Cooking With Alcohol

Forget about getting tipsy – that’s not the point here. Cooking with a little liquor can be a healthy way to add flavor to recipes.
Related To:
Cookery course: pouring wine into a pan with risotto

Cookery course: pouring wine into a pan with risotto

Cookery course: pouring wine into a pan with risotto

©MAURICIOJORDAN

, MAURICIOJORDAN

Forget about getting tipsy – that's not the point here. Cooking with a little liquor can be a healthy and tasty way to add a splash of depth, flavor and excitement to your recipes.

Flavor Boost

Whether it's beer, sake, rum or Cabernet, using alcoholic beverages in cooking can act as a flavor enhancer. It can also be used to tenderize meat in marinades or concentrate flavor when simmered down into sauces.

What’s even more fun about cooking with alcohol is how versatile it can be. Beer can make a moist bread or add killer flavor to a fish taco. Hard liquor like vodka or rum can jazz up pasta sauces or be the finishing touch in a glaze for grilled or roasted meats.

Calories Burned?

It's a common belief that the booze and calories simply disappear when alcohol is cooked – this isn't entirely true. How much alcohol and calories are evaporated depend on several factors including how much alcohol is used (volume and proof) and how long it's cooked for.

To effectively evaporate alcohol, it needs to be exposed to air – adding heat will expedite this process. According to USDA data, alcohol that is simmered or baked as part of dish for 15 minutes will retain 40-percent of its alcohol content. After one hour of cooking, 25-percent will remain. To get down to single digits (5-percent) requires approximately 2.5 hours of cooking time.

As for the calorie dissipation, it depends on how strong the alcohol is to begin with. Hard alcohol like vodka or brandy is typically 80 proof or 40-percent alcohol by volume, verses something like beer or wine that are only 5 to 12 percent (respectively). Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram; you can do the math, but in many cases the calorie contribution becomes minimal.

Get cooking

It's bartender meets chef! Try your hand at these recipes made with a bit of alcohol.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Raise a Toast: Understanding Alcohol's Calories

There's no need to deny yourself a drink or two at your next party -- it's knowing how to control all those calories that's the tricky part. Here's some things to keep in mind.

Sip Wisely: Tips for Smart Alcohol Picks

With spring fever in the air, relax with a glass (or two) of alcohol. Beer, wine and cocktails can be part of a healthy diet---as long as you do it responsibly and follow our tips.

Reading List: ConAgra Cuts the Sodium, Alcohol Warnings & Men Aren't Washing Up

In this week’s nutrition news: Revamping school lunches menus, examining health claims of alcohol, and a closer look at the “Smart-Choice” label on Cocoa Puffs

Reading List: Hot Trends For 2010, Controversial Anti-Soda Video & A Caffeine-Alcohol Warning

In this week’s nutrition news: Check out how airline food stacks up, a wellness supermarket tour, and hot food trends for 2010.

Which Wines and Oils Do I Use When Cooking? — Fix My Dish

Don't stress about what kind of wine to cook with. It's pretty straightforward: If it tastes good in the glass, it'll taste good in the dish.

How to Taste Wine — Outsmarting Wine

Learn how to taste wine by using these three ways to build your wine-tasting vocabulary.

Cold-Weather Wines

"Septembral" is a poetic word for autumn and the cooler weather and richer, earthier food that come with it. These six wines fit the Septembral theme (and beyond).

Wine for Sangria

Sangria, a mixture of wine, fruit, sweetener and sometimes liquor, is capable of bringing such happiness that science should consider classifying it as an antidepressant. Here are some guidelines to make sangria as uplifting as it can be.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.