What can I substitute for brandy in this chicken recipe?
August 7, 2014 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Hi AskMe, I need to make a chicken recipe that I've been given - it's a chicken stroganoff type thing. The recipe calls for 2Tbs of brandy. I don't have any brandy and I don't intend to buy some just to make this recipe. What can I substitute? I'm fine with alcohol, I'd just prefer a type I already own.

It's a fairly standard basic recipe - brown onions and chicken then add mushrooms, paprika, Worcester sauce, stock and brandy. Simmer, add cream.

It was emphasised in the recipe that the brandy is important, but it's not like it's getting flamed or anything. I really don't want to buy a bottle of brandy just for a couple of tablespoons in this one recipe. What can I use instead? I understand that only brandy tastes like brandy, but surely something else can still taste good?

I've seen suggestions for bourbon - the closest thing I have to bourbon is Southern Comfort. Will that work? I also don't have rum, although I am more likely to buy rum than I am brandy. Otherwise I have red and white wine, beer, plain and various fruit flavoured vodkas, Cointreau, gin and that's about it for hard liquor. I'm also OK with non-alcoholic substitute suggestions. Thanks!
posted by pianissimo to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
You should be okay using the white wine here. I mean, it's not the same but it'll still taste nice. Unless you have some sherry?
posted by pineappleheart at 6:45 AM on August 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Scotch or bourbon, or even fruit juice will work (apple or grape juice).
posted by xingcat at 6:45 AM on August 7, 2014

They have tiny bottles that will cost only a few bucks at most liquor stores.
posted by pyro979 at 6:46 AM on August 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'd use the white wine.
posted by something something at 6:46 AM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd go with maybe half wine and half apple juice. But seconding the "tiny bottle" approach as well - they're, like, the mini-bar fridge size, and they're maybe a buck and they're probably exactly two tablespoons anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 AM on August 7, 2014

You could just skip adding alcohol. Two tablespoons of brandy is only to add that specific flavor, so any substitute will not really have the same result.
posted by briank at 6:48 AM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would go with white wine. If you google chicken stroganoff recipes, you will find a number that use white wine. Here is one example, of many.
posted by gudrun at 6:50 AM on August 7, 2014

I'd go with equivalent of white wine and possibly a splash of Cointreau or a squeeze of lemon or apple juice. But my usual go to for this is sherry or sweet vermouth if I had it in my pantry.

As a general bit of advice, vermouth is a great, relatively shelf-stable substitute for white wine in almost any cooking recipe.
posted by bl1nk at 6:51 AM on August 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think red, white, southern comfort, apple juice or a combination would be fine.

I would personally probably go with half southern comfort and half white wine. I don't think white wine alone has the necessary muscle to fill in for what it's being asked to do.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:53 AM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you have gin do you maybe also have dry vermouth? That would probably be fine. Also sherry if you had it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:54 AM on August 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Brandy Extract? You probably don't want to use two whole tablespoons of the stuff, though.
posted by soelo at 7:03 AM on August 7, 2014

What the brandy likely adds to this is a touch of richness, and would serve to also deglaze the pan. Given what you have on hand, I'd use either a very dry white or some chicken stock. A mix of both might be a bit more of a flavor jolt to replace the brandy. I would not use any of the hard liquor you have on hand, nor would I go buy rum for this.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:06 AM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't use Southern Comfort.

Sherry or dry white wine will work okay. But yeah, what others said about getting a mini of brandy at the liquor store.
posted by pheide at 7:11 AM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone for the answers so far. I do have sherry! I just forgot to list it here because it's kept with cooking supplies rather than the liquor stash.

I will also look into the mini bottles, though alcohol here is more expensive than you guys think - it will be more than a couple of bucks, but still cheaper than a normal bottle so it's an option.
posted by pianissimo at 7:13 AM on August 7, 2014

If you have sherry, use the sherry. I also have a stroganoff recipe that calls for brandy, which I never, ever have. I generally substitute sherry or marsala -- neither of which I ever drink and both of which are only ever used for cooking. In a pinch, bourbon will work, but sherry is better.
posted by devinemissk at 7:32 AM on August 7, 2014

Sherry is a fine substitute. Also, it sounds like what you are making is Paprikash!

I make mine with white wine, and use sherry in a pinch.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:40 AM on August 7, 2014

Rum is an excellent substitute for brandy in most recipes.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 8:42 AM on August 7, 2014

Thanks again. I made it with sherry, and it was yum! (I might be biased).
posted by pianissimo at 3:11 AM on August 11, 2014

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