Substitutes for Alcohol in Cooking

Although it may be debatable to some whether or not alcohol really does burn-off in cooking, the issue remains to be something many people simply leave to the scientific facts and then decide what they’ll do about it once they know more. Check out this alcohol burn-off chart for more info on that. My chart below shows some of my favorite substitutes for alcohol that can be used in cooking. It is also available in the My Halal Kitchen cookbook
I simply pair the flavor that the alcohol is derived from and find a similar non-alcoholic beverage or liquid to use. A PDF version of the chart is at the end of this post. 
Halal Substitutes in Cooking- JPEG

PDF Version Available Here

If you liked this post, check out my post for substitutes for pork in cooking here

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    1. Yes, all vinegar are halal…there is a process called oxidation which removes the intoxicating/alcohol effect. Hence, all vinegars are halal. 🙂

  1. Salaaam,

    So are you saying ALL Vinegers are Halal ? What about Soya Sauce, i have heard that Naturally brewed ones are not OK ?


    1. No, I didn’t say that all vinegars are halal. What I said in the post is that you have to check with each producer to see if wine or any other alcohol is added TO the final product.

      Soy sauce is a whole other thing- it’s not vinegar but it’s a fermented product which produces alcohol as a byproduct of its fermentation. Naturally brewed typically indicates that it has alcohol in the final product; whereas synthetic varieties of soy sauce typically do not (there are halal-certified ones), however, you need to check with each producer to see what is in it.

      1. Jazakallah Khair, it was very beneficial to know that even Soya Sauce could contain alcohol based on the production mechanisms. I think a lot of Muslims including myself are negligent of this fact and often buy a bottle of it without knowing. Even I plan to sell soya sauce in my store very soon, but I shall remove the product immediately

        1. Almost all Kikkoman soy sauce contains alcohol (I’m sure you all know that this is the most famous soy sauce from Japan). There is one that contains no alcohol, forgot the name, but there is no alcohol written in the ingredients

    1. Most balsamic vinegar has red wine vinegar in it. I am always looking for an alternative, so would also love some suggestions from sister Yvonne.

    2. Balsamic vinegar is Halal since the process is the same as normal vinegar..in short is “must” boiled and left to “develop” in barrels…the traditional process is really long and because of that is terribly expensive…most probable you will find on the market some sort of substitute that is must+caramel+vinegar…that anyway due to the oxidation process is halal too

  2. Are you aware of any substitutes for Marsala wine? I used to love Chicken Marsala, but I know better now, and of course wouldn’t even think about eating it. Would love to know if you’ve experimented with this at all. I’ve researched and attempted to create on my own with poor results.

    1. Unfortunately marsala’s taste comes form the alcohol part and the resting period in barrels, so it’s quite impossible to simulate the taste…more in general cooking with alcohol even if not halal produces an halal food because all alcohol is burned and evaporated…same as vinegar, all vinegar at first stages are wines or other liquids with ethanol (not halal), after oxidation all ethanol (alcohol) become acetic acid..so it’s halal

  3. Thank you so much for this. I have always wondered what to use when a recipe calls for brandy or any other alcohol when cooking. SO really really appreciate for this.

  4. Assalaamu’Alaikum
    I’m sorry to come in with a reply browsing through I came across and I couldn’t stay away from replying. It is a for only a specific question raised by ‘Nammi’ and replied to by Marix’ this is to both of your attention that when we speak of halal it’s important that consuming alcohol is not just the criteria there are other criteria which come into play which is also of the same depth and sin. If Nammi needs to use Marsala wine to make the chicken and understood that the reason given by Marix is logical, we missing the point that to use Marsala wine you need to buy it and that buying is also equally Haram as for the consumption and the process of vinegar and the explanation, it is important to understand that we are allowed to consume vinegar so we can consume it. As for the halal and haram when we know a particular thing to be haram we should not miss it and should keep away from it for the sake if Allah and InShaAllah we’ll be rewarded.

    1. I agree with you. …I think we should really try to understand the whole halal haraam issue. A
      Nyway why use alcohol if you can use a total substitute. Moreover why not try to make recipes which won’t have alcohol.
      It’s great that so many people are trying to be careful. …Please remember that in the Quran it says don’t even go near natas.

  5. Hi Yvonne! Assalaamu Alaikum,

    When subbing grape juice for wine, will this affect the taste? I would think that it would make the dish sweeter? I’ve never had wine so I can’t compare, but it seems that something like grape juice would be really sweet. Is this true? If so, how can we balance that out in a savory dish? Do we do a 1:1 ratio when subbing juice for wine? Thank you for any clarifications you can provide!

    1. I don’t use a lot of juice, most of the time it’s a little less than the wine/alcohol amount suggested in a recipe. Also, some juices are sweeter than others so I only buy the pure juices that don’t have a lot of additional sugar, which helps the taste quite a bit. Try to follow along the recipes I suggest in terms of the amounts and if you find they are still too sweet for your preference than just reduce the amount of juice, if desired. Thanks for your question.

    2. Alcohol is made by burning sugar, all these things are way too sweet to substitute for wine or beer, they’ll make the food sweet. It’s OK if you want to use these items to sub in deserts, but if you are making Coq au Vin for example and you use grape juice, it’s going to be disgusting, same for subbing apple juice for beer in Irish stew. Tea can replicate the tannic nature of wine and coffee can be used to substitute the bitterness of beer, but my recommendation would be to skip the ingredient all together. To eat halal Muslims forgo many things (bacon, non-halal meat in non-muslims countries etc), I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to skip those recipes where you cannot find a sub. Most recipes though can be made without the alcohol and taste just fine. The subs suggested here may work fine for deserts though.

  6. what is the substitute for marsala as i wanted to make tiramisu and came to find that marsala was one of the ingredients. would it be ok if i leave that out? if not then what should i use as a substitute? please help 🙁

  7. Salam aleikum! I wonder if you know if there are any good substitite for mirin and sake? They are used in Japanese cooking all the time and I really don’t know what a good subsitute would be?

    1. When I was in Japan I used this beverage called Mitsuya Cider, and it tastes like Sprite, as mirin substitute. Don’t know about sake though..

      1. That’s interesting- thanks for sharing. Do you know if as a ‘cider’ it was a hard (i.e. alcohol) cider or more like the juice?

  8. Asalam alaykom sisters and brothers ,for those who are asking for asubstitue to make delicious non alcohol Tiramisu I have tried to put orange jus ( fresh) in the coffee and a little in the marscaponi cheese too and to be honest everyone tried my Tiramisu lover it as the coffee goes well with orange and chocolate all together so try it !! And may Allah rewards us all Ameen

  9. Walaikumsalam Lamia and Salam to all brothers & sisters …

    wow ! non alcohol Tiramisu ….how cool is that ..i should try too

    Today out of the blue i feel like eating Cawan Mushi LoL I have tried making one Cawan Mushi but without the actual Dashi stock which i am yet to explore here in Adelaide ( with permitted E- codes ) So desperate i had replaced the Sake with rice vinegar with sugar added to imitate the flavour. Used knorr stock to substitute Dashi stock for now hee hee … ( not bad though ) add bit of light soy sauce, tiny pinch of salt and gently stirr …..

    Got stirr fried chicken with stint of rice vinegar+sugar, prawn, shitake mushroom and chinese celery …
    emmm ….not bad a taste quite close.

    Next trial would be with seaweed broth ( if I cant find any Dashi stock ) and ginko nuts i think …..

  10. Assalamu alaykum. Glad i found this. What is a substitute for shaoxing wine?( AKA chinese cooking wine AKA chinese rice wine. If in wrong forgive me lol)

  11. Salam alaykum
    I found a pina colada recipe I’d really like to try but it uses amaretto liqueur, can you suggest an alternative?

    Jazakumullah khairan

  12. Assalamualaikumn, Hello all, I really want to cook some japanese food. But some of them has sake in it. What is a subtitute for Sake?? Thank you

  13. Salaams,
    Found a nostalgic dish but the recipe to recreate it requires use of plum sake, what substitute could I use for that if there are any?

  14. Salaams,
    I am looking for balsamic vinegar to use in a savoury recipe as an alternative to Madeira wine.
    I’ve noticed balsamic vinegar has ‘wine vinegar’ in its ingredients.. is this halal or not?

  15. assalamualaikum…
    I loved chinese food..cuisine..
    usually i cooked..but sometimes chinese food contains alcohol/wine..
    so..the taste is not so good..coz i dont put the alcohol..
    i want to ask what can be subtitute for CHINESE ROSE WINE, SHAOXING WINE and CHINESE RICE WINE??

  16. Hi, do you know if there is a substitute for Kirschwasser (a type of Bavarian cherry liquor)? I want to try making Black Forest gateau, however most recipes include alcohol in them

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