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Substitute For Apple Cider Vinegar

How many recipes can you think of that include apple cider vinegar? You may be surprised to find out that apple cider vinegar is more common in recipes than you might think – especially in marinades for meat.

So, what happens when you don’t have apple cider vinegar lying around the house? Check out the below substitute for apple cider vinegar list – indeed, you’ll have at least one option available.

big glass bottle with apple cider vinegar

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made from apples that have been pulverized and then fermented. These smushed apples are combined with yeast to create alcohol. This is how most vinegar is made. From there, bacteria are added to produce acetic acid. Adding bacteria offers the sour taste and smell that is associated with apple cider vinegar.

Vinegar is mainly apple juice, at least according to WebMD. While some people drink diluted apple cider vinegar as a health tonic, it also has many uses in the kitchen. You can use apple cider vinegar in baking, marinades, and salad dressings.

Apple Cider Vinegar Substitutes And Alternatives

1. Red Wine/ White Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar are also made from fruits (grapes), so you’ll have a similar sweet flavor when using either of these as an apple cider vinegar substitute. As they are also kinds of vinegar, you’ll get the same acidic taste and sourness that apple cider vinegar provides.

Red wine vinegar is more commonly found in the store, though both should be relatively easy to find. Both red and white wine vinegar provide a similar flavor to apple cider vinegar, and you can use it in most dishes as a replacement.

If using red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar, the taste will be stronger than apple cider vinegar, which might change your dish’s flavor. Red wine vinegar will also change the color of lighter dishes to a slight pink hue.

Cooking Tip:
Use red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio instead of apple cider vinegar.

2. Apple Juice

Surprisingly, apple juice is a good substitution for apple cider vinegar. Of course, you’ll get the same apple flavor because apples are the main ingredient. It provides a nice sweetness to recipes. Since it is not vinegar, it will not add the same acidic taste to dishes.

It also has a good amount of sugar – if you’re concerned about the sugar content, you can quite easily make your apple juice at home. This method will allow you to avoid excess sugar in the liquid.

Apple juice works well to add a sweet apple flavor to baked dishes and vinaigrettes. It’s easy to come by in the store. You may even find it in your pantry if you pack lunches often for your children.

Many apple juices have a lot of sugar; you can make your own at home using the above recipe. There is no acidic flavor, so it can make certain dishes too sweet.

Cooking Tip:
Use apple juice in a 2:1 ratio – even for your homemade version.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a great way to add acidity and brightness to dishes that generally incorporate apple cider vinegar. It has a fruity taste that mimics the flavor of apple cider vinegar. Lemon juice is a better alternative than apple juice if you’re concerned about sugar intake.

Lemon juice also works well in recipes that are cooked/baked and vinaigrettes. It creates a similar acidic flavor that usually arises from apple cider vinegar. You can also use lemon juice in marinades for nearly all types of meat.
Lemon juice is sourer than apple cider vinegar. It also has a strong lemon flavor which may not mesh well with all recipes.

Cooking Tip:
Use lemon juice in a 1:1 ratio. If the lemon flavor or sour taste is too strong for you, start with ¾ tablespoon of lemon juice and adjust as needed.

4. Orange Juice

Orange juice also works as a cider vinegar substitute. Continuing with the theme of fruit juices, it has many similar properties to lemon juice, such as the acidity, fruity flavor, and brightness that it adds to dishes. It does have a sweeter taste than lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.

Orange juice is rich in vitamin c, folate, and potassium. It works well for marinades for different meats – a great example is ribs.

Cooking Tip:
Use orange juice in a 1:1 ratio instead of apple cider vinegar.

5. White Vinegar

White vinegar can be used as an apple cider vinegar replacement. It adds a similar acidic taste to apple cider vinegar. However, it has a higher acidity and a bland flavor, so it’s best used as a last resort.

Since it has a neutral flavor, white vinegar can be added to any dish that usually uses apple cider vinegar. You can utilize it in both cooked dishes and raw food items (like salad dressings).

The flavor will be lacking as it does not contain the fruitiness or sweetness that apple cider vinegar is known for.

Cooking Tip:
Use white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio for apple cider vinegar. Consider adding a squeeze of fresh juice in (lime, lemon, orange) to give it a more similar flavor.

6. Malt Vinegar

You can substitute apple cider vinegar with malt vinegar. It does lack a fruity flavor as fermented barley is used instead of apples or grapes. However, it will provide a sour flavor similar to most vinegar.

Malt vinegar will provide a similar acidic vinegar flavor to dishes. It can be used in savory dishes like marinades and stews.

Malt vinegar is not the most accessible ingredient to find. You’re more likely to find this vinegar swap online than in your local grocery store. It also adds a yeast flavor to any recipes it’s included in, so it will alter the taste of the dish it’s used in.

Cooking Tip:
Use in a 1:1 ratio when swapping it with apple cider vinegar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar?

Yes, you can replace apple cider vinegar with white vinegar. It depends on which recipe you’re using, as apple cider vinegar has a sweeter flavor. The only exception is that apple cider vinegar cannot be used in pickling or canning recipes as a substitution.

Can I use red wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?

Yes, you can use red wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar has a brighter color and more intense flavor so that you will notice a difference in your recipe.

Is apple cider the same as apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider is not the same as apple cider vinegar. While they are both made from apples, they each undergo different processes to create the final product. Apple cider vinegar is fermented, while apple cider (non-alcoholic) is similar to apple juice except with skin and apple flesh included.


Next time you want to create a recipe with apple cider vinegar, try one of the above swaps instead. You can use them to alter the flavor to fit your tastebuds more. If you seek a substitute with a similar flavor profile, opt for red or white wine vinegar.
If you’re looking for a way to add some additional sweetness to a dish, try apple juice or orange juice as a swap. If you’re missing the above swaps, you can use lime juice or rice wine vinegar (avoid seasoned rice vinegar). Play around with these alternatives and see which one fits your favorite dishes best.

Recipes With Apple Cider Vinegar

Beef Liver with Apples

cast iron skillet with liver with apples and onions

Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken

white casserole dish with chicken and pineapple

Hummus with Apple Cider Vinegar

hummus in a white plate

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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