What is a Good Substitute for Port Wine for Cooking!

Port wine is widely used in desserts, cakes, digestif, and apéritifs. But if you’re running out at the last moment. 

Although it is a fortified wine, not all fortified wine can take port wine’s place, so use below substitute for port wine for baking, cooking, and serving with cakes.


Port is a Portuguese wine that gets its unique taste from fortification, which is also how it got its name. It has a sweet tone most used in making desserts.

The wine is fortified by being poured into barrels and topped up with brandy to stop the fermentation process. The grape sugar is completely transformed into alcohol.

This leaves the port with a higher ABV than wine, usually in the range of 19-20%.

What alcohol is similar to port?

The alcohols similar to port will vary depending on the specific type of port. However, some types of port that might be similar to other drinks include ruby port, tawny port, and vintage port, Madeira wine Marsala wine. Etc.

What can you substitute for port wine?

The best substitutes for port wine include Marsala, Madeira, Sherry, Zinfaldal, Pudding wine, Shiraz, Dry vermouth, Fruit liqueur, Beef broth, etc.

1. MADEIRA WINE Similar to Port Wine

Madeira is the top substitute for port wine. Madeira Wine is a type of fortified wine made in the Madeira Islands.

It has a similar sweet flavor as port-wine, also served with dessert.

You can add in apéritifs and digestifs also. A famous Britain cake name Madeira cake is made from Madeira wine. 

Madeira is versatile and useful in various recipes for bringing rich flavor. Use in tournedos Rossini, Plum in Madeira, etc. Use a 1:1 ratio of Madeira wine for Port Wine.

1. Port wine Substitute MARSALA WINE 

Substitute Marsala wine port wine is a great idea. It is another sweet fortified wine that also comes unfortified version.

you can use marsala wine in the place of port wine and make such delicious dish.

This Italian wine is available in wide colors and flavors, from green to ruby, amber, white, etc. Marsala is also the perfect alternative for ruby port wine.

You can use Marsala wine in various savory dishes like risotto, rich Italian recipes, desserts like shortcake, zabaione, etc. One of the most widespread Marsala wine dishes is chicken marsala.

As port and Marsala, the two wine is similar, use a 1:1 ratio.

2. Substitute SHERRY For Port Wine 

Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine made from white grapes. It has own several varieties, including Fino, Manzanilla which is way sweet for substituting port wine in the dessert.

SHERRY is a good substitute For Port Wine

Sherry is also used in cooking. The two digestifs are frequently mistaken for one another. Sherry differs from a sweet port in that it is significantly dryer and sharper.

Sherry is a cousin of Port wine, so it can be used as a substitute for Port.

3. MOSCATEL DE SETUBAL Similar to Port Wine 

Another similar to port wine is Moscatel de Setúbal. It is a Portuguese sweet wine made from muscatel grapes. It has a fruity apricot-like flavor. 

4. DRY VERMOUTH- Excellent Replacement for Port Wine in Cooking

Dry Vermouth is another fortified wine similar to Madeira. It’s an excellent alternative for almost any dish that calls for the Port Wine.

DRY VERMOUTH is an Excellent Replacement for Port Wine in Cooking

Vermouth is available in both dry and sweet versions, so you can select the one that best meets your palate or the recipe. One of the best aspects about vermouth is that it is typically affordable and goes well in cooking.

You can use it as a dessert drink in place of Port wine. Meanwhile, remember that vermouth has a very powerful flavor that even dominates the flavor of your food if used in excess.

5. Try a Variety of Dessert wines 

The wine is typically served as a dessert wine. It is usually paired with cheese or nuts and other digestifs as well aperitif.

Dessert wines are the sweet and perfect substitute for Port Wine. It is also known as Pudding Wine, widely used in the UK.

Dessert wine is different variations include Ice-wine, Raisin, Straw wine, etc.

6. Try CHIANTI Replace of Ruby Port Wine 

Chianti is an Italian sweet red wine most popular and widely used for substituting ruby port wine. 

Chianti is an Italian sweet red wine most popular and widely used for substituting ruby port wine. 

Chianti frequently features notes of sour cherry and other fruits. It goes well with poultry recipes. Use half of the Chianti for the amount of port wine you require. Although Chianti has high acidity, the overall flavor is subtle.

7. Use MERLOT Place of Port Wine For Rich Flavor

Another great substitute for the ruby port is Merlot. It is another variety of sweet red wine. Merlot pairs well with grilled salmon, charred meats, and mushroom-based dishes. 

use merlot place of port wine for rich flavor.

Merlot is one of the top widely popular red wine varietals in many areas. Merlot has a delicate and silky texture and a fruity scent with fruit flavor. It’s an excellent wine to sip with heavy meat meals.

Merlot’s packed character suits itself well to tomato sauce and slow-cooking foods. Many chefs enjoy its adaptability because of its fruity flavors and young age, making it an excellent replacement for the ruby port.


Black Muscat is a wonderful substitute for ruby ports due to its rich and fruity characteristics. It may ruin the flavor of your food if you add extra.

9. ZINFANDEL Excellent Replacement for Port Wine 

Zinfandel comes in red and white tones, so you can substitute it for Tawny port wine. It is a robust red wine perfect for dessert and casserole recipes. 

Zinfandel comes in red and white tones, so you can substitute it for Tawny port wine.

Zinfandels come in various flavors, but they all have a fruity flavor profile reminiscent of sour cherries. Meanwhile, it is advised not to use Zinfandel to make sauces because it is dry and contains less alcohol.

I recommend using Zinfandels for red meats, poultry dishes, casseroles, braised, etc.

10. Try SHIRAZ Alternative to Port Wine 

Shiraz is, also known as Syrah, is commonly obtained from dark-skinned grape varieties. Although Shiraz/ Syrah use instead of ruby port, you can also use port wine.

Shiraz is best for making delicious dark meat, casserole, and braising red meats. You can add it into the sauce, too, due to its spicy, peppery tone.

Non-alcoholic Substitute for port in Cooking

There are many different non-alcoholic substitutes for port in cooking. Of course, if you’re not in a hurry for the dish to be done, then simply cook it on low for longer.

1. Chicken and Beef Broth as Non-Alcoholic Port Wine Replacement

Beef or chicken broth can be substituted for the port wine in this recipe.

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 4 cups beef broth, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 pound mushrooms

INSTRUCTIONS: In a 3-quart saucepan over medium flame, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until smooth; gradually add the beef broth. Add onion, salt, and pepper. 

Bring to a boil, then cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add mushrooms; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Serve with the beef.

2. Ginger Ale – Port Wine Substitute Non-alcoholic

Ginger Ale is a carbonated drink made with ginger, sugar, and water. It is often consumed as a substitute for port wine. 

It is created by fermenting water, sugar, ginger root, and yeast.

The color of ginger ale can range from clear to golden yellow. In addition, ginger ale is commonly available in a variety of flavors. 

For instance, Canada Dry includes ginger ale with other juice flavors such as orange and lemon.

In Japan, Coca-Cola has recently introduced its ginger ale, called Fanta Zing. However, it is not made with ginger but rather an artificial flavoring.

Another great idea is to make your own port substitute. One way is to use a dark cola such as Coke and reduce it down, or mix a bit of molasses, sugar, and water.

Juice substitute for port wine

There are many juice substitutes for port wine. You can make a delicious grape juice port wine substitute by following these simple steps:

1. Combine 1 cup of white grape juice and 1/2 cup of port wine in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring the combination to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Strain the juice into a glass jar or bottle and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

4. Enjoy!

Substitute for port wine in french onion soup

Sherry! It’s a fortified wine, and its taste is quite similar to port. And it is cheap!

Port wine in French onion soup is replaced with red-wine vinegar, lemon juice, sherry vinegar.

I decided to substitute the port wine in French onion soup with apple cider, and it tasted great!

Read More - Substitutes for Absinthe for Cooking

Substitute for port wine in cranberry sauce

1) I superseded for port wine in cranberry sauce with apple cider. The sauce turned out great! It was sweet and tart with a good touch of spice.

It is reasonably easy to make, and the flavor is excellent.

Cranberry sauce is a classic side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals. While port wine is a traditional ingredient in cranberry sauce, there are many substitutes for it in this flavorful dish.

Port wine adds a distinct zing to cranberry sauce, but if you are watching your weight or opting for moderation in your diet, there are alternatives.

2) number two substitute is fruit juice.

You can also use grape or raspberry juice as an alternative to port wine in cranberry sauce. This will create a similar flavor to port wine in cranberry sauce without adding extra calories or sugar. 

Orange juice, mango juice with a dash of lemon juice, and a hint of cinnamon and cloves would be another alternative to port wine in cranberry sauce.

3) Another substitute for port wine in cranberry sauce is fruit liqueur. Fruit liqueurs are generally sweet, so you will want to use less than the recipe calls for to maintain the flavor in your cranberry sauce. 

4) One replacement for port wine in cranberry sauce is equal parts rum and triple sec or Grand Marnier. 

5) The substitute for port wine in cranberry sauce is brandy. Again, you will want to reduce the amount of brandy that the recipe calls for, as most fruit liquors are generally sweeter than brandy.

Substitute for port wine in baking

For a non-alcoholic substitution in baking, you can use grape juice. Simply replace the port wine in any recipe with grape juice, and your baked goods will turn out just as delicious.

Although this tip has been around for a while, not many people know that you can also substitute alcohol in cake recipes with any non-alcoholic beverage of choice. 

A good amount to use is 1/4 cup per 1 cup of liquid in the recipe. As long as you do not use a flavored beverage like coffee or juice, your cakes will turn out moist and delectable.

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Substitute for port wine in dessert

Sherry is a fortified wine that is an excellent alternate for port wine in dessert dishes. It has a mildly sweet taste that complements desserts wonderfully.

Other Alternatives for Port wine in Dessert

  • · Madeira 
  • · Marsala wine
  • · Dry Vermouth
  • · Zinfandel
  • · Pudding wines

White port wine substitute

There are a few additional ways to make a white port wine substitute

One way is to use a Moscato d’Asti, a sweet white wine from Piedmont, Italy. 

Another way is to use a Riesling, a sweet white wine from Germany. 

You can also use a Chenin Blanc, a sweet white wine from South Africa.

What can I use in place of port wine?

  • · Fruit Liqueur
  • · Madeira Wine
  • · Marsala Wine
  • · Sherry
  • · Dry Vermouth
  • · Chianti

Q1. Can I substitute red wine for port?

Yes, you can substitute red wine for the port. The color is obviously different, but the taste can be very similar, depending on what you are making.

You may use red wine substituted for port in beef bourguignon. The result will not have the same “dimmed down” flavor so common in classic recipes, but it will still taste good.

I have used red wine in place of port in recipes that call for port and never had a problem. You might need to cook it down more or add other ingredients if the dish needs additional flavor.

You may find that the color of the sauce or dish is a bit lighter than when using a port, but it will still be delicious.

If you have any white wine on hand, you can certainly use all white wine in place of a port.

Q2. What grape is port made from?

The grapes used in port are grown along the Douro river valley in northern Portugal. The most common grapes used to make port include:

~Touriga Franca – dark, high tannin fruit with blackberry flavors

~Touriga Nacional – a deep purple grape with notes of tar and chocolate

~Tinta Roriz – the most common grape used, with flavors of blackberry and cola

~Tinto Cão/ Tinta Cao – similar berry flavors

~Tinta Barroca – low tannin, strawberry notes

Of these grapes, Touriga Nacional is the most sought after.

Q3. Can you substitute port for red wine in cooking?

No, as they are very different wines. Port wine has a sweet and sour taste, while red wine is more tart and dry. 

This means that port can overpower food flavors because it’s too strong for many dishes.

Unfortunately, the two don’t work well together. While European chefs have used port in place of red wine for years, it doesn’t work well in American cuisine. 

The problem with substituting port is that it’s sweeter and less acidic than red wine, which means that most dishes will require a lot of decorating to get it right.

For example, if you wanted to make a beef bourguignon with port, you’d need to use at least twice the normal amount of red wine because it’s so sweet. 

However, the end result would be really sweet and probably taste like traditional beef bourguignon.

Instead, I recommend using a heavy red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot. This will add the needed acidity and depth to your dish.

The best substitutes for red wine in cooking are

~Madeira (this has a nutty and sweet flavor), 

~Marsala (made from grapes like those used to make chianti or pinot noir) or 

~sake (from rice). 

These should be reduced by one-quarter before using in place of red wine. 

Additionally, we need to wait 30 minutes after adding beer to let the gluten settle again before adding any other ingredients. Our dish doesn’t turn out gummy!

Q4. Is Cabernet Sauvignon a port wine?

No, Cabernet Sauvignon is not a port wine. 

The emphatic answer of wine expert and author Jancis Robinson asserts that Cabernet Sauvignon is NOT a port wine. 

This is also the answer of British wine expert Oz Clarke, who states that “Cabernet Sauvignon must never be added to Port.”

However, some wine experts such as British writer and critic Hugh Johnson contend that Cabernet Sauvignon is a correct match with Port. The grape contributes to the aroma, “plushness,” and color of port wines.

Q5. Is Port wine the same as Sherry?

Both Port wine and Sherry are variants of fortified wine. 

Port wine is a type of dessert wine mainly made in the Douro Valley of Portugal. “Sherry,” on the other hand, is an aged white wine that was first produced in the Jerez region of Spain. 

The main difference is that port wine is a sweet fortified wine, while sherry can be sweet or dry.

There are several variants of port wine, including tawny, ruby, and vintage. Sherry also has multiple variants, including cream sherry and manzanilla.

The Port wine is aged in second-use oak barrels for about two years. A vintage port will have been aged at least three years, with some wines continuing to age and improve for up to 50 or 60 years.

The Sherry wine is aged in oak casks for three to six years, but some sherries are aged much longer before being sold.

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