Dry sherry is a type of wine fortified with brandy, which you can find in many recipes. The fortification process gives dry sherry more complexity and higher alcohol levels than other table wines.
However, as you’re creating your favorite recipes, tragedy strikes. Where’s the dry sherry? You were so sure you still kept stock of it for your next dinner!
Don’t panic if you don’t have any dry sherry or want to go non-alcoholic. You can use a dry sherry substitute that will work just the same.
Read on for our list of dry sherry substitutes!
- The Best 8 Substitutes for Sherry You Can Try!
- The Best Non-Alcoholic Substitute for Dry Sherry
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping It Up
The Best 8 Substitutes for Sherry You Can Try!
Dry sherry is readily available in liquor stores and major supermarkets, famous for its strong alcoholic taste. However, we understand that it may not be in stock all the time, or you have no more time to head outside to grab a bottle.
Fun fact: Sherry is usually bottled to order, and fino, a type of sherry, isn’t meant to age in bottles and must be consumed immediately. (*)
Whether you’re looking for a substitute for cooking sherry or something to drink, try any of these alternatives.
1. Dry Vermouth
Dry vermouth is a decent sherry substitute if you don’t use sweet vermouth (usually red). Also, don’t use semi-sweet vermouth like Lillet Blanc or Dolin, as they are too sweet and change a recipe’s character.
Dry vermouth offers a hint of crisp and tart flavors like dry white wine. This drink also has a high alcohol content and is infused with botanicals, an aromatized drink.
Only opt for dry vermouth, which works very well for cocktails asking for dry sherry, like the classic martini. We also recommend using dry vermouth to substitute cooking sherry in stews, soups, or sauces.
You can use an equal 1:1 ratio when using dry vermouth as a sherry substitute.
2. Madeira Wine
Madeira wine is another kind of fortified wine, which works well as a dry sherry substitute. This drink has caramel, nut, and sweet flavor profiles, and while Madeira doesn’t have the same amount of complex flavors, the acidity and fruity tones will intensify your recipes just like dry sherry does.
Fun fact: This wine comes from the Portuguese Madeira Islands, hence the name.
Like dry vermouth, you can use an equal 1:1 ratio. You can also use it in exchange for drinking sherry, which many will appreciate. If you have no Madeira, you can also use marsala wine, one of the many kinds of fortified wines.
3. Dry White Wine
Dry white wine is a fantastic direct substitute to sherry, and for great reason. Sherry is a dry white wine fortified by adding alcohol, so dry white wine is pretty close enough.
However, sherry’s finish is sharper and dryer than wine, which is sweeter. That said, when using dry white wine for cooking, you may not even tell the difference.
You can use equal amounts of dry white wine when substituting cooking sherry. Just do NOT use sweet wine, which ends up giving your recipe a whole new character.
The Best Non-Alcoholic Substitute for Dry Sherry
What if you don’t want any alcohol content in your recipes? Don’t worry; you can still use a non-alcoholic substitute and still capture the flavor you’re eyeing.
Try any of these non-alcoholic alternatives as a substitute for fortified wine.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a quick fix, and surely, you have some in your house already! However, apple cider vinegar has less aged depth and is a bit sweeter than dry sherry.
Furthermore, it has stronger acidity levels, so you’ll need to dilute it with water. Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with half a cup of water for every one whole cup of dry sherry the recipe calls for.
5. White or Red Wine Vinegar
Red and white wine vinegar are suitable non-alcoholic substitutes! White wine vinegar is bolder than dry sherry, tasting tangy and zingy even when using a small amount. Use one tablespoon of white wine vinegar for every 1/4 cup of dry sherry, adjusting the amount depending on how much the recipe calls for.
The same goes for red wine vinegar. While red and white wine vinegar has almost identical flavors, red wine vinegar has a harsher finish and a more vibrant grape flavor. It can intensify savory recipes with fruitier, punchier flavors.
Use a smaller amount of red wine vinegar in your recipe and consider adding one teaspoon of chicken broth for a more complex flavor profile similar to dry sherry.
You can also try champagne wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar, but you may have different results. Avoid using white vinegar, which is too acidic.
6. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is a great non-alcoholic substitute as it has flavors closer to dry sherry! Both vinegar and sherry have the same fortified base, though the latter has a saltier taste.
Note that sherry vinegar has less potency than red or white wine vinegar. For every 1/4 cup of dry sherry required in a recipe, use one tablespoon of sherry vinegar. You can do a taste test and add more only when needed.
7. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is the best substitute for desserts, as it would blend the complexities to sauces or cakes as dry sherry would. Note that this is sweeter and more concentrated than dry sherry!
For every 1/4 cup of dry sherry required, use only one teaspoon of extract. You can find non-alcoholic vanilla extract to use as a substitute for sherry.
8. Fruit Juice
If you’re looking for more substitutes for desserts and sweet recipes, you can opt for apple juice, white grape juice, or red grape juice. These are fruit juices that naturally contain acid, so they can make up for that kick and tang dry sherry offers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still feel like you’ve got some unanswered questions? Here are frequently asked questions to help you know more about dry sherry:
1. What is dry sherry?
Dry sherry is a fortified wine that gives many dishes more complex flavors with nutty, fragrant, and salty tones. This is different from other wines because of the aging and fortification process it goes through.
Basically, the wine is made through the addition of grape liquor to white wine.
As a result of its unique process, dry sherry contains a higher ABV than other drinking wines since winemakers add brandy after the sugar converts into alcohol.
Fun fact: Sherry is made in Spain!
2. What’s the difference between drinking and cooking sherry?
Cooking sherry has a golden color and sweet aroma, close to dry sherry with slightly nutty flavors. This type of wine contains potassium metabisulfite, potassium sorbate, and salt to preserve its taste and extend its shelf life.
Drinking sherry has no preservatives added to it suitable for drinking. You can also use drinking sherry for cooking.
Fun fact: There are other types of cherries, such as light and dry sherry, sweet sherry, and even manzanilla.
3. What do you use dry sherry for?
There are many recipes you can accomplish that use dry sherry (or any of its substitutes), such as:
- Creamy soups
- Lobster bisque
- Savory dishes like pork chops or roast chicken
- Sweet dishes like bundt cakes, trifles, or ice cream sauces
Wrapping It Up
Did you get to find the best sherry substitutes from our list? Whether you’re making savory or sweet recipes, don’t wait any longer and get back to cooking unique dishes with any of the ingredients we mentioned!
Let us know how your recipe worked out in the comments section below. Good luck!