HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Sherry in Cooking

I am making Red cooked Pork Belly tonight from All about Braising. I have to run out to buy sherry for the recipe and don't know anything about it. Is there a special brand I should get? Are there different styles? Is there something I can use to substitute?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The trick is whether you need a "sweet" or "dry" sherry-for a trifle you need sweet, for braising I am thinking dry, but maybe you can tell by looking at other ingredients. Sweeter is cheaper. I can't think of a substitute that you might have on hand-liqueures would be too viscous and sugary. But sherry isn't expensive, especially the sweet type. It wouldn't have to be a "good" one (e.g. Harveys Bristol Cream)-ask the staff at your local liquor store about a medium brand.

    1. I use Taylor dry sherry for cooking. It is the one I find most often at beer/wine stores. It has a subtle nuttiness and is not sweet. If you need a sweet sherry for the recipe buy a bottle of cream sherry.

      1. I use Pompeian brand.
        I marinated Pork Tenderloin in it just last night. Absolutely delicious!

        1. I ikeep dry sherry on hand for cooking and sipping. Usually an Amontillado which is kind of medium dry. I use it alot in Asian cooking. When I have found myself without any I've substituted gin very successfully.

          1. Christian Bros "dry" sherry is the one always go for. It is what was recommended by Chinese chef to me..

            5 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet

              Just bought the Christian Bros Dry Sherry last night to use in this dish, Turkey Meatballs Stroganov...I used to always buy Fairbanks Dry Sherry but it appears they've stopped selling it, at least in my area...can still find Fairbanks but not the dry sherry (I HATE when that happens!) ... this is a very tasty recipe and the Christian Bros worked just fine. I added some thyme to the mushroom-sherry mixture and did not use the dill and also swirled in some Daisy low-fat sour cream at the end like one other reviewer...sons totally devoured it.


              1. re: Val

                If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can get a bit better quality for cheap. CB might be passable, but that Fairbanks is just rot gut.

                1. re: coconutz

                  Alas, no Trader Joe's in Florida...will try some better quality sherries from ABC liquors; it is not my choice to sip them as I find they are much too sweet. And I have had very good quality sherry while traveling in the UK some years ago, again, way too sweet for my tastes. But I do believe that you should cook with whatever you'd drink so I should ratchet up the quality of the sherry that I cook with, I think!

                  1. re: Val

                    You find them sweet because you are buying sweet sherry's. About 99.9999% of the sherry that's sold in the states is nasty, sickingly sweet cream sherry suitable only for old ladies in stuffy parlors.

                    Seek out Fino, Manzanilla, or Amontillado from the Jerez region of Spain and I guarentee you will have an epiphany about how wonderful this stuff can be. Just stay away from Fairbanks, Taylor, Christian Brothers, etc....

              2. re: chef chicklet

                I agree. I couldn't make my infamous stroganoff without it !!!

              3. I was told that vermouth could be used as a substitute, I guess the sweet kind.

                1. The admonition of not buying any "cooking" wines applies doubly to Sherry. The stuff you see in the supermarket and most liquor stores are, to put it nicely, weasel piss. Please don't buy Harvey's, Taylor, Christian Bro's etc. These Sherry's are horrible. They are to Sherry what Thunderbird is to Bordeaux.

                  Please, find a liquor store that actually sells something from the Jerez region of Spain and use it instead. Besides, then you can drink the left over (sherry should be finished within a few days of opening).

                  I know this response sounds like I'm a snob, and in fact, when it comes to Sherry I am. Having spent time in the south of Spain, I have a love for this noble wine and hate to think of what most folks in the States think of when they think of Sherry.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bkhuna

                    Oh, yes, do not use "cooking" sherry unless the recipe expressly calls for it. If it says "sherry" it means real sherry, from Spain, not the cooking sherry. If you use cooking sherry, it's like subsituting chicken bouillon cubes for a dry white wine; terrible distortion of a recipe.

                    1. re: bkhuna

                      Thanks for the information on Sherry, I wouldn't use a bad wine cooking so I'll take your advise. Darn I had just been to BevMo too, I love the flavor of sherry, oh and think how this will improve my French Onion Soup, becuase I pour a little over the top of the cheese when serving it. I imagine I'll fall off my chair now!

                    2. Thanks guys! Unfortunately my internet connect was down all day soon after I posted this so was not able to check back. I went with my gut instinct and bought a Sherry from Spain. It was a dry from Jerez called Osbourne. It worked out great. The Pork Belly was delicious!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                        My daughter lived in the little town where the bodega Osboune is located. I took a tour of the bodega last year. What variety did you settle on? Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso? You should have some left, drink it up this weekend!

                      2. I went with the Fino. It was cheap too at around $8 a bottle. I think I'll keep it around for cooking with. I have alot of recipes to try that need it and the last thing I need to add to my list of addictions is Sherry! haha

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                          Perfect choice for a Chinese red cooked dish. It is nice to sip chilled with a lemon twist too. I use it in marinades for stir fry's a lot. And it's good added as a small splash at the end of black bean soup.

                        2. Fino does not last long after opening, even in the fridge. If you plan to keep it around for a while for cokoing, freeze it in ice cube trays or something.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MikeG

                            When you say "It doesn't last long", what happens? Does it get vinegar-y?

                            1. re: MikeG

                              Thanks for the tip, I didn't realize that.

                            2. "When you say "It doesn't last long", what happens? Does it get vinegar-y?"

                              Not vingary (unless you get lucky), but that unpleasantly acidic then just plain "bad" taste that "regular" develops unless you close it up quickly after opening and can really keep it airtight. That's basically the thing, that while it is lightly fortified, fino is more like a regular table wine than what most people think when they think "sherry" - 15-16% alcohol isn't enough to "preserve" it after opening.