Can you cook with wine when pregnant?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “can you cook with wine when pregnant?” with an in-depth analysis of can you cook with wine when pregnant. Moreover, we will also discuss what happens when cooking is done with wine while pregnant.

Can you cook with wine when pregnant?

Yes, you can cook with wine when pregnant. Pregnant women can safely eat most dishes cooked with alcohol, as alcohol is significantly reduced during most, but not all cooking methods. A small number of foods containing alcohol, particularly desserts, are best avoided in pregnancy.

The longer we cook a dish that has alcohol, the lower the alcohol content will be. For example, if you simmer a stew with wine, cider, or beer for 90 minutes to two hours, most of the alcohol content will be burned off. A trace of alcohol may remain, but not in any quantity that’s likely to harm your baby.

What happens when you cook wine while pregnant?

The alcohol passes through the placenta and into the baby’s bloodstream. This can cause many birth defects, from physical abnormalities to mental retardation. These effects will continue to impact the baby after they are born and as they grow.

Does alcohol burn off when cooking?

It is true that some of the alcohol evaporates, or burns off, during the cooking process. After cooking, the amount of alcohol remaining ranges from 4 percent to 95 percent.

How can you minimize the alcohol content of food?

Avoid using a slow cooker:

Due to the lower temperatures in slow-cooking, the alcohol doesn’t get as much chance to cook out. Adapt the recipe for the oven or stovetop, where it can simmer, rather than just bubble.

Add alcohol at the start of the cooking process:

It is traditional anyway when making a sauce, for example. Avoid adding alcohol towards the end of cooking as it won’t have any chance to ‘cook off’, and will probably not help the taste of the final dish.

Loosely  place the lid:

If you’re cooking a casserole or similar dish in the oven, place a lid loosely over the food as it cooks. This helps further evaporation of the alcohol and slight dilution of the dish due to the water condensing off the lid. If the dish/sauce gets too thick, add a little water.

Reduce the recommended amount:

Even small amounts of alcohol can add body and depth to a dish, so you can reduce the entire recommended amount in a recipe. For example, if you were braising beef in red wine, use half wine and half beef stock instead.

Use alcohol substitutes:

If you want to try to avoid cooking with alcohol altogether, use substitutions such as tomato juice, apple juice, aromatic broths, or stocks. A splash of balsamic or apple cider vinegar will add the acidic touch that wine does.

Ask about the percentage and method of alcohol used when eating out:

When eating out, ask how the dish was cooked and how much alcohol is used in the recipe, if you’re concerned. Most restaurants can cater to those not consuming alcohol, not just in pregnancy, but for medical or health reasons.

Can a glass of wine harm pregnancy?

Even a small glass of wine exposes the baby to alcohol which has the potential to cause harm. Research indicates that any alcohol use during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

How long does it take to cook the alcohol out of wine?

The longer you cook, the more alcohol cooks out, but you have to cook food for about 3 hours to fully erase all traces of alcohol. A study confirmed this and added that food baked or simmered in alcohol for 15 minutes still retains 40 percent of the alcohol.

What can be used instead of wine in cooking?

Following are some substitutes for alcohol in cooking:

  • Red and white wine vinegar
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Red or white grape juice
  • Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
  • Apple juice 
  • Lemon juice

What kind of wine is cooking wine?

Generally, dry red and white wines are recommended for savory dishes. Whether cooking with red or white wine, avoid oaky wines (like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay), as these become bitter when cooked. Save sweet wines, such as Sauternes, Moscato, or sweet Riesling, for dessert recipes such as poached pears.

Can you substitute balsamic vinegar for red wine?

Balsamic vinegar is a popular kitchen staple, which makes it an ideal substitute for red wine vinegar because it’s much more likely to be found in your average kitchen cupboard than some of the other substitutes.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question “can you cook with wine when pregnant?” with an in-depth analysis of can you cook with wine when pregnant. Moreover, we have also discussed what happens when cooking is done with wine while pregnant.


Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.