Marsala Wine Substitutes – Alternatives for Cooking

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Marsala wine is a common wine that is used for cooking and can give a distinct taste to your dish. Marsala wine is naturally very sweet in flavor. You may be wondering how you can substitute this unique taste in your dishes. Knowing what marsala wine substitutes you can use will help you be more flexible with your ingredients. 

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In this article we will explore different types of marsala wine substitutes. Let’s also learn how to get the perfect flavor of this ingredient for your dish.

What is Marsala Wine?

First of all, what is marsala wine?

Marsala wine is a very sweet white wine that originated in Italy and is made from white grapes. The undertones of marsala wine include brown sugar, vanilla and fruits, like apricot. 

Marsala wine is mostly used in cooking and is very popular in dishes involving meat like chicken and beef. 

When trying to find a good substitute for marsala wine, there are a lot of factors to consider. Finding a substitute that has a similar taste is key. But the way the favors react when cooking can be different to how they are cold. You will also need to find a substitute that can pair nicely with the ingredients of your dish, too. 

Can I Substitute Red Wine Vinegar For Marsala?

Can I substitute red wine vinegar for marsala wine? Red wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for marsala wine. But it may not be the perfect match.

Red wine-based ingredients tend to be more acidic and bitter tasting whereas marsala wine is a very sweet wine. Vinegar is also a very acidic ingredient, so you may have to balance your ratios to make sure that the dish does not get overpowered.

If you are wanting to substitute marsala wine with red wine vinegar then you should use less red wine vinegar than you would marsala wine. Aim to use around a third less of red wine vinegar than you would have used marsala wine.

glass of wine

Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar Instead Of Marsala Wine?

If you are looking for a non-alcoholic replacement for marsala wine the we would recommend using apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can work very well for meat dishes, just like marsala wine. 

Apple cider vinegar can have a slightly sharp taste, especially when compared to marsala wine. We would recommend that if you are wanting to replace marsala wine with apple cider vinegar, you should add some sugar to even up the taste. Marsala wine is a lot sweeter than apple cider vinegar and therefore your apple cider vinegar could benefit from a teaspoon or two of sugar. Without adding sugar, the apple cider vinegar may be too sour on its own for your recipe.

red wine in clear wine glass

Is Sherry And Marsala Similar?

Both sherry and marsala wine are slightly similar as they are both wines made from white grapes. The difference between these two drinks is that sherry originates from Andalusia in Spain. Marsala wine was created in Sicily, in Italy. 

The other big difference between sherry and marsala wine is their flavor. Sherry is a lot stronger than marsala wine, with 15 percent alcohol by volume. It therefore will add intensity to your meal. Sherry carries flavors that are described as being crisp, tangy, yeasty and sometimes nutty.

Marsala wine also has 15 percent alcohol by volume but somehow has a milder overall taste. This wine has a much sweeter taste when compared to sherry. Marsala wine also has flavors of brown sugar, fruit and nuts. 

When used in cooking, sherry and marsala wine do not taste much different even though they have different flavors. If you are replacing marsala wine with sherry in your recipe then you can use them interchangeably. 

If you are wanting to replace your marsala wine with dry sherry in your cooking then make sure you choose the right sherry. Dry sherry will be a much better substitute than cooking sherry, as cooking sherry has a high amount of sodium which can change the taste of the dish.

Can I Use Cabernet Instead Of Marsala?

Cabernet wine is a dry red wine that is made from black grapes and is one of the most popular types of red wine. Many people do use cabernet wine as an alternative to marsala wine as it is a great wine when used for cooking. 

Cabernet wine will work great for dishes that involve beef. This is because the cabernet wine will add a distinct flavor to the meat.

Marsala wine is quite different to cabernet wine, as marsala wine is made from white grapes.

Even though the two wines are very different, when used in cooking there is not much of a difference between the taste that they can add to a dish. 

If you do decide to use a cabernet wine in your cooking, you may be able to taste some fruity flavors. This fruitiness is from black currant. If you are wanting to add cabernet wine to your cooking without having a fruity flavor then using an older cabernet wine will work best. As the cabernet wine ages, the taste will mellow.

Can You Substitute Marsala For Port?

Marsala wine is considered to be one of the best substitutes for port. Both of these alcoholic beverages have the same level of sweetness in taste.

You can purchase marsala wine with different levels of sweetness. Marsala wine is available in dry, semisweet and sweet. If you are replacing port for marsala wine then we would recommend that you purchase the sweetest marsala wine option.

There Are Plenty Of Substitutes For Marsala Wine That Work Well 

It is pretty easy to replace marsala wine as long as you have an ingredients that can add the same amount of sweetness to your dish. 

Whether you are wanting to replace marsala wine with an alcoholic substitute or a non alcoholic substitute, then we hope we have pointed you in the right direction.

Here are more wine posts on the blog to check out:

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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