Short answer: Never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink yourself.
What foods are commonly cooked with wine?
Beef stews, wine-based sauces, spaghetti, short ribs, and duck breast are common dishes you will see with some component of red wine.
Check out foodandwine.com for some delicious recipes calling for a red wine that will make you feel like a star of Food Network.
Which type of red wine is best for cooking?
Don’t even think about substituting white wine when a recipe calls for red wine; or vice versa. The tannins and acidity play a huge role in how your dish will play out. The best type of red wine to use with your cooking is one that pairs well with the dish.
Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel are the best common cooking wines. Just make sure it is a dry red wine.
When in doubt, use a Pinot Noir. It is mild in flavor but will do what it needs to do in the recipe.
Keep in mind, it does not need to be the best bottle of wine you have ever bought. Something affordable in the $8-10 range is great. Make sure it is something you like to drink as well, as most of these recipes do not call for a whole bottle of wine and it is fun to drink while you cook.
The Wine Lover’s Kitchen is a great resource for those looking to channel their inner Julia Child.
Is old or leftover wine okay to cook with?
If you are using some leftover wine from last week to cook with, you should be okay. The general rule is that you can let an opened bottle sit for an extra week longer than recommended if using it for cooking. Slight oxidation will not harm the dish and some recipes even call for oxidized wine like Marsala; which is a common cooking wine.
Is corked or bad wine okay to cook with?
No. Those gross flavors can transfer over into your dish…gross.
Looking to make clams or a cream wine and butter sauce? Check out how to choose a dry white wine for cooking.