What Wine Goes With Chicken?
Simple and delicious, chicken is a popular dinner meat due to its recipe potential. It can be served by itself or as a key ingredient in fancier dishes like rich chicken marsala and chicken parmesan.
Due to its versatility, it can be tricky to decide which wine will bring out its best qualities, and with so many ways to prepare chicken, we don’t blame you for being confused!
We want to help you take your chicken dining experience up a notch.
Read on to find answers to the question, “What kind of wine goes with chicken?
Wine Pairing With Chicken
If you’ve been pairing white wine with chicken and darker red wines with darker meat, you’re on the right track. But because there are so many ways to prepare chicken, it’s not always clear which wine to pair with your dish. Here are some familiar chicken recipes and which wines taste best with each.
Need a wine to balance the smoky flavors of backyard grilled chicken? Try a lovely oaked Chardonnay. This full-bodied white wine is highly acidic, which will cut through the skin and fat of the chicken while bringing out the smoky flavors of the grill.
If your grilled chicken is doused in barbecue sauce, pair it with a light-bodied, fruit-forward, low-tannin red wine like Pinot Noir to complement its sweeter flavors.
With bright berry notes, balanced acidity, and rich complexity, Zinfandel is also an excellent pair for the rich flavors of barbecue chicken.
There’s nothing like classic homemade fried chicken. But did you know you can instantly elevate your fried chicken dish with fancy sparkling wines like Champagne and Chenin Blanc? With its delicious, crispy, and salty coating, fried chicken needs a medium-bodied, highly acidic white wine to cut through its fat and grease. The bubbles in these super sippers perfectly complement the crunchy batter.
It’s the simplicity of roast chicken that makes it so versatile. This following classic chicken dish pairs effortlessly with red wine, white wine, and Rosé. If your roast chicken contains heartier flavors, pair it with an acidic, full-bodied red wine like Syrah to bring out its richness. Unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will be lovely and subtle for plain roast chicken. For roast chicken with herb and citrus flavors, the bright citrus notes of Sauvignon Blanc should do the trick.
If you’re craving buffalo wings or spicy curry, you’ll need to add some sweetness to your palate to balance the heat. Moscato and Riesling have just the right amount of sugars and fruity flavors to tame the spice of hot chicken dishes. Sweeter styles of Pinot Grigio, like those produced in Alsace, will also be a good match.
Tomato Based Chicken Dishes
Whether you’re dining on basil, tomato, and chicken pasta, chicken parmesan, or white meat in a simple tomato sauce, you’ll need something that brings out the tomato flavors without overpowering them. The light, fruit-forward flavors of Pinot Noir will be your best bet with most tomato-based chicken dishes.
Creamy Chicken Dishes
Creamy chicken dishes like fettuccine alfredo and chicken pot pie are the ultimate homestyle comfort foods. To best complement their richness, we think Chardonnay is the way to go. With its bright fruit notes and smooth, buttery flavors, Chardonnay is the effortless pairing for cream sauces.
If you’ve ever searched “keto recipes,” you might have seen something called “crack chicken” popping up on Google. This dish is full of cheese, green onions, bacon bits, and creamy chicken, making it the perfect meal pairing for acidic wines like Champagne, Chenin Blanc, and unoaked Chardonnay.
Chicken marsala is a classic Italian comfort food with chicken doused in mushrooms and a rich cream sauce. But before jumping to the previous cream sauce wine pairing, chicken marsala isn’t as straightforward. Since chicken marsala can be cooked with either white or red wine, this opens us up to a few options.
Pinot Noir is still best for a lighter red sauce as it won’t overpower the sauce. If the red sauce is more decadent, darker, and more robust, Merlot or Malbec will be the perfect complex savory pairing.
An aromatic white like Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc for a lighter white sauce will brighten the dish with citrus flavors without overpowering it.
This brings us back to Chardonnay, which remains the perfect companion to decadent, buttery cream sauces.
Coq Au Vin
Our last dish on the menu comes from French cuisine. Made with red wine, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, and chicken breast, Coq Au Vin was first brought to the mainstream by acclaimed chef Julia Child. Due to its richness and tangy flavors, we think Merlot is easily the best match for this decadent dish. Merlot’s dark berry flavors and spices embolden the complex nuances and sweetness of Coq Au Vin.
In the words of Julia Child, "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients." We completely agree, as this dish is simple yet sophisticated. All it needs is the perfect wine!
Spice Up Your Next Chicken Dinner!
Despite its simplicity, chicken is by no means lackluster and is a key ingredient in many esteemed dishes.
Whether you’re cooking classic fried chicken or taking a crack at French Coq Au Vin, you now know which wine will elevate your chicken dish.