The Best Cheap Red Wine for Cooking

The best inexpensive red wine for cooking is typically between $3 and $15 per bottle. Aim for the lower price range since it will expire in 48 hours and is more likely to be tannin- and oak-free. 

Despite how magical it is to drink, red wine can do use in sauces, stews, and desserts. It’s also the season to use it whenever possible once the weather starts to cool off. There is no shortage of bottles that could be used for a recipe, but when looking for the best red wine for cooking, you should focus on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chianti. Please continue reading to see why they are effective and to acquire our suggested bottles and recipes.

The Best Cheap Red Wine for Cooking

Meiomi Pinot Noir

If you’re looking for quality, inexpensive red wine for cooking, you’ve probably already tried Meiomi Pinot Noir. This Californian red wine is 15 percent alcohol by volume, with flavors of bourbon, toasty barrel, black pepper, and blackberry jam. With its unique texture and long finish, Meiomi Pinot Noir is the perfect choice for various dishes. Whether you’re cooking, entertaining, or simply savoring a great glass with dinner, this Californian wine will fit the bill.

This berry-driven wine comes from the Petite Sirah grape. It is a great value for the price and pairs well with various dishes. It is also relatively inexpensive, at just $10 or less, at most stores. While pinots don’t come cheap, their great quality and unique taste make them a good choice for cooking. Make sure to choose a wine with low alcohol content and moderate tannins.

Despite its price, Meiomi Pinot Noir is a very versatile red wine. It’s perfect for stews, tenderizing meat, poultry, and seafood. Its earthy undertone gives it an unexpected savory note. It also pairs well with chicken, pork, and fish. In addition, Meiomi Pinot Noir is affordable enough for every cook. Just remember to buy the one you like best!

Meiomi Zinfandel

Zinfandel is not a typical red wine, but it works well with many types of meat. This grape variety is known for its fruity and jammy flavors, making it a great choice for cooking. It is also inexpensive and accessible, making it a great wine to pair with different types of food. This article will discuss some inexpensive red wines for cooking.

No, we’re not referring to the overly sugary white Zin that your mother used to drink. A lively red wine, zinfandel has strong, spicy notes and occasionally even a hint of tobacco. This makes the wine simple to drink and a superb wine for cooking. You should only add it to lighter foods if it has a more subtle flavor and will likely dominate the other ingredients. It is recommended for pairing with curries and burgers by Food and Wine, which is a welcome change from the traditional beef bourguignon you may anticipate when adding red wine to a meal.

According to Zinfandel, Zinfandel is an excellent choice to pair with various types of meat because it frequently has a fruity and jammy taste. While it might not be the red wine you’d often consider using in cooking, you should give it a shot if you have any.

Cline Lodi Zinfandel

Cline Lodi Zinfandel is one of the best cheap red wines for cooking. This wine has an attractively complex nose, with aromas of cherry, plum, coffee, vanilla, and wisps of smoke. Its taste is full-bodied and balanced, with ripe cherries and plum flavors. It pairs well with various foods, from chicken and pork to beef and poultry.

Another great cheap wine for cooking is the Pinot Project California Pinot. This wine is made from vines grown at 2,000 feet above sea level. Its aromas are rich, ranging from toasty to floral, and include black peppercorns and violets. It’s a good option for $10 to $15 wines, as its cherry and cola character makes it a pleasant addition to poultry and turkey dishes. It has an 88/100 rating on major wine review sites.

Another great Zinfandel for under $15 is Kirkland Signature Old Vine Zinfandel. Its flavors are rich but balanced, with strawberry jam and cherry jam notes. This wine is produced in Sonoma County and costs less than $15 a bottle.


With their heavier body and strong tannin content, many red wines match with hearty meats and mushrooms. But not all reds behave in that way. You should consider Beaujolais if you’re looking for something different. It is created with Gamay grapes cultivated in the French Beaujolais region, according to Eat This, Not That! That’s south of Burgundy, an area known for its high-quality but typically pricey grape production. On the other hand, Beaujolais is comparable and typically less expensive than many Burgundy wines.

It cooks down wonderfully and leaves a great flavor because it has a lower alcohol percentage than many other wines. Incorporating some Beaujolais into your cooking routine might change things up in a fascinating way if you don’t want to stick to the regular suspects.


Merlot is yet another low-tannin red wine you can use in your cooking. Another type of wine that is quite simple to locate anywhere that sells wine is Merlot. You may find a large variety of different Merlots in the wine section of your local grocery store. Generally speaking, if you intend to cook with the wine, you should choose a less expensive bottle. It should be easy for you to get a cheaper bottle of Merlot.

Master Class describes this fruity red wine as having a smooth texture. It pairs well with meat and other proteins, like Pinot noir and Cabernet. Master Class recommends Merlot for pan sauces and reductions. This implies you will simmer the wine while adding additional components, like broth or spices. It will become a delicious, thick sauce after it reduces, and you can use it for various things.

Try using Merlot in your cuisine tonight. It’s likely that you already have some in your kitchen. You might be pleasantly surprised by the ideas you can generate.


We are already aware that Cabernet and Merlot are great additions to recipes that pair well with red wine, particularly when it comes to hearty meats and sauces. But what if you’re not in the mood for or need access to a Cabernet or Merlot? What if you want something else? Feel free to seek Bordeaux if you’re looking for an option. The Kitchn claims that Bordeaux works remarkably well with foods that you may typically serve a Merlot or Cabernet with. They recommend a beef stew, but if you have some Bordeaux on hand, you could also make a tonne of other things.

Depending on where you purchase wine, we advise looking for a bottle that costs less than $20. However, if you use this bottle of wine mostly for cooking, keep an eye on the pricing because Bordeaux may be on the pricy side. The full flavor of the wine will not be experienced when you add it to your dish if you purchase it excessively expensive.

Red Mixture

Consider this: You’re preparing a dish for supper that you think will benefit from adding a little red wine. You are still determining the type of wine you need to mix the best flavors, though. If that’s the case, The Pioneer Woman advises that you might do your best to choose a red blend. First, red blends are extremely widespread: Since they may be produced using a wide range of grape varieties, you can find a red blend at just about every wine shop. The best thing, though? Red mixes frequently cost less than wine produced from a particular vine. Because of this, everyone who wants to cook with wine can get this kind of red quite easily.

Following the Pioneer Woman’s suggestion and choosing a good red blend is a fantastic choice if you want to include flavor or acidity in your upcoming dish. Yet, you have no idea what type of wine to purchase. Red blends are good all-purpose wines because they include several grape varieties. Take a sip of something before adding it to the pan.

What can you Use to Replace Wine in Cooking?

If you can’t find any wine in time for dinner, it’s hardly the end of the world. You can get similar results with many alternatives, albeit with a little less style.

Stock: Beef, chicken, or vegetable stock will add flavor and aroma. For a white wine recipe, you can use chicken or vegetable stock; for a red wine recipe, you can use any of the three stocks.

Whether you’d use red or white wine, you might use vinegar. Explore our comprehensive guide to cooking tablespoons of vinegar to learn everything there is to know.

Juice: Red wine can be replaced with rich, fruity juice like grape, cranberry, or pomegranate. White wine can be replaced with apple, white grape, or lemon juice.

Water: Use water if you’re unsure. Wine is typically used in food to enhance complex taste without significantly altering the liquid content. If you decide to substitute water, carefully season it to avoid watering down the dish’s final flavors.

What does Wine Add to a Recipe?

Wine can enhance a dish’s flavor, aroma, and wetness. It can add flavor directly from the heat of a skillet or be used to marinate meats or veggies. Red wine is more tannic and has a stronger taste than white wine, which can give a light and crisp acidity.

Different wine varietals complement particular food kinds with their flavor profiles and attributes. Stick to the wine type (red, white, or fortified wine like sherry) specified in the recipe, but feel free to experiment with various grapes to find your favorite.

Which Red Wine Pairs Well with Beef Stew?

Most people agree that the best red wine to pair with beef stew is cabernet sauvignon. The dry flavor from the tannins will help bring out the flavor of the beef without dominating it if you have a particularly hearty stew packed with meat and veggies.

Choose a Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, or Shiraz to go with your beef stew if you prefer intensely flavorful stews with a thick, rich meat sauce. If the thick sauce isn’t tomato-based, these red wines should be able to compete with it.

What Makes Red Wine and Red Wine for Cooking Different?

The two wines’ quality is different from one another. Regular wine tastes better and has more flavor, enhancing your meals more. Cooking wine is a reliable option for adding taste, but it won’t be enjoyable to drink because the flavors it will add will need to be stronger.


Wine can enhance a dish’s flavor, aroma, and wetness. It can add flavor directly from the heat of a skillet or be used to marinate meats or veggies. Red wine is more tannic and has a stronger taste than white wine, which can give a light and crisp acidity.