It is a well-known fact that wines last a very long time and that their flavor enhances over time, so many people assume that cooking wine doesn’t go bad either.
But is that a safe assumption?
Then again, that bottle of cooking wine isn’t exactly the same as that delicious bottle of aged red wine that you enjoyed last Valentine’s Day.
This can easily leave you wondering how long cooking wine lasts.
Does Cooking Wine Go Bad?
Cooking wine does eventually go bad- even if you never open the bottle. Most cooking wines are labeled with an expiration date that’s approximately a year from the date of purchase. However, if the bottle remains unopened, it will still be safe to use for three to five years past the listed expiration date.
The shelf life of cooking wine
Most wines last a very long time depending on proper storage and vintage but spoil relatively quickly once the bottle has been opened.
On the other hand, cooking wine will eventually go bad – even if the bottle is unopened and stored properly.
No, it doesn’t get sweeter and more flavorful over time, but you can still technically use an unopened bottle of cooking wine past the expiration date.
Doing so is risky, though.
Most brands of cooking wine will be stamped with an expiration or “Best by” date, which is a standard procedure that will tell you the date that the cooking oil should ideally be used before.
Fortunately, cooking wine isn’t the same as milk, so if you rarely use it when preparing food and the bottle sits in your pantry for a few years before you finally come across a recipe that calls for it, the wine is probably still usable.
If you use cooking wine- or any wine for that matter- that has gone bad, you won’t need to speed dial poison control, but the flavor will have deteriorated significantly and it could make you sick to your stomach.
Spoiled wines eventually turn into vinegar and will negatively affect the taste of your food.
While unopened bottles of cooking wine stay good for years past the listed date, it is best to not hold off for too long before using it, and once the bottle has been opened, you shouldn’t hesitate to put it to use before it spoils.
Of course, you can use drinking wine to cook with, which may be more flavorful, but drinking wine spoils shortly after the bottle has been opened despite many vintages having the ability to age gracefully with proper storage conditions.
What you should know about cooking wine
There are several differences between cooking and drinking wine.
While you can definitely use drinking wine for cooking, you shouldn’t try to drink cooking wine as it has an extremely high alcohol content and added salt and preservatives.
The preservatives contribute to the long shelf life of cooking wine, but the alcohol content is higher than that of drinking wine because most of the alcohol will burn off during cooking.
According to a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen, very little alcohol will remain when using cooking wine.
An alcohol concentration of 2% in a veal stock (900ml veal and 150ml beer or wine) resulted in just 0.2% alcohol concentration after 30min of cooking.
Now, you should proceed with caution when using cooking oil in a dish that is supposed to simmer.
Eventually, the alcohol will evaporate, and the dish could taste burnt, but the poor taste doesn’t mean that the cooking wine has gone bad, so there’s no cause for concern.
While the added salt in cooking wine acts as a preservative that makes the wine last longer, the salt is also meant to enhance the flavor of the dish that you are preparing, which is why you won’t find a high salt content in regular drinking wines.
The added ingredients in cooking wine make it ideal to use for food preparation on top of contributing to the long shelf life, but you should never try to drink cooking wine.
Varieties of cooking wine and its shelf life
While red and white cooking wines are the most popular, there are actually six varieties of cooking wines that have different storage requirements and shelf lives.
Vermouth cooking wine is becoming more popular because you can reseal the bottle and refrigerate it after opening, so it can still stay good for weeks after it has first been opened.
But since it is made from grapes, like any other cooking wine, it won’t last forever.
Now, some cooking wines are fortified and don’t contain salt or preservatives, so they won’t last as long as other cooking wines.
Fortified cooking wines include Sherry, Port, and Marsala wines.
Frequently Asked Questions About Does Cooking Wine Go Bad
Can any wine be used for cooking?
While cooking wines were specifically designed for cooking, you can use dry white or red wines to prepare many dishes, but sweeter wines work best when preparing dessert dishes.
What does cooking with wine do for food?
Cooking wine is meant to enhance the flavor of the food while heating it on the stove top, but both cooking and drinking wines also work amazingly as flavorful marinades.
Will cooking wine get you drunk?
If you use cooking wine to prepare your food, it won’t get you drunk. However, drinking cooking wine can definitely get you drunk and is ill-advised.
Conclusion About Does Cooking Wine Go Bad
Cooking wine is usually labeled with an expiration date that’s about a year from the date of purchase, but it can last for three to five years unopened.
If you want to play it safe, don’t wait too long before using the wine.
But if you selected a mouthwatering variety, why would you even want to hold off on using it?