10 Best Bourbon for Cooking

Abbey Miller
Published on
by Abbey Miller

The smooth taste of bourbon is an exciting and pleasing taste to the palate, which most people can appreciate. It’s a flavor that most adults enjoy, but did you know that bourbon can also be used for cooking?

Cooking with alcohol has long been a popular cooking method, but bourbon, in particular, makes for a great balance. The flavor profile, combined with the acidity in the alcohol, creates the perfect base for cooking.

The Top 10 Best Bourbon for Cooking

Listed below is a list of the top 10 bourbons we recommend you buy if you’re looking to do some cooking with bourbon.

  1. Wild Turkey 101
  2. Evan Williams 100 Proof
  3. Four Roses Yellow
  4. Jim Beam Rye
  5. Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  6. Redemption Straight
  7. Makers Mark 46
  8. Buffalo Trace
  9. Woodford Reserve
  10. Four Roses Single Barrel

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101 is a classic bourbon that has a mesquite flavor that blends well with most foods. For over 60 years, Wild Turkey branded bourbons have been using oaked barrels to age and are always treated with the utmost respect and attention to detail.

You’ll love the smokey aroma that you notice as you pop the top off of a fresh bottle of Wild Turkey 101, and the mesquite taste makes it perfect for cooking with. Use it as an addition to your sauces or as a meat tenderizer, both of which are perfect roles for this robust, flavorful bourbon.

Evan Williams 100 Proof

Evan Williams 100 Proof

Evan Williams 100 Proof bourbon is the perfect bourbon for cooking because it has a light flavor and blends well with a variety of different cuisines. The scent of pine and oak hits your nose as you take in the scent of this Kentucky-born bourbon, and if you take a sip, you’ll also notice notes of cherry and almond.

This bourbon is perfect for marinating chicken or beef and adds a nice oaky flavor to your meal. You can also use this to cook with when making seared beef tips, and you need an alcohol base to blend everything.

Four Roses Yellow

Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon

When choosing the best bourbons for cooking, you’ll want to add Four Roses Yellow to the list. This bourbon hails from Kentucky and is known for its aromatic characteristics and top-notch flavor profile. You’ll taste notes of honey, pear, and floral undertones, making this bourbon ideal for cooking pasta sauces, vegetables, and glazes.

You can use this bourbon while pan-frying a steak, searing some fish, or adding a succulent sauce to top off your salmon. Four Roses Yellow is also great to drink straight, so while you’re adding a little to your recipe, make sure to add a little to your mouth too!

Jim Beam Rye

Jim Beam Rye

Jim Beam Rye is a popular choice among fellow bourbon and whiskey drinkers. Its reputation and brand are impeccable because you always know you’ll get a high-quality product. In addition, the Jim Beam Rye flavor is great to use in the kitchen while cooking a delicious meal.

The rye variety adds a little extra dryness and cuts down on the spicy finish, which is why this variety, in particular, is a good choice to cook with. You can use it to marinate meat, saute onions, and as a sauce base.

Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Straight Whiskey

Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Straight Whiskey

Another great choice when cooking with bourbon is Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Straight Whiskey. This Kentucky bourbon’s smooth, bold flavor creates a nice combination of vanilla, oak, and citrus with a smoky finish. You’ll also notice hints of cinnamon, wood, and clove after a few sips.

This bourbon goes well with desserts and candied vegetables and also makes for a great glaze to add on top of chicken or fish. You’ll also love the rich pop of flavor it adds to every dish.

Redemption Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Redemption Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Redemption Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the perfect bourbon to cook with because it has a light flavor and smoothness; we just can’t quite explain it. Commonly referred to as a traditional rye bourbon, this type of addition to your everyday recipes will surely add a pop of pizzazz and flavor.

Add Redemption Bourbon to your frying pan as you simmer your meat for a delicious, bold, flavor-bursting effect. The bourbon will enhance the meat’s natural flavors without overtaking the whole dish, leaving both you and your guests satisfied with the tasty results.

Maker’s Mark 46

Maker’s Mark 46

Another bourbon that may surprise you on this list is Maker’s Mark 46. The smooth, creamy body of this bourbon allows it to add both flavor and prominent texture to your recipes. The flavor embodies notes of caramel and vanilla with undertones of oak and honey. The subtle flavors and bold body make it perfect for cooking pasta dishes, searing meats, and making decadent desserts.

You can also use this bourbon to enhance the flavors in your pot roast, steaks, and beef tips, which tend to dry out if you don’t use enough oil or alcohol base. Try this bourbon in your next bread pudding recipe for a sweet yet bold dessert combination you won’t soon forget!

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace bourbon is a unique bourbon that brings out the tastiness of traditional bourbon without being too humdrum. This Kentucky-born bourbon brand has been around for more than 200 years, and the successful outcome of the many dedicated distillers surely shows in the final product.

Buffalo Trace has a light yet bold flavor that blends well with many different cuisines, which is why it is perfect for use while cooking. You can make sauces, spices, and even bread using this traditional yet tasty bourbon. It’s also a great way to end dinner, with a stiff glass of Buffalo Trace Bourbon over ice.

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Another popular choice of bourbon for cooking is Woodford Reserve. Woodford Reserve bourbon has a great reputation for being quality bourbon for a reasonable price. You’ll taste notes of vanilla, fruit, and grain with a smooth, oaky finish. The flavor profile of this particular bourbon grants it the right to be in dessert toppings, pasta sauces, and dressings for toasted fruits and vegetables.

You’ll love the aromatic nature of this blend and will easily notice the difference in your food dishes after you start using it.

Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel

Finally, topping off our list of the ten best bourbons for cooking, Four Roses Single Barrel rightfully earned its spot. This bourbon has a tangy yet sweet taste that compliments both desserts and main dishes. You’ll instantly be taken away by the fruity aroma it gives off as you pour it into your glass, but then notice flavors such as chocolate, oak, spice, and pear as you finish.

Four Roses is the perfect bourbon to marinate steaks, chicken, fish, and pork. It is also a great way to add more zest to your desserts and pasta dishes. Try it out and see for yourself!

Final Thoughts

If you’ve never used alcohol, bourbon specifically, in your recipes, you will be amazed by how much flavor and balance it can give to your food. Bourbon adds a robust, sweet, yet also bold flavor profile that really brings out the “YUM” in your dish.

These top ten best bourbons for cooking are a great place to start if you’re unsure which type and brand to use. They all have similar attributes but a common goal, which is delicious food! Try these different types of bourbon while cooking and be amazed at just how much the flavor and texture of your dishes are transformed.


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Abbey Miller
Abbey Miller
Abbey grew up in a family with an appreciation for great beers, fine wines, and nuanced Scotch whiskeys. It's no surprise that she studied Hospitality Management and is now a professional working on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
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