If you are taking a drug that shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or are a recovering alcoholic, don’t assume that all alcohol evaporates from food during cooking. Though a serving of a dish prepared with alcohol contains far less of it than a glass of wine or beer, a fair amount of the alcohol originally added to the dish will remain after cooking, according to USDA research.
The amount remaining depends on the cooking time, degree of heat, and size of the pot or pan. A pot roast cooked for two hours retains about 5 percent of the alcohol from added wine, but a chicken dish simmered for 10 minutes would have three times as much.
Desserts that are cooked briefly retain nearly all of their alcohol. Briefly setting a dish such as cherries jubilee on fire (flambéing) burns off much less alcohol than cooking.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.