Can you boil away alcohol

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you boil away alcohol ?” We will also discuss Does alcohol evaporate faster than water by boiling, What factors affect alcohol evaporation during boiling, and What is the required time to boil away alcohol.

Can you boil away alcohol?

Yes, you can boil away alcohol, however, the alcohol content in any cooking liquid will not totally evaporate by boiling since this mainly depends on the boiling time.

Despite the wrong popular information in the food world that considers that alcohol will completely evaporate upon cooking and boiling, a new study has shown that the alcohol concentration will never get to zero but rather remain up to  5 – 85%  after boiling and this percentage is mainly determined and affected by the boiling temperature and time.

Alcohol can be infused in several food recipes granting them a uniquely tasty and appetizing flavor such as beef with wine sauce, and beer cornbread. 

Does alcohol evaporate faster than water by boiling?

Alcohol has a lower boiling point (173 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the boiling point of water (212 degrees Fahrenheit).

Based on this fact alcohol usually evaporates three times faster than water however you must note that this rate does not precisely determine the alcohol percentage in your food since the latter will be affected by other factors as we will see in the next section.

In other words, this means that alcohol usually requires less temperature to boil compared to pure water and therefore it will begin to evaporate before the water does.

This unique feature will help you know more about the fate of the alcohol content you use in your food recipes such as wine sauce, beer, liquor, and others.

What are the factors that affect alcohol evaporation during boiling?

As we have seen throughout this article, alcohol can be boiled away slowly but it will never vanish completely.

The retained alcohol content in the final dish after boiling is determined and highly affected by several factors such as:

  • The temperature used in boiling where the higher temperature will boil away more alcohol
  • The boiling time, which will be discussed in detail in the last section
  • The pot or pan’s size or exposed surface area, as the surface area increases in a large-sized utensil, the alcohol evaporation will increase, therefore, less alcohol will remain after boiling in small pans and vice versa 
  • Other ingredients of the food recipe that contains alcohol can influence the amount of alcohol that can be boiled away, for example, a toast or bread crumb will reduce or prevent some of the wine sauce alcohol from evaporation
  • Stirring your food recipes during cooking will increase the amounts of alcohol lost during the boiling process since the stirring action promotes and enhances the evaporation process
  • Atmospheric pressure 
  • Air saturation 

For more detailed guidance, please check the link here

What is the required time to boil away alcohol?

Boiling will lead to the evaporation of a certain amount of alcohol and as we have seen this amount depends on many factors mainly the time at which the alcohol is cooked at its boiling point of (173 degrees Fahrenheit).

It is estimated that boiling alcohol at a temperature above 60 degrees will lead to the evaporation of some alcohol by transforming from the liquid into a gaseous state. 

However, in order to remove all traces of alcohol through evaporation, it is recommended to boil them for about 3 hours since more alcohol will be boiled away by prolonged boiling.

In principle, it is found that alcohol usually takes 15 minutes to be boiled away by up to 60 % while the remaining content is 40%, for further details check the table below.

Boiling timeRemaining alcohol amount
15 minutes40%
30 minutes35%
60 minutes25%

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you boil away alcohol ?” We have also discussed Does alcohol evaporates faster than water by boiling, What factors affect alcohol evaporation during boiling, and What is the required time to boil away alcohol.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

References

https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/food-network-essentials/cooking-wine-does-alcohol-burn-off#:~:text=Sorry%20to%20spoil%20the%20party,erase%20all%20traces%20of%20alcohol.

https://www.isu.edu/news/2019-fall/no-worries-the-alcohol-burns-off-during-cookingbut-does-it-really.html

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.