substitute for white wine in risotto

Wondering what are the best substitute for white wine in Risotto? Risotto is a delicious northern Italian rice dish prepared with veggies, meat, or seafood.

Most recipes call for onion, butter, parmesan, and white wine. If you don’t have wine, there are various items that may substitute instead of white wine in risotto.

White wine is popularly used in cooking because, as wine is cooked, its flavor becomes more concentrated, lending either acidity, sweetness, or both to the dish.

This enhances the flavor of sweet as well as savory dishes, giving them more depth and a richer overall taste. 

Top 10 Ingredients to Substitute for White Wine in Risotto

It’s hard to think of many things that a splash of wine doesn’t improve, be it a conversation, a dinner party, or your risotto.

But if you’ve run out of wine or don’t want to use wine for any reason, here are some effective substitutes you can try out that also do the job.

1. Grape Juice

grape juice

Did you know that a lot of the alcohol from wine boils off during cooking? So it’s not the alcohol that’s responsible for the flavor that wine imparts to the risotto.

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Grape juice is basically non-alcoholic wine, so it makes for a great substitute. A lot of supermarket grape juices contain added sugar and are generally less sour than wine.

Make sure you take that into account when substituting.

How to Substitute

You could try looking for grape juices without added sugar or make grape juice at home, whatever works for you.

If you manage to find one without added sugar, the ideal ratio for substituting them would be 1:1. 

2. Vinegar


Another way to get the acidic element from wine into your risotto is with vinegar. Vinegar also contains acid, acetic acid to be specific.

Note: The main acid found in white wine is called tartaric acid, which has a similar taste profile to acetic acid. 

However, do keep in mind that vinegar is a lot sourer than wine. Taste a spoonful of wine and a spoonful of vinegar for a clearer comparison.

So you have to be more conservative with adding vinegar than wine. 

How to Substitute

If you have apple cider or white wine vinegar, you can first dilute it by mixing it with water in a 1:1 ratio.

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And then add the same amount of the mixture to the risotto as you would’ve wine. 

3. Chicken Stock

chicken stock

Chicken or beef stock is used as a base for broths like soups and sauces. The stock is prepared by immersing meat, bones, and vegetables in water for a long time and is often seasoned with spices and herbs to elevate the flavor.

Because it serves a similar function in cooking as wine, using chicken stock to cook your risotto is another great substitute for white wine.

You can find cans of chicken stock at your local grocery store or make them at home.

How to Substitute

Depending on the kind of flavor you’re targeting, you can substitute white wine with chicken stock in equal parts.

Chicken stock, however, is more on the savory side and not as acidic as wine, so squeeze in a few drops of lime too. 

4. Vegetable Stock

vegetable stock

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, vegetable stock is every bit as good of a replacement as chicken stock. In fact, vegetable stock is healthier than chicken stock because it packs more nutritional value in fewer calories. 

Note: Vegetable stock bases are usually made from a combination of veggies such as onion, celery, leek, garlic, carrot, and mushrooms. Because of their thick base, they make excellent creamy risottos. 

How to Substitute

Just like with chicken stock, vegetable stock can also be substituted for wine in equal amounts or as per the recipe being used. 

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5. Lime Juice

lime juice

Lime or lemon juice is a key ingredient in many food recipes, generally added for an extra pop of flavor.

If you’re trying to achieve a slightly tangy taste with your risotto, lime juice might be the perfect white wine substitute for you.      

Lime juice is also quite nutritious. Half a cup alone almost suffices for your daily Vitamin C, E, magnesium, and potassium requirements.

Lime, however, contains citric acid, which has more tart than white wine, so you cannot substitute them equally. Before you add lime juice, you should dilute it with equal parts of water.

How to Substitute 

Say your risotto recipe calls for one cup of wine. In that case, the ideal substitute would be to mix half a cup of water with lemon juice. The ratio of diluted lemon juice to white wine is 1:1

6. Ginger Ale

Ginger ale is a carbonated beverage, like sprite or coca-cola, but flavored with ginger. It also contains lemon, lime, and cane sugar. 

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Ginger ale can be used as a substitute for white wine in many cooking recipes including risotto if you’re feeling bold. This is because of its similar dry, sweet, and moderately acidic taste.

The acidity of ginger also makes it an effective meat tenderizer, which means it makes the meat softer and easier to chew. 

How to Substitute

You can substitute white wine with ginger ale in equal parts. Just remember that this may add a slight gingery flavor to the risotto. 

7. Apple Juice

apple juice

Apple juice is a sweet beverage with just a hint of sourness, making it a good candidate for use as a white wine substitute.

But because it is sweet, apple juice works best for risotto recipes that call for less wine.

Apple juice has natural sugars, so adding too much would make the risotto sweet — not the flavor you go for with a risotto.

How to Substitute

If the recipe calls for just a splash of white wine, then go ahead and substitute it with apple juice in equal amounts.

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However, if you’re using more, you should dilute the juice with water first to avoid over-sweetening the dish. 

8. Tomato Juice

tomato juice

Tomato juice is also somewhat acidic, although it has a slightly bitter flavor too.

Nonetheless, tomato juice is an incredibly versatile ingredient that’s used in several recipes to enhance the flavor, including risottos made in a mixed sauce. 

Not only is it a good substitute for wine, but it also carries a lot of nutritional value for your daily vitamin intake. 

How to Substitute

Tomato juice has similar properties to wine but tastes very different, so it’s best if you keep tasting it as you add more until you achieve your desired flavor. 

9. Canned Mushroom Liquid

canned mushroom liquid

Canned mushrooms are mixed with a liquid that absorbs their flavor. This liquid can also be used as a replacement for white wine in cooking risotto. 

Canned mushrooms are usually salty or seasoned with salt, so the liquid adds a savory taste to the risotto.

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You can top this off with a freshly squeezed lime to give the tart to the risotto base as wine does.

However, please note that canned mushrooms can be high in sodium. If you’re trying to moderate your sodium intake, try searching for low sodium varieties. 

How to Substitute

Canned mushroom liquid can be substituted for white wine in equal amounts.

10. Water

Can’t find any of the above in your pantry and/or too lazy to make a run?

No problem. You can simply replace wine with water in cooking. 

Water won’t contribute in any way to the flavor but part of the reason why we add wine to risottos is that it provides the liquid base for cooking. Water at the least can prevent the dish from turning dry. 

How to Substitute

You can substitute white wine with water in equal amounts. Just make sure to keep stirring the risotto as you’re cooking so the water doesn’t just stay at the top. 

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How to Make Risotto Without Wine?

risotto without wine

Wine indeed is one of the signature ingredients in making risotto but it’s not non-negotiable.

For any reason, if you want to completely exclude white wine from the recipe and are wondering how to make risotto without wine — just omit it.

Like we said earlier, the main reason we add wine is to give flavor and just a dash of acidity to the risotto.

But if you’re a purist, or pregnant, you can simply skip the wine and follow the remaining recipe.

If this results in dryness in your risotto, simply add some extra butter or water.

To make up for the loss of taste from the wine, a few squeezes of lemon or some vinegar will do just fine. 

The Bottom Line

Remember, the best part about a thick creamy dish like risotto, more than its flavor, is its texture. So just keep stirring, and your risotto will come out great.

As for what to substitute for white wine in risotto, you don’t necessarily have to pick one from all of the above-mentioned in this list.

Feel free to combine them to create the perfect white wine substitute as per your taste.

For instance, you can take some chicken stock and add some apple juice, vinegar, and a splash of lime to it. There’s no right or perfect substitute.

Playing around with different substitutes will only help you create that perfect flavor.