Raise your glass and your culinary game by adding alcohol-infused dishes to your cooking repertoire. The secret ingredient in each of these delicious dishes is your favorite adult beverage. One of the best things about these dishes is that you'll always know which alcohol to pair with them — the perfect one is already an ingredient in the recipe itself.
Keep in mind that the amount of alcohol left behind after cooking depends on how long you cook the dish. You can get tipsy or even drunk from booze-infused food. For example, 40% of the alcohol will remain after only 15 minutes of cooking, while 5% will remain after two and a half hours of cooking (per Idaho State University). That all-day spaghetti sauce with three cups of wine isn't going to hit you as hard as the fondue that only cooks for five minutes. So, keep this in mind if serving children or people with dietary restrictions.
While many of these make excellent holiday dishes, the majority work year-round. Our list includes 41 recipes infused with everything from beer and wine to your favorite liquors. After making a few, you'll probably be ready to add liquor to some of your other favorite recipes, too.
Beer Braised Boneless Short Ribs
Beer adds a delicious depth to boneless short rib stew. You'll want to use a rich, dark beer (like porter), flavorful beef stock, and tomato paste for the full effect. Since this stew is one step above the ordinary, you'll want to add strong dried spices like thyme, rosemary, and allspice. Add some mushrooms and your favorite root veggies, and you've created a hearty and comforting stew for a cold day. Slices of crusty bread to dip into the broth complete the experience.
Recipe: Beer Braised Boneless Short Ribs
Beer Battered Mozzarella Sticks
If you've experienced beer cheese at pubs, you'll like the idea of beer battered mozzarella sticks. Adding beer to the batter gives these an added kick that makes them unlike your average mozzarella stick appetizer. You do have to let the batter rest an hour before cooking, but the results are well worth the wait because you'll be left with a crisp crust with satisfying bubbles throughout. Fry them up and dip them into marina sauce or ranch dressing while they're still hot and you'll have one happy mouth.
Recipe: Beer Battered Mozzarella Sticks
Everyone has secret ingredients for chili, but some of the best recipes include a can of beer. In addition to beer, ours has a lot of secret ingredients like Italian sausage to go with the ground beef, fire-roasted tomatoes, green chilis, jalapeños, three kinds of beans, and cinnamon. Now that we've told you our secrets, you're going to want to add so much more than just cumin and chili powder to your next pot of chili. Once it's done, top it with your favorite chili toppings like cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and Fritos.
Recipe: Best Beer Chili
Simple Beer Bread
If proofing yeast and kneading dough doesn't sound like your idea of a good time, you can make excellent bread without doing any of that. With yeast being a part of the beer brewing process, you still get a yeasty-tasting bread without all the work. Just combine a bottle of beer with self-rising flour, sugar, and melted butter, and you'll have yummy, hot beer bread ready to eat in under an hour. You can even add extra ingredients like shredded cheese or green chilis to make it a little fancier.
Recipe: Simple Beer Bread
Beer Can Chicken
Beer can chicken produces a more elegant dish than it sounds -- even if it sits on a can of beer while it smokes. So, if you're looking for something to serve for your next get-together, this is a bird that will have your guests talking. It pairs just as well with ordinary picnic food like potato salad and corn on the cob as it does with fancier dishes like grilled asparagus and quinoa salad. It just depends on what direction you want to take it.
Recipe: Beer Can Chicken
Crispy Beer Batter
When you're in the mood for fried foods, grab a can of beer and make a batter for everything you're going to fry. It only takes a fourth of a cup of beer to make the batter, so you can keep the rest for yourself. Add some Old Bay seasoning, pepper, onion powder, and salt to the batter and you'll have a flavorful base for coating everything from onion rings to meat. There's almost no limit to what you can fry. Once everything's done, you'll want your favorite sauce for dipping.
Recipe: Crispy Beer Batter
Jalapeño Beer Cheese Soup
One of the most indulgent soups you can make with beer is jalapeño beer cheese soup. Imagine a creamy cheese soup full of beer, garlic, onions, jalapeños, and spices. Then, imagine topping it with crispy bacon crumbles and fresh green onions. The beer melds well with the cheese and cream to make it absolutely craveable. This is the type of soup that begs for dipping — serve it with soft pretzels, tortilla chips, or crusty bread. It's also great with a side salad and smoked sausages.
Recipe: Jalapeño Beer Cheese Soup
Bay, Beer, And Bacon Crab Soup
Creamy crab soup reaches a different comfort level when you add Old Bay seasoning, beer, and bacon. The beer gives it more depth, while the bacon takes it to the next comfort level. Whether you grew up on the East Coast or are just craving the flavors of the East Coast, this soup is for you. Add fresh chives and bacon crumbles to serve, and you have a savory bowl of perfection, ready to warm you from the inside out for lunch or dinner.
Recipe: Bay, Beer, Bacon, and Crab Soup
Gluten-Free Beer Bread
All the yumminess of beer bread is possible without gluten. Gluten-free beer bread is simple to make because it requires no kneading or fiddling with yeast. Plus, it only has four ingredients: self-rising gluten-free flour, salt, gluten-free beer, and honey. The beer provides a yeasty flavor without needing yeast or rising time, and the honey gives it a delicious sweetness. Add-ins like melted butter, oats, and chia seeds provide interest. The baking time is only 45 minutes, so you can make it any day of the week.
Recipe: Gluten-Free Beer Bread
Mussels In White Wine Broth
Cooking fresh mussels should be a simple task, so you want to pair them with a sauce that doesn't take much time to make. This one only takes about 10 minutes to make before adding your mussels. Shallots, garlic, white wine, chicken broth, clam juice, and lemon juice provide the perfect flavor. When the mussels are done, you can add whipping cream and red pepper flakes for spice and velvety richness. You'll also want to serve it with pasta or crusty bread to soak up all the wine sauce.
Recipe: Mussels In White Wine Broth
Steak In Red Wine Sauce
If you tend to drink red wine with steak, you know how well the flavors work together. Using a little wine to make a boozy steak sauce is an obvious next step. This one is sweet, savory, and tart, containing herbs like rosemary and thyme along with Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and red wine. As an added bonus, it also contains sliced mushrooms. To elevate your favorite steak, add a generous amount of this thick and robust sauce.
Recipe: Steak In Red Wine Sauce
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Short ribs are a treat no matter how you make them. Braising them with red wine will turn them into an impressively rich dish with minimal prep. Tomato paste, beef stock, rosemary, and oregano give them even more depth. Plus, you can add veggies like carrots and celery to turn it into a more complete meal. The pan sauce is delectable, so you won't mind it seeping into the mashed potatoes or rice that you serve next to the ribs.
Recipe: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Red Wine And Truffle Chopped Steak
Chopped steak and gravy get a serious upgrade when you add red wine, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and truffle oil. No longer is it just cafeteria fare but a dish that's more gourmet. Who knew hamburger meat could be so refined? Add a bit of fresh thyme on top, and it even looks fancy. With all that delicious, rich gravy to take advantage of, you'll want to serve it over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Add your favorite green vegetable and it's a complete meal.
Swai Fish With Caper And White Wine Sauce
It's easy to get in a rut making fish the same way. Chicken piccata supplies the inspiration for this caper and white wine swai fish. If you like the tangy flavors of capers and lemon with chicken, we're betting you'll enjoy them with fish, too. While this recipe calls for sweet and mild swai fish, you can substitute a different mild fish like flounder if swai isn't available locally. Rice is a great side dish to soak up any of the residual sauce.
Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks
Now that you've managed to find lamb shanks at the supermarket, you'll want a recipe worthy of such delicious meat. Start this dish way ahead of mealtime because it takes over two hours of cooking to get this on the table. The sauce is full of tomatoes, lamb stock, and red wine, with rosemary, garlic, and thyme making the flavor more intense. You won't want to waste any of this amazing sauce, so plan to serve your lamb shanks with a starch like mashed potatoes.
Recipe: Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks
Julia Child's Coq Au Vin With A Twist
Nobody will be complaining about having chicken again when you make Julia Child's coq au vin. Chicken, bacon, potatoes, onions, and mushrooms are an obvious pairing. Child's original version uses red wine, but white wine and cognac make this more delicate. It does take 45 minutes to cook, but the results are cozy and delicious. Since the dish already has potatoes for your carbs, you'll just need to find a nice green veggie like green beans to serve along with it.
Anne Burrell's Spaghetti Bolognese
You'll need three cups of robust red wine to make Food Network chef Anne Burrell's spaghetti Bolognese. However, with a 3-hour simmer, it's not likely to make you tipsy. This vegetarian sauce features celery, carrots, garlic, and mushrooms to make it heartier than your average spaghetti sauce. Substituting a variety of mushrooms for ground beef still gives it lots of flavor without resorting to meat. However, you'll probably still want to top it with plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh herbs.
The Pioneer Woman's Pork Chops With Wine And Garlic With A Twist
If you're looking for something different to do with your pork chops, you'll love the Pioneer Woman's boozy, garlicky take on them. It's a simple recipe, only requiring olive oil, butter, garlic, wine, thyme, and half-and-half. The Pioneer Woman uses red wine, but our version contains white wine, which is more subtle yet still extremely flavorful. You can pair it with ordinary or fancy sides to enjoy either as an everyday or special meal.
Authentic German Rouladen With Red Wine
If you're looking for an interesting rolled meat dish, rouladen is like nothing you've ever tried before. It features thinly pounded steak rolled around a filling of yellow mustard, bacon, onions, and dill pickles. The rouladen simmers in a tomato, beef broth, and red wine sauce filled with onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. This recipe takes nearly two and a half hours to make, but it's surprisingly great, especially if you're a pickle lover. Serve it with traditional German sides like cabbage, potatoes, or even spätzle.
Lobster Thermidor has been delighting seafood lovers since it was first created in Paris over a hundred years ago. While it seems fancy, it's easier to make than you'd think. All you have to do is fill lobster tails with cooked lobster, white wine sauce, and grated Parmesan cheese before broiling them for about five minutes. The white wine sauce is infused with heavy cream and fresh herbs, creating a flavorful dish you can make with minimal effort -- especially if you start with pre-cooked lobster.
Recipe: Lobster Thermidor
Anthony Bourdain's Boeuf Bourguignon
One of the ingredients that elevates boeuf Bourguignon above ordinary beef stew is red Burgundy wine. Our twist on Anthony Bourdain's version uses both Burgundy and sweet port wine, which allows it to caramelize more during the cooking process. It's still full of onions and carrots, along with fresh French herbs that simmer to perfection over the course of nearly three hours. Anthony Bourdain's hearty boeuf Bourguignon stew is excellent served alone or with crusty bread for dipping.
When you're serving appetizers for a crowd, why not choose one that's both social and boozy to get the event off to a good start? Our recipe calls for a pound each of Swiss and gouda cheese, so it serves a crowd. Plus, it has white wine, brandy, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice for an added kick. Just add some bread and veggies for skewering and dipping, and you're ready to go. Just keep in mind that, with only five minutes of cooking, you'll definitely feel the alcohol in this dish.
Recipe: Cheese Fondue
Whiskey Glazed Ham
Next time you get a ham that doesn't come with a pre-packaged glaze, head to your liquor cabinet and pull out a bottle of whiskey. You can make a glaze with whiskey, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and orange peel that will have your ham tasting delicious and your house smelling like the holidays. While you can serve it during the holidays, it's also great year-round. The leftovers are delicious on everything from sandwiches to pizza, adding a sweet and spicy twist.
Recipe: Whiskey Glazed Ham
Sweet Bourbon Chicken
Bourbon chicken gets its name from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana -- a city known for excellent food and music. It gets its sweetness from apple juice and brown sugar and its tartness from apple cider vinegar. Beyond being sweet and tangy, it also has flavor depth from bourbon and soy sauce and spiciness from garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Served over rice and topped with fresh green onions, you can recreate the flavors of New Orleans in your own kitchen.
Recipe: Sweet Bourbon Chicken
Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken
There's no reason to labor over the stove to make bourbon chicken when you can throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker and let them cook while you're out conquering the day. Cooking it low and slow for six hours will remove far more alcohol than the fast version that only takes 15 minutes, making it a great option to experience the flavor of bourbon chicken without as much residual alcohol. As with the stovetop version, this one tastes great over rice.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken
Sweet And Tangy Bourbon Chicken
This version of bourbon chicken has an added smokey flavor from smoked paprika, which gives the illusion that you cooked the chicken on the grill. It gets a tangy kick from apple cider vinegar and uses brown sugar and honey for its sweetness. It also has onions to provide something more than just chicken and sauce to serve over your rice. Cayenne pepper also adds another heat layer. This version is great for a twist on a classic.
Recipe: Sweet And Tangy Bourbon Chicken
If you're looking for the next great idea for your steaks, you're going to love this bourbon marinade. Bourbon, brown sugar, garlic, and soy sauce are the main ingredients for this marinade. It has a sweet and umami flavor profile that you'll likely want to try with other meats as well. You can marinate the meat for anywhere from an hour to eight hours, and then cook your steaks as normal. It makes an excellent pairing with rice and veggies.
Recipe: Soy-Bourbon Steak
Bourbon goes in everything in Kentucky, including a hearty Kentucky burgoo stew. The origin of burgoo is murky, but the word goes back at least to the 1700s with a possible Welsh origin. It's full of stew meat, smoked sausage, and chicken, along with a variety of vegetables including okra and lima beans. The soup base contains tomatoes, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Our recipe also adds a splash of bourbon. Eat it with your favorite carbs like crackers or crusty bread, and be sure to keep leftovers since it's better the second day.
Recipe: Kentucky Burgoo
Penne Alla Vodka
Penne alla vodka uses a creamy vodka-infused variation of tomato sauce. Instead of Italian herbs, it gets its flavor mainly from onions, garlic, and heavy cream. Of course, there's also a vodka kick to this sauce because it only simmers for 25 minutes, leaving about 35% of the alcohol in the sauce. Since the only veggies in this penne pasta mix are tomatoes, you'll probably want to serve this with a salad, plus crusty bread for sopping up any leftover sauce.
Recipe: Penne Alla Vodka
Pasta Alla Gigi Hadid (Spicy Vodka Sauce)
Supermodel Gigi Hadid posted a video for her spicy vodka sauce that went viral a few years back. It's similar to ordinary vodka sauce with diced onion, red pepper flakes, butter, and Parmesan cheese. The spicy and cheesy flavor profile is what made it so popular. You can't go wrong adding even more freshly ground Parmesan cheese to the top when serving it atop your favorite pasta. Fresh basil can elevate it even further if you are looking for an Italian kick.
Brandy Peppercorn Steak Sauce
Adding a boozy sauce to your steak will take it from ordinary to extraordinary. You'll also want other things on your plate to dip in it, like roasted potatoes, French fries, or cooked mushrooms. The sauce is made with shallots and a roux with milk, cream, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and brandy whisked in. Freshly ground peppercorns finish the sauce, making it ready to turn your steaks into a wow-worthy meal.
Recipe: Brandy Peppercorn Steak Sauce
Apple Cider Pork Chops
Apples are common accompaniments for roasted pork, so you already know this pairing is going to work marvelously. Since the creamy sauce also contains garlic, shallots, and thyme, it has some savory elements to go along with the sweet ones. Some excellent sides for this dish are mashed sweet potatoes and greens. In keeping with the theme, why not serve some apple sauce for dessert?
Recipe: Apple Cider Pork Chops
Apple Cider Beef Stew
Another way to use apple cider in a savory dish is to add it to stew. We're talking about an ordinary beef stew with onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery. You'll just add a couple of cups of apple cider as part of the liquid along with rosemary and thyme to bring out the flavors of this dish. The resulting stew is tangier, richer, and sweeter than normal. It makes for a warm, comforting meal on a cold winter's evening.
Recipe: Apple Cider Beef Stew
Vodka Spiked Watermelon
A juicy, cold vodka spiked watermelon may be just what you need for a summer party or barbecue. You'll simply create a hole in the watermelon and stick the neck of a vodka bottle in to infuse the flesh with alcoholic goodness. It will take a full 12 hours for the vodka to permeate the watermelon. You'll also need to allow time to chill the fully-infused melon in the fridge for a few hours before serving. If you have any slices left over, you can blend them into a slushy watermelon drink.
Recipe: Vodka Spiked Watermelon
Brandied cherries are a delicious boozy fruit that has multiple purposes. The first time you have brandied cherries over ice cream, you'll wonder where they've been all your life. They're also great for adding to everything from drinks to pancakes. Brandied cherries are a little more complicated than just soaking cherries in brandy since they also contain sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla. The whole thing comes together in just five minutes, but you'll need to wait an hour before serving them since the cherries will need to soak.
Recipe: Brandied Cherries
Blueberry Amaretto Cake
This cake is a decadent confection with plenty of amaretto to make almond lovers happy. It starts with a blueberry and almond sponge cake. Once it's done, you can let the sponge cake soak up lots of tasty amaretto liqueur. Then, you'll add even more almond flavor with an amaretto-infused cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of fresh blueberries and toasted almonds on top. This is an excellent cake for a traditional British tea.
Recipe: Blueberry Amaretto Cake
Bourbon Pecan Praline Candy
You may have had praline ice cream or even praline-flavored coffee drinks, but if you haven't had real praline candy, you're in for a treat. It does require a candy thermometer to get it just right, but you won't mind keeping an eye on the temperature after you taste this caramelly, boozey treat. The ingredient list isn't complicated; there's nothing in these but butter, two types of sugar, heavy cream, bourbon, and pecans. In just about 20 minutes, you'll have a delicious candy that you can eat alone or crumble into ice cream.
Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Praline Candy
Caribbean Rum Cake
Caribbean rum cake starts out as a regular rum- and vanilla-flavored walnut bundt cake. What sets this cake apart is the sugar and rum glaze you add after you bake it. This cake isn't the same as a Caribbean black cake, since it lacks dried fruit. However, if a yellow booze-laden rum cake is more your style, it's sure to please. Just keep in mind that, while the rum baked in the cake may have dissipated a bit, the rum in the glaze is full strength.
Recipe: Caribbean Rum Cake
Many people don't like fruit cake. However, many people specifically are suspicious of those weirdly-colored canned dried fruits. Our rum fruit cake uses less-processed dried fruits like cranberries, apricots, cherries, figs, and prunes. When you fill the cake with spices, pecans, citrus zest, a stick of butter, and rum, you've created something that may win over fruit cake haters. Since the rum bakes with the cake for an hour and 25 minutes, the cake will still taste boozy, but only 25% or so of the alcohol will remain behind.
Recipe: Fruit Cake
Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Caramel Sauce
When you're in the middle of pumpkin spice season and you find yourself with leftover bread or rolls, the best thing you can do is turn them into pumpkin bread pudding. While you'll still be adding milk and cream as usual, the bread will also be soaking up pumpkin puree. Pumpkin spice has a supporting role in this dessert, with a pecan bourbon caramel sauce being the real star. While you'll love it as a holiday dessert, we won't blame you for eating it for breakfast, too.
Modern Floating Island Dessert
If you want to really impress your guests and make a dessert that looks like it came from a gourmet restaurant, you'll want to try making this floating island. It's a boozy combination of custard and meringue topped with a whispy candy garnish. The best alcohols for this dessert are orange-flavored ones like an orange liqueur or Grand Marnier. However, cognac works well, too. This recipe takes a little extra work since it has three separate components, but it's always a show-stopper.
Recipe: Modern Floating Island Dessert
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