What type of white wine should I use for recipes?  

7 Ways With Wineenlarge

Photo: Beau Gustafson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

As Julia Child used to so often say, the best wine to cook with is one you consider good enough to drink. As a general rule of thumb, dry (non-sweet) wines work best in savory dishes, while sweet or fortified wines (such as port and sherry) are more attuned to desserts and sauces.

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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Unless a recipe says otherwise, I suggest you use a relatively inexpensive, but drinkable-- dry white, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chablis. It is often said you should cook with the wine you're drinking with the meal, but unless I am making a very special meal, I am willing to spend a little more on a wine I drink than one which will be one element in my sauce.

But having said that, I will only cook with a wine I would drink: if I don't like it, I sure don't want it in my dinner, either. And by the way: since I won't drink the stuff they call "cooking wine", I won't cook with it, either.

For some ideas on using wine in recipes, see 7 Ways with Wine.

Marge Perry
Jan, 2011
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