Madeira Wine Substitute: 5 MUST-TRY Options for 2022

Looking for a Madeira wine substitute? You’re in luck!

In this blog post, we will discuss several types of wines that can be used as a Madeira wine substitute.

We will also provide tips on how to choose the right wine for your needs.

Whether you are looking for an affordable option or a high-quality wine, we have you covered.

Good Substitutes for Madeira Wine

You can substitute several good wines for Madeira, though the taste of your dish or dessert will be altered, of course.

Still, there are several good wine substitutes for Madeira.

Port, Vin Santo, Marsala, Sherry, and Vermouth are all popular and delicious substitutes for Madeira.

They work because they’re fortified wines with deep, rich flavors and textures that echo Madeira.

Read on to see why each wine works as a Madeira substitute and decide which you should choose!

See our related article on Port Wine Substitutes where we share our top selections that compare to your favorite bottle of Port!

What is Madeira Wine?

Madeira wine substitute
Madeira wine is a fortified wine made from both red and white grape varieties.

Madeira wine is a fortified wine made on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

The wine is made from a variety of grape types, including the red grape varieties Tinta Negra Mole and Malvasia Candida, and the white grape varieties Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, and Malvasia Fina.

Madeira wine is typically aged for at least 3 years, though some wines are aged for up to 50 years.

The wine is made by adding brandy or neutral grape spirit to stop fermentation and fortify the wine.

This process can be done either before or after aging. Madeira wine is known for its unique flavor, which is often described as being nutty or caramel-like.

The wine is also known for its longevity. Madeira that has been properly stored can last for decades without losing its flavor.

Madeira wine is produced in a variety of styles, including dry, semi-dry, sweet, and medium-sweet.

The most common Madeira wines are the dry style known as sercial and the sweet style known as malmsey.

See our related article, Marsala vs Madeira Wine, where we compare these two old favorites!

5 Perfect Madeira Wine Substitutes

Fortified wines that can be substituted for Madeira
Several wines can be used as delicious substitutes for Madeira when cooking recipes.

These are the best wine substitutes for Madeira.

We’ll go in-depth on each one so you can understand why it’s a good sub and decide if it’s the right one for you.


Port is a rich and flavorful wine that has been produced in Portugal for centuries. Today, it’s produced all around the world and you can even learn how to make port wine at home.

Made from a blend of various grapes, Port is known for its deep red color, intense fruity aromas, and complex flavors.

Although this versatile wine can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a wide range of foods, it is also often used as a substitute for Madeira wine in culinary applications.

With its similar sweetness and nutty flavor profile, port pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes alike, making it an ideal addition to any kitchen.

Whether you are baking a delicate cake or slow-cooking a rich stew, Port is the perfect alternative to Madeira wine that will add depth and complexity to your culinary creations.

So the next time you are looking to infuse your dishes with some traditional flavors of Portugal, reach for a bottle of Port instead!

Read our related article on Madeira vs Port where we take a closer look at these two wines, compare their flavor profiles, and more!

Vin santo

Madeira wine is a type of fortified wine that originates from the Madeira Islands.

It is made from local grape varieties and has a distinctive flavor that is often used as a substitute for Sherry or Port.

Vin Santo is a similar wine that is made in Italy. It is made from white grapes and has a sweeter flavor than Madeira wine.

Vin Santo is sweet and often served as an after-dinner drink, or used to make tiramisu.

However, it can also be used as a substitution for Madeira wine in cooking.

When choosing a Vin Santo, it is important to look for one that has been aged for at least 3 years.

This will ensure that the wine has a richer flavor that will substitute better for Madeira.


Made from a blend of grapes, Marsala gives foods an earthy and rich flavor that goes beautifully with many types of dishes.

Its dark color and strong aromas and flavors make it a perfect sub for Madeira wine.

With its similar characteristics and deep amber hue, Madeira wine can be easily replaced by Marsala in both traditional recipes and new creations.

Whether you simply want to add a touch of richness to your favorite stew or elevate your holiday recipes, adding a splash of Marsala will help to create dishes that are sure to impress.

Read our related article, What is Marsala Wine? for a better look at this rich wine choice.


wine substitute
Developed as a Madeira substitute centuries ago, Sherry can be used instead of Madeira or star on its own.

Sherry is a fortified wine that is widely recognized for its unique flavor and deep amber color.

There is a wide range of flavors in Sherry including nuts, caramel, citrus, and vanilla.

Made from white grapes that are grown in the sun-drenched vineyards of Spain, this delicious beverage has a long history of use in traditional cooking and drinking customs.

For example, many cooks incorporate Sherry into sauces and marinades, while others simply drink it as an after-dinner treat.

Originally developed as a Madeira wine substitute by English traders in the 1600s, Sherry has become one of the most popular wines in the world today.

Whether you’re sipping it alone or adding it to your favorite recipe, there’s no doubt that

Sherry is a truly unforgettable beverage, and there are so many different types of Sherry that you’ll want to try them all!


vermouth with orange
Sweet Vermouth is used in many favorite cocktails.

Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that has been aromatized with various herbs and spices.

It is typically used as an ingredient in cocktails, such as martinis and Manhattans.

However, vermouth can also be enjoyed on its own. There are two main types of vermouth: sweet and dry.

Sweet vermouth is typically made from red wine, while dry vermouth is made from white wine.

Madeira and Vermouth are often substituted for each other, though Vermouth is more herbaceous while Madeira is richer.

Still, the substitute is guaranteed to deliver memorably delicious results.

Several of the wines that substitute best for Madeira are sweet Italian fortified wines.

Check out this video to see how they compare!

Final Thoughts

Madeira is an enduringly popular type of wine that has gained traction recently with the reintroduction of richly flavored bottles that have reignited interest in this old-world wine.

The substitute you choose will likely be determined by what you have on-hand. The most similarly flavored substitutes are Marsala and Port.

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