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The Best White Wines for Cooking

Using white wine to prepare your favorite recipes can usher in a wealth of balance, fruit, and acidity. Think linguine with white clam sauce and chicken Marsala. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to use a relatively inexpensive (yet drinkable) dry white. You’ll also want to select a wine that has a moderate alcohol content (between 10 percent and 13) percent and plenty of acidity, as wines with a high alcohol content might take longer to reduce and sometimes don’t have the necessary acidity to add brightness and tenderness. Here, a roundup of some white wines that are superb choices for whipping your next vino-laced meal.

best white wines for cooking

Crisp White Wine — Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Un
oaked Chardonnay

Pinot Grigio is the most neutral of the three, which also makes it the most versatile. Sauvignon Blanc offers racy acidity, which is especially tasty in seafood dishes or with sauces with heavy cream. Chardonnay has the most richness of the three.


This versatile wine is great for deglazing. It also can be used to bring depth to a cream sauce, and is great alongside appetizers such as oysters.


This wine is delicious incorporated into a classic chicken or veal Marsala. But you might want to try branching out by using this complex, dry beverage in braised preparations as well.

Sparkling Wine

This wine is perfectly suited for a Champagne vinaigrette or sorbet. It’s also a great substitute for dry, white wine in beurre blanc. The bubbles dissipate when cooked, so it’s a great opportunity to use any flat bubbly left over after a party.


This Portuguese-fortified wine from the islands of Madeira is produced in four distinct styles. Choose “Sercial,” a dry style that also can be used as a refreshing aperitif. Madeira goes best in a classic Beef Wellington sauce, as a savory addition to gravy, or as a substitute for Sherry in almost any recipe.

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