Selecting a the Best Wine Cooking for a Tasty Osso Buco Dish

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

Reader Disclosure Disclosure: We may earn commissions for purchases made through links on our site. Learn more on our about us page.

What kind of wine do you use for osso buco?

Using wine in an osso buco recipe is definitely a must! However, if you have never cooked osso buco before or if you want to mix up your recipe – we have a few ideas about which type of wine to use and why they are a perfect compliment for osso buco.

Traditionally, white wine has been the wine of choice for osso buco recipes and still remains the most popular choice today. 

However, newer recipes have incorporated red wine as well, so you can use either option, but the type of white or red wine is still a very important choice in your recipe.

If you are going to incorporate a white wine in your osso buco – a dry, light-bodied, acidic wine is the preferred option to use. 

The reason for this is that these types of white wine will bring out the flavors and serve as a nice compliment to the osso buco without overwhelming it.

A couple of different dry, light-bodied, acidic white wine options are Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. However, as long as you keep these qualities in mind – you can incorporate several different white wine options depending on your preference.

If you prefer cooking with red wine – that is definitely still an option for your osso buco recipe. You will want to choose a rich and full-bodied red wine because it helps cut through the fat and compliments the osso buco very nicely.

If you do choose to cook with red wine over white wine – you will notice that it has a more intense impact on the overall flavor of the finished recipe, while a white wine will be more subtle. 

A couple of red wines that we would recommend are Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, but feel free to substitute for your wine of choice as long as it is a rich and full-bodied red wine. 

A few sealed wine bottles stacked - Best Wine Cooking for a Tasty Osso Buco Dish.

What kind of wines to avoid with osso buco?

We have previously mentioned a few different white wines and red wines that are the ideal option, so while it may not be the end of the world if you deviate slightly from these types of wine – you will definitely notice a difference compared to established options. 

However, you definitely want to avoid certain types of wine in your osso buco recipe.

You will first and foremost want to avoid cheap cooking wines because when cooking with wine – they should help bring out the flavors of the osso buco, but a cheap cooking wine does the opposite of that. 

At the same time, you should generally try to avoid expensive wines because while they do bring out the flavor of osso buco and other recipes – the trade-off is not that much bigger than less expensive options and would be a better option as a pairing instead.

That is why a good rule of thumb is that when choosing a wine to cook with – avoid cheap cooking wines. 

Expensive wines are an option but not a requirement, and you can generally stick with something that you are familiar with already as long as it compliments the osso buco like the white and red wines we have previously discussed.

Another general rule of thumb when using wine with osso buco is to avoid oaked wine like Chardonnay because it will overpower the osso buco instead of the purpose of incorporating wine, which is to bring out the flavor. 

Other wines to avoid when cooking osso buco are all corked wines because the cork taint will be present in the recipe, as well as sweet wines because it unbalances the osso buco. 


Are dry or white wines better for osso buco?

If you are using white wine for osso buco – a dry white is better than sweet because it will bring out the flavors of the osso buco instead of overtaking it, which would be the case for sweet wine. 

Dry wines also tend to be more acidic than sweet wines, which is another reason it is better for osso buco because it can withstand the heat better.

We have also previously mentioned this, but dry white wines have traditionally been used when cooking osso buco, so you can never go wrong with this option. 

While one of the best aspects of cooking is experimenting – you can never go wrong with classic combinations such as this.


How much wine should I add to osso buco?

The amount of wine you should add to osso buco will depend on the serving size (4 for this example) and on the type of wine you are using. A little more or a little less will not make a major difference, but it is generally good advice to follow the recommended proportions.

If you are using a white wine with your osso buco – you will want to use one cup of white in your recipe. The reason being is that white wine helps to bring out the flavors of the osso buco without overpowering it.

If you are using red wine with your osso buco – you will want to use two cups of red wine as opposed to one if you were using white wine. 

This is because red wine interacts differently with meat, such as osso buco, and by using red wine, the goal is to get as much intensity out of the flavors as you can.


How long does it take to cook out the wine in osso buco?

Once the white wine or red wine has been added to the osso buco – you will want to cook out the wine for about one to one and a half hours. This will provide enough time for the wine to cook out, but you will also want to make sure to keep stirring during this process.

The exact timing can be tricky, but the more you cook osso buco with wine, the better you will judge how long it will take for the wine to cook out.

Final thoughts on Cooking Wine for Osso Buco

Osso Buco is a famous Italian dish, and one of the most important ingredients you will use is wine, so it is important to get familiar with how to incorporate wine into this recipe, especially if you are not familiar with cooking with wine. 

While traditionally, Osso Buco is cooked with white wine – red wine has become a popular option and is definitely a great addition if red wine is your preference.


There are several different options for what type of wine to use, but the general consensus is that wines such as Pinot Grigio for white wine and Pinot Noir for red wine are the standard, so choosing wines similar to these two is the way to go.


When deciding how much wine to use or how long it will take to cook out the wine in osso buco – the best advice we can give is to follow a recipe that appeals to you, and once you feel comfortable, you can start making adjustments based on your preference.


Wine plays an important role in osso buco, but do not be intimidated if you are new to cooking with wine. The more you practice, the better your recipe will turn out, and you will start to notice just how vital a role wine plays in making osso buco.