Riesling is the perfect wine to bring to a Holiday dinner party, as Riesling pairs virtually with everything. Riesling is also amazing with smoked sausage, Hawaiian Pizza, spicy Indian food, breaded shellfish and pork schnitzel.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, you need to understand that there is a huge range and variety of styles when it comes to Riesling. The wine can range from bone-dry to syrupy sweet to everything in between. Unfortunately, most people get their start with Riesling’s sweet version, which tends to turn them off this fantastic white wine for life. Tack on that every country has their version of Riesling and throws words at you like Spätlese or Beerenauslese at you, and I can understand why Riesling remains undervalued and unpopular.

Among wine enthusiasts, we are fanatic about our Riesling because it’s incredibly versatile and often inexpensive. As the wine ranges from dry to sweet and from still to sparkling, you can find a Riesling for every occasion. Bone dry Riesling is perfect with dishes you’d squeeze a bit of lemon on, like Pad Thai, oysters, battered shrimp, poached Sole, or lobster. Meanwhile, an off-dry Riesling (which means ever so slightly sweet) is fantastic with spicy dishes such as sausage, Szechuan Shrimp or Tandoori Chicken as the slight sweetness puts out the fire in your mouth.

Living near Niagara, Ontario, I got my start drinking Riesling, and up in our cool climate, Riesling tends to be off-dry like a tart lemonade, with a dash of apple, honey, mineral and petrol. The petrol flavour, which tastes a bit like you’d expect gasoline to taste like, is off-putting at first, but you soon develop a love for it. Riesling from warmer climates like California or Australia will deliver more lime and tropical fruit flavours.

Best Food with Riesling

Alsatian RieslingChoucroute Garnie
Kabinett RieslingChoucroute Garnie
Kabinett RieslingCrab
Spätlese RieslingCrab
Spätlese RieslingThai Cuisine
RieslingThai Cuisine
Riesling, Late HarvestApple Dessert
Riesling, Late HarvestBlueberries
RieslingEdam Cheese
Spätlese RieslingGouda Cheese
RieslingGouda Cheese
Riesling, Late HarvestCheesecake
Auslese RieslingChiles
RieslingCantonese Food
RieslingCrab Soft-Shell
Spätlese RieslingFish Curry Dishes
Spätlese RieslingChicken Curry Dishes
RieslingCurry Dishes with Coconut
Auslese RieslingDuck L'Orange
Riesling, Late HarvestFoie Gras Terrine Torchon Pâté
RieslingFruit Fresh
Auslese RieslingFruit Desserts
Riesling, Late HarvestFruit Desserts
Kabinett RieslingHot Dogs
Riesling, Late HarvestMango
Riesling, Late HarvestNectarines
Kabinett RieslingPork Roasted
Riesling, Late HarvestRaspberry Dessert (Creamy)
Kabinett RieslingScallops
RieslingScallops Sautéed
Alsatian RieslingShellfish
RieslingSmoked Salmon
RieslingTrout Smoked
RieslingGrilled Trout
Alsatian RieslingGrilled Trout
RieslingTrout Sautéed
Alsatian RieslingTrout Sautéed
RieslingVietnamese Cuisine
RieslingChicken Tacos
Spätlese RieslingAppleby's Cheese
RieslingPork Tenderloin
RieslingChicken Curry Dishes
RieslingChinese Food Takeout/Buffet
RieslingCanadian Bacon
RieslingHoney Baked Ham
Ice Wine, RieslingCheesecake
RieslingPad Thai
Riesling, Late HarvestMango Sticky Rice
RieslingSplit Pea & Ham Soup
Kabinett RieslingSpicy Tuna Roll (Sushi)
RieslingPig Roast
RieslingChicken Teriyaki
Riesling, Late HarvestSalmon Teriyaki
RieslingChicken Satay
Spätlese RieslingTzatziki Sauce
RieslingHawaiian Pizza
Spätlese RieslingChicken Korma
RieslingChicken Peri Peri
Beerenauslese RieslingPeach Cobbler
Auslese RieslingTempura Shrimp
Auslese RieslingComté Cheese
Auslese RieslingGruyère Cheese
RieslingThai Beef Salad (Spicy)
Alsatian RieslingKorokke
Off Dry RieslingBibimbap
RieslingPreserved Salted Duck
RieslingCrab Legs
RieslingLamb Curry Dishes
Alsatian RieslingArtichoke
RieslingAsian Cuisine
Alsatian RieslingAsian Cuisine
Off Dry RieslingChicken Adobo
RieslingHalibut in a Creamy Sauce
Riesling, Late HarvestBerry Desserts
Riesling, Late HarvestBread Pudding
RieslingCajun Cuisine
Alsatian RieslingCharcuterie
RieslingBrie Cheese
RieslingColby Cheese
Alsatian RieslingEmmental Cheese
RieslingHavarti Cheese
RieslingMonterey Jack Cheese
Alsatian RieslingMuenster Cheese
Alsatian RieslingRoquefort Cheese
Riesling, Late HarvestRoquefort Cheese
Alsatian RieslingSaint-Nectaire Cheese
RieslingSheep's Milk Cheese
Riesling, Late HarvestStilton Cheese
Alsatian RieslingVacherin Cheese
RieslingYaki-zakana (grilled fish)
Riesling, Late HarvestCherry Desserts
RieslingBarbecued Chicken in Sauce
RieslingChicken with Fruit Sauce
RieslingChicken with Lemon or Lime
RieslingSweet and Sour Chicken
Kabinett RieslingCilantro
RieslingCoconut Milk
RieslingCorned Beef and Cabbage
Alsatian RieslingCrab Cakes
Kabinett Riesling Cranberry Sauce
Spätlese RieslingCranberry Sauce
Ice Wine, RieslingCustard or Pudding
Riesling, Late HarvestCrème Brûlée
Spätlese RieslingDuck
Auslese RieslingPeking Duck
RieslingPeking Duck
RieslingCrescenza Cheese
Alsatian RieslingQuiche
Spätlese RieslingFish
Alsatian RieslingComté Cheese
Auslese RieslingFoie Gras
RieslingFoie Gras
Riesling, Late HarvestFoie Gras
Alsatian RieslingCheese Fondue
RieslingFruit Sauces
Riesling, Late HarvestGingerbread
Kabinett RieslingGravlax
Spätlese RieslingGravlax
Alsatian RieslingHaddock
Kabinett RieslingHalibut
Alsatian RieslingHerbed Dishes
RieslingHerring (Smoked Fish)
RieslingIndonesian Cuisine
Alsatian RieslingChicken Liver
Kabinett RieslingLobster
Alsatian RieslingPike
RieslingPork With Fruit Sauce
RieslingPork Loin
RieslingCaesar Salad
RieslingChicken Salad
RieslingSpicy Sausage
RieslingShrimp Cocktail
Kabinett RieslingSkate
Alsatian RieslingSkate
RieslingFish Smoked
RieslingGrilled Sole
Alsatian RieslingGrilled Sole
Kabinett RieslingGrilled Sole
Kabinett RieslingSole
Alsatian RieslingSole
Kabinett RieslingSushi
Kabinett RieslingSushi Salmon
Spätlese RieslingSweetbreads
RieslingSzechuan Food
Spätlese RieslingSzechuan Food
Auslese RieslingSzechuan Food
Kabinett RieslingGrilled Trout
Kabinett RieslingTrout in a Cream Sauce
Kabinett RieslingTuna Carpaccio
RieslingTuna Tartare
Kabinett RieslingTuna Tartare
RieslingVeal With Cream Sauce
RieslingWiener Schnitzel
RieslingVegetarian Dishes
RieslingOysters Raw
RieslingApple Pie
RieslingGoat Cheese
RieslingGrilled Vegetable Sandwich
RieslingSalmon Burgers
RieslingChicken Wings Spicy
RieslingBeef Stir Fried
RieslingIndian Cuisine
RieslingPotato Leek Soup
RieslingVegetarian Stir Fry
RieslingBBQ Ribs
Pradikat RieslingJalapeño Poppers
RieslingThai Green Curry Sauce
RieslingScallops / Thai Green Curry Sauce
Alsatian RieslingHalloumi Cheese
Auslese RieslingGooseberry Crumble
RieslingStrawberry Rhubarb Pie
Alsatian RieslingHotate - Scallops Sushi/Sashimi
RieslingFish Tempura
RieslingPulled Pork
Riesling, Late HarvestUnagi/Anago (eel) - Grilled
Alsatian RieslingTsubugai/Hamaguri
Spätlese RieslingSalmon Teriyaki
RieslingOkonomiyaki - Seafood
RieslingTzatziki Sauce
RieslingDumplings, Asian
RieslingChicken Stuffed Dumplings
Alsatian RieslingFish Shabu Shabu
Spätlese RieslingUnadon Donburi
RieslingShake-shioyaki (salted salmon) Okazu
RieslingAloo Gobi
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingShirako (cod milt) Okazu
RieslingNikujaga (meat and potato stew)
RieslingKimpira gobou (spicy roots)
Kabinett RieslingCrab Sunomono
Kabinett RieslingCucumber Soup
RieslingTandoori Chicken
RieslingGarlic Bread
RieslingPotato Salad
RieslingCroque Monsieur
Spätlese RieslingTom Yum Soup
Spätlese RieslingWaldorf Salad
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingFrench Toast
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingApple Pie
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingFoie Gras
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingBlue Cheese
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingPoached Pears
Riesling, Late HarvestFruit Cake
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingFruit Cake
Beerenauslese RieslingCaramel Desserts
Beerenauslese RieslingCrème Brûlée
Beerenauslese RieslingPeach Pie
Beerenauslese RieslingPeach Desserts
Beerenauslese RieslingApple Dessert
Beerenauslese RieslingApple Pie
Beerenauslese RieslingStilton Cheese
Beerenauslese RieslingFlan
Beerenauslese RieslingApricot Dessert
Auslese RieslingCrab
Auslese RieslingAvocado
Auslese RieslingTex Mex Cuisine
Auslese RieslingApple Tart
Auslese RieslingPear Tart
Auslese RieslingCurry Dishes
RieslingPork Schnitzel
RieslingCorn Dog
Alsatian RieslingSea Bass
RieslingFrench Fries
RieslingCorn on the Cob
RieslingJamón Ibérico
Off Dry RieslingRogan Josh - Lamb
Beerenauslese RieslingRoquefort Cheese
RieslingCanh Chua
RieslingBlue Carp
RieslingCrispy Roast Pig
Riesling, Late HarvestGado-Gado
Ice Wine, RieslingPisang Goreng
Spätlese RieslingKorokke
RieslingChicken Shawarma
Spätlese RieslingIkan Nila Goreng
RieslingBraised Abalone
Alsatian RieslingWiener Schnitzel
RieslingFlounder, Fried
RieslingFish Curry Dishes
RieslingCod with Sweet and Sour Sauce
RieslingPasta Primavera
Riesling, Late HarvestCherry Pie
RieslingSpicy Cucumber Salad
Riesling, Late HarvestHot and Sour Soup
Riesling, Late HarvestAlmond Desserts
Riesling, Late HarvestApricot Dessert
Dry RieslingAsparagus
Riesling, Grand Cru, AlsaceWhite Asparagus
Spätlese RieslingBacon
Riesling, Late HarvestBanana
RieslingGreen Beans
Riesling, Late HarvestBerries
Riesling, Late HarvestBlackberries
RieslingBread Pudding
RieslingBroccoli Rabe
RieslingBrown Sugar
RieslingMilbenkäse Cheese
Riesling, Late HarvestCake
Riesling, Late HarvestCupcakes
RieslingAngel Food Cake
RieslingCelery Root
RieslingBrick Cheese
Alsatian RieslingBrin D'Amour Cheese
RieslingCamembert Cheese
RieslingCotija Cheese
RieslingDouble Gloucester Cheese
RieslingFeta Cheese
RieslingFontina Cheese
Alsatian RieslingGarrotxa Cheese
RieslingGruyère Cheese
Riesling, Late HarvestGruyère Cheese
RieslingMontenebero Cheese
Alsatian RieslingMorbier Cheese
RieslingPort Salut Cheese
RieslingProvolone Cheese
RieslingRaclette Cheese
Kabinett RieslingReblochon Cheese
RieslingVermont Shepherd Cheese
RieslingCold Chicken
RieslingGrilled Chicken
Alsatian RieslingHash Chicken
Kabinett RieslingChicken with Miso
RieslingPoached Chicken
RieslingStir Fried Chicken
Off-Dry RieslingChicken Tikka Masala - Spicy
RieslingAnaheim Chilie
RieslingPoblano Chilie
Kabinett RieslingSerrano Chilie
Spätlese RieslingThai Chilie
Riesling, Late HarvestChocolate
Riesling, Late HarvestCookies
RieslingCrab Dungeness
RieslingGrilled Crayfish
Alsatian RieslingCream Dishes/Sauces
Riesling, Late HarvestCrêpes
Kabinett RieslingCucumber
Riesling, Late HarvestCustard Desserts
RieslingFruit Desserts
RieslingDim Sum
RieslingDuck with Fruit Sauce
RieslingEel Smoked
RieslingEgg Rolls
Alsatian RieslingEggs and Egg Based Dishes
Spätlese RieslingHuevos Rancheros
RieslingOmelets with Ham & Mushroom
RieslingBaked Fish
Alsatian RieslingBroiled Fish
RieslingFish and Chips
Spätlese RieslingFish with Curry Sauce
RieslingFish with Ginger
Kabinett RieslingRed Gazpacho
RieslingGrapefruit Desserts
RieslingGrilled Dishes
Kabinett RieslingGuacamole
Kabinett RieslingGuavas
Alsatian RieslingHazelnut Desserts
Alsatian RieslingHoja Santa
Riesling, Late HarvestHoney Desserts
Alsatian RieslingHorseradish
Alsatian RieslingHunan Cuisine
Spätlese RieslingHunan Cuisine
Spätlese RieslingIndian Cuisine Kebab
Kabinett RieslingKorean Cuisine
RieslingKung Pao Chicken
RieslingMiddle Eastern Cuisine
RieslingChanterelle Mushrooms
Riesling, Late HarvestPears
RieslingGreen Bell Pepper
RieslingRed Snapper
Alsatian RieslingRedfish Blackened
RieslingAsian Style Salad
RieslingChef's Salad
RieslingTurkey Sandwich
RieslingBlack Bean Sauce
RieslingChicken Sausage
RieslingScallops in a Cream Sauce
Alsatian RieslingGrilled Scallops
RieslingSeafood in a Curry Sauce
RieslingSea Urchin
Alsatian RieslingSea Urchin
RieslingShellfish / Mayonnaise Based Sauce
RieslingGrilled Shrimp
RieslingSoba Noodles
RieslingSoufflé Sweet
RieslingCorn Chowder
RieslingSweet Potato Soup
RieslingSoy Sauce
RieslingAcorn Squash
RieslingSpaghetti Squash
RieslingSushi Eel
RieslingSweet Potato
RieslingTomatoes Raw
Kabinett RieslingTrout in a Butter Sauce
RieslingTuna Ceviche
RieslingTurkey Hash
Alsatian RieslingTurkey Hash
RieslingTurkey Leftovers
RieslingTurkey Roasted
Riesling, Late HarvestVanilla
Kabinett RieslingWatermelon
RieslingYogurt Sauces
RieslingZucchini Blossoms
RieslingZucchini Blossoms Fried
RieslingButternut Squash Soup
RieslingMixed Greens with Vinaigrette
RieslingShrimp, Leek & Spinach Risotto
RieslingSeafood Macaroni and Cheese
RieslingFried Chicken
RieslingChicken Alfredo
RieslingShepherd's Pie
Off-Dry RieslingSpicy Butter Chicken
RieslingChicken Pot Pie
RieslingPotato Soup
RieslingScalloped Potatoes
RieslingSauerkraut Soup
RieslingPasta Carbonara
RieslingGnocchi in a Sage & Butter Sauce
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingPanettone
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingCrème Brûlée
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingApple Strudel
Trockenbeerenauslese RieslingBanana Foster
Auslese RieslingStrawberry Tart
RieslingLentil Soup
RieslingReuben Sandwich
RieslingGeneral Tso's Chicken
RieslingHungarian Goulash
RieslingPaella Mixta
RieslingLemon Sauce Escargot
RieslingSnails in Limousine
RieslingPho Bo - Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
Alsatian RieslingCaviar
RieslingPhiladelphia Cheesesteak
RieslingChicken Fried Steak
RieslingCabbage Rolls
RieslingLiver and Onions
RieslingBeef Stroganoff

Styles of Riesling & Food Pairings

Off-Dry Riesling & Food Pairings

Off-Dry Rieslings (In Germany, these wines are labelled Kabinett or Spatlese) means that the wines are ever so slightly sweet and are the most common style you’ll find in North America. Off-Dry Rieslings are magnificent with spicy dishes like Tandoori Chicken, Cajun Gumbo, Salsa and Nacho Chips, Chimichanga with hot sauce, Szechuan Shrimp, Enchiladas, or a spicy Ceviche.

Off-Dry Riesling is also fantastic with salty food, as the sweetness provides refreshment and counteracts the salt. So slam that glass of Riesling to your next bowl of popcorn, as the sweetness and acidity of Riesling will amplify the popcorn flavours and wash away the fat and salt in between bites.

Off-Dry Rieslings are fantastic with sweeter vegetables like corn, sweet potatoes, snow peas, carrots, yams, turnips and parsnips that you would serve up at a Holiday meal or backyard barbecue. A lot of Holiday food or gathering food tends to be sweet, such as squash baked with brown sugar, cranberry sauce, or carrots served in a maple glaze. Off-Dry Riesling complements the sweetness in these foods, while the acidity makes the vegetable flavours leap out. For these reasons, I consider and Off-Dry Riesling the best white wine to bring to a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

I also love an off-dry Riesling with Chinese Takeout, which is salty, sweet and earthy all at once. Riesling is refreshing against the saltiness, complements the sweetness, and has a mineral and petrol edge that blends in well with the earthiness of your takeout dishes.

Finally, Off-Dry Riesling is wonderful with pork and ham. I love an off-dry Riesling with Hawaiian pizza, which complements the sweet pineapple flavours while melding beautifully with the bacon or ham on your pizza. With Pork Schnitzel, Riesling is a champ at cutting through the breading and lifting up the sweet but subtle pork flavours. An off-dry Riesling is also perfect for sitting down to an Easter Ham, a night in with a Porchetta sandwich, bringing to a Pig Roast, or enjoying with Pork Tenderloin stuffed with an apricot chutney.

Dry Riesling Pairings

While dry Riesling is made everywhere, the most famous region for it is Alsace France which is notorious for its dry and crisp Riesling. Here you’ll find a floral and peachy white wine with tons of minerality and acidity. Alsatian Riesling pairs up perfectly with Sole in a creamy sauce, Sushi, Ceviche, Oysters, Crab Legs, Smoked Fish, Sea bass, Onion Tart, Dim Sum and Fish Tacos.

Both Dry and Off-Dry Rieslings have a lot in common and pair up with the same foods. In my eyes, what you pair a dry versus an off-dry Riesling often depends on preference. Some folks can not stand any degree of sweetness in their wine; thus, bone-dry Riesling is geared towards their tastes. With a bone-dry Riesling, I prefer it with foods that do not require a touch of sweetness, such as roast chicken or mild butter chicken, duck a l’orange, game birds, smoked fish and shellfish.

No matter if it’s dry or off-dry, Riesling does not pair up with heavy red meat dishes as beef will overpower your Riesling, so you won’t end up tasting the wine. The same goes for black pepper.

German Riesling & Food Pairing

Germany is world-renounced for their Rieslings which also range from dry to sweet. Riesling Kabinett and Riesling Spätlese are two examples of dry and off-dry Riesling from this country. Both Kabinett and Spätlese come in dry and off-dry variations. If the wine is dry, you’ll see Trocken on the label. If it is off-dry (slightly sweet), you’ll see Halb Trocken on the label. Further down, I talk about the four types of sweet German Riesling.

Riesling Kabinett & Food Pairings

Riesling Kabinett is the lightest style of Riesling and has more of a mineral flavour than it does with fruitiness. However, fruit does still exist, and you’ll find subtle notes of apple, apricot, lemon, lime, peach and pear. Riesling Kabinett is excellent with seafood dishes like sushi, lobster, halibut, sole, tuna, and crab cakes, where the minerality of the wine plays into the sea-kissed saltiness of the seafood. Riesling Kabinett is also excellent with cold vegetable dishes such as Crudité and gazpacho.

Simple Hot Dogs make great dance partners with Riesling Kabinett due to the wine’s subtle citrus aromas that are joyfully absorbed into a fresh hot dog bun. The less condiments on your bun, the better, as the multitude of flavours will crush the subtle flavours of Riesling Kabinett.

Riesling Spätlese & Food Pairings

Spätlese means “late selected,” and this style of Riesling offers richer and more concentrated flavours of apricot, lemon, lime and peach. In its off-dry variation, Spätlese Riesling pairs great with anything spicy, such as chicken curry dishes, Szechuan dishes, or Thai cuisine. Both dry and off-dry Spätlese Rieslings are fantastic with roasted pork, sausages, fully loaded hot dogs, BLT sandwiches,  seafood, ham, and veal dishes.

Late Harvest Riesling & Dessert Wines

The sweetest Rieslings are often called Dessert Wines, Ice Wines or Late Harvest Rieslings and pair best with desserts based on tropical fruits like pineapple or mango. Very sweet Riesling also pairs well with peach, nectarine, apple, lemon and lime desserts, such as tarts, fruit pies, caramel desserts, compotes, custards and candied fruits. Foie Gras is another popular pairing with sweet Riesling due to the contrast of the sweetness of the wine and the richness of the Foie Gras. Salty cheeses are similarly popular pairings.

In Germany, you’ll find four sweeter Riesling styles: Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein, which we have a blog for soon.

While sweeter Rieslings do have loud flavours, chocolate and coffee flavoured desserts tend to overwhelm these wines, so it’s best to keep Riesling away from chocolaty or coffee-based desserts.