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Substitute for Marsala Wine Recipes and Ingredients – All You Need to Know

Marsala wine brings the best flavor, sugary flavor to any dish. It has the perfect aroma and taste that is a combination of caramel and nut. So what can you use Marsala wine for? You can use Marsala wine for its nuttiness, sugary, and sweet flavor.

And the older the wine gets, the richer and more intense it tastes. That is why Marsala wine one of the oldest and authentic ingredients for dishes.

The most famous recipe with Marsala wine is Marsala Chicken. But you can also make chickpea curry, fritters, pan-seared turkey, and similar recipes with this wine. That would mean that you cannot replace Marsala wine in these recipes with anything else, right?

Think again because I’ve got the perfect substitute for Marsala wine for you. So instead of using Marsala wine, you can use these ingredients to make a sauce that tastes just like Marsala wine.

Substitute for Marsala Wine – Recipes

There are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes for Marsala wine. I’m going to walk you through a few of them so you have plenty of options to move forward with.

1. Grape Juice & Vinegar

When you’re talking about adding wines in recipes, there’s no better substitute for it than grape juice. You can cook Marsala chicken with this non-alcoholic substitute easily.

  • One-fourth cup of grape juice (you can use any variety but the white grape is ideal)
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsps of sherry vinegar

The vanilla extract adds that sweetness which is also characteristic of Marsala wine. And to make it not too sweet, the sherry vinegar adds the hint of bitterness and caramelization which any Marsala wine dish would be incomplete without!

2. Prunes & Vinegar

Another non-alcoholic substitute for Marsala wine is prunes with vinegar. But this around, you can use a different variety of vinegar that works best with prunes and figs.

  • One-fourth cup of prune or fig juice/extract
  • 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Here’s something you can do with fresh prunes and figs at home. Cook down the flesh of the prunes and figs on low heat and keep simmering.

Once it turns to mush, add either water to water down the fruits. Strain the juice with a mesh strainer and combine it with vinegar to make into the perfect homemade substitute for Marsala wine.

3. White Wine & Brandy

For an alcoholic substitute, you can combine white wine and brandy. Use only a spoon or two of brandy for the perfect flavor and intensity.

Using grape juice with brandy in the same manner also makes a delicious substitute.

Substitute for Marsala Wine – Ingredients

If you want to try out some of the individual ingredients that are the best substitutes for Marsala wine, here are some of my favorite ones.

1. Dry Sherry

Even though dry sherry may not be as complex in both intensity and flavor as Marsala wine. But it certainly comes the closest as the best substitute for Marsala wine.

If your supermarket is fancy enough, it will have bottles of ‘cooking sherry’ but you don’t need those. What you need is the actual sherry because it has low sodium and preservative content which is good for you. And the authentic sherry flavor brings out more caramelization and depth in what you’re cooking.

2. Stock

I would recommend going for chicken or beef stock. But if you’re pressed for time or effort, you can always use mushroom and onion stock with a dash of sherry vinegar or Vermouth to bring the flavor out.

It’s non-alcoholic and tasty. Many Italian dishes use chicken stock as the main ingredient aside from wine.

3. Distilled Spirits

Distilled spirits are used often as a base ingredient in many recipes. It means liquids distilled or infused or extracted from fruits. Brandy is the most classic distilled spirit. Then you have run and vodka.

Madeira is another excellent substitute for Marsala wine. It is not as expensive as Port which is another exquisite substitute for Marsala wine as both are fortified wines.

Types of Marsala Wine

There are two main types of Marsala wine. Dry and sweet Marsala wine.

Sweet Marsala wine is famously used in desserts, sauces, and tiramisu. Some chicken and pork recipes. Between dry and sweet Marsala wine, sweet Marsala has a more sticky consistency and texture than dry Marsala wine.

Dishes made with sweet Marsala wine include soups, cakes, cheesecake, pork loin, and pasta.

Dry Marsala wine is the most common one. It intensifies the caramelization of food including mushrooms, meat, chicken, beef, and pork. The best way to use dry Marsala wine is to cook it with herbs and onions and mushrooms. Most of the alcoholic content of the Marsala wine gets reduced and what remains is a deep, nutty, and aromatic flavor and texture of the wine.

What Is Marsala Wine Made Of?

Marsala wine is made of Sicilian grapes. It is combined and fortified with brandy or any other grape spirit. Compared with other types of regional wines, Marsala is complex to make and preserve. And the older it gets, the flavor and aroma of the wine intensifies. This adds more flavor and texture to the dish you use it in.

In fact, there are some expensive Marsala wines that have been aged distinctly. The method is called Soleras. It is a Spanish and Portuguese method of aging wine that is also famously used for sherry and beer.

This gives a wine an intense and rich as Marsala wine its elegant and special taste.


Among the many varieties of substitutes available for Marsala wine, which is your favorite? Marsala wine has a unique flavor that is hard to substitute with something like grape juice or stock. But these ingredients form a solid foundation for most Marsala recipes. And they are often used by chefs to create flavorful and intense dishes all over the world – especially with chicken and beef recipes.

So if you’re interested in knowing the essence of Marsala wine and buying something that replicates it in your cookbook, you’ve come to the right place.

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