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Best Substitute For White Wine Vinegar


White wine vinegar is not to be confused with white vinegar, which is often used to clean. This specific wine vinegar is used in many recipes like pickling vegetables and marinating meats. Below you’ll find each substitute for white wine vinegar along with what differentiates this vinegar from the rest.

bottle with white wine vinegar and small dish filled with yellow liquid

What is white wine vinegar?

White wine vinegar is a clear vinegar that has a strong, sweet taste and smell. As mentioned above, many people confuse white vinegar with white wine vinegar. This vinegar is used explicitly for cooking purposes and is not used for cleaning.

Originally, beets, potatoes, and other similar sources were fermented to create white vinegar. They were then mixed with water to produce the final product found on store shelves. White wine vinegar is now made by fermenting white wine.

This type of vinegar is not typically produced using one kind of wine. Instead, multiple white wines are used, which create complex flavors. This is also known as “wine stock.”

Best White Wine Vinegar Substitute

1. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar often pops up as the best alternative option for a white wine vinegar substitute. This is namely because of the way it is produced. Both kinds of vinegar are created from wine.

However, red wine vinegar is made from red wine. You’ll find this alternative to have a stronger flavor and a red color.

Pros
This alternative works well with many dishes. It also is relatively easy to find in grocery stores, so you can run out quickly and grab a bottle.

Cons
While the flavor of red wine vinegar is similar, it does have a more pungent and distinct taste. It will be quite easy to tell that white vinegar was not used in the recipe. It also changes the color of lighter dishes because of its red color.

Cooking Tip:

Use red wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio instead of white wine vinegar in all recipes.

2. Rice Vinegar

There are multiple types of rice wine vinegar – including flavored options. Your best bet is to use unflavored rice vinegar to avoid contrasting flavors in the dish when using it as a white wine vinegar replacement.

Rice vinegar is created by a double fermentation, starting with fermenting rice in water. Then, fermenting the liquid produced again.

Pros
Rice vinegar is also easy to find in most stores. It’s usually in the Asian cooking aisle as it’s most often used for cooking Asian-style dishes.

Cons
It has a sweet and tangy flavor, so it will contrast this vinegar and white wine vinegar when used in a dish.

Cooking Tip:

Use rice vinegar for pickling vegetables or to make salad dressings. You can use it in a 1:1 ratio instead of white vinegar.

3. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is another excellent white wine vinegar substitute. It also has a subtle sweetness akin to white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar. It is most often used in dishes with Spanish influence.

There are two types of sherry vinegar – aged and “young.” Aged sherry vinegar has a dark red appearance and a more robust flavor, while young sherry vinegar has a milder taste. Opt for young sherry vinegar for the most similar flavor.

Pros
When using sherry vinegar, you’ll get a similar sweet flavor in dishes. It’s an excellent alternative for sauces, marinades, and glazes.

Cons
While sherry vinegar does have a similar flavor, there are also nutty notes and a slight caramel taste so that the final dish will have a different flavor. Even the young sherry vinegar has a more intense flavor than white wine vinegar, though it is still better than aged sherry vinegar.

Cooking Tip:

Use it in a 1:1 ratio when swapping it in for white wine vinegar.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another excellent sub for white wine vinegar in dishes. It is created from apples instead of wine so that the flavor will vary. Producers of apple cider vinegar will use a 2-step process that involves combining smushed apples with yeast to ferment them. Then, bacteria are added to create the acetic acid.

Pros
When using apple cider vinegar, you’ll be able to add a similar acidic taste to dishes. The color of apple cider vinegar is lighter than other options like red wine vinegar, so it should not change the color of lighter dishes much, if at all. You can use apple cider vinegar in dishes like marinades, stews, and pickling vegetables.

Cons
It is not a good swap in dishes like sauces or salad dressings as it has a stronger flavor and may overpower the other ingredients. It does have a slight sour apple taste, so the final flavor in your dishes will be a bit different than if you used white wine vinegar.

Cooking Tip:

You can use a 1:1 ratio for apple cider vinegar as well.

5. Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is next on the list. It is made from the same ingredient as white wine vinegar – grapes. Where the difference comes in is the type of grape used. Champagne grapes, hence the name, are used to create this alternative.
The flavor for champagne vinegar, while similar, is much milder than white wine vinegar.

Pros
Champagne vinegar works well for dishes that require a more subtle flavor like dressings and marinades. This vinegar will not change the color of sauces or any light dishes.

Cons
The flavor of champagne vinegar is very light – it does not work well with dishes like stews or heavier meats. If you’re looking to swap it in a dish with beef, it’s best to avoid this option as the flavor will not come through.

Cooking Tip:

For champagne vinegar, you’ll want to use 1.5 tablespoons for every tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

6. Lemon Juice

You can substitute white wine vinegar with lemon juice as a final option. It will not add the exact same flavor. However, the acidic flavor will be present when using lemon juice. Lemon juice does have a strong flavor that can be overpowering in certain dishes, so it’s best used with ingredients that can stand up to it, like red meat.

Pros
Lemon juice is usually a staple in most people’s kitchens, so you likely have some on hand. It provides a similar sour and acidic taste to dishes that white wine vinegar does typically.

Cons
Of course, it has a distinct lemon flavor, creating a different taste in dishes. Don’t use too much lemon juice, or the recipe may taste off or too sour.

Cooking Tip:

Use ½ tablespoon of lemon juice for every tablespoon of white wine vinegar used.

7. White Wine

White wine is a strong substitute for white wine vinegar. It presents a similar level of sweetness as well as some acidity. However, the acidity level in white wine is less so than in white wine vinegar.

This wine provides excellent flavor in dishes and should be used only for cooked recipes such as sauces, soups, and meat or fish dishes. Cooking allows the alcohol to burn off, leaving the flavor behind. This wine is most commonly used in French cuisine; however, it can work with most cooked dishes.

Pros
Using white wine in recipes offers a similar flavor as white wine vinegar. It has a bold taste that incorporates well in sauces, soups, and cooked recipes. White wine provides a similar sweetness and a somewhat acidic flavor – making it a close match.

Cons
The flavor will be slightly different when you use white wine as it has a less acidic taste. It also provides a more pungent alcohol flavor than vinegar does. White wine cannot be used as a replacement in uncooked meals like salad dressings.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 2:1 ratio for each recipe.

8. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a darker brown vinegar that hails from Italy. It is produced from grape juice that is barrel-aged. This assists in providing a similar, yet not exact, flavor match. It is often used in dressings and marinades or as a drizzle for pizza or meat when boiled down and thickened.

This dark brown vinegar has an acidic yet sweet flavor that is bold. Balsamic vinegar can be used in uncooked and cooked recipes causing it to be versatile in this aspect. However, the bold flavor can limit which meals this vinegar will taste good with.

Pros
If you’re seeking a replacement that is sweet and acidic, balsamic vinegar is a winner. It also works in both cooked and raw dishes as a replacement for white wine vinegar.

Cons
Balsamic vinegar has a strong, pungent taste, so it does not work well with all recipes. It also has different flavor notes that may cause it to disagree with other included ingredients. This vinegar is also on the pricey side, especially if you purchase authentic balsamic vinegar imported from Italy.

Cooking Tip:

Use in a 1:1 ratio when creating food with this substitution.

9. Grape Juice

As white wine (and white wine vinegar) derives from grape juice, you can expect a similar flavor in recipes. However, grape juice is much sweeter, and it lacks the acidity provided by vinegar. To create a similar flavor profile, you will want to add a splash of any vinegar available. This inclusion will help to balance out the sweetness and bring in acidity.
Use grape juice as a replacement when sweetness is what you’re seeking. This substitution works best in marinades and sauces. Avoid using grape juice when making salad dressings unless you are mixing it with another vinegar, though it still may be too sweet.

Pros
Grape juice adds sweetness to dishes that generally incorporate white wine vinegar. It’s readily available at stores or, you may even have some already in your fridge.

Cons
This substitution does not work well with all recipes. It should mainly be used in marinades and some sauces, limiting how it can replace white wine vinegar.

Cooking Tip:

Use ¾ tablespoon of grape juice mixed with ¼ tablespoon of vinegar to replace white wine vinegar.

10. White Vinegar

You can use white vinegar as a replacement in your dishes if you’re in a pinch. However, with the lack of sweetness and a high level of sour acidity, it should be a last resort. White vinegar will need to be adjusted to resemble the taste of white wine vinegar more closely.
When using white vinegar as a replacement, you’ll need to add a small amount of sugar to mimic the sweetness presented by white wine vinegar. You may also want to add a small splash of water as well to help mellow out the sourness brought by the acidity.

Pros
White vinegar is very readily available. Most people keep a large jug of this vinegar in their household for cooking and cleaning, so you likely have some in your kitchen to use in recipes. You’ll get a vinegar taste in any dish where this ingredient is included.

Cons
Using white vinegar will increase time and steps on a recipe as you’ll need to alter the taste. The high acidity level present is noticeable in dishes and limits the available recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Combine ¾ tablespoon white vinegar, ¼ tablespoon water, and a pinch of sugar as a replacement for one tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

FAQs

What is white wine vinegar used for?

White wine vinegar is used for many recipes, including pickling vegetables, salad dressings, marinades, and certain sauces.

Can I substitute red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar?

Yes, you can substitute red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar. The taste will be similar. However, red wine vinegar will produce a more robust flavor than white wine vinegar. Expect lighter dishes to have a slight pinkish hue from red wine vinegar.

Can you use regular vinegar instead of white wine vinegar?

Yes, you can use regular vinegar, aka white vinegar, instead of white wine vinegar. There will be a difference in taste. Vinegar will need to be diluted slightly as a replacement to combat the high level of acidity.

Summary

Now you can cook your favorite white wine vinegar recipes with ease – even if you’ve run out of white wine vinegar. Choose red wine vinegar as your first option as it will provide the most similar flavor. This works well for darker dishes, like stews. If color matters, use rice vinegar instead. Even with a slightly sour taste, it will create a similar final flavor in your recipe.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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