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Dry Sherry Substitute: 9 Alternatives You Should Try

Dry Sherry Substitute: 9 Alternatives You Should Try

Giddy and thrilled, you’re about to add dry sherry to your delicious kung pao chicken. But you discover you’ve already used up the sharp ingredient. No need to panic! In this list, you will find the best dry sherry substitutes to save you trips to the supermarket.

First, what is dry sherry (or dry sherry wine)? A fortified wine, this alcoholic drink gives dishes complex flavors with its nutty, fragrant, and salty tones. What makes it different from the typical wine is its aging and fortification process. This Spanish liquor has higher alcohol content than most drinking wines as brandy has been added to it after its sugar is turned into alcohol.

Unsure of what to use for your savory recipes? Or wondering what substitute for dry sherry wine will you add to your favorite desserts? Then, continue reading to discover what you can use as a replacement from your pantry.

9 Substitutes for Dry Sherry You Can Try

9 alcoholic and non-alcoholic dry sherry alternatives

Whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, this list has options that will brighten your dishes – all with just the right amount of acid. So if you spot an empty bottle of dry sherry in your cabinet, one of these versatile alternatives might be the right choice in place of it.


When it comes to ingredient substitutes, you can never go wrong with something that has similar origins to it. Here are alcoholic dry sherry substitutes if you are not afraid of a little booze:

Dry White Wine

white wine with empty glass on the background

Why go to lengths when you have something that’s almost the same? Sherry comes from dry white wine strengthened by a spirit making the crisp and refreshing drink an ideal dry sherry substitute. Plus, its light and fruity tones are perfect for cooking. Just remember that it has more sweet notes compared to our main ingredient. 

Pinot Grigio, Semillon, or sauvignon blanc are a few examples that have lesser sweetness and higher acidity. To use as an alternative, start with a 1:1 ratio.

Dry Vermouth

green bottles of dry vermouth

Preferred by many, dry vermouth is the perfect alcoholic substitute for soups, stews, and sauces. Both dry sherry and dry white vermouth are a kind of fortified wine, giving them strong booze contents. Similar to dry white wine, this alternative has crisp tart hints. Also, take note that this is aromatized which means it’s infused with botanicals. Lastly, stay away from sweet vermouth since it has a sweeter taste and might affect the flavor profile of your dish.

If you’re whipping up a slow cooker French onion soup but you don’t have dry sherry around, an equal part of this drink gives your creamy dish the right amount of acidity.

Madeira Wine

glass and bottle of madeira wine with grapes and apples

Just like the previous substitute for dry sherry liquor, Madeira wine is also a kind of fortified drink. Stemming from the Portuguese Madeira Islands, this beverage has caramel, nut, and sweet taste profiles. Although this won’t bring in the same amount of flavor complexity, its acidity and fruity notes intensify the dish in the same manner as dry sherry does.

If the recipe calls for two tablespoons, use the same amount of Madeira wine as a dry sherry substitute.


Even though some of the alcohol evaporates once cooked, certain home cooks still prefer purely non-alcoholic substitutes for dry sherry. If you’re staying away from liquor or cooking a scrumptious dinner for the kids, then one of the alternatives below might be perfect for you!

READ ALSO: Cooking With Beer: 10 Beer Recipes to Try

Sherry Vinegar

a woman taking a bottle of sherry vinegar

With flavors close to dry sherry, you just hit the jackpot if you have sherry vinegar at home. They have the same fortified base but the only difference is that dry sherry has a more salty taste to it. Furthermore, this dry sherry substitute is less potent than red or white wine vinegar. Mix in a tablespoon of sherry vinegar in place of ¼ cup of dry sherry to use it.

White Wine Vinegar

bottles of white wine vinegar, botanicals, and dried grapes

If you have some white wine vinegar hanging around the kitchen, then your problem might be solved. A bit bolder than dry sherry, this tangy and zingy ingredient amps up your dish using just a small amount. If you need a ¼ cup of dry sherry, just a tablespoon of white wine vinegar is enough to make up for the sourness.

Red Wine Vinegar

a bottle of red wine vinegar

White wine vinegar and red wine vinegar have almost the same flavors. But while the former already has a strong tang, red wine vinegar blends a harsher finish. With a more vibrant grape taste, it further intensifies your recipes with its punchier and fruitier flavor.

Be sure to mix red wine vinegar or use small amounts of it first. Combine it with one teaspoon of vegetable or chicken broth to achieve a complex flavor similar to the Spanish fortified wine.

Read Also: 8 Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitute Choices and How To Make It 

Apple Cider Vinegar

a glass and bottle of apple cider vinegar with apples

The ever-versatile and reliable apple cider can also come to your rescue when you are out of Spanish liquor. But it has less aged depth and is slightly sweet compared to fortified wine. It also has stronger acidity.

To use this, mix ½ cup of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and ½ cup of water to make a cup of dry sherry.

Vanilla Extract

glass and bowls of vanilla extract on a gray background

Best for desserts, vanilla extract blends in complexities to sauce or cakes similar to how the liquor does. Just remember that it’s sweeter than the original ingredient. So if your treats need a ¼ cup, add one teaspoon of vanilla extract as a substitute for dry sherry.

Fruit Juices

Fruits in pedestal silver fruit bowl on table

For more dessert alternatives, you can also go for apple juice, red grape juice, or white grape juice. These fruit juices naturally have some acid in them, which makes up for the tang and kick that dry sherry has. Aside from these three, orange, pineapple, peach, and apricot juices are good options too. But if the juice is thick, combine it with water to make it thinner. You can use the 1:1 ratio when using any of these as a replacement.

Brighten Up Your Dishes With These Dry Sherry Substitutes

There are tons of options to choose from when you’re out of this Spanish ingredient. While these substitutes don’t have the exact flavors of the dry sherry, one of these will surely save the day. Just make sure to use the right substitution ratio to avoid any flavor disaster. 

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