Best White Wine for Cooking
Discover the best white wine for making risotto, shrimp scampi, chicken, and more.
Cooking with white wine can add delicious flavor to your dishes. Who doesn’t love seafood pasta with a white wine sauce or a mouthwatering helping of risotto? Unfortunately, a recipe that calls for “white wine” may be annoyingly vague. There are so many types of white wine. Can’t we have more guidance on which one to use?
Yes! We can help.
It’s easy to choose the best white wine for cooking once you have a little knowledge. We have easy tips for cooking with wine, including recommendations for the best white wine for risotto, for cooking seafood pasta, for making easy white wine sauces, and more.
Best White Wine for Cooking
Cream Sauces, White Meat, and other Rich Dishes
The best white wine for cooking cream sauces is a medium-bodied dry white, like a Chardonnay. This type of wine adds richness to a dish and isn’t too tart.
For a cream sauce, some cooks suggest reducing the wine in a separate saucepan, then adding it to the cream. This gives you more control over the wine reduction.
Note: Some readers find oaked Chardonnay to become unpleasantly bitter when reduced.
To cook seafood, choose a crisp, dry white wine like a Pinot Grigio, Muscadet, or Sauvignon Blanc.
Pinot Grigio is the most versatile of these. Expect Sauvignon Blanc to be more acidic and add a lemony flavor to your dish.
Choose a light, dry white wine. Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent choice, because it is bright and herbaceous in flavor. Try it with this Very Veggie Kale and White Bean Soup.
Bonus! Dry Vermouth is also a superstar wine for cooking. You can use it for seafood, poultry, and other rich dishes. It's a fortified wine, so it will also last longer after you open it (store in the refrigerator).
Best White Wines for Cooking Your Favorite Meals
A great dry white wine for risotto is Pinot Grigio or another dry Italian white wine. The nutty, salty Italian cheese in most risotto recipes will pair perfectly with these bright Italian wines.
The best dry white wine for cooking shrimp scampi is also Pinot Grigio. Dry vermouth is another great choice.
For cooking chicken piccata, most of the above white wines would work well. You could also enjoy Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, or unoaked Chardonnay.
The best white wine for cooking seafood pasta is Pinot Grigio. This bright, citrusy wine will match the seafood and the pasta.
Last but not least, our favorite white wine for fondue is Sauvignon Blanc. Try using it in this yummy fondue recipe!
Quick Tips for Cooking With White Wine
- Don’t choose “cooking wine.” This is usually a blend of poor quality wines and added salt.
- If a recipe calls for a “dry white wine,” then use a dry white. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and unoaked Chardonnay are all good choices.
- Pinot Grigio is your friend. Almost any recipe will turn out well with this dry white wine.
- Sherry, Madeira, Marsala, and Port will probably not substitute well for white wine in a recipe.
- You can cook with white wine that has been opened and properly stored in the refrigerator. A bottle of white wine is usually fine to cook with for up to two weeks after opening.
- Don’t break the bank on wine for cooking. A moderately priced wine that you like will be fine.
Best Dry White Wines for Cooking
What do you think is the best white wine to cook with?