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7 Port Wine Substitutes: Spice Up Drinks

Looking through the pantry, have you ever noticed you’re fresh out of port wine? Don’t panic; we’ve got you covered.

We’ve all been there, mid-recipe, only to find that one key ingredient is missing. Enter our lifesaver list of port wine substitutes.

Have you tried swapping out port wine in your favorite recipes? We promise, these alternatives won’t disappoint. We’ve experimented and tasted to find the best substitutes, so you can finish that sauce or cocktail without a hitch.

Ready to find out our favorites? Let’s jump right in.

7 Easy Substitutes for Port Wine

The following substitutes are perfect for cooking and baking, as well as for adding a unique twist to your favorite drinks. No more emergency trips to the store!

SubstituteTasteTextureRatioSuitable Dish
Sherry WineSweet, nuttyThick, syrupy1:1Braised meats, sauces
Madeira WineSweet, fruityThick, syrupy1:1Braised meats, sauces
Merlot WineFruity, earthyThin, watery1:2Red sauces, braised meats
Cabernet Sauvignon WineFruity, earthyThin, watery1:2Red sauces, braised meats
Red Wine BlendFruity, earthyThin, watery1:2Red sauces, braised meats
Balsamic VinegarSour, tangyThin, watery1:4Marinades, salad dressings
Fruit Juice (Cranberry or Cherry)Sweet, fruityThin, watery1:2Red sauces, braised meats

1 – Sherry Wine

When we run out of port wine, we always turn to sherry. It brings a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that’s perfect for sauces and desserts. Swap it in with a 1:1 ratio for a seamless switch.

Sherry can slightly change the final taste but in a good way. It’s like an unexpected surprise that works. For more alternatives, check out our sherry substitutes.

We’ve tried it in our slow-cooked meats and it adds a nice complex layer. Can’t stress enough how handy sherry is in a pinch.

2 – Madeira Wine

The flavor of Madeira is where the magic happens. Rich, smoky, and a bit caramel-like, it can transform your dish in a snap. We recommend a 1:1 swap for port wine. It pairs wonderfully with both savory and sweet dishes.

Think of it as a flavor booster that adds warmth and complexity. We’ve used it in stews and desserts with fantastic results.

Check out our Madeira wine substitutes for an expanded list.

3 – Merlot Wine

Merlot brings a fruity, smooth flavor with notes of cherries and plums. We love how it adds a subtle sweetness to dishes. This wine works excellently in rich sauces and hearty stews.

Use it as a 1:1 substitute for port wine. We’ve tried it in chocolate desserts and found it makes them more luscious. Merlot is a versatile, handy option to keep around. We recommend it for both savory and sweet recipes.

4 – Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

The wow factor of Cabernet Sauvignon lies in its bold, rich flavor. It brings deep, complex notes of dark berries. Perfect for hearty dishes, it adds depth and boldness. We usually swap it in a 1:1 ratio for port wine.

In a pinch, we’ve used Cabernet Sauvignon in beef stews, and it took the flavor up several notches. Check out our Cabernet Sauvignon substitutes for more ideas if you run out of it.

For desserts, it pairs surprisingly well with chocolate, creating a luxurious touch. This wine brings an intensity that makes savory dishes stand out, making it a solid go-to substitute.

5 – Red Wine Blend

One of our favorite substitutes has to be a red wine blend. Blends bring a range of flavors, combining fruity, spicy, and sometimes smoky notes. They add depth and complexity that’s perfect for various dishes.

Swap port wine with a 1:1 ratio of red wine blend. We love using it in sauces and stews. It brings a balanced flavor that works well with both meats and vegetables.

Check out our list of red wine substitutes for more delicious ideas.

6 – Balsamic Vinegar

The secret weapon in our pantry is balsamic vinegar. It’s tangy, slightly sweet, and full of depth, making it a fantastic substitute for port wine.

Use a mix: 1 part balsamic vinegar and 1 part water for a balanced flavor. We’ve cooked beef stews and even chocolate desserts with this combo. It’s versatile and easy.

It’s a go-to for a reason. Need more ideas? Check out our detailed guide on balsamic vinegar substitutes.

We swear by it for sauces, meats, and more.

7 – Fruit Juice (such as Cranberry or Cherry)

Cranberry or cherry juice is a hidden gem for replacing port wine. Juices offer a tangy and fruity punch. They’re sweet but have a slight tartness that balances the flavor.

We like using a 1:1 ratio of juice to port wine. It works in both savory dishes and desserts.

In sauces or glazes, it enhances the richness with fruity notes. We tried cherry juice in a beef stew recipe, and it added a delightful sweetness. Cranberry juice shines with pork chops, giving them a tasty twist.