Non alcoholic deglaze | 7 best options when it comes to cooking

fruit juice
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Pan sauces are delicious accompaniments to a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. They are made from the richly flavored liquid formed after deglazing. Deglaze is made by adding cold liquid to a hot pan that was used to grill or sear meat to loosen the flavor-filled brown bits called fond stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Many sauces have wine or beer-based fonds, but there are also many non alcoholic deglaze options for those who don’t drink alcohol or run out of alcohol. The best and most used non alcoholic deglaze liquids are the following:

7 best Non alcoholic deglaze liquids in cooking
Non alcoholic deglazeTextureBest used for deglazingFlavor
WaterWatery - great option for saucesAny dishNeutral
CreamCreamy with gelee properitesPoultry, beef, mushrooms, vegetablesSubtle and creamy
Chicken stockWatery with gelee propertiesPoultry, beef and vegetable dishesLight and not overpowering
Beef stockWatery with gelee propertiesBeef and venison dishesStrong
Fruit Juice (grape, orange...)WateryMeat and fish dishesFresh and tangy
VinegarWateryMeat dishesAcidic or sweet and sour
VerjusWine like texturePoultry, beef, mushrooms, vegetablesSimilar to wine

deglazing in pan


When you think of an alcohol free deglaze, the first thing that comes to mind is water. Water is odorless and flavor-free, which makes it the most versatile

water non alcoholic deglaze

In your pan, brown bits have a strong flavor and aroma because the meat was marinated and coated with richly flavored and aromatic herbs and spices. Since these brown bits and pieces on the pan’s bottom are full of flavor, you really want to keep this flavor.

Deglazing everything with water will help retain the flavor and, at the same time, enrich the water with all these fragrances.

You can adjust the water-based deglaze texture and make light or creamy sauce according to the accompanying meat entrée or any other dish. 

Water is also the best liquid for thickening your sauce after deglazing. You can simply reduce it or add any thickening agent you want (flour, cornstarch…)

Water can be used as a liquid for deglazing, for almost any dish, even if the dish explicitly calls for wine. By using water, you won’t get as rich flavor as you would with the original deglazing liquid, but it will still be the best non alcoholic deglaze for any dish. 

It is not the best just because you can use it with almost any dish but also because you always have it on hand.


Cream is an easily-available non alcoholic deglaze. We often describe the texture of a sauce as rich and creamy. Adding cream makes everything creamy, including a deglaze. You can add cream to pan drippings to make a pan sauce with a subtle flavor and to reduce the impact of highly flavored and aromatic drippings. 

cream non alcoholic deglaze

The cream consists of fat and, like chicken and beef stock, also has gelee properties. Cream helps add a silky texture to the deglaze and the pan sauce. 

The emulsifying proteins present in cream thicken without splitting and easily loosen and bind the fond. Using cream as a deglaze will provide a pan sauce with a silky flavor and a heavy texture. 

Cream also goes well with other alohol free deglaze liquids like stocks and water. A cream-based pan sauce is a perfect complement for a wide range of grilled meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, mushrooms, and deserts

If you don’t drink alcohol or don’t have alcohol, cream is an ideal substitute to make a full-bodied and smooth pan sauce to complement highly flavored meat or fish entrées. 

Best cream for deglazing a pan

Cream is a delectable deglaze that adds thickness and smoothness to the pan sauce. It also helps make intense flavors taste mild and delicious. There are many cream varieties available for cooking.

  • Heavy cream: more than 36% milkfat.
  • Whipping cream: 30% to 36% milkfat. 
  • Light cream: 18% to 30% milkfat.

The best one for deglazing depends on what kind of sauce you want to make. 

Suppose you want to simply deglaze the pan without further reducing the sauce, then use heavy cream. By using heavy cream, the sauce will be quickly thick and creamy, and you will be able to serve it on your mushroom steak right away. 

If you use heavy cream, don’t use a lot of it because the sauce will lose the original flavor, and cream will take over. It is best to use 1-2 tbsp of heavy cream per person.

Whipping cream and light cream are very similar from the deglazing point of view. They are not as thick as heavy cream and can be used in a variety of dishes. Light and whipping cream are more liquidy, which gives you more maneuver for sauce consistency. If you want to make it thicker, reduce it for a longer time. If you wish a more sauce-like consistency, add a bit more and thicken with flour or cornstarch. 

Here are some recipes that go well with chicken stock:

Chicken with Wine Sauce
Chicken Breasts w/ Mushroom Cream Sauce
Veal scallops with chervil cream sauce
Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Chicken With Sherry And Cream Sauce Recipe


Chicken Stock

When you plan on making a pan sauce after searing or grilling meat and run out of beer or wine as a deglaze, you can use chicken stock to get a flavor-filled deglaze. Chicken stock not only subtly enhances the flavor of the fond but makes the pan sauce creamy and rich

clear chicken stock non alcoholic deglaze

You can use chicken stock from a can or make the chicken sauce at home to make a tasty non alcoholic substitute.

The chicken stock flavor comes from chicken bones, cheap cuts, and tones of root veggies, onions, and leaf veggies like parsley and celery. 

You can make the pan sauce thick and creamy by reducing the chicken stock or by adding a thickening agent.

Reducing this liquid will not only bring out the flavor of the main dish but also the flavor of all the veggies that chicken stock is made of.

Chicken stock enhances the flavor of all types of fonds without overpowering the taste. It contains gelee and reduces while binding the fond resulting in a thick liquid, which is flavorful without additional butter.

You can pour it over pans used for grilling or searing chicken or beef and cook up a great pan sauce. 

Here are some recipes that go well with chicken stock:

Skillet Chicken and Mushroom Wine Sauce
Boneless skinless chicken thighs wiht pan sauce
Chicken Piccata
Chicken and asparagus with lemon pan sauce
Chicken Pasta with Butter Pan Sauce

Beef Stock

Beef stock is a good alcohol free deglaze, especially when the pan drippings contain beef. For instance, if you plan on making a pan sauce after making roast, grilled or, braised beef, using beef stock to make a pan sauce will perfectly complement the beef dish.

beef stock non alcoholic deglaze

Beef stock is also great if you are making venison. Since we are talking about red meat, the beef stock won’t stand out too much if you use it for deglazing a pan in which you seared venison.

Beef stock makes a better deglazing liquid for pan sauces accompanying beef dishes. The robust pan sauce made using beef broth will enhance the beefy flavor of the dish. It includes gelee properties that help quickly reduce the liquid while binding the drippings making the final pan sauce thick and velvety. 

You can add store-bought beef stock or use the healthier option of making beef stock at home and adding it to the fond. 

Both types result in the same texture while making the deglaze. If you have not added spices and herbs to the beef dish, you can add them to your beef-stock-based pan sauce and increase the flavor and aroma

Here are some recipes that go well with beef stock:

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew
Braised beef with creamy vinegar sauce
Instant pot beef stew
Crock Pot Italian Beef

Fruit Juice

If you need alcohol free substitute, you can always rely on fruit juice as an excellent alternative. Some fruit juices that make perfect deglaze liquids include grapes, apple, cranberry, orange and, lemon juice

fruit juice non alcoholic deglaze

Grape juice is used in the place of red wine for deglazing. These fruit juices are acidic. The acid helps to loosen the pan drippings easily. Fruit juices not only add flavor to the deglaze but also add color to the pan sauce. 

The pan sauce made with a fruit juice deglaze has a subtle tangy flavor that enhances and complements grilled or seared fish and chicken. Using fruit juice as a substitute for alcohol will make the dish fresh and tasty.

You can use freshly made fruit juice for the best deglazing results, but store-bought juice will also do the trick if you don’t have fresh juice on hand.

Here are some recipes that go well with fruit juice:

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork
Quick Pressure Cooker Ragu
Classic chicken piccata with lemon butter sauce
Seared Scallops With Pan Sauce
Creamy lemon chicken


If you don’t drink alcohol or run out of red or white wine to make a pan sauce after deglazing a pan, use vinegar instead. Red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar are ideal as an alcohol-free deglaze. There is also balsamic vinegar which gives additional sweetness to the dish if you use it for reduction.

vinegar non alcoholic deglaze

The acidic properties in vinegar serve to loosen the drippings in the pan easily. Red and white vinegar add a tangy taste to the sauce. 

Vinegar lends a sour taste to a rich pan sauce and is a delectable accompaniment for light and summery fish and chicken dishes. You could mix vinegar and sweet fruit juice to make a sweet and sour deglaze that imitates the taste of wine and results in a unique and flavorsome pan sauce. 

Here are some recipes that go well with vinegar:

Rib-Eye Steak au Poivre with Balsamic Reduction
Bruschetta Chicken with Deglaze Balsamic Vinegar
Vinegar-Glossed Chicken
Steak with balsamic shallot pan sauce
Chicken in red wine vinegar


Verjus means green juice in French and is used extensively in French cooking. It is a juice made of waste wine grapes. They turn them into verjus and use them for cooking and cocktail making. Verjus is usually made from green grapes. 

It is not only used as an alcohol-free deglaze but as a substitute for citrus juice or vinegar. Verjus can also be made from plums and crab apples. 

The authentic taste has acidic properties. It also adds a tartness and sweetness to the pan sauce. 

The unique taste of verjus does not overpower the flavors of the other ingredients in the pan sauce. It complements their flavors in a subtle manner. The pan sauce makes a sumptuous accompaniment for light meat dishes. 

Here are some recipes that go well with verjus:

Verjus, a Tart Splash for All Dishes
Chicken Breast, Sweetbreads and Raisins with Sauce Verjus
Mussels with Verjus / White Wine Mustard Sauce
Blueberry Honey Vinaigrette
Gnocchi with sauted prawns
Maine Sea Scallops with Dates, Bacon, Verjus & Apple



Alcoholic deglazes are the first that come to mind when you want to deglaze and make a pan sauce. Alcohol-free deglazes serve the purpose equally well. Whether you choose water, vinegar, or any other, they all have their purpose in cooking. 

The bottom line is that these 7 non alcoholic deglaze liquids are all you need in your kitchen. You won’t need anything else, and if you use them right, your dish will always come out tasty, and the guests will never guess the name of the wine you put in because there won’t be any.

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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