Waste Not, Want Not: 3 Delicious Ways to Cook with Leftover Red Wine

What do you do with that leftover red wine from a party? Is that even a thing? Do you toss it down the drain? You better not, as I will find you. Save that wine for some future recipes!  Dry reds get a bad rep because of the tannins.  Also, many novice wine drinkers are still enjoying their Moscato days. 

If you don’t drink red wine, or you don’t like red wine, you may be asking me “why would I want to cook with it?”

  • It enhances flavor. Red wine will add a complexity and richness to your dishes, especially one that require a long cooking time like soups, sauces, and roasts.  Don’t lie. You know you have had to choke down a dry roast with zero flavor before and pretend it was the best you ever had. Red wine would have helped.
  • It’s a great meat tenderizer. Not only does it break down the proteins in the meat, but it adds a depth of flavor as well, making a great marinade. Think big, thick juicy steaks, soaking in your leftover bunco-night red wine. Grilled to perfection only to melt like butter in your mouth. Yeah, that wine helped.
  • It’s a healthy ingredient! Resveratrol is one of the active antioxidants in the wine, bringing with it many heath benefits, such as reducing inflammation and heart disease.  Adding read wine to a dish will preserve these benefits.

What’s great about cooking with red wine too is that it makes you look like a rock star in the kitchen every time. 

3 Ways to Use Red Wine in Recipes:

1.      Soups, Stews, and Sauces:

First, grab those ice cube trays that are in the cabinet above the fridge (you know the one with stuff you say you will use, but you won’t).  Pour leftover red wine into some ice cube trays and  pop into the freezer.  The next time you make spaghetti sauce, chili, stew, etc. Drop an ice cube or two into your simmering pot of goodness.

2.      Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Sounds fancy, but really red wine reduction sauce is a simple way to elevate a meal. A reduction sauce is simply simmering your liquids and seasonings down to a thicker sauce. Using red wine will give you a rich, flavorful sauce that will  impress your dinner guests. Serve this sauce over steak or pork for an unforgettable dinner.  After some research, I found a recipe at Master Class website that is so simple, even a beginner cook could make. Check it out here and let me know how it came out!

3.      Brownies

Yes, brownies are a great way to incorporate red wine into your cooking. You can get any complex recipe on Pinterest, or you can get a basic box of store-bought brownie mix.  Simply swap the water with the wine. If there is little wine left over, save it to pair with the cooked brownie for a velvety indulgence.  I made these for Phong, my boyfriend, and he said they were the best brownies he had ever had! If you know him, you would know that is quite a statement.

I hope these ideas have inspired to not throw out that left over red wine and have encouraged you to discover a new use for it, even if you don’t drink it.  Elevating your recipes does not have to be extravagant. Take it one baby step at a time and you will soon be on your way to finding your next favorite recipe.

Check out my Facebook Live from February when I went over these three things in detail and my cat Dobby chimed in with her thoughts.


Until next time, keep life zesty.


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