Top 5 Best White Wines for Cooking

top 5 best white wine for cooking

Here is our Best White Wine for Cooking #1 TIP:

“Never over $20. And if you won’t drink it, don’t use it”

A good white wine (under $20) can transform any of your favorite recipes – from meats, veggies, and even desserts!

With wine, your cooking style and possibilities expand exponentially.

  • White wine adds and accents elements of aroma and flavor to a dish.
  • It works as a marinade, a cooking liquid, or flavoring in a finished dish.

Table of Contents

What Types of White Wine Are Good for Cooking?

Three of the most common white varietals – Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay – are the most versatile styles to work with in the kitchen.

If you don’t have any of these three, like anything with cooking, you can improvise as best as possible. But here are a few things to remember when choosing types of white wine for cooking:

  • Choose wines with similar dry, crisp characteristics to the three varietals mentioned above. (i.e. Chenin Blanc and Dry Marsala)
  • White wine varieties that contain higher residual sugar aren’t best as cooking wine. They can make savory dishes overly sweet and might caramelize if you’re not careful. So, beware with the likes of Riesling and Gewurtztraminer!
  • Avoid rich, oaky whites. They can put an unpleasant flavor to the dish when the buttery, oaky flavors turn bitter during the cooking process.

Why Is White Wine Good for Cooking?

Cooking with white wine brings fruity aroma and flavor, acidity, and overall balance to many recipes. The alcohol content in white wine brings out flavor molecules in foods that would otherwise remain unreleased during the cooking process.


  • Lightens stews and braises.
  • Makes sauces more complex and less acidic.
  • Cuts the richness and adds depth to cream-based sauces.

If you want to elevate a dish – whether it’s poultry, pork, vegetables, or seafood – a good bottle of white wine can do that!

Think of it as a supplement or an addition for your favorite recipe.

Top 5 Best Dishes Using White Wine

White wine is highly versatile and a pantry staple, whether it’s for sauteing or deglazing. Check out five of the most delightful recipes you can make using white wine.

white wine vinegar recipe calls
  1. Sauvignon Blanc Steamed Mussels – Mussels work perfectly well with citrusy, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
  1. Shrimp Scampi – Sauce made with lemon juice, butter, garlic, and your favorite white wine will bring out the best of this simple Italian-American classic.
  1. Seared Scallops with Pinot Gris Butter Sauce – Pinot Gris loves shellfish, and you can count on that when making this dish.
  1. Linguine with White Clam Sauce – For these pasta dishes, a touch of dry white wine (or herby dry vermouth, if you prefer) and butter boosts the savory flavor of the clams in this recipe.
  1. Summer Squash Gratin – This super simple gratin goes to another level in terms of flavor with a combination of Gruyere cheese and your choice of white wine.

Quick Fun Facts About Wine with Food

  • Heat will not drive alcohol out of the dish. At least not 100% of it. If you flambe a dessert, 25% of alcohol in your white wine will evaporate, but the remaining 75% will be there.
  • Heat won’t improve a bad wine. It only makes things worse!
  • White wines are in ‘NO WAY’ less sophisticated than red wine. They are both complex and delicious that can level almost, if not all, recipes.
  • Not all wines labeled as ‘cooking wines’ are great for cooking. They have loads of added salt, sugar, and other preservatives. In fact, move past supermarket ‘cooking wines’ at all costs. Use the wine you would typically drink instead!

What are the 5 Best White Wine for Cooking?

best dry white wine for cooking

1) Pinot Grigio

You won’t go wrong with using a bottle of Pinot Grigio as cooking wine. 

Thanks to the Pinot Grigio wine’s crisp, dry, and uncomplicated properties, it’s the go-to white wine for cooking. Your favorite Pinot Grigio (Italian wine) will work well with more delicate seafood dishes – adding a new flavor dimension to herbed shrimp or brightening broths for steamed mussels.

2) Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp white wine that adds herbaceous and citrusy elements to recipes. It works well to add some kick in marinades or complement the dense creaminess of risotto dishes with its juicy and acidic character.

3) Chardonnay (Unoaked)

This one is iffy…

Oaky Chardonnay can add a bitterness to your dish, however the right Chardonnay provides a richness to your dish. Look for a unoaked, medium-bodied bottle of Chardonnay.

4) Dry Marsala

Like any dry wine, dry Marsala is a fortified wine style that is a good fit for any recipe that involves shellfish. It’s one of the most well-known varietals for cooking, popularized by the classic Italian-American dish, Chicken Marsala.

5) Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is another versatile white, a richer-style wine with honeyed aromas and green apple-like flavors. It’s dry with a good level of sweetness and acidity. Chenin Blanc is best paired with sour and sweet dishes in most Asian-inspired recipes. Not only is a Chenin Blanc a still wine, but it can also be a sparkling wine. 


Learn more about dry white wines click here

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