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Cooking Without Sherry? Try These 5 Substitutes

Have you ever wondered what gives French Onion soup its rich, deep flavor? Or how to make a truly authentic Paella? The answer may surprise you: sherry.

Sherry is a type of fortified wine that is often used in cooking to add depth of flavor.

However, it can be tricky to substitute, as not all types of sherry are created equal.

In this article, we’ll explore how to cook with and substitute sherry, so you can create mouthwatering dishes at home.

What’s Sherry?

Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown in the Jerez region of Spain.

The history of sherry production dates back to the Middle Ages when Andalusian monks began fortifying their wine with brandy.

Over time, sherry became a favorite of royalty and nobility, and Today, it remains an important part of Spanish culture.

When it comes to taste, sherry can be dry or sweet, depending on the style.

It is often enjoyed as an aperitif or dessert wine, but it can also be used in cooking.

Sherry is a versatile ingredient that can add depth and flavor to both savory and sweet dishes.

So whether you’re enjoying a glass on its own or using it in your favorite recipe, sherry is sure to please.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sherry in Cooking

If you don’t have sherry on hand, or if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option, there are plenty of substitutes that can be used in its place.

Here are the five best substitutes for sherry:

1 – Dry Vermouth

Dry vermouth is a type of wine that has been fortified with additional alcohol and aromatized with herbs.

It originated in Italy and is now produced in many countries around the world.

Dry vermouth is typically used as an ingredient in cocktails, such as the Martini, Manhattan, and Negroni.

It can also be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of foods.

Dry vermouth has a light, dry taste with subtle floral and herbal notes.

It is usually lighter in color than red wine and has less sweetness.

When substituting dry vermouth for sherry in cooking, it is important to keep this in mind.

You may need to adjust the number of other sweet ingredients, such as sugar or honey, to compensate.

Dry vermouth can be found in most liquor stores and many supermarkets.

2 – Dry White Wine

Dry white wine is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed on its own or used in cooking.

It has a crisp, clean taste that makes it refreshing to drink.

Dry white wine is also a great substitute for sherry in cooking.

It can be used to deglaze a pan or add flavor to a dish.

When substituting dry white wine for sherry, it is important to use a wine that is not too sweet.

Otherwise, the dish may turn out too sweet.

Dry white wines are typically made with Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay grapes.

These wines are typically medium-bodied and have moderate acidity.

3 – Chicken Stock and Lemon

Chicken stock is a basic ingredient in many recipes.

It adds flavor and moisture to dishes and can be used as a base for soups and stews.

However, chicken stock can also be used in place of sherry in cooking.

When substituting chicken stock for sherry, it is important to consider the taste.

Chicken stock is slightly sweeter than sherry, so it may be necessary to add a little extra lemon juice or vinegar to the dish.

In addition, the chicken stock will add more body to the dish than the sherry.

As a result, it is important to use a light hand when adding chicken stock to a recipe.

When used judiciously, chicken stock can be a delicious and versatile substitute for sherry in cooking.

4 – Dry Marsala

Dry Marsala is a type of fortified wine that originates from the Italian region of Sicily.

It is made from white grapes that are allowed to partially raisin in the sun.

This gives the wine its characteristic amber color and sweetness.

The taste of dry Marsala is complex, with notes of dried fruits, spice, and nuts.

It is often used as a cooking wine and can be substituted for sherry in recipes that call for a dry fortified wine.

When substituting dry Marsala for Sherry, it is important to keep in mind that Marsala is sweeter than sherry.

As a result, it may be necessary to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe accordingly.

5 – Dry Madeira

Dry Madeira is a type of fortified wine that originates from the Portuguese island of Madeira.

It is characterized by its high acidity and dry, nutty flavor.

Madeira is often used as a substitute for sherry in cooking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without losing its flavors.

When substituting Dry Madeira for Sherry in a recipe, it is important to use a wine that has been aged for at least three years.

This will ensure that the flavors are well-developed and will not be overpowered by the other ingredients in the dish.


In conclusion, there are many types of wines that can be used as a substitute for sherry in cooking.

Each type of wine has its own unique flavor profile that should be considered when making a substitution.

Chicken stock, dry Marsala, and dry Madeira are all viable substitutes for sherry in recipes.

Each of these wines will add its own distinctive flavor to the dish, so it is important to use them judiciously.

With a little experimentation, it is easy to find a substitute for sherry that works well in any recipe.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sherry in Cooking

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Dry Vermouth

  • Dry White Wine

  • Chicken Stock and Lemon

  • Dry Marsala

  • Dry Madeira


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

Recipe Video

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