Dry White Wines for Cooking that You Must Have in Your Pantry

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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It might surprise you, but drinking isn’t the only thing you can use wine for. You might be someone who is trying to level up their cooking skills, or maybe you bought the wrong bottle of white wine and didn’t want it to go to waste. 

Whatever the reason is, there are some fantastic foods that utilize dry white wine in their recipes. So, if you’re looking to start leveling up your dinner game, below, we’ll tell you all you need to know about cooking a popular dish like scallops using a dry white wine.  

Organized wine bottles on a shelf - Dry White Wines for Cooking.

Why Are Dry White Wines The Best for Cooking Scallops? 

White wine is often used in dishes as a supplemental ingredient and can be used in place of lemons or different broths. Dry white wine compliments the texture and flavor of seafood like Scallops. 

A dry, crisp white wine adds extra depth to your dish. A sweeter white wine can cause your dish to over-caramelize and burn, and you don’t want the sweetness of your wine to overpower the flavors of your scallops. 

Red wine is better suited for cuts of beef and pork, adding a more savory zest to the meat. Using white wine when cooking your scallops will help with the acidity in a dish. 


Which Dry White Wines Are Better for Fried or Baked Scallops? 

You can virtually get away with using any dry white in your cooking, but some are better for certain types of cooking. If you’re looking for versatility, Pinot Grigio is a go-to for cooking seafood dishes. 

Its neutral and complex taste, paired with its light body, is a fool-proof way of making a good scallop dish, fried or baked. Another good wine is Sauvignon Blanc, arguably one of the driest white wines and has more acidity than Pinot Grigio. 

Due to its acidity, it is a preferred wine when cooking with seafood. However, if you’re looking to add richness to your scallops, Chardonnay is your best bet. Other good dry white wines for your scallops are sparkling wine, dry sherry, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris.


Are There Any Dry White Wines Varieties That Should Not Be Used for Cooking Scallops?

When cooking scallops, the only dry white wines you want to avoid are ones that are low quality. A good rule of thumb is that your wine should taste good on its own. 

If you’re cooking your scallops with a dry white wine that isn’t of good quality, it can ruin the quality of your dish. Another thing to keep in mind is that oaked wines are not generally recommended when cooking with seafood. 

This is because oaked wines can turn bitter when cooking. 


Chardonnay or Riesling: Which One Out Of These Two Is Better for Cooking Scallops?

To use Chardonnay or Riesling when cooking scallops is mostly a personal preference. A general consensus, however, is that unoaked Chardonnay is preferred over Riesling. 

Chardonnay is also more readily available than Riesling and offers a more decadent dish, especially when pairing scallops with a cream-based sauce. 

Riesling has a mild sweetness that is also an excellent option for cooking seafood, but it’s naturally sweeter taste may not be the best for creamier seafood-based dishes. 


Are There Any Important Tips on Cooking Scallops with Dry White Wine?

Tips for cooking scallops with dry white wine:


  • The longer you cook your wine, the less alcohol will be in your dish. 
  • Use an unoaked wine when cooking your scallops to avoid a bitter dish. 
  • Avoid using wine at the end of cooking; wine needs time to burn off to avoid having a raw taste to your scallops. 
  • Avoid anything that says white “cooking” wine when picking out a white wine to use with your scallops. It contains added salt that can ruin your dish. 
  • When cooking scallops, add the dry white wine after searing, but before the fish is cooking all the way through, so the wine has time to reduce. 

Final Thoughts on Cooking With Dry White Wines

Dry white wines are an excellent tool to have in your cooking arsenal, and the endless options can provide a variety of dishes. When in doubt about a dry white wine to use for your scallops, pick up a bottle of Pinot Grigio. 

Ensure you avoid oaked wines and cooking wines if you want an edible dish, and allow your wine to reduce when adding it to your scallops. Following these rules will ensure that you have a yummy scallop dish to enjoy time and time again.