Substitute For Port Wine: 10 Great Replacements You Should Try

When it comes to cooking, wine is the kind of ingredient that brings out the best in a dish. It enhances and brings out the flavor of a dish and even magnifies the aroma, turning a simple dish into a multisensorial experience.

Despite what many believe, wine isn’t meant to mask the flavor of your food but rather to make it stronger which is why you should care not only about the quality of the wine you’re using but also the amount and the type.

Indeed, cooking with wine is not a task you should take lightly so what can you do if you’re cooking something that requires wine and you’re all out of it?

Well, if what you’re cooking requires port wine then the following list of substitutes for port wine can help you get out of a tight spot and help you cook a wonderful dish without having to rush to the store!


How To Choose The Best Substitute For Port Wine


Before you choose the wine that’s going to replace port wine in your recipe there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.


Like most wines, port wine comes in different varieties so you have to make sure you know which one your recipe calls for so you can choose the best replacement.

Port can be divided in two kinds:

Red, also known as ruby.

White, also known as tawny.

What’s Cooking

If the recipe doesn’t clarify what kind of port wine it needs, then you can always make an educated guess:

Ruby Port is often used for meat based dishes, as well as chicken or other poultry recipes.

Tawny Port is commonly used for fish recipes, though it can also be used for chicken and poultry as well.

In general, you can say that the wine you’d pair a dish with is also the wine you’d use to cook it with.


It goes without saying that the quality of the wine is important. You don’t have to buy expensive wine to do this but as a general rule, avoid cooking with wine you wouldn’t drink on its own.

With that in mind, here are the list of substitute for port wine that can help you have a great recipe:

Substitutes for Ruby Port

Because of its sweet and fruity flavor, Port wine can be substituted by wines with the same characteristics, such as:

1. Chianti

substitute for port wine chianti

Chianti has a fruity flavor with hints of cherry that make it a decent substitute for Port. Keep in mind that the acidity that the wine will cut through the rich fat of some dishes so use carefully.

2. Zinfandel

substitute for port wine Zinfandel

One of the post popular wines for beginners, Zinfandel has a fruity flavor and medium acidity that can work as a substitute for Port. However, since this is one of the wines with the lowest alcoholic contents, the texture of the food will change. Particularly if you’re using the wine for a sauce.

3. Syrah

substitute for port wine shiraz

This popular wine can serve as replacement for port when you’re in a hurry. It has a fruity flavor that goes well with various ingredients and its full bodied characteristics bring it close to the port in texture.

Substitutes for Tawny Port

The best replacements for tawny port are white wine but since tawny port has an oaky, dry flavor, you should make an effort to respect that. Use whites but avoid the fruity ones as they’ll alter the taste of your recipe.

4. White Zinfandel

substitute for port wine White Zinfandel

White zinfandel isn’t actually white but rather a drier version of the red zinfandel. Because of this, there’s still a lingering fruity flavor that you should consider. Because of its low alcoholic content, the texture of the food will change so keep that in mind when cooking.

5. Riesling

substitute for port wine riesling

This is one of the most aromatic wines out there with sweet and tart fruity flavors. It has a high alcohol content and it goes well with poultry, just as the tawny port.

6. Chardonnay

substitute for port wine Chardonnay

The chardonnay has a medium alcohol content and is very acidic, which makes it a particularly good wine for seafood like shrimpsalmon, poultry and dishes that use heavy cream.

Other Substitutes for Port Wine

Other good substitutes for Port are Madeira, Dry Vermouth, Black Muscat, Fruit Juice and even Chicken Stock.

7. Madeira


Just like the port, this is a fortified wine that can give a lot of hints of flavor to your dish. While it can be used as a substitute to ruby port, this wine works much better with poultry, sauces and acidic recipes.

8. Dry Vermouth


Vermouth is a fortified wine, just as madeira and port. This means it can be used for cooking and it can be infused with herbs and spices. However, you have to keep in mind that vermouth has a very strong flavor and alcoholic content which can alter the flavor of your dish or even overwhelm it if you’re using too much.

9. Black Muscat

Black Muscat

Thanks to its sweet and fruity flavors, black muscat is a good replacement for ruby ports but keep in mind that muscat is often considerably sweeter so it might change the flavor of your dish if you’re not careful.

10. Fruit Juice and Chicken Stock


As you can imagine, fruit juice is a great replacement for ruby port and chicken stock is a good replacement for tawny port.

Unsweetened fruit juice will change the texture of your recipe but will keep the flavor more or less the same whereas chicken stock will give you a great texture but will alter the flavor, particularly if you’re cooking meat.

Since port wine has such a particular flavor, matching the exact taste and texture will be difficult but don’t be discouraged! Different can be better. It’s all a matter of trying new things!

We’ve come to the end of the list of substitutes for port wine, thank you very much for reading!

If you have any comments, questions, doubts or you know of another substitute for port wine, we should add to this list let us know in the comments.

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Thanks again!

Emma Claire

I’m Emma, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of 3 kids, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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