21 Best Marsala Wine Substitutes You Can Try!

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Marsala wine adds great flavor to our dishes and sauces but isn’t something we use all the time. Thus, finding a suitable substitute for this ingredient is challenging. If you’ve ever been in a situation like that, this article is for you. Today, we are going to discuss the best marsala wine substitute!

Marsala wine

Marsala wine is a brandy fortified wine made in Sicily and named after the Italian city of Marsala. The most common flavors of marsala wine are vanilla, brown sugar, stewed apricot, and tamarind, with nutty and sugary aromas.

It is best to create nutty and rich caramel sauces. It goes well with smoked meats, salty nuts, olives, and chocolate-based desserts. Due to its complex flavor, it can be challenging to find a suitable replacement, but don’t worry; I can help. 

According to its age, marsala wine is classified. Cooking and baking call for younger wines. Superior ones are used as an aperitif or dessert sip.

Some of the best Marsala wine substitutes are sherry wine, red wine, and brandy, as well as non-alcoholic alternatives like grape juice, cranberry juice, and maple syrup.

You can read this article to learn more about the alternatives to Marsala wine, how to use them, and where to use them. So let’s jump into the crux of the article.

21 Best Marsala Wine Substitutes

Alcohol-Based Marsala Wine Substitutes

1. Madeira Wine

Madeira wine is one of the most appropriate substitutes for marsala wine due to its similar color and flavor. It is less expensive and contains 18 to 20 percent more alcohol than marsala wine.

It can be used in everything from velvety sauces to soups and stews to desserts. Use it as a 1:1 substitution ratio.

2. Dry Sherry

Dry sherry offers an umami taste like marsala wine, although it is less flavorful. From a health perspective, it is a good choice for a keto diet as it has low carbs, sugar, and sodium.

It is best to use cooking sherry to get the taste you want due to its higher sodium content and other additives. It is used in chicken, pork, veal, soup, seafood, shellfish, and vegetables.

You can use one tablespoon of dry sherry as a marsala wine substitute, but you should taste it first.

3. Red Wine

Red wine is budget-friendly and available in most places. Its fruity flavor compliments a lot of dishes where marsala wine is required.

As we all know, red wine turns bitter when cooked, so it is used to make marinades and glazes. Red wine with moderate tannins is the safest to include in the recipe.

Use 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar for every cup of wine.

4. Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth is a fortified wine like Marsala. It is of Italian origin. When compared to marsala wine, it is less sweet.

Sweet vermouth will work better in sweet recipes. You can use sweet vermouth in chocolate sauces or jams to make them more flavorful.

If you want to enhance your cooking, add sweet vermouth and dry sherry to give it a more intense and flavorful taste.

5. Pedro Ximenez Wine

Pedro Ximenez wine is a variety of sherry wine. It is a sweet syrup with a velvety texture. 

It tastes like dried raisins, figs, and dates. It is also a good substitute for marsala wine. If you have Pedro Ximenez wine in your pantry, you can use it where a pinch of marsala wine is needed.

6. Amontillado Wine

Amontillado wine is a rich, dark, fortified wine. It comprises a hazelnut aroma with complex nutty and caramel flavors. 

It has a good alcohol content of 18 percent compared to Marsala wine.

It is an alternative to Marsala wines for savory and sweet recipes. It’s not as dry as Marsala, which is what some recipes need. 

7. Dry White Wine

If you don’t have any on hand, it works wonderfully as a substitute for marsala wine. It has less sugar as compared to marsala wine. Add some brandy to make it more reminiscent of Marsala wine. 

It makes dishes like chicken, pork, veal, soup, seafood, shellfish, and vegetables. Dry white wine is high in acidity and has sweet and spicy flavors. 

8. Brandy

As we know, brandy is a distilled wine with a fruity and sweet taste. Brandy is a good marsala wine substitute if the brandy is made from grapes.

To get the taste of marsala wine, you can mix 1/4 cup of grape juice with one tablespoon of brandy, or you can mix 1/4 cup of white dry wine with one tablespoon of brandy.

Since Marsala is a brandy-fortified wine, this substitution comes close to the original.

9. Port

Port, also known as “Porto,” is a sweet, fortified wine. Desserts and other sweet dishes are the best uses for it. From a taste perspective, its flavors consist of berries: raspberries, blackberries, and prunes.  

It comes in varieties like dry, rosé, semi-dry, and white, which can be used as an alternative for Marsala wine in savory recipes.

10. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the primary red wine grape grown in Burgundy, France. It is also the name of the wine made from those grapes and a great marsala wine substitute.

Its bright acidity, silky tannins, and alcohol range from 12-15 percent making it a great alternative to Marsala wine. It is less sweet than marsala wine and has a complex flavor. 

It is a good fallback if you can’t find anything else because it is typically accessible. It is less sweet, as I already mentioned, so you can add sugar to make it sweeter.

Non-Alcoholic Marsala Wine Substitutes

11. White Grape Juice

White grape juice can be a good substitute for marsala wine. As the name implies, grapes are used to make juice and are a main ingredient in marsala wine. The taste of white grape juice is sweet, smooth, and heavy.

Combine it with two tablespoons of sherry vinegar and one tablespoon of vanilla extract to make the flavor more reminiscent of marsala wine.

12. Red Grape Juice 

 Red grape juice is an easy alternative; it doesn’t need modifications because we can use it as is.

Red grape juice is known for its sweetness, vibrant color, and tart flavor. It has various health benefits, like an increase in potassium and prevention of heart problems if daily intake.

Due to its sweet and grapey taste, it is excellent for desserts. If you have one that isn’t sweetened, you can add sugar to make it taste better.

13. Cherry Juice

Cherry juice as a marsala wine substitute can do a fine job. Its taste resembles unfiltered red wine that is crisp and refreshing.

It is made from fresh cherries and has no sugar. Therefore, you should add sugar to cherry juice to make it taste like marsala wine. Most recipes that call for Marsala wine use its fruity flavor.

14. Cranberry Juice

If you want to make desserts, especially tiramisu, this is a perfect substitute for you. It gets a fine consistency when diluted with water.

Cranberry juice has a sweet taste with a milder aftertaste. It has a harmony of flavors that makes it perfect for jam, sauces, and even a little zest in cocktails.

Its fruity and tart flavor serves as a marsala wine substitute in recipes.

15. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup can be considered a substitute for baking when marsala wine is required. Its sweet taste with hints of caramel, vanilla, and prune can make it a substitute for marsala wine.

As we all know, maple syrup has a thicker texture than marsala wine. So, to make it the desired consistency, combine it with a thinner and whisk it till you get the desired consistency.

16. Fruit Syrup

Fruit syrup is thicker and sweeter as compared to fruit juice. As we know, its primary function is to work as a sweetener in the recipe.

As a marsala wine substitute, it can add depth of flavor to your dish. Use it when you need a pinch; otherwise, it overpowers the flavors.

17. Vanilla Extract

As we know, vanilla extract is known as a food enhancer to round out the flavor profiles of many food products.

In baking, you can use vanilla extract with some modifications as a substitute for marsala wine.

For instance, mix it with two tablespoons of sherry vinegar and ¼ cup of grape juice to match the flavor profile of marsala wine.

18. Brewed Coffee

You must be thinking, “How can brewed coffee be a substitute for marsala wine? Both are different, but you can use them because of their rich and robust flavors. It is used in savory recipes where marsala wine is needed. 

When using brewed coffee as a substitute, remember that it is used in the recipe where coffee is involved, and the ratio has to be correct. The substitution ratio is 1:1.

19. Balsamic Vinegar

The syrup-like consistency, complex flavors, and tart aftertaste of balsamic vinegar can be used to modify marsala wine. If mixed with prunes, figs, or plums, it can be used as a marsala wine substitute.

Make a fine-mesh sieve and strain the fruit, and then add a bit of balsamic vinegar, and your substitute is ready to use. Use ¼ cup of a mix of balsamic vinegar and figs, prunes, or plums to replace every ¼ cup of Marsala wine.

20. Chicken Or Vegetable Stock

Chicken or vegetable stock is a non-alcoholic substitute for marsala wine. It is available at a nearby store and can be used to prepare soups and stews.

 It is best suited for dishes like meat dishes. It isn’t used in dessert recipes, so you can use something else as a substitute for marsala wine.

There will be a flavor difference, but you can adjust it with balsamic vinegar. Chicken is usually the better option, but vegetable stock is a good alternative for non-meat eaters. Use a 1:1 substitution ratio.

21. Figs and Rosemary With Sage

Figs, rosemary, and sage are made into a puree and used as a substitute for marsala wine. 

You’ll lose the subtle flavors associated with Marsala if you add figs with too many herbs. Add the puree by the teaspoon until you’re satisfied with the flavors.

Short Recap Of Marsala Wine Substitutes

Best Marsala Wine Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor and Texture

  • Madeira Wine

Best Marsala Wine Substitutes That Are Easily Available-

  • Chicken or vegetable Stock
  • Red wine

Best Marsala Wine Substitutes Should Be Least Considered-

  • Brewed Coffee
  • Fruit Syrup


That was the detailed list of marsala wine substitutes. If you choose correctly, wine substitutes will work well in most recipes. 

Now go and make something delicious. If this article is helpful for you, you can check other articles too.

The Marsala Wine Substitute You Can Try!

Marsala wine

21 Best Marsala Wine Substitutes You Can Try!

Some of the best Marsala wine substitutes are sherry wine, red wine, and brandy, as well as non-alcoholic alternatives like grape juice, cranberry juice, and maple syrup.
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  • Madeira
  • Dry Sherry
  • Red Wine
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Pedro Ximenez Wine
  • Amontillado Wine
  • Dry White Wine
  • Brandy
  • Port
  • Pinot Noir
  • White Grape Juice
  • Cherry Juice
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chicken Or Vegetable Stock
  • Fruit Syrup
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Brewed Coffee
  • Prunes, Figs Or Plums With Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Grape Juice
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Figs and Rosemary with Sage
  • Balsamic Vinegar


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and make the dish according to the recipe.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use instead of Marsala wine in sausage and peppers?

Instead of Marsala wine, you can use fortified wines like Madeira, Sherry, or port.

Can I use balsamic vinegar instead of Marsala wine?

No, you cannot use balsamic vinegar alone. You have to add prunes to match the flavors of marsala wine.

Can you use regular red wine instead of Marsala?

Yes, you can use regular red wine as a red wine substitute.

What’s the closest wine to Marsala wine?

Madeira is the closest of all.

Can I use chicken broth instead of Marsala wine?

Yes, you can substitute 1/2 cup more chicken broth for the Marsala if you don’t wa

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