Best white wines for cooking that don’t break the bank (2023)


dash of white wine is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to upgrade any meal. And the best part? You don’t need to use an expensive bottle, either.

Perfect for adding an extra dimension to your dishes without too much extra stress, cooking with white wine is a great way to spice up your recipes and the ingredient offers plenty of versatility.

What should you look for in a white wine?

But you’ll want to keep a few things in mind before merrily skipping off to the kitchen, freshly opened bottle in mind. First of all, you’ll want to consider the flavour profile of the recipe. The wine you choose should complement the flavours of the dish you’re cooking. A dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio works well for dishes that are light and delicate, while a richer wine like Chardonnay is better for dishes with heavier sauces or lots of cream.

You should also look for a wine with acidity: acidic wines can balance out rich or heavy ingredients and are perfect for helping to tenderise meat and add extra depth of flavour to the dish. White wines with good acidity include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Riesling.

Many white wine cooking guides will tell you to avoid wines that are too sweet, as these can be overpowering in a dish and may not provide the balance of flavours that you’re looking for. However, when poured carefully (e.g don’t glug in quite so much as you usually would), these sweeter wines can be brilliant for counteracting salty or overly rich dishes.

Lastly, consider the cooking method. If you’re cooking a dish that’ll be simmered for a long time, a more robust wine like Chardonnay may hold up better than a lighter wine. On the other hand, if you’re using wine in a quick sauce or marinade, a lighter wine will add the flavours you need without being too overbearing.

We’ve rounded up all of the best white wines for cooking.

Purato Catarratto Pinot Grigio

While Pinot Grigio goes well in all kinds of courses, its mineral finish means it really wows in seafood dishes. If you’re cooking fish, a dash of Pinot Grigio is perfect for cutting through fattier options, while its fruity finish adds extra complexity to what previously could be a pretty standard meal.

Choose an Italian wine like Purato Catarratto Pinot Grigio for all the flavour without the high price tag. This delicious wine is a blend of the indigenous Sicilian white grape, Cataratto with the better known Pinot Grigio.

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Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc White

Cooking up a recipe with chicken, seafood or something creamy? If that recipe requires wine, you’ll probably want to reach for a Sauvignon Blanc. This Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc White Wine tastes far more expensive than its price tag suggests and adds a delicious light, fruity flavour profile to any dish. Expect notes of passion fruit and a zesty finish.

Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay

Chardonnay might not be the first bottle you run to when it comes to cooking with white wine but this bottle is perfect for adding contrast in creamy dishes, stews or thick gravies. If you’re cooking a dish with heavy, intense ingredients that come jam-packed with flavour, you’ll want a wine that doesn’t wither away when poured in.

The answer? Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay. This soft smooth Chardonnay with its delightful melon and peach flavours is one of the best-value wines available. It’s internationally recognised and is renowned for its consistency, both when enjoyed in a glass or in a meal.

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Morrisons Vermouth Extra Dry

Vermouth is another great choice if you’re cooking with stronger flavoured ingredients. While some white wines can add a delicate dash of flavour, vermouth should be reserved for dishes when you really need the wine to fight its corner.

Morrisons’ Vermouth Extra Dry is made from a blend of Italian wines, infused with fragrant herbs and spices, which fuse together to add a brilliant level of flavour to your meals. The stronger flavours here also mean you can be a little more restrained with your measurements.

Casillero Del Diablo Reserva Sauvignon Blanc White Wine

Casillero Del Diablo might be famed for its delicious red wines but the brand makes some pretty top white wines too - and a few that especially come to life during the cooking process.

The Casillero Del Diablo Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is a budget friendly white wine that goes beautifully with heavy cream. This particular type of wine adds a dash of acidity to meals, delivering brilliant contrast to a dish that otherwise may taste a little too heavy. Expect lime and grapefruit with delicate green pepper notes.

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Pizzolato Pinot Grigio Piave DOC

Pinot Grigio is the most neutral white wine to cook with so, if you’ve got a bottle lying around and don’t know what to cook, rest assured that it’ll blend well with pretty much anything. One of the best white wines for cooking is the Pizzolato Pinot Grigio Piave DOC, a fresh, light and zingy wine with a fruity palate and a savoury complexity. With its notes of toasted almonds and walnut, this vegan white wine adds a whole new dimension to all kinds of dishes.

White Rabbit Riesling Wine

Riesling is one of the sweeter white wines around and is great for layering with saltier dishes that require toning down a little. It’s also one of the more versatile white wines for cooking, which means it’s great for storing away until next time you fancy getting a little more elevated in the kitchen.

White Rabbit’s Riesling Wine blends white blossoms and tropical fruit and is perfectly balanced. If you’re cooking with Riesling for the first time, pay attention to your measurements - too much and your dish will quickly become too sweet.

Codorniu Brut NV

You’ll find some particularly sophisticated recipes call for Champagne. If that’s out of your budget - or you’d rather stick to drinking the expensive stuff - you can supplement the Champagne in your recipe with Brut.

One of the best options for providing all the flavours without the matching price tag is Codorniu Brut NV. This is a fresh, crisp and elegant sparkling wine with attractive flavours of citrus and apple. Again, go easy on the measurements here due to the sugar content.

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M&S Stellenrust Chardonnay

M&S’ Stellenrust Chardonnay is a delicious white wine for drinking and adding to dishes. In fact, this gorgeous white wine is the sort you may want to buy two bottles of - one for sipping as you cook and a second for actually cooking with.

Fermented in French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks with wild yeasts to produce a myriad of flavours, this is a wine that doesn’t hold back on the flavours. Enjoy it in chicken or pork based dishes to let its aromatic notes flow through.

Domaine Coulombaud Vin De Provence White

Vermentino is considered one of the most underrated white wines for cooking and this impressive bottle is a great choice for fish or seafood dishes. With its refreshing but sharp apricot flavour, this wine adds a subtle dash of fruity notes to your dishes. But Vermentino, despite its aromatic notes, is a hardy wine and works just as well in heartier dishes without losing its touch.

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If you can only stock up on one bottle of white wine for cooking, make it a Pinot Grigio. In particular, make it a bottle of Purato Catarratto Pinot Grigio. This delicious white wine adds just the right balance of flavours to a huge range of dishes.


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