10 Best Red Wine Substitutes For Cooking

Red Wine

Red wine is not just a great drink to have with your favorite food or as you hang out with friends. You can use red wine in different recipes as well. But if your recipe calls for red wine and you don’t have it, there are plenty of substitutes you can use. 

One of the best substitutes for red wine is red vinegar. However, you can also use white vinegar, pomegranate juice, or cranberry juice in your recipes as well. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about red wine substitutes.

Red Wine Substitutes 

The following red wine alternatives will go great in any recipe that calls for red wine. At the same time, they can be a useful substitute if you want to cook a red wine recipe for children.

1. Red and white vinegar

Red wine vinegar

If you don’t have red wine, chances are that you have vinegar in your kitchen. Vinegar is used in a wide range of recipes and can replace red wine in many of them as well.

However, you have to consider that vinegar, being red or white vinegar, has a higher level of acidity. Often, vinegar contains wine so that makes it a great replacement as well.

Vinegar is more acidic than wine, but it will not alter the taste of your meals radically. You can use it in the same 1:1 ratio for recipes that include a liquid or a sauce or marinates.

If you are cooking beef or pork dishes, red wine vinegar is a great choice. Equally, if you are cooking chicken or fish dishes, the best choice would be white wine vinegar.

2. Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice concentrate

Cranberry juice is great as a red wine replacement as well. It has a similar color to red wine but also a tart taste that enriches the flavor of different meals.

You can use the same amount of this juice as you would use red wine and your meals will taste just as delicious. Keep in mind, however, that cranberry juice is sweeter than wine.

You can use cranberry juice instead of wine in any recipe that requires sugar as you will not have to add any more sugar since this is a sweeter replacement. It is perfect for salad dressings and marinates but also for specific sauces that go great with the meat.

3. Pomegranate juice

pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice can be a good alternative to red wine because it is similar in its dark color and has a very pleasant taste. Be careful as pomegranate can have a strong taste so you might want to add less than you would add red wine.

This juice has a lower acidic level compared to red wine. Therefore, you might want to add a tablespoon of vinegar if you prefer a more acidic taste. You can use pomegranate to create different sauces for your meat or veggies and even for many salad dressings. Also, pomegranate juice is healthy which brings more benefits to your dish.

4. Ginger juice

You can use ginger juice instead of red wine and end up with a tasty dish that you will love to enjoy with your friends or family. Ginger has a flavor that resemblances red wine but it is not quite the same.

You will find all types of ginger juices, including carbonated ones that contain lemon and sugar besides ginger extract. When you use ginger juice instead of red wine, expect your food to look different as this gives it a lighter shade.

Depending on how much you like the ginger juice you can add more or less than you would add red wine. You can use ginger juice as a red wine substitute in salads or marinates for fish or chicken as it goes best with this type of dish.

5. Grape juice

Grape Juice

Red wine is made of grapes so grape juice can be a good replacement for it as well. Grape juice is sweeter than red wine. Thus, the taste of your dish will be slightly different. However, if you don’t mind the extra sweetness, you can use grape juice any time instead of red wine.

You can use this juice instead of red wine on a one-to-one ratio so keep the same quantity. A good secret is to add a little vinegar to your grape juice, according to your taste to reduce the sweetness. You can use grape juice instead of red wine as a substitute in every type of dish from stews to salads and sauces.

6. Vegetable stock

Vegetable stock 

You can use vegetable stock instead of red wine in both stews or soups and you will love the result. This substitute will not work for salads or cold dishes but it will be a great option for cooked dishes.

If you don’t have vegetable stock, you can use chicken stock or beef stock just the same. You can add different seasonings to the stock in order to get the flavor you want. If you want a similarity in color you can use beef stock as it tends to be darker than chicken stock or vegetable stock. And as far as the ratio goes, you can use more stock than you would use wine since its taste is not so pregnant.

7. Apple juice

Apple juice

It might surprise you that apple juice can substitute red wine in almost any type of recipe. This is secret many chefs use if they run out of red wine.

Apple juice is sweet and can boost the flavor of your dish. It can even have a darker color which gives any meal the aesthetic you want them to have. This juice comes in many colors depending on the way it was made and so, you can choose the right one for your recipe.

In terms of ratio, use the same quantity of apple juice as you would use red wine and your food will taste great. You can use apple juice instead of wine when your recipe calls for a small amount of wine, to begin with. You can use it in sauces or dressings if you want to make the best out of it.

8. Lemon juice

Lemon Extract

Lemon juice might be another red wine substitute that surprises you. Its color will not be similar to red wine but in terms of flavor, it can be very close as lemon juice is acidic too.

It can be used to replace wine in marinades or dressings. However, make sure to taste your dish as you are cooking it because lemon juice can have a strong taste.

To avoid a taste that is too strong, use half the quantity compared to the quantity of wine you would use. So, if the recipe requires one cup of wine, you can use half a cup of lemon juice and taste your food before you decide if you should add more.

9. Tomato juice

Diced Tomatoes

Tomato juice is commonly used instead of red wine but it is not the ideal substitute since it can taste different enough to change the flavor of your food. It will however add the color you want to your dish and a pleasant taste so you can definitely use it if you run out of red wine.

You will notice that tomato juice is also acidic and you can use the same quantity in your food as you would use red wine. It will work great in cooked dishes such as soups or stews.

10. Water

adding water in dish

Assuming that you have none of these substitutes, you can always add water to your dish. Just make sure that you don’t make it too liquid. Even if it will not enrich the flavor of your food or alter its color, it can give you the saucy texture you want.

Besides water, you can add grounded ginger or lemon extract to add some acidity to your food if you don’t have red wine. Add as much water as you need to obtain the texture you are looking for. Check your dish to not be runnier than you are planning.

When Does a Recipe Calls for Red Wine?

Red Wine

If you need to use red wine you are probably preparing a stew or a meat recipe. Red wine goes great in recipes with beef or pork as well as in marinates. However, it can also boost the flavor of vegetable stews and it can be used in salad dressings as well.

The acidic yet fruity taste of red wine will enhance the flavor of your dish and will impress all your guests. And if you don’t have red wine, use one of the ingredients above.

Red Wine Substitute in Stews

Stewed Tomatoes

If you are cooking a stew and especially a beef stew, the best substitute for red wine is beef stock. You can use vegetable stock just as well since it will add to the flavor of your stew and even give it a richer taste.

You can also use tomato sauce for the color and acidic taste it has. If you are wondering about ratio, for tomato sauce you can use a one-to-one ratio. However, for stock, you can use more of it than you would use red wine, according to your taste.


Red wine is definitely replaceable in most dishes that call for this ingredient. If you use any of the ingredients in this guide, your food will taste just as amazing.

You can also keep following the instructions in your recipe even if you exclude red wine. There might be one of the alternatives to red wine that you prefer to keep as a permanent ingredient in your dish as well.

1 comment
  1. Thank you for this advice. Please note the typo on the word pork (an “n” was used instead of the “k”.)

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