Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

When you add alcohol to a recipe it all evaporates during cooking so there is none in the final dish

Here’s another “common sense” myth that turns out to be false. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water so it should all evaporate first, right? Nope – that’s not the way it works. The alcohol will evaporate faster than the water but there will still be some left after even extended cooking. The text below shows just how much alcohol is left after different methods and periods of cooking.

  • Alcohol added to boiling liquid & removed from heat: 85%
  • Alcohol flamed: 75%
  • No heat, stored overnight: 70%
  • Baked 15 minutes, alcohol stirred into mixture: 40%
  • Baked 2.5 hours, alcohol stirred into mixture: 5%

The bottom line is that no one is ever going to get tipsy from alcohol in a cooked dish, but people who want to avoid all alcohol for religious or medical reasons need to be aware that some alcohol will remain even after long cooking.

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5 responses to “When you add alcohol to a recipe it all evaporates during cooking so there is none in the final dish

  1. Ella April 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Do you have any stats on baking with alcohol? I have a recipe for pie dough that has vodka in it and am curious what percentage may be left after baking.

  2. Ella April 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Oops just read some of your baking stats but do not see an application for the pie dough.

  3. anthony September 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

    can you give some sources for this, please?

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