Difference between Cooking Wine and Regular Wine

Anyone who is not a chef and does not typically cook may be confused as to what a cooking wine is, and why it is different than regular wine. In today’s land of Pinterest and other social media, more and more people are finding recipes requiring wine, and wondering just what kind to purchase.


cooking wine
Cooking wines

A cooking wine is a wine that is formulated especially for cooking. It is made from wines that are not suitable for drinking. This wine is then processed with salt and preservatives. This allows the cooking wine to have a long shelf life after being opened, without it turning into vinegar. Many chefs consider cooking wine to be inferior. In addition, you will need to use less salt if you use a cooking wine in your recipes, as it has approximately one teaspoon of salt to every 8 ounces of wine.

Red, white and rosé wines
Red, white and rosé wines (from left to right)

A regular wine is also called a table wine. This is the type of wine that you serve at the table and drink. It can refer to any type of alcoholic wine regardless of quality. Regular wine can also be used in cooking. The alcohol cooks off, and it has a very short shelf life after being opened.

Comparison Chart

Cooking Wine Regular Wine
Contains salt and preservatives Usually doesn’t contain salt and preservatives
Preferred by amateurs Preferred by chefs
Long shelf life up to one year Short shelf life of a few days
Will not turn into vinegar Turns into vinegar in a short time

Cooking Wine vs Regular Wine

What is the difference between cooking wine and regular wine? Let’s compare them by taste, shelf life, and professional and amateur use.

  • Cooking wine contains salt while regular wine does not.
  • Cooking wine has an inferior taste and is not good for drinking.
  • Chefs will not use cooking wine but use regular wine routinely.
  • Amateur cooks like cooking wine because it has a long shelf life, whereas regular wine can only be used that day or soon after before becoming vinegar.
  • Cooking wine will not turn into vinegar and has a shelf life of approximately one year.


Below is the video about how to cook with wine.