Always boils off alcohol

Does alcohol really boil off while cooking?

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White wine for risotto, red wine for roasting or whiskey for flambéing and seasoning. Alcohol is used in many dishes in the kitchen. I also like to grab a shot of alcohol - always with the thought that the alcohol will boil off and the pure taste will remain.

After all, you often hear it on cooking programs and can read it in cookbooks: "Leave the pan on the heat a little longer so that the wine evaporates!" But is that really true? I went looking for you and came to a surprising result.

Does alcohol evaporate while cooking?

Yes, alcohol evaporates when we cook it and what remains is really the pure taste. But how quickly this happens and how much of the alcohol evaporates depends on the quantity in the pot and the Duration the cooking process.

The idea that alcohol completely boils out of food in a very short time is a modern myth. The salary is reduced over time. But that takes a long time. It is surprising that the myth persists to this day. As early as 1992, some researchers at the US Department of Agriculture's nutrient data laboratory carried out a study on the subject of "Alcohol retention in food preparation". They came to some surprising results.

It is true that under Laboratory conditions Alcohol from a temperature of 78.3 degrees evaporated. However, this is difficult to apply to food preparation in your own kitchen. Because there are substances in food that prevent alcohol from evaporating: such as fat. In addition, the evaporation does not happen suddenly, but takes a while. In order to evaporate pure alcohol with 96.4 percent by volume under laboratory conditions, it is necessary three hours.

It takes three hours for pure alcohol to evaporate completely. Photo: SevenCooks

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Then the alcohol has evaporated

If you bring alcohol to the boil only once while preparing it, it will stay round 84 percent of alcohol. And even when flaming there are still 70-75 percent. Only when the alcohol is boiled for a long time does it decrease. To 15 minutes stay 40% of the alcohol left over, after 30 minutes35% and only after two and a half hour quiet 5%. However, you should take a closer look at how high the alcohol content is in the food.

If a glass of white wine (12 percent by volume) is put into a risotto, then there are 9.6 grams of pure alcohol in the meal - a manageable amount (the specific weight of the alcohol: 0.8 g / cm3). If the risotto simmered for half an hour, then 35 percent of the alcohol is still in the food, which corresponds to 3.36 grams or around 0.8 grams for 4 people. Such small amounts hardly play a role in the food industry. So this amount of alcohol would not even have to be reported. Even beer with this percentage is likely to be sold as non-alcoholic in stores.

When a risotto simmered for half an hour, only around 35% of the alcohol content is left in the food. Photo: SevenCooks

Boil alcohol - be careful with children

Where for most of us it doesn't make much difference whether we have 10% or 0% alcohol on our plate, it becomes more serious when the food is for Children, dry alcoholics or people is intended for ethical, religious or health reasons do not consume alcohol. Therefore, you should pay close attention to whether you really need the alcohol in the dish and, if so, that you let it simmer for as long as possible.

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Cover picture: SevenCooks