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Alcohol Substitutions and Cooking Tips

Cooking with alcohol tips and hints

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You'll have to use your own judgement on substituting for alcohol in recipes. Sweet recipes will require different substitutions than savory. Amounts will also make a difference. You wouldn't want to use a quarter cup of almond extract to replace the same amount of Amaretto liqueur. And remember, the final product will not be how the original cook intended, but it should still be tasty.

  • Look at the main ingredients of your recipe. Usually the main liquid ingredient can be extended to cover a small amount of required alcoholic ingredient.
  • If the amount is less than a tablespoon, it can probably be omitted although flavor will be lost.
  • Any variety of juices and/or tomato juice can often be substituted in marinades.
  • Non-alcoholic wine or wine vinegar can be substituted for wine. Add a bit of honey or sugar to emulate sweeter wines.
  • Extracts, flavorings, syrups, and juices can be substituted for flavor-based liquors and liqueurs. They will usually need to be diluted.
  • Use non-alcoholic wines over cooking wine or sherry. It should be drinkable. The cooking wines and sherries are loaded with sodium which detracts from flavor and adds a salty flavor to the food.
  • To help burn off more alcohol and reduce potential injuries when using it for flamed dishes, be sure to warm the liquor before adding to the hot (the food must also be hot!), and use a long match or lighter to ignite it. Always tilt the pan away from you when igniting. The liquor should be added very last possible moment and lit as quickly as possible to avoid the liquor soaking into the food. Let the alcohol burn off enough so the flavor does not overpower the dish.
  • Tomato sauce or juice combined with Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce can work as a substitute for many robust liquors.
  • Frozen desserts and high alcohol-content liquor do not mix well since the alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature. You may end up with runny ice cream or sorbet.
  • When using milk or cream in a sauce containing alcohol, be sure to burn off the alcohol before adding the cream or the sauce may curdle.
  • If the alcoholic ingredient in the recipe is intended to be the main flavor and you must avoid alcohol, find another recipe. It just won't taste the same.

    Next page >Alcohol Substitution Chart > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

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