Can you eat food with alcohol in it while pregnant

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can you eat food with alcohol in it while pregnant?” We will also discuss what cooking methods use alcohol and which is the dosage of alcohol a pregnant woman is capable of consuming.

Can you eat food with alcohol in it while pregnant?

Yes, you can eat food with alcohol in it while pregnant. Most dishes with alcohol in them have such low quantities that do not represent any harm to pregnant women. 

Although this can be affected by the cooking process, if alcohol is added to a dish later, the alcohol content will be higher and it won’t be recommended for pregnant women. Keep reading to find out which types of dishes can be prejudicial for you and your baby, and which ones you can still enjoy.

Is alcohol cooked off in food?

It depends on the chosen cooking method and the type of alcohol that is being used to cook. These two factors will change the amount of alcohol that either remains or is cooked off.

If alcohol is cooked for a long time, the percentage of the alcohol content will be diminished drastically. Several cooking methods include this ingredient to give that little twist to the dish, also the type of alcohol being used can modify the amount of alcohol remaining.

Alcohol is used in the kitchen to accentuate the flavors of several dishes, its chemical structure allows it to bind with molecules of fat and water, which will cause interesting flavors and smellings.

Which cooking techniques use alcohol? 

Several cooking techniques use alcohol, and different levels of alcohol will be exhibited for each. Although some alcohol is cooked off, achieving total evaporation of alcohol is not that common. 

Some of the techniques that employ alcohol are:

  • Flambé. This type of technique sets fire to liquor and it takes about 2 to 3 minutes to be cooked when the flames have died. This technique exhibits the highest percentage of alcohol remaining 75%.
  • Simmering. In this method, the food will be moderately heated until the liquid of the dish is below the boiling point, always over lower heat. Depending on the cooking time, the alcohol will be diminished. In 15 minutes, about 40% of alcohol is still present; in 1 hour only 20% remains.
  • Rolling boil. Occurs when large bubbles rise quickly to the surface of the liquid. It is the technique that exhibits the lowest alcohol remaining. When the dish is prepared in 30 minutes, only 10% of the alcohol remains!

Which tips help to burn off alcohol the most?

If you want to keep the alcohol level of the dish as low as possible, the following tips can be helpful to achieve it, such as:

  • Do not add alcohol near the end of the cooking process. The lowest time the alcohol is exposed to heat, the lowest chance to be cooked off. And it is more likely that the taste of the dish has not improved. 
  • Choose the oven, or the stovetop to cook your meals with alcohol. If you choose a slow-cooking device, not that much alcohol will be cooked off.
  • Feel free to reduce the recommended amount of alcohol in the recipe. A smaller amount of alcohol will also improve the taste and flavor of the dish. 
  • Use tomato juice, balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar instead. These substitutes will also add an acidic touch, just like alcohol.

Which dishes with alcohol should you avoid during pregnancy?

Some foods exhibit higher levels of alcohol, which makes them not pregnancy appropriate and you may want to avoid them during your pregnancy, such as:

  • Cherries Jubilee
  • Marinated fruit
  • Alcoholic affogato
  • Crepes Suzette
  • Banana foster
  • Rum balls
  • Sorbet with alcohol
  • Chocolates with liquor 
  • Alcohol flavored ice cream

As discussed above, dishes cooked by the flambé method should be avoided because of their high levels of alcohol.

Which dishes with alcohol are pregnancy-friendly?

Some other dishes can be safely consumed during your pregnancy, that is because they do not exhibit such high amounts of alcohol, some of these dishes are:

  • Pasta with alcohol in its sauce
  • Marinades
  • Food that was cooked with beer
  • Meat cooked with spirits
  • Wine based dishes

As you can tell, you have many options to choose from if you want to safely eat foods with alcohol in them. A trace of alcohol will not be enough to harm you or your baby. Avoid any baked foods as well, because it has been demonstrated that alcohol is held on more in these dishes.

If you want to read more about the effects of alcohol intake during pregnancy, click here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “can you eat food with alcohol in it while pregnant?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

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

Citations

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2021/07/16/what-you-need-know-about-cooking-alcohol

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/x25010495/is-it-true-that-alcohol-is-cooked-off-in-food#:~:text=A%20trace%20of%20alcohol%20may,alcohol%20content%20will%20be%20higher.

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

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

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.