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What are some good substitions for alcohol in cooking?

My Husband is a recovering alcoholic. One of our favorite slow cooker chili recipes calls for using Lager beer. Is there a good beer substitute?

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marked as duplicate by rumtscho, rfusca, Aaronut Nov 13 '11 at 18:36

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And a recommendation for your specific case: leave it out, a good chili has enough taste.If it gets too thick, add stock or pure water. –  rumtscho Nov 11 '11 at 16:19
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No one on this site should be providing advice as to whether a particular alcoholic beverage will trigger a relapse - it would be grossly irresponsible for us. –  rfusca Nov 11 '11 at 17:07
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I completely agree with rfusca. I could see the flavor of beer tempting a recovering alcoholic, not just the alcoholic content. Admittedly the flavor in chili is only one small component, but still: none of us have any idea what would trigger a relapse for a specific person. –  Jefromi Nov 11 '11 at 20:58
    
I'd be watchful of having alcohol in the food. It is nearly impossible to remove all ethanol from a food if you don't add it first, and let it reduce on it's own. For example, cooking onions in pure white wine until the wine is gone is alright, but if you add it to a sauce or liquid, it doesn't matter if you cook it for an hour, there will still be ethanol in the finished product. –  Max Nov 12 '11 at 2:29
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3 Answers 3

I think perhaps a teaspoon of Marmite dissolved in a glass of water may do the trick.

Marmite is a yeast extract, basically made from the stuff left over during the beer production process, so it's flavour profile is quite close. There's even Guiness brand Marmite available occasionally, though Guiness isn't a lager.

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I would second the above post on using beef brother.

Also, consider reading the flavor profile of the beer you typically use. Some of them claim coffee-and-caramel notes. Some have a woody-bourbon flavor. See if you can't isolate those flavors and recreate what you enjoyed.

Also, may I suggest some liquid smoke or bits of jerkey.

FWIW, I typically skip beer in my chili in favor of more onion/garlic flavors. Hope that helps! Congrats, btw!!! Never give up that fight!

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Note that there is no fixed ordering of answers in Stack Exchange sites (you have tabs for "active", "oldest" and "votes"; plus the votes can change), so using "above" in that way isn't reliable. Instead consider linking to the answer in question. Like this: "I would second DHayes' suggestion to use beef broth". You can get a permalink to the answer off of the "link" link at the bottom of each post. –  dmckee Nov 13 '11 at 3:24
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Beef broth would be what I would go with if I had to substitute beer in chili. While obviously not the same, it still has a rich flavor that should hold up well.

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