10 Beer Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Beer. Dennis J. Wilkinson/Moment/Getty Images

When you have a recipe that calls for beer, and you want or need to leave it out, turn to one of these beer substitutes:

For Light Beer ...

use chicken broth, ginger ale, white grape juice or white wine

For Dark Beer ...

use beef broth, chicken broth, mushroom stock, apple juice, apple cider, root beer or coke

Replace the beer measure for measure to keep the liquid volume the same in your recipe.

Not Sure Which Substitute to Choose?

  • If the beer is being used to tenderize meat, use a soda substitute. It'll do the same job.
  • You should also go with a soda substitute, if the beer is in a bread  recipe. The recipe probably needs the acidity and/or carbonation to activate the yeast or baking soda that's being used to leaven the dough. Without an ingredient to fill this role, your bread won't rise like it's supposed to.
  • If you're avoiding beer because of the gluten, any of these substitutes should work. Wine is usually considered gluten-free, but not always. Check the product label of whichever substitute you choose, to be certain it hasn't been produced in a facility that processes gluten products.Sometimes gluten lurks in surprising places.
  • If none of these variables are a factor for you, choose whichever substitute seems like the best flavor match for your recipe.

How to Get Great Results from Your Beer Substitute

None of these substitutes are a perfect flavor match for beer, but they should still work nicely in your recipe.

If you decide to use soda or juice in place of the beer called for in your recipe, expect your dish to be a bit sweeter than intended. This is easy enough to remedy with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice. Just taste your recipe, and adjust it a splash at a time, until you're happy with the results.

Using broth as a beer substitute will add a wonderful depth of flavor to your recipe, but it could also add some sodium.

Use a sodium-free broth, or consider omitting the salt called for in your recipe, until you've had a chance to taste the dish. You may find that the broth has added all the salt you need.

Trying to Avoid All Alcohol?

Check out these resources to learn how to cut alcohol out of your food. Once you learn a few tricks, it isn't very hard at all.

Before You Get Back to Your Recipe ...

Take a sec to pin or bookmark my complete ingredient substitution list. You'll be glad you did the next time you run out of something.