 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate or 2 tablespoons of orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract.
  • Framboise -Raspberry juice or raspberry syrup.
  • Frangelico -Hazelnut or almond extract.
  • Galliano – Licorice extract.
  • Gewurztraminer – White grape juice combined with lemon juice.
  • Grand Marnier or Orange-Flavored Liqueur – Unsweetened orange juice concentrate or orange juice. (Substitute 2 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice concentrate or 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract for 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier.)
  • Grappa – Grape juice.
  • Grenadine – Non-alcoholic grenadine or pomegranate syrup.
  • Hard Cider – Apple juice or apple cider.
  • Kahlua – Coffee or chocolate-flavored liqueur. (Substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chocolate extract or substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon instant coffee in 2 tablespoons water for 2 tablespoons Kahlua.)
  • Kirsch – (Substitute equal amounts of liquid.) Kirsch – Cherry cider or black cherry, raspberry, boysenberry, currant, or grape juice or syrup. Substitute same amount of liquid as called for in the recipe.
  • Licorice or Anise Liqueur – Anise Italian soda syrup or fennel.
  • Marsala – 1/4 cup of grape juice plus 1 teaspoon of fruity vinegar.
  • Mirin – White grape juice combined with lemon juice or lemon zest.
  • Muscat – White grape juice combined with powdered sugar.
  • Ouzo – Anise Italian soda syrup or fennel. Peppermint Schnapps – Non-alcoholic mint or peppermint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, or mint leaves.
  • Orange Liqueur – Orange juice concentrate, orange juice, orange zest or orange marmalade.Peach Brandy – Syrup from a can of peaches in heavy syrup, or peach preserves.
  • Peppermint Schnapps – non-alcoholic mint or peppermint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, or mint leaves.
  • Port – Concord grape juice with some lime zest added, cranberry juice with some lemon juice added, or grape juice concentrate. Substitute orange juice or apple juice for lighter ports.
  • Rum – White grape juice, pineapple juice, or apple juice in equal liquid amounts as called for in the recipe. Can also use these juices with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of non-alcoholic rum, almond or vanilla extract added.
  • Red Burgundy – Red wine vinegar, grape juice or non-alcoholic wine.
  • Red Wine – Sweet or dry non-alcoholic wine with a tablespoon of vinegar added to cut the sweetness, grape juice, cranberry juice, grape jelly, tomato juice, beef broth, liquid drained from vegetables, or water. Use equal amounts of liquid as called for in the recipe.
  • Red Wine – Red grape juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, clam juice, fruit juices, flavored vinegar. (Substitute equal amount of liquid.)
  • Riesling – White grape juice with a pinch of powdered sugar added.
  • Sake – Rice vinegar.
  • Sambuca – Anise Italian soda syrup or fennel.
  • Savory – Thyme, marjoram, or sage.
  • Schnapps – To replace 2 tablespoons of schnapps, add 1 teaspoon of a corresponding flavored extract.
  • Sherry – Apple juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, or non-alcoholic vanilla extract.
  • Southern Comfort – Peach flavored nectar combined with a small amount of cider vinegar.
  • Sparkling Wine – Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling white grape juice.
  • Tequila – Cactus juice or nectar.  If I’m making a recipe that calls for a small bit of tequila, I sometimes use a squirt or two of lime, instead.  If the recipe already has lime, I’ll just leave the tequila out. In a marinade I might add a dash of white vinegar.
  • Triple Sec – Orange juice concentrate, orange juice, orange zest or orange marmalade.
  • Vermouth, Dry – White grape juice, white wine vinegar, or non-alcoholic white wine.lemon juice.
  • Vodka – White grape juice or apple cider combined with lime juice or use plain water in place of the vodka.
  • Whiskey – If a small amount is called for, it can be eliminated.
  • White Burgundy Non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice combined with white wine vinegar.
  • White Wine – Sweet or dry non-alcoholic wine with a tablespoon of vinegar added to cut the sweetness, white grape juice, apple juice, apple cider, tomato juice, chicken broth, liquid drained from vegetables, ginger ale, or water. Use equal amounts of liquid as called for in the recipe.
  • White Wine, Sweet – White grape juice plus 1 tablespoons Karo corn syrup. (Substitute equal amount of liquid.)

9 thoughts on “Non Alcoholic Substitutes for Alcohol/Wine in Cooking”

  1. Hi, Thank you for both posts on alcohol/wine/non-alcoholic substitutes, very informative & definitely something I will refer back to.
    I have a question for you with a recipe I’m making, Sticky Chilli Beef Ribs. It seems to have an Asian type of flavour profile with ginger, garlic, lime Sriracha chilli sauce, smoked paprika, maple syrup, soy sauce, cinnamon stick, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/4 Chinese cooking wine & 250ml of apple cider. Meat is browned & reserved scraped marinade liquids cinnamon stick added, cover, cook 3 hours in an oven. When I’ve made before I usually get an alcoholic apple cider. However I have no apple cider, the alcohol I do have is white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, sake, rum & brandy, also, have some Granny Smith apples. Questions: should I increase the chicken stock, or peel, grate or juice the apples, add some white wine vinegar as well, what do you think would be a good substitution for the 250ml of apple cider? Stumped.

    1. When I do recipes like this and have no cider, I just use apple juice and a teaspoon or two of vinegar. You just want a little sticky sweet & a touch of sour from that apple cider, it sounds like. It has SO much flavor going on I don’t think you have to worry too much. The recipe sounds marvelous!! Gosh, I’d love to try it!!!

  2. Making strawberry pie & calls for 3 tablespoons of bourbon but I’m out so what can I use for substitute & how much thank you

    1. Hi Drucella, we were tied up all day, so I hope I’m not too late. You could use almost anything for this – I’ve never had strawberry pie with bourbon, but any whisky would give very close results, brandy would be good or you could just go another direction and use any type of a fruity spirit – like Grand Marnier, or a Framboise. I’d use the same amount.

  3. Thanks for the tips! If my recipe calls for 1/2 cup of dry white wine, say for a pasta cream sauce, would I use a full 1/2 cup or white wine vinegar? Or would I dilute it with equal amounts of water or non-alcoholic white wine? Thanks!

      1. Hi Gary, if you have non-alcoholic white wine I’d use that with a teaspoon of vinegar if you want. For a creamy pasta sauce, I’d personally not use any vinegar, just more cream or milk. The vinegar would likely taste strong, but you’d only use a teaspoon or so if you wanted to try it.

        I’m assuming you’re sauteeing something, then adding in the wine and reducing, then adding in the cream?

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