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Best Wines to Cook Italian Food

Want that pasta to have extra zazz? Feeling like you need more bite to your Italian-style chicken? If your recipes feel drab, use one of the best wines to cook Italian food with.

By Grace TylerPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

Italian food tastes delicious, and that's a fact. It's actually been voted one of the best-tasting cuisines in the world by food experts. Part of the reason why Italian food tastes so great is because of the many ways they incorporate wine into their meals.

If you're a kitchen fiend like I am, then you already know that certain wines just don't do well with recipes. In order to ensure your Italian dinner is as good as it should be, make sure to use one of the best wines to cook Italian food with the next time you make a pot of ragu.

Pinot Grigio

If you're making scallops, mussels, or chicken with white wine, then Pinot Grigio should be your go-to choice. Along with being one of the best wines to cook Italian food with, a good glass of Grigio also tends to pair extraordinarily well with almost any light meat.

The key thing that makes Pinot Grigio such a workable wine is the fact that it's dry, crisp, and tart — all flavor elements that add to almost any dish beautifully.

Sauvignon Blanc

Perhaps the only white wine to tie with Pinot Grigio in terms of Italian cooking is Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc has the perfect amount of alcohol content for reductions, has an excellent flavor profile for meats of all kinds, and generally tends to fare well with pasta sauces.

The high acidity of a sturdy Sauvignon Blanc is particularly good with seafood. So, if you're looking for a new wine addition for shrimp scampi, this is one of the best wines to cook Italian food with.


No, we couldn't have a discussion about the best wines to cook Italian food without mentioning Marsala. Marsala wine is one of the most obvious choices, especially if you're making Veal Marsala or similar dishes. It's got a high amount of acidity, reduces very well, and is a known meat tenderizer.

You can use Marsala wine in main courses, appetizers, and even traditional Italian desserts. What more can we say? It's a great wine for cooking — perhaps even better than it is for drinking.


Believe it or not, there aren't many red wines that would be considered the best wines to cook Italian Food with. Most red wines are loaded with tannins, which in turn can harm the texture of food. Red wine, on the other hand, is dry enough to complement food — but doesn't have too many tannins.

The end result is a wine that can add zing to sauce, without having food that becomes too tough or too soft. Chefs claim it to be one of the best wines for Italian red sauces and cheeses, and we can totally see why. It's flavorful, without being too flavorful.


If you're really looking for a sauce that can reduce well, add texture in a good way, and also offer a rich burst of flavor to your food, then investing in some Chianti is a good idea. This smoky-but-light wine works very well with spices, which is why it's one of the best wines to cook Italian food or Spanish food with.

Simply put, it's the low tannin but high earthiness of this wine that makes it a great choice. Best dishes for Chiantis include pasta sauce, bruschetta, and meats served with a red wine reduction. This wine also pairs well with steak dishes, making it a super versatile wine for any Italian dinner. Yum!

Sparkling Wine

Feeling bougie? Well, if you wanna show how much extra cash you have to spend, a bottle of dry sparkling wine can be a good way to do it. The bubbles in sparkling wine help even out the texture of buttery, creamy pasta sauces.

Since it is a dry wine type, this also ranks surprisingly high as one of the best wines to cook Italian food with — particularly when it comes to white pasta sauces and seafood. Sparkling wine also pairs with Italian fare quite well, too.


About the Creator

Grace Tyler

Self proclaimed wino. Not picky about the wine, is picky about who she drinks it with. I do marathons - on Netflix.

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    Grace TylerWritten by Grace Tyler

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