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Substitutes for Beer in Recipes

You have probably experienced this situation before: You are trying to cook from a recipe only to find that an ingredient is missing from your kitchen, and after searching all through your pantries you are just about ready to give up on cooking. You might not even think about substituting certain ingredients to make the recipe work.

You can often make substitutions in cooking and can save your dish in a situation where you don't have time to run to the store to obtain missing parts of the recipe. Beer is one example of a common ingredient that can be substituted. There are many recipes that call for beer to add flavor, liquid, leavening, or a tenderizer. Some people, however, prefer not to cook with beer. They may not keep alcohol handy in the house, or they might not enjoy the taste that beer adds to the food.

If, for whatever reason, you are not able to use beer in a recipe that calls for it, there are some alternatives that you can use. Some of these substitutions may change the flavor, but the difference shouldn't be too drastic and probably won't alter the overall results of the recipe too much (unless the beer is being used to tenderize or leaven). If you don't have beer to cook with, try some of these ideas instead:

  • Non-alcoholic Beer. If it is a matter of disliking alcohol in your food and cooking, you can always try a recipe with beer that is not alcoholic. Although it will not have the exact same effects of beer on the recipe, it is probably the closest you will get to the taste of the real thing.
  • Chicken Broth. If the beer that is needed for the recipe is a light beer, you can use chicken broth instead. It will change the taste of the dish but it will still be full of flavor.
  • Juices and Ginger Ale. Although it will add a sweeter taste than beer would, grape juice or ginger ale may be added to a recipe calling for beer.
  • Beef Broth. If the recipe asks for a darker beer, try a beef broth or another type of broth that has a stronger taste to achieve a similar effect.
  • Water. In some cases, you might be able to just use water in place of the beer. This works especially if the beer is not the main flavor in the dish, or if the recipe only asks for a little beer.

With these ideas, you can go on with your recipe without worrying too much about leaving out the beer. Even if the taste is a little different, your dish should still taste great.

 

Comments for this tip:

Connie    10 Nov 2013, 14:34
I appreciate the offering of a variety of substitution options, describing the effect for each option. This was very helpful! Thank you!

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