Best Substitutes for Marsala Wine

Marsala wine is a frequent ingredient in a variety of recipes, and it is also a simple component to substitute. While running out of Marsala wine is not ideal, it is not the end of the world, and we are here to show you what you may replace.

What Is Marsala Wine?

Marsala wine is the most well-known and popular variety of fortified wine produced in Italy. This premium wine has a greater alcohol concentration than regular wines and a beautiful ruby-red hue.

The addition of grape brandy strengthens this fortified wine. It may be made sweet or dry, and depending on the recipe, culinary aficionados can use either. However, Marsala wine is most often used in rich, nutty sauces.

Under the banner of Marsala wine, there are many diverse taste characteristics. It may have a vanilla flavor or overtones of brown sugar, as well as honey, tobacco, walnut, licorice, cherry, apple, and other flavors.

Dry Marsala is often used in chicken, veal, and risotto dishes, whilst sweet Marsala may be used to make tiramisu, shortcake, and other sweets.

You can not only cook with Marsala wine, but you can also drink it. Dry Marsala goes well with salty almonds, olives, and goat cheese as an appetizer. It also goes nicely with smoked meats and dishes that call for Marsala.

Sweeter Marsala wines go well with chocolate desserts and other cheeses. Sweeter tastes are better served in port glasses since you will drink less of them than you would other lighter wines.

Top 5 Marsala Wine Substitutes

When we cook, things don’t always go as planned, and we may run out of an item. If this happens, there are lots of Marsala options.

1. Madeira

Madeira is maybe the greatest Marsala wine alternative available. Madeira is another kind of fortified wine produced in Portugal. Madeira, like Marsala, is available in both dry and sweet forms, as well as a range of tastes. Caramel, walnut, peach, orange, and burned sugar are among the tastes available.

When you cook with Madeira, the end product is extremely similar to that of Marsala. As a result, it is the ideal replacement. While true wine is scarce and difficult to come by, there are lots of less expensive alternatives.

These Madeiras are fantastic for deglazing, reducing sauces, creating salad dressings, and more. Madeira also goes very well with mushrooms, soups, and boiling vegetables.

2. Dry Sherry

A variety of wines are often used in cooking. Some wines are more suited to particular cuisines than others, although in many circumstances, one wine may be substituted for another.

Another kind of fortified wine is dry sherry. Because dry sherry and Marsala are both wines blended with stronger alcohols, such as brandy, they are easily interchangeable. You may use dry sherry for Marsala when cooking a sauce, deglazing a skillet, or creating a sophisticated marinade.

It should be noted that this alternative must be actual sherry, not cooking sherry. Because it contains chemicals and additional salt to lengthen its shelf life, cooking sherry has a distinct taste than conventional sherry.

Try an equivalent quantity of sweet vermouth if you want to nail the taste profile with this replacement. This improves the overall taste profile, converting it more nearly to that of Marsala. The outcome is a rich taste, but keep in mind that cooking with sherry might increase the salt level.

3. White Wine & Brandy

Marsala is a fortified wine, which means it has been fortified with stronger alcohol, such as brandy. This combination not only raises the wine’s alcohol concentration but also improves its overall taste.

So, if you’ve run out of Marsala, why not make your own fortified wine at home?

White wine and brandy are excellent substitutes for Marsala wine. White wine is a popular component, therefore it’s not difficult to get. It’s also often used in a variety of dishes, so you may not be unfamiliar with it.

To make Marsala wine, combine a half cup of dry white wine and a teaspoon of brandy. Keep in mind that dried whites aren’t normally particularly sweet, so if your recipe calls for it, consider adding a pinch of brown sugar to the mix.

White wine is often used in chicken and other meat recipes. It’s also often used to deglaze pans. As you can see, it is also useful for sweet foods, which many people are unaware of.

4. Chicken & Vegetable Stock

Both chicken and vegetable broth are standard components in most kitchens. Even inexperienced cooks may effectively use these items, whether they’re creating a homemade soup or a complex sauce.

Chicken stock is also a good option for deglazing a pan since it produces the same outcomes.

Chicken and vegetable stock are inexpensive ingredients that may be found in any local grocery shop. Some individuals prefer to have bouillon cubes or powder on hand in case they need to create soup quickly. While broth is not the same as stock, it is often used in recipes.

Finally, by boiling chicken bones, you may manufacture your own chicken stock.

Both chicken and vegetable stock are non-alcoholic alternatives to Marsala wine. There are also low-sodium variants of each, which are ideal for those limiting their salt consumption.

In place of Marsala, chicken and vegetable stock or broth works best in savory meals. This alternative works well in meat meals that need extended periods of simmering, but it is not suitable for sweeter foods like as baked goods.

5. Grape Juice

Grape juice is another excellent non-alcoholic replacement for Marsala wine. The beautiful thing about grape juice is that you can tailor it to the sort of Marsala you want by using either white or red grape juice.

If you need a replacement for a savory supper meal, white grape juice is a great choice. To enhance the taste, you might add sherry vinegar and a dash of vanilla essence.

Red grape juice may be used for sweet Marsala wine when making a cake or other baked dish. Cranberry juice may also be used, and the taste is similar enough to provide a pleasant flavor.

Grape juice is a natural approach to substitute this kind of wine without resorting to another alcoholic alternative, so you may rely on these two.

Furthermore, grape juice is a nutritious replacement for Marsala wine, including vitamins C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Of course, if you want an even closer match, blend grape juice with brandy and cognac. Brandy is an excellent companion. For every quarter cup of white grape juice, add one teaspoon of brandy.


Learning to cook is unlike learning many other skills. You may practice the fundamentals all you want, but cooking is a talent that you can continue to hone throughout your life. Just when you thought you’d nailed a dish, you come up with a fresh variation that completely transforms the taste.

Precision and precision are desirable in other aspects of life, but they are not required in cooking. As shown by today’s debate, for every component mentioned in a recipe, there are a dozen more that may be substituted.

Marsala wine is a wonderful component in any recipe, but you can prepare a delicious meal without it. If you didn’t find a suitable alternative here, consider one of these honorable mentions:

  • Pinot Noir (red wine)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Prunes with Balsamic Vinegar
  • Port
  • Figs and Rosemary with Sage

Fortunately, missing one ingredient does not spell disaster in the cooking. There are several Marsala substitutes that may compensate for the indicated component, maintain your dish alcohol-free, or even make it healthier.

Related Articles:

  • Best Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar
  • Best Substitute for Tarragon Wine Vinegar
  • The Best Substitution For Cognac


What can I use if I don’t have Marsala wine?

Marsala wines are the most popular fortified wines for cooking, although other varietals are widely utilized for both sweet and savory dishes. You may use any of the following fortified wines for Marsala in your recipe: Madeira (listed above as the finest Marsala equivalent), Commandaria, sherry, vermouth, and port are also excellent choices.

Can I substitute apple cider vinegar for Marsala wine?

Instead of Marsala wine, use apple cider.

If you believe these substitutes are too sweet, try adding some apple cider vinegar or perhaps red wine vinegar to give them more of the tanginess that marsala wine is renowned for in cooking.

What wine is best for Marsala?

A dry, full-bodied white wine, such as Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc, goes well with Chicken Marsala. Alternatively, a lighter, lower-tannin red wine such as Pinot Noir or Gamay. These wines will complement the thick mushroom and Marsala wine sauce without overwhelming it.

Can you substitute Marsala wine for cooking wine?

Finally, Marsala wine is a sort of fortified wine produced in Sicily, Italy. It has a sweet, full-bodied taste with chocolate and dried fruit undertones. Marsala wine is often used as a cooking wine, and it may be replaced in many recipes for Madeira wine, port wine, red vermouth, or Burgundy wine.

Can you use red wine for chicken marsala?

The ideal wine match for chicken marsala is a light red wine or a full-bodied white wine. Malbec and Pinot Noir are examples of red wines, whereas Riesling and Chardonnay are examples of white wines. Because chicken marsala is inherently flavorful and creamy, you should choose a wine that complements the tastes.

Can I use rum instead of Marsala?

Smith’s rum, Marsala (a traditional choice), brandy, and Kahlua (a coffee liqueur) are among the alternatives. I typically think that adding a liqueur makes the meal overly sweet, and I like the pure flavor of brandy, but rum is a close second.

What is a non-alcoholic substitute for Marsala wine in chicken Marsala?

If you are unable to consume alcohol, white grape juice may be used in place of Marsala wine. When utilizing juice, however, you must combine it with sherry vinegar and vanilla essence to get the desired taste profile.

What does Marsala wine taste like?

What is the flavor of Marsala? Vanilla, brown sugar, stewed apricot, and tamarind are the most popular tastes. Marsala wines vary from almost dry to extremely sweet and are best served slightly chilled, at 55° F.

Is Marsala a red wine vinegar?

Marsala Red Wine Vinegar created from the same grapes as Marsala wine, Grillo and Cataratto. The boiling grape must is meticulously mixed before being aged for at least four years in oak barrels.

Is Marsala wine high in alcohol?

Marsala has a greater alcohol concentration than a conventional glass of wine since it is fortified — often 15-20% ABV as opposed to 12% alcohol, which is the standard in the United States. This high ABV is only one of the reasons Marsala is often served in tiny amounts.

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