The Best White Wines For Cooking That You Need To Try

Have you ever used a recipe that requires white wine only to find that you don’t know which white wine to use? There are so many options that it can be difficult to choose the right one.

The Best White Wines For Cooking That You Need To Try

We have put together this guide to help you decide which white wine is best for cooking based on which meal you are cooking.

Which White Wine Should I Use In a Creamy Sauce?

If you are using rich ingredients like double cream to make a sauce, you need a dry white wine with high acidity to cut through it. Try to pick something with a light body.


Chardonnay is a wine that can have different characteristics depending on the variety, However, most chardonnays are characterized by their moderate acidity and alcohol levels and a medium to full body.

It is often aged with oak which gives it notes of vanilla and a creaminess. If you want to complement the creaminess of the sauce you can use oaked chardonnay, but if you want to cut through the sauce you should use an unoaked chardonnay.

The flavor notes in chardonnay range from apple and citrus fruits to tropical fruits like papaya and pineapple. The buttery quality will work perfectly with sauces like alfredo.

Sauvignon Blanc

This crisp and refreshing dry white wine is perfect for rich pasta sauces, especially if they contain olive oil. It tends to be highly acidic but with a low to medium alcohol content.

The flavor is full with notes of minerals and notes of grass and grapefruit. It works really well with carbonara or cacio e pepe. Some sauvignon blancs have a herbaceous note or a touch of green pepper which works to cut through creaminess with savory flavors.

Which White Wine Should I Use In A Tomato Based Sauce?

A lot of people assume that you should use red wine in a tomato sauce, but a fruity white wine can really set off a tomato sauce and help to bring out the sweetness of the tomato.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot grigio is known for being light and refreshing. It is nice and fruity, with pear, white peach and zesty citrus fruits. Some fruits also have green apple, and grapefruit. You may also notice some floral notes like honeysuckle.

It is a very dry wine which is perfect for livening the tomato sauce and not adding any extra sweetness, but rather bringing out all of the flavors of the tomato.

Pinot Blanc

Pinot blanc is often compared to chardonnay as it shares some characteristics – it has a full body and a rich flavor.

If it is oak aged then it can be creamy and smooth with notes of vanilla, but if not it is sometimes described as bitter. The bright flavor of pinot blanc works well with a vibrant tomato sauce.

Which White Wine Should I Use With Seafood Dishes?

The right white wine can really elevate a seafood dish. Whether the seafood is in a tomato sauce, a creamy sauce, or just a simple coating, make sure you choose the white wine.


Muscadet is a very light wine and has been described as having barely any body. It is also very dry, with little to no sweetness and even a salty quality. This makes it a very refreshing option, which works really well with delicate seafood flavors.

The flavor notes are tart apples and pear, but the notes of lemon and lime are extremely complimentary of fish. This wine comes from the Loire valley region of France.

Chenin Blanc

Make sure you choose a dry chenin blanc if possible – the sweet ones are ideal for a dessert course but the dry kind will work better with seafood. Dry chenin blanc has mineral flavors including tart pear, and ginger.

It also has a touch of spice which is nice and warm. If you do choose a sweeter chenin blanc then it will taste of sweet pear, peach and honey. Some varieties also have passionfruit and floral aromas.

Which White Wine Should I Use With Risotto?

The Best White Wines For Cooking That You Need To Try

There are lots of different types of risotto – from creamy to nutty, rich or light. If you are struggling to decide which white wine to use, consider the ingredients in your risotto recipe. Here are two wines that should work well.

White Burgundy

White burgundy, also called bourgogne blanc, is an easy drinking white wine that works particularly well with chicken and mushroom ingredients.

It has aromas of cheese rind and yogurt, which makes it a great choice for risottos with aged cheeses like parmesan. The wine has flavors of green apple and citrus lemon. It also has nutty notes and a salty quality.


Verdicchio is well known for its almond flavor, which is the perfect characteristic to introduce to a risotto. This is contrasted by a bitter edge with citrus fruits, pear and apple.

It is a dry wine, and if it is aged in oak barrels then it will have a vanilla creaminess. The mineral notes and tart aftertaste are very enjoyable. This is a classic choice for risotto, and also works well with seafood risotto.

Which White Wine Should I Use With Vegetable Dishes?

It can be hard to pair wine with vegetable dishes. The ideal pairing can vary depending on the dish – spring vegetables, root vegetables, salads, soups etc. But here are two choices that you can’t go wrong with.

Riesling (Dry)

Riesling is a well known German wine. It can be sweet, semi sweet or dry. Avoid cooking with the sweet riesling wines as this is best served with a dessert course. Choose a dry riesling with mineral and earthy qualities.

It is nice and dry with fruity flavors and floral aromas. If the grape is grown in cooler climates you will notice apple and pear, but in warmer climates the flavor notes will lean more towards citrus, peach and apricot. Either variety is perfect for spring and summer vegetables.

Grüner Veltliner

This Austrian wine has medium body and high acidity. It is light and refreshing with some spice to it, which works really well with fall and winter vegetables. You will notice grapefruit and citrus flavor notes, along with black and white peppercorns.

This savory edge is ideal for vegetable dishes, as is the herbaceous quality that is very green. This is a complex wine that is surprisingly versatile.

Which White Wine Should I Use With Cheese Sauces?

Cheese sauces like a rich fondue or macaroni cheese, can be improved with a little white wine. Make sure you choose something dry and crisp so it cuts through the richness of the cheese.

You need to avoid anything aged in oak barrels as the buttery creaminess is too similar to the cheese.

Pinot Gris

Pinot gris is full bodied and fresh. It can be acidic, but it depends on how ripe the grapes are that have been used. There are notes of citrus fruits and spice, and some varieties also have flavors of stone fruits.

This is a crisp wine with a mineral quality and the zingyness cuts perfectly through the rich and creamy cheese.


This is a complex and unique wine with intense flavors and aromatic qualities. You will notice perfumed lychee, stone fruits, and tropical fruit. This makes this a very fruity wine.

With a spicy quality of lemongrass and ginger and floral notes, this is a layered wine that is a unique tasting experience. This wine is full bodied with moderate to low intensity and a high alcohol content.


If you are cooking with a recipe that doesn’t specify which type of white wine to use, it can be hard to choose the right one.

This guide will make it easier for you to ensure that you use the right wine based on the ingredients you are cooking with. Remember that cooking with dry white wine is often better than cooking with sweet white wine.

Sarah Perez
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