What if anything makes a liquid a good candidate for a reduction? Often you see things like wines and fruit juices called to be reduced for recipes. Why are they so common? What specifics about them make them so?

If I am wanting to play around with making different reductions is there anything I should look for and what are the expected results of the liquid having that content (i.e. high sugar content, does acidity levels have an effect on the reduction).

  • 2
    Reduction will strengthen the flavor of anything, since it removes the neutral water. What you can't reduce are things where heat does more than just evaporate water and concentrate flavor; things where proteins denature and coagulate etc.
    – Max
    Feb 28, 2012 at 19:22
  • If you care to expand a little with some examples you probably can turn this into a pretty good answer.
    – jeffwllms
    Feb 28, 2012 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


The most important reason reductions exist, is because they intensify the flavour, so that's the first point you should pay attention to. Will the flavour accommodate the rest of the dish? White wine is often used in reductions for fish, red wine more often for meat. Everything that you think will fit, can be a good fit (other (stronger) liquors, vinegars (but don't use too much), ...). That's why you won't see liquids as coffee appearing in reduction recipes.

Wines and fruit juices give a fruity, softer taste, so they are a good fit with a lot of things. They also are largely water, so easy to combine with.

I must confess that I don't know how sugar content or acidity level will effect the reduction, but I do know that sugar and vinegar/lemon juice can be a component of reductions.

  • Besides a flavor concentration are there any secondary benefits that might be gathered from reducing a liquid and does the make-up of the liquid play any part in those. Will reducing a vinegar increase its acidity/harshness? I am looking for all the things you might want to consider before you reduce. Like Max mentioned in his comment might something denature and coagulate?
    – jeffwllms
    Feb 28, 2012 at 20:27
  • @tastefive Example: don't try and reduce eggs, it will coagulate instead. (Though, who knows, maybe someone has found a way… vacuum chamber, perhaps?). If you can't boil or at least simmer something, you probably can't reduce it either.
    – derobert
    Feb 28, 2012 at 23:43

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