Cooking away alcohol

  • When you cook with wine or spirits, when does the alcohol cook away? Obviously high temperatures will do it, but how low of temperatures will work? Also, does it vary by the type of alcohol?

    The process is called reduction. I'll let someone else answer the main question, as I tend to do it by taste...

    Aaronut's comment above is in response to my question which was closed as a dupe and merged with this:

  • Joe

    Joe Correct answer

    10 years ago

    You will never fully cook away alcohol, only reduce the amount. See Alcohol retention in food preparation, or for the quick table, see wikipedia.

    They covered this on an episode of America's Test Kitchen, and concluded that surface area matters -- a wider vessel would cook off more alcohol; it wasn't just a function of time.

    Could you briefly summarise the contents of the links? As it stands, the answer doesn’t say anything much on its own, and if the links were to break it would be mostly useless. — In fact that’s already the case: the first link is a content-less placeholder (I realise the answer is almost a decade old but this thread continues to be cited).

    The summary : alcohol is never fully cooked away, only reduced. The reduction is a function of time, technique used (eg, burning it off first, lid on vs. off, etc.), and the surface area of the vessel. But there's no point in summarizing the first two, as the third link says that there's a third variable that they didn't take into account. And that last one is just a summary of an episode of America's Test Kitchen, which although it gives some mention of their tests to show what can change things it's not exhaustive or a nice matrix that people can use to determine how much alcohol is left.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM