Can Kids Eat Food Cooked with Wine? (Quick Answer!) 

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 02/15/24 •  6 min read

The sizzle of garlic, the aroma of herbs, and the rich depth of wine merging in a saucepan can evoke memories of family dinners and gourmet experiences. But when we consider introducing these flavors to our children, the question often arises: Can kids eat food cooked with wine?

In this article, we will dive deep into the science of cooking with wine, the effects of alcohol on dishes, and whether it’s truly safe for our young ones. Join us on this culinary journey as we uncover the truths and myths surrounding this age-old debate!

Now, Can Kids Eat Food Cooked with Wine?

Yes, kids can eat food cooked with wine. 

When wine is used in cooking, most of the alcohol content evaporates during the cooking process, leaving only the flavor without the alcohol. However, ensuring the dish has been cooked thoroughly is essential to eliminate as much alcohol as possible. 

While the amount of alcohol remaining might be minimal, parents and guardians should always exercise discretion and be aware of any potential sensitivities or reactions in children. Some families choose to avoid dishes cooked with alcohol entirely for personal or cultural reasons.

Wine in Cooking: The Basics

Saucepan with hot mulled wine.

Wine in Cooking is a popular method to enhance the flavors of a dish. At its core, wine is used for its acidic and sweet components, which can balance and accentuate other ingredients. When wine is added to a hot pan or pot, the alcohol evaporates, leaving a concentrated flavor without intoxicating effects. 

Choosing the right wine for the dish is essential since the wine’s taste will influence the overall flavor. Remember, you probably shouldn’t cook with it if you wouldn’t drink it. Always allow the dish to cook thoroughly to ensure maximum alcohol evaporation, mainly when serving to children or those avoiding alcohol.

The Alcohol Burn-Off Myth

The Alcohol Burn-Off Myth suggests that all alcohol completely evaporates when cooking with wine. However, this is only partially true. While cooking does reduce the alcohol content, it doesn’t permanently eliminate it. 

The amount of alcohol that remains can vary based on factors like cooking time, method, and temperature. For instance, if you add wine to a sauce and immediately remove it from the heat, a significant amount of alcohol might still be present. But if you simmer or bake a dish with wine for a more extended period, more alcohol will burn off. In short, while cooking with wine reduces its alcohol content, it doesn’t guarantee a 100% alcohol-free dish.

Potential Concerns of Serving Wine-Cooked Dishes to Kids

Many dishes like medium rare steak cooked with wine are delicious and safe for most people, it’s a good idea to consider the small amount of remaining alcohol, the child’s taste preference, and any personal or cultural beliefs when serving them to kids. But, serving wine-cooked dishes to kids brings up a few concerns:

  1. Alcohol Content: While cooking with wine can reduce its alcohol content, it doesn’t permanently remove all of it. Some alcohol might remain in the dish.
  2. Taste and Preference: Kids might not like the taste. Wine can add a unique flavor that might be unfamiliar or unappealing to some children.
  3. Health Concerns: Even if the alcohol content is reduced, there could still be compounds in the wine that aren’t ideal for kids.
  4. Cultural or Religious Beliefs: Some families or cultures might avoid alcohol for religious or personal reasons, even if it’s cooked off.
  5. Setting Precedents: Some parents might be concerned that introducing dishes with wine might make children more curious about alcohol in general.

Benefits and Culinary Value

Cooking with wine can bring several benefits and value to dishes:

Are you wondering how to cook food with wine? Check out the video down below!

Safety First: Tips for Using Wine in Kid-Friendly Dishes

Here are some tips to ensure safety when using wine in dishes meant for kids:

Tip #1: Cook Longer 

The longer you cook wine, the more alcohol that gets burned off. So, simmer or bake dishes with wine for extended periods to reduce the alcohol content.

Tip #2: Use Less Wine 

If you’re concerned, reduce the wine in the recipe or substitute it with something non-alcoholic like broth or grape juice.

Tip #3: Avoid High-Alcohol Wines 

Choose wines with lower alcohol content, as they’ll leave less alcohol in the finished dish.

Tip #4: Taste Test: 

Before serving kids, taste the dish to see if the wine flavor is too strong. If it is, you might want to dilute or adjust the plate.

Tip #5: Be Transparent 

Always tell other parents if you’ve used wine in a dish, especially if their kids are eating it. They have a right to decide what’s okay for their child.

Tip #6: Remember Desserts 

Alcohol in desserts might not cook off as much because many are not cooked for long. Be extra cautious with wine or liqueurs in sweet dishes.

Tip #7: Educate and Supervise 

This is an opportunity to educate older kids about the culinary use of alcohol and that it’s different from drinking alcohol. Always supervise kids around alcohol in the kitchen.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, kids can eat food cooked with wine, but there are considerations to keep in mind. 

Cooking wine helps burn off most of the alcohol, leaving behind mainly flavor. However, not all alcohol might evaporate, depending on the cooking method and duration. Parents should be cautious, opting for longer cooking times to ensure maximum alcohol evaporation. 

They should also consider the taste, as some children might find the wine flavor too strong or unfamiliar. Communication with other parents and caregivers is essential when serving such dishes, ensuring everyone is informed and comfortable with the decision. Ultimately, moderation and awareness are key when introducing kids to dishes prepared with wine.