We don't really drink wine in our house, so we only ever buy a bottle for cooking. Typically whatever meal we have made requires ~1/2 bottle.

How can I incorporate the rest of this wine into some other simple meals without resorting to any particularly fancy recipes?

  • Hey there - recipes are off-topic here although we do have some guidelines for culinary uses questions (mainly, how to use esoteric or waste ingredients). Wine isn't exactly a rare ingredient but, fortunately, this does have a very simple and straightforward answer.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 29, 2011 at 17:03
  • 5
    Since this doesn't answer the question I'll post it as a comment - if you're having a hard time thinking of what to do with it, until you need it again you can freeze the wine in ice cube trays and store in a zip-top bag once frozen, then portion the cubes into your meals as needed! Jan 29, 2011 at 17:06
  • I tried this once with white wine and it didn't come out of the tray in cubes very well. Dec 20, 2011 at 0:23

10 Answers 10


The quickest way to get rid of leftover wine is to think of it as flavoured water. In many if not most recipes that call for water - especially stovetop recipes like sauces and stews - you can simply substitute wine for the water or stock that the recipe normally calls for.

We actually had a similar question recently: In what kind of recipes can I substitute stock for water? and I'd recommend you take a look at that, as many of the points there apply equally well to wine. Probably the best summation was in bikeboy389's answer:

I'd consider stock to be just another flavorful liquid (thanks Alton Brown), to be usable in exchange for others like wine, etc. You need to be conscious of the gelatin aspect and mindful that some substitutions will be more successful than others, flavor-wise, but it's always worth considering if stock might be a good substitute for any other flavorful liquid.

Just swap the terms "stock" and "wine" and you're good to go. Even though wine doesn't contain any gelatin, you actually do need to be mindful of the gelatin aspect when substituting wine for stock, because you might have the opposite problem if the liquid is supposed to thicken.

Similarly to stock, I also wouldn't recommend using wine in anything that you plan to refrigerate or freeze for a long period, for a different reason obviously - because it can go sour over time. So try to only use it in recipes that will be consumed in the near future.

Other than that, just experiment; whenever you're making a savoury recipe that calls for water or stock, try using some wine instead. You'd be surprised at how much character it can add to otherwise simple dishes. Some examples of places where you can replace some other liquid with wine:

  • Rice or risotto
  • Soups and sauces
  • Deglazing a pan (for a pan sauce)
  • Salad dressings (this is an especially good use for sour/fermented wine)
  • Marinades
  • Poaching liquids (for eggs, chicken, etc.)

There really are no rules, and any time you find yourself tossing plain water into a pot or bowl, you should keep in mind that you are potentially missing an opportunity to add flavour (which a good wine will add plenty of).


Wine is excellent for deglazing a pan and making a pan sauce. Basically, if you a have a pan with any fond on its bottom, like a pan where you have sautèed meat or even onions, you can just add the wine (don't turn off the heat yet, just lower it), scrub vigorously the bottom of the pan until all the fond has dissolved in the wine, then let it reduce a bit (this will also let some of the alcohol evaporate), turn off the heat, add some butter, whisk until the sauce thickens, serve. Pan sauces really help potentially dry meat, like chicken breast.

Speed is of the essence, it takes more time to write it down than to do it...

And Orbling's suggestion about the risotto is golden. It really helps.

  • Hi Walter - just FYI, answers here are normally sorted by score rather than chronologically, so there's no concept of a previous answer. I've edited this post to reference the answer I think you were referring to.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 31, 2011 at 17:56

Well if it is white wine, then a risotto is probably a good choice, always benefits from a good glass or two of white to get started.

For red, I find it makes a wonderful base, as a reduction, of any sauce with sausages, just google "red wine sausages" for a multitude of recipes.


I have often reduced leftover white and red wines over low heat until it becomes syrup quality, and then drizzled it on a dessert dish before plating cake, etc. If you allow it to become thick enough, it will develop into the most gorgeous "threads" and adds a beautiful touch to an otherwise plain plate.

In addition, I use leftover red wine to make a sauce for pork tenderloin. In a pot, combine chopped shallots, sprigs of fresh rosemary, the wine and balsamic vinegar to equal the amount of wine. Slowly reduce this mixture until it becomes a sauce. Remove the rosemary stems and pass the sauce through a sieve. Serve with roasted pork tenderloin. Yummy stuff!

  • That is interesting. I had never thought of that- reducing wine to a glaze itself. Thank you very much! Feb 18, 2021 at 12:07

Freeze the wine using an ice cube tray. Transfer to a bag when frozen. Then use them the next time you have a recipe that requires wine.


Wine turns to vinegar. You can use it for that purpose.

  • This is true, although rather wasteful and a pretty inefficient way to obtain vinegar...
    – Aaronut
    Jan 31, 2011 at 17:58
  • That's a matter of opinion. Allowing wine to turn to vinegar doesn't require any attention and obtaining a high quality vinegar is much more universal than wine (my opinion).
    – O.O
    Feb 1, 2011 at 19:34

Leftover white wine is good in French toast. And really any kind of wine makes a great addition to soup.

I would recommend a white wine in cream base or chicken broth soup and a red wine in any sort of beef soup.

If it's a sweet wine, you can make a reduction sauce which is phenomenal on just about anything (I use it as a drizzle for stuffed figs, but it's really versatile -- it gives you a lot of room to get creative.)


White wine goes excellent with mussels and you don't need a lot, approx. 4 cm in a cooking pot will do. Or indeed risotto (but I prefer vermouth) or sauces.


Various Italian tomato-based sauces call for a splash of wine.

This would seem like a pretty good way to get rid of it, since the quality/condition of the wine probably won't get noticed too much.


I don't drink wine either. I'm still 'tweaking' an answer to the question regarding red wine, but I am solidly married to the idea of dry vermouth (Gallo) in pretty much anything that needs white wine. It lasts in my cupboard longer than most spices. [It's 'fortified' giving it a long shelf life] Furthermore, it tastes good in recipes. America's Test Kitchen agrees.

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