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The 5 BEST Substitutes for Dry Sherry

Are you searching for a substitute for dry sherry?

The use of this popular alcoholic beverage can add flavor and structure to many dishes, yet it might not be the right fit due to its strong and acidic taste.

A great option is substituting the dry sherry with other ingredients that are just as flavorful, yet milder in taste.

Here are five of the best substitutes for dry sherry, which include white wine, beef broth, applesauce, mirin and balsamic vinegar.

By making a few simple swaps in your cooking process, you can enjoy delicious meals that have even tastier results.

What is Dry Sherry?

Dry sherry is a fortified Spanish wine made from white varieties of grapes.

Though dry sherry can be enjoyed on its own, it is mostly used as a cooking wine in savory dishes.

Dry sherry brings out the flavor of a dish without the overpowering sweetness associated with other wine types.

It is typically used to enhance sauces and glazes when creating savory dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles.

When it comes to cooking, there are two types of dry sherry available: fino and oloroso.

Fino sherries are lighter in color and have a bright, nutty flavor with some salty undertones.

This type of sherry works best in sauces and light dishes such as salads or fruit dishes.

Oloroso sherries are darker in color and have more complex flavors that can stand up against bolder flavors like beef or game meat.

This type of dry sherry also works well with desserts that jar against sweet flavors such as nuts, chocolate, or caramelized sugar.

Dry sherry also makes an excellent addition to marinades and dressings due to its complexity in flavor – bringing both sweetness and acidity to otherwise dull dishes such as pastas or vegetables recipes without added calories or fat content from added oils or butter.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Dry Sherry

If you’re looking for an alternative to dry sherry for either culinary or drinking purposes, there are several substitutes available.

Be sure to choose the correct substitute for your application.

1 – Dry White Wine

Dry white wine is often the best substitute for dry sherry because it has a similar flavor profile with lemon, apple, and pear notes.

It’s often used in cooking in place of sherry to add some acidity and complexity to dishes.

You can use either a dry white vermouth or regular dry white wine when substituting for sherry.

When cooking with white wine, it’s important to remember that the alcohol percentage will remain the same but the liquid will evaporate during cooking.

This means you’ll need to add more white wine than the amount you’d typically use for dry sherry.

2 – Dry Vermouth

Dry vermouth is a fortified wine that is popular in cocktails, but it can also be used to replace dry sherry in recipes.

Like dry sherry, dry vermouth has aromas of dried herbs, spices and fruits and adds a slightly sweet taste to dishes.

Dry vermouth has an alcohol content of approximately 15-20%.

Since it contains fewer fortifying agents than sherry does, the flavor of the food you’re cooking may be less intense.

If you’re using dry vermouth as a substitute for baking, reduce the amount of sugar or other sweetener you would normally use by about one third.

3 – Madeira Wine

Madeira Wine is known for its unique flavor, aging process, and cooking abilities.

It is made with grapes grown on the Portuguese island of Madeira and fortified with brandy which gives it its distinctive flavor.

Often used in cooking, Madeira produces a deeper, richer flavor than wine and sherry.

Like sherry, it can be found in both dry and sweet varieties; the dry has a nuttier flavor while the sweet goes well with desserts.

When substituting Madeira for sherry, use half of the amount called for in your recipe and add sugar as needed to make up for sweetness if using the dry variety.

4 – Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar has been made in Spain since the 18th century and, like sherry, is produced from white grapes grown in the south of Spain.

The finished vinegar is aged at least six months in barrels made of oak, chestnut, or cherry wood.

Authentic Spanish sherry vinegar has a strong depth of flavor with a nutty sweetness that makes it an ideal alternative to dry sherry.

It will add complexity when used as a marinade or salad dressing, have a rich flavor when added to soups and sauces, and can even be used as an ingredient for baking.

The great thing about sherry vinegar is its versatility; use it just like you would dry sherry in recipes for poultry or seafood dishes.

5 – White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is a popular substitute for dry sherry, as it provides a sweet and acidic flavor to dishes.

It has less sweetness than sherry, so you may need to adjust the other ingredients in your recipe accordingly.

For an even more authentic flavor, you can use aged white wine vinegar, which has been aged for at least 4 months and has an intense flavor and fragrant aroma.

Start with a small amount of white wine vinegar — as too much can overpower the flavors of your dish — and add more to taste until you get the desired strength.


In conclusion, dry sherry is a fortified wine made in Spain that is usually used in cooking and baking.

It has an intense sweet and nutty flavor, and its higher alcohol content makes it an excellent substitute for hard liquor in recipes.

Although dry sherry is not widely available, there are several alternatives that can be used as a substitute in recipes with similar flavors.

These include dry red or white wine, cognac, port wine, vermouth and sherry vinegar.

Using the right type of alternative can help create the same unique flavor profile found in dishes prepared with dry sherry.

When substituting another liquid for sherry you need to consider the strength of the original ingredient and make adjustments accordingly.

This will prevent a dish from coming out too strong or too weak due to the difference in flavors between dry sherry and another type of alcohol-infused liquid.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Dry Sherry

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Dry Sherry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 – Dry White Wine
  • 2 – Dry Vermouth
  • 3 – Madeira Wine
  • 4 – Sherry Vinegar
  • 5 – White Wine Vinegar


  1. Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  2. Organize all of your ingredients.
  3. Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.

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