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10 Best Substitutes for Sherry in French Onion Soup – A List

If you have ever ordered French onion soup at a restaurant, you’d probably have appreciated the taste and how delicious it is, and is no surprise that you might want to try it out at home. One of the key ingredients in many French onion soup recipes is sherry.

You may have run out of sherry, perhaps you are having a hard time sourcing it, or you just want to make a soup without any alcohol. This does not mean you can’t have French onion soup. In this article, we will be sharing our ten best substitutes for sherry in French onion soup.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Sherry in French Onion Soup?

You do not need to have sherry to make and enjoy French onion soup. Check out these popular substitutes for sherry in French onion soup to see what may work for you.

  1. White wine vinegar
  2. Brandy
  3. Vermouth
  4. Madeira
  5. Apple cider vinegar
  6. Marsala
  7. Port
  8. Rice wine vinegar
  9. Sherry vinegar
  10. Rum

White wine vinegar

First on our list is white wine vinegar. White wine vinegar is gotten from fermented, oxidized white wine. White wine vinegar should not be confused with white vinegar as it has a completely different taste. You shouldn’t swap one for the other.

White wine vinegar tends to be milder and not as acidic as other types of vinegar. If you would like to keep alcohol out of your broth, you should go for some white wine vinegar. For every quarter cup of sherry that your recipe needs, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.


Brandy is a type of distilled liquor made from fruits. Apart from being a personal favorite, brandy is also one of the most commonly suggested substitutes for sherry in French onion soup.

As sherry is a fortified wine, you’ll only need a small amount of brandy as a substitute in your recipe. 1 tablespoon for ½ cup of sherry should do the trick.


Vermouth is another of our best substitutes for sherry in French onion soup. It is a fortified wine just like sherry is, but infused with aromatic herbs and spices.

Vermouth would definitely add some extra flavor to your dish. If this might pose a problem for you, then you could pass on it. We believe, however, that you’ll love it if you like to add a little dazzle to your recipes.


Of the substitutes for sherry in French onion soup, this is right there at the top. Madeira is known as the Island wine. It is a fortified wine, like sherry. It has a unique flavor that comes from repeated heating.

To use Madeira as a substitute, you would need to go for the dry styles, Sercial and Verdelho for instance.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermenting apples with yeast. Apple cider vinegar has some pretty great health benefits, and also happens to be one of the best substitutes for sherry in French onion soup.

If you decide to go with this, substitute 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for every ¼ cup of sherry your recipe demands.


Like sherry, marsala is also a fortified wine. It originates from Italy and has a variety of flavors and styles ranging from dry to sweet.

As a substitute, you would want to go for the dry marsala wines. Like vermouth, it also leaves a residual taste that adds extra spice to your soup. So, watch out for that.


Port is also a fortified wine, like vermouth and sherry. It originates from Portugal and comes in several flavors and styles.

To substitute sherry for Port in French onion soup, you want to go for its white or rose styles. Those are best for cooking.

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Rice wine vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is also known as rice vinegar. It is non-alcoholic and one of our favorite substitutes for sherry in French onion soup.

Just like other vinegar substitutes, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar can substitute ¼ cup of sherry.

Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar is prepared from sherry wine and has a higher acidic content.

Although they are both used for cooking, sherry vinegar and sherry wine are not often interchangeable. In making French onion soup, however, sherry vinegar does just fine in place of sherry wine.

1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar for every ¼ cup of sherry wine and you’re good to go.

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Last on our list of best substitutes for sherry in French onion soup is rum. Rum is a type of liquor produced from fermented and distilled sugarcane products.

Rum is not a fortified wine, unlike sherry. You’ll only need a splash of rum as a substitute for sherry in French onion soup. Like brandy, 1 tablespoon of rum is enough to substitute ½ cup of sherry.

So, those are our 10 best substitutes for sherry in French onion soup. To conclude, we’ll leave a few tips you should keep in mind when deciding which substitute works for you.

First, the sherry wine used in cooking French onion soup must be dry sherry, not the sweet style.

If you want to avoid using alcohol to cook your French onion soup, then vinegar substitutes are your best bet.

In choosing a wine substitute, it is always a better idea to stick to white wine as opposed to red wine. White wines are great sherry substitutes in French onion soup.

When substituting with vinegar, the ratio is 1 tablespoon of vinegar to ¼ cup of sherry. Remember, white wine vinegar is NOT the same as white vinegar. Don’t make that mistake.

You can’t interchange sherry vinegar for sherry wine in all recipes, but sherry vinegar works well as a substitute in French onion soup.

Remember that each of these substitutes will produce a slightly different flavor than sherry will. They are all great substitutes, but if you need the exact sherry flavor, then you should use sherry wine.

Rose wines are great when your beef or chicken stock is a bit dark. You might want to keep that in mind. When working with vinegar substitutes, remember to add a bit more of your meat stock to the recipe.

French onion soup is a timeless dish. We’re sure that no matter what substitute you go with, it’ll be amazing regardless!

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