The Best Recipes to Pair with Riesling

Riesling's crisp, palate-refreshing acidity helps make it an exceptional food wine. But despite being so food-friendly, Riesling is often overlooked when it's time to choose a wine with dinner. Why all this neglect? It could be that Rieslings are sometimes on the sweet side, though they can also be quite dry ("dry" simply means "not sweet") — Rieslings really run the full range. But don't be turned off by a little sweetness. It's a trademark of Riesling that even the sweet versions will offer enough bright acidity to keep things balanced, so they're still crisp rather than cloying. Try Riesling with poultry, pork, and fish — and there's nothing better with Thai food. Try slightly sweet, lower-alcohol styles with spicy foods. Here are our favorite recipes to pair with one of the world's great food wines.

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Pork Roast with the World's Best Rub

Pork Roast with the World's Best Rub
Photo by Rock_lobster.

"A pork loin is marinated with a nice rub flavored with thyme and three chiles," says DADCOOKS. "The dry rub penetrates all the way through and bakes into a sticky, sweet glaze."

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Tropical Grilled Pork Chops

Tropical Grilled Pork Chops
Photo by mommyluvs2cook.

"Marinated pork chops are grilled to perfection and topped with a spicy salsa starring pineapple, mango, and applesauce," says EVE11.

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Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai) served in a bowl with rice
Chef John

"My version of this classic Thai dish has spectacular taste even with regular basil instead of Thai or holy basil," says Chef John. "The sauce actually acts like a glaze as the chicken mixture cooks over high heat. The recipe works best if you chop or grind your own chicken and have all ingredients prepped before you start cooking."

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Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Peppers

Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Peppers
Baking Nana

"Pork, peppers, and spices are cooked in a Thai peanut sauce until aromatic and tender," says fullerla. "Served over brown or jasmine rice with steamed carrots on the side, this dish makes a satisfying meal."

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Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Fried Rice

Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Fried Rice
Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Fried Rice. spiderman0521

"This is a staple of Thai cooking. Adjust the spices to your own tastes for a really great use for leftover rice!" says ErinInVegas. "I get the basil from a local Asian market. It has a different flavor than that of regular basil and makes all the difference in this recipe. It is fast and fairly easy to make, but requires constant stirring."

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Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham in a white bowl over a green and white dish towel
Culinary Envy

"This cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham-layered casserole dish features buttery potatoes and sweet hickory ham baked in a double Jack and Cheddar cheese sauce," says Culinary Envy. "It's a quick and easy recipe that's perfect this time of year as a holiday side dish, or delicious anytime as a cozy meal on a chilly night!"

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Coq au Riesling

Coq au Riesling
Photo by Marianne.

"Delicious variation on coq au vin, made with an entire bottle of dry Riesling," says Susan Case. "A friend of mine introduced me to this delicious and easy dish."

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Alsatian Pork and Sauerkraut

Alsatian Pork and Sauerkraut
Photo by naples34102.

"This is a French recipe, very easy and a real comfort food," says 4Nancy. An all in one pot meal! I have gotten people who say they don't like sauerkraut to try this dish. They couldn't believe how good it is and asked for more."

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Vietnamese Caramelized Pork

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork
Photo by congpdang.

Pork, green onions, and green chiles are tossed in hot caramelized sugar until golden brown. The sugar melts into a sweet and savory sauce. "My quick home version of one of my favorite recipes," says cvucvu1. Serve with jasmine rice."

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Chef John's Peanut Curry Chicken

Chef John's Peanut Curry Chicken
Brianne Barkley

"I decided to not follow any specific recipe from any particular country or culture, but instead I made a simple composite of every peanut curry I've ever come across," says Chef John. "I didn't use coconut milk, as I feel that's a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter. I loved how this came out, and I can't imagine it being any richer."

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Seared Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce

Seared Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce
Seared Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce. naples34102

Seared sea scallops are served with a papaya sauce featuring red bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion, fresh lime juice, and cilantro. "I loved this recipe for how easy it was to make," says Marissa's Mommy. "I kept the salsa at room temp so it wouldn't cool the scallops too fast. I made some rice cooked in coconut milk.. and voila!! It even looked pretty on the plate. Great choice!"

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Pork Tenderloin with Apples

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions

Pork tenderloin, sliced fresh apples, and sweet onions cook in a skillet with chicken stock, Dijon mustard, and herbs. It's an easy, flavorful favorite. "Granny Smith apples will cook down and become a kind of sauce for the pork," says Bibi. "If you prefer the apples to keep their shape, use Golden Delicious apples, or another firm cooking apple of your choice.

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Chef John's Cassoulet in a red cocotte
Chef John's Cassoulet. catherine.drew

This classic French dish is a complete meal in a pot with tender beans, sausage, bacon, and duck confit. "Feel free to mix up the pork products in this dish," says Chef John. "You can use pork shoulder instead of bacon, for example."

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Where Riesling Calls Home

Debonne Vineyards Riesling
Photo by Meredith.

Here are just a few of the places where delicious Rieslings are being produced these days:

  • Germany: German Rieslings run the full range from dry to super sweet dessert wines. They have very good acidity and are low in alcohol, making them the perfect pairing with spicy foods.
  • Alsace, France: Alsatian Rieslings tend toward the dry (meaning "not sweet") and full-bodied, usually with more alcohol than German styles.
  • Australia: Aussie Rieslings combine bracing acidity with citrus (often lime) flavors and more alcohol than German styles. They can be dry and steely.
  • United States: Washington Rieslings are known for having a toe in both worlds, bringing together the best of Australian and German styles; they offer a touch of sweetness balanced with refreshing acidity and a measure of alcohol typically greater than German styles. There are also delicious Rieslings come out of New York state, particularly the Finger Lakes region.
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