Every pantry needs tiny cans of wine

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I regularly keep a couple cans of whatever wine is on sale for $3.99 at the grocery store in the back of my pantry. They’re not for drinking—I mean, they could be—but for cooking. The small size makes them perfect for adding wine to recipes when it would be impractical to open a whole 750mL bottle.

Canned wine has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years; according to Wine Spectator, the canned wine industry expanded by 69% in 2018. That’s fueled by consumers’ interest in taking wine outdoors, in millennials feeling less fussy about stemware than older generations, etc. But that analysis leaves out one of the best uses for canned wine: cooking.

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Photo: Kate Bernot

An open bottle of wine oxidizes in roughly 2-3 days, which means unless I have people to share it with, I’m not going to open a bottle just to glug some into a beef stew. But with a small can, there’s less waste. A few splashes go into a recipe, maybe I drink a half glass of it, and then it’s gone. Even if I don’t drink any, the waste is minimized. Having those $3.99 cans on hand means I’ve been much more likely to use wine in my cooking for applications such as:

  • deglazing the pan where I’ve sautéed onions and garlic
  • adding a splash of red wine to stews and braising meats
  • adding a splash of red wine to chili and tomato-based pasta sauces
  • adding a splash alongside other ingredients in red-meat marinades
  • risottos

Buy a couple cans next time they’re on sale, and I bet you’ll find more uses for them than you might have anticipated. If you find you like the way they taste from a glass, too, all the better.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.