Cooking with Wine


Is it ok to cook with wine? It is said that all the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking.


Previously it was believed that alcohol “cooks out” of foods during cooking, thus it would be ok to cook with alcoholic drinks since the alcohol will evaporate leaving only the taste. This was derived from the fact that alcohol has a much lower boiling point temperature (173°F / 78.5°C) than water (212°F / 100°C). Thus, if the temperature is above 78.5°C, then the alcohol should boil off.

A group of researchers in 1992 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the
University of Idaho, and Washington State University decided to find out. In the end, what they discovered was that the “alcohol cooks out” assumption didn’t turn out to be correct for the vast majority of ways most people prepare food with alcohol. In their study, they used a variety of recipes with various sources of alcohol and a variety of preparation types, including simmering, baking, flaming, etc. What they found was that the amount of alcohol remaining after cooking was in the range of 5% - 85%. The variations weren’t just dependant on how long you kept the temperature above alcohol’s boiling point either. They also found that the other ingredients made a difference in the alcohol retention rate. The size of the cooking vessel also greatly affected the alcohol retention rates. The smaller the vessel, the more alcohol will be retained given some set cooking time, due to the smaller surface area for evaporation.

The highest rates of retention were with alcohol added to boiling liquid and then shortly after removed from heat. In this case, the alcohol retention rate was around 85%.
The second highest alcohol retention rate came when using the flaming method of cooking, which resulted in around a 75% retention level.
When baked for 25 minutes with the mixture not being stirred, the retention rate was 45%.


Related Subjects:

Alcohol Prohibition

Selling Alcoholic Drinks

Negligible amounts of alcohol in foods