White Wine Vinegar Substitute: 7 Best Options

White wine vinegar is a staple ingredient in many recipes, favored for its tangy flavor and mild acidity. It is widely used in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces, providing a boost of flavor that enhances the overall taste of various dishes. However, finding a substitute for white wine vinegar could be necessary when it is not available in the pantry or if one is seeking an alternative option due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences.

Luckily, numerous white wine vinegar substitutes can be utilized in recipes with minimal impact on the final outcome. These alternatives offer similar acidity and flavor profiles, making it easy to make a seamless substitution. Exploring these substitutes allows home cooks and professional chefs alike to experiment with new ingredients, which can ultimately lead to the discovery of exciting flavor combinations and innovative culinary creations.

In this article, several white wine vinegar substitutes will be discussed, along with guidelines on how to use them effectively in various recipes. Understanding the properties of these substitutes and knowing which situations call for specific alternatives can make all the difference when trying to recreate a beloved dish or venturing into new culinary territory.

Understanding White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is a versatile ingredient often used in various culinary applications, particularly in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. It is derived from fermented white wine, which goes through a secondary fermentation process to produce its signature tangy flavor and mild acidity.

The primary characteristics of white wine vinegar include its light color and distinct flavor profile. Its color typically ranges from pale yellow to clear, enabling it to blend well with other ingredients without altering their appearance. The flavor is a unique blend of tangy, tart, and fruity notes, which can enhance the taste of many dishes.

In terms of acidity, white wine vinegar usually has an acidity level of around 5-7%. This level of acidity contributes to its ability to tenderize meats, preserve food, and provide a balancing flavor in a variety of recipes. It is worth noting that the alcohol content in white wine vinegar is negligible, as the fermentation process converts the majority of the alcohol present in the wine into acetic acid.

Here is a summary of the key attributes of white wine vinegar:

  • Origin: Fermented white wine
  • Color: Pale yellow to clear
  • Flavor profile: Tangy, tart, fruity
  • Acidity: 5-7%
  • Alcohol content: Negligible

Most Common White Wine Vinegar Substitutes

White wine vinegar is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but sometimes it’s not easily accessible or you may simply run out. In such cases, several other ingredients can be used as substitutes. Below are some of the most common white wine vinegar substitutes.

Natural rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is a mild, slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice. It is widely used in Asian cuisine and works well as a substitute for white wine vinegar in dressings, marinades, and sauces. However, due to its subtle sweetness, it may slightly alter the taste of the dish.

Sherry vinegar, produced from sherry wine in Spain, is a flavorful and robust option. It can be used in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces, but its intensity may make it suitable for some dishes and not others. Use it in moderation as a substitute for white wine vinegar.

apple cider vinegar with an apple

Apple cider vinegar has a fruity flavor profile and can be easily found in most kitchens. It makes a good white wine vinegar substitute, especially in vinaigrettes and marinades. However, it does have a distinctive apple taste that may not suit every recipe.

Balsamic vinegar is a thicker, syrupy vinegar from Italy with a strong flavor. It’s a good substitute for white wine vinegar in sauces and glazes, but its dark color and sweetness may not work for all recipes.

Red wine vinegar shares many properties with white wine vinegar, as both are made from wine. Red wine vinegar has a stronger flavor, so use slightly less when substituting for white wine vinegar. Be cautious in recipes where the color may be affected.

Champagne vinegar is made from the same grapes as champagne, and its light and delicate flavor makes it an excellent white wine vinegar substitute. It works well in vinaigrettes and seafood dishes.

Distilled white vinegar is a commonly used vinegar made from grain and water. It is more acidic and less flavorful than white wine vinegar but can be used as a substitute in a pinch. Be sure to dilute it with equal parts water to mimic the taste and strength of white wine vinegar.

Lemon juice is a versatile, non-vinegar substitute for white wine vinegar in many recipes. Its citric acid provides the needed acidity, while its fruity flavor pairs well with various ingredients. Use equal parts lemon juice as a substitute in a recipe.

Each of these substitutes has its unique characteristics and may affect the final taste and appearance of your dish differently. Choose the one that best suits the recipe and your personal preferences.

How to Choose the Right Substitute

When looking for a substitute for white wine vinegar, it is essential to consider the acidity, color, and tangy flavor of the alternatives. Different substitutes may work best in specific meals, so it’s important to know which one will suit your recipe.

A good substitute should have a similar acidity level to white wine vinegar, as this will help maintain the balance of flavors in your dish. For instance, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are comparable in acidity, making them suitable options.

Moreover, the substitute’s color should be considered, especially if appearance is crucial in your meal. For example, using red wine vinegar might alter the color of a light sauce or salad dressing. In such cases, sticking with a colorless or light-colored substitute, such as rice wine vinegar or white distilled vinegar, is advised.

Lastly, the tangy flavor of white wine vinegar is one of its distinguishing factors. Substitutes that share a similar tanginess or pair well with the dish should be preferred. Here are some recommendations for white wine vinegar substitutes, taking into account their acidity, color, and tangy flavor:

  • Apple cider vinegar: Similar acidity and mild fruity flavor, suitable for salad dressings.
  • Lemon juice: Comparable acidity, with a tangy flavor, suitable for marinades and dressings.
  • Rice wine vinegar: Milder acidity and color, works well in Asian cuisine.
  • White distilled vinegar: High acidity and neutral color, can be used for pickling and cleaning vegetables.

Each substitute has its unique properties, so when deciding which one to use, consider the specific requirements of your recipe and how the substitute’s characteristics will affect the final dish. By taking into account the acidity, color, and tangy flavor of the white wine vinegar substitutes, you can confidently select the right alternative for your meal.

Substitutes in Different Recipes

For sauces and salad dressings, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for white wine vinegar. They both have a slightly fruity flavor and a good balance of acidity. To substitute, simply use equal amounts of the chosen vinegar in place of white wine vinegar.

When preparing marinades, lemon or lime juice works effectively as a substitute for white wine vinegar. The citrus juice provides the acidic component needed in a marinade. Use a one-to-one replacement ratio, but adjust the acidity to your taste.

SaucesApple cider vinegar1:1
Salad dressingsRed wine vinegar1:1
MarinadesLemon or lime juice1:1

In vinaigrette and other salad dressings, balsamic vinegar can be an ideal replacement for white wine vinegar. While it has a slightly sweeter taste, balsamic vinegar adds depth and richness to the dressing. Use equal amounts of balsamic vinegar to substitute white wine vinegar.

For hollandaise and bearnaise sauces, tarragon vinegar can be used in place of white wine vinegar. It has a similar amount of acidity and a subtle herb flavor, making it a suitable substitute. A one-to-one ratio can be used for substituting tarragon vinegar.

Fermented rice vinegar presents another alternative for white wine vinegar in dipping sauces. Its mild and slightly sweet taste complements the flavors of many Asian dipping sauces. Replace white wine vinegar with an equal amount of rice vinegar in dipping sauce recipes.

In summary, multiple substitutes exist for white wine vinegar in different recipes:

  • Sauces and salad dressings: Apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Marinades: Lemon or lime juice
  • Vinaigrette and salad dressings: Balsamic vinegar
  • Hollandaise and bearnaise sauces: Tarragon vinegar
  • Dipping sauces: Fermented rice vinegar

Creating Your Own Substitute

White wine vinegar is a versatile ingredient found in numerous recipes, and having a substitute on hand can be useful when you run out. Creating your own substitute is a simple process, and this section will cover the necessary steps and ingredients.

A popular substitute for white wine vinegar involves using a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice and water. This mixture provides a similar flavor profile and acidity to white wine vinegar, making it a suitable replacement in most recipes.

To make this substitute, combine half a tablespoon of lemon juice with half a tablespoon of water. This mixture should be sufficient to replace one tablespoon of white wine vinegar in your recipe. This option is particularly helpful when a recipe calls for a small amount of white wine vinegar, and will help maintain the dish’s overall balance and taste.

Another option is to use other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, as a substitute for white wine vinegar. However, keep in mind that these vinegars have distinct flavors, which may affect the final outcome of your recipe. It’s essential to consider the specific dish you’re preparing and adjust the quantity accordingly in order to best replicate the desired taste.

Remember that creating your own white wine vinegar substitute can be a practical solution for those moments when you find yourself without this crucial ingredient. Experimenting with different combinations of vinegar, lemon juice, and water can lead to discovering the perfect substitute for your recipe.

Unique Vinegar Substitutes

White wine vinegar is a versatile ingredient in many recipes, but sometimes you might be searching for a substitute. Here are some unique alternatives that can provide a similar tangy taste with variations in sweetness and flavor.

Honey Vinegar

Honey vinegar is a delightful substitute that brings a gentle sweetness to dishes while still providing a tart flavor. Made from fermented honey, this vinegar has a unique taste that works especially well in dressings, marinades, and sauces.


Mirin, a Japanese rice wine, offers a delicate balance of sweetness and acidity. Though it is not a vinegar, its sweetness and mild tangy taste can successfully replace white wine vinegar in certain recipes. It is particularly useful in Asian dishes, such as sushi, stir-fries, and glazes.

Fruit Vinegars

Fruit vinegars, as the name suggests, are made from a variety of fruits. Some popular options include:

  • Apple cider vinegar: Made from fermented apple juice, this vinegar has a slightly sweet yet tangy taste. It can easily substitute white wine vinegar in many recipes, including dressings and marinades.
  • Raspberry vinegar: Its vibrant flavor and bright, fruity notes make it an excellent option for salad dressings and sauces, adding both tartness and color to a dish.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Originating from Italy, this vinegar has a rich, sweet, and tangy flavor. It can be a suitable replacement for white wine vinegar, but be cautious with the amount as its taste is more potent.

When choosing a fruit vinegar as a substitute, consider the specific flavor profile and how it will pair with the other ingredients in your recipe.

Healthier Substitutes

White wine vinegar is a versatile ingredient, but sometimes, healthier alternatives are desired. The following substitutes offer varied calorie, nutrient, and health benefit options.

One popular substitute is apple cider vinegar. It contains fewer calories than white wine vinegar and has additional health benefits, such as its antimicrobial properties and the ability to balance blood sugar levels. It is also rich in polyphenols, which act as antioxidants.

| Vinegar Type       | Calories per Tablespoon |
| White Wine Vinegar | 3                       |
| Apple Cider Vinegar | 3                       |

Another option is rice vinegar, which has a mild and slightly sweet flavor profile. It is lower in calories compared to white wine vinegar, making it an attractive option for weight-conscious individuals.

| Vinegar Type       | Calories per Tablespoon |
| White Wine Vinegar | 3                       |
| Rice Vinegar       | 1                       |

Lemon juice can be a healthier alternative as well, rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It shares the acidity of white wine vinegar, making it a suitable replacement in recipes. While it has slightly higher calorie content, the health benefits often outweigh this minor difference.

| Vinegar Type       | Calories per Tablespoon |
| White Wine Vinegar | 3                       |
| Lemon Juice        | 6                       |

For those looking for an option with lower acidity, balsamic vinegar is a flavorful choice. Although it contains more calories, it is packed with antioxidants and linked to numerous health benefits, such as reduced risk of heart disease and improved digestion.

| Vinegar Type       | Calories per Tablespoon |
| White Wine Vinegar | 3                       |
| Balsamic Vinegar   | 14                      |

In conclusion, there are several healthier substitutes for white wine vinegar that provide different calorie counts, nutrient levels, and health benefits. The choice ultimately depends on individual preferences and dietary needs.

Using Vinegar in Multiple Cooking Applications

White wine vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various cooking applications. In pickling, it imparts a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to vegetables, making them more appetizing and preserving their fresh taste. By substituting white wine vinegar with other types of vinegar or even alternative acidic agents, the taste profile of the pickled vegetables can be altered without adversely impacting the overall quality of the dish.

When braising, white wine vinegar can be used to tenderize and enhance the flavor of meats such as chicken or seafood. It works by breaking down tough proteins in the meat while also adding a refreshing tang to the dish. Possible substitutions for white wine vinegar in this cooking process include apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, which provide similar tenderizing effects and impart unique yet complementary flavors.

In stir-fry dishes, adding a splash of white wine vinegar can elevate the overall taste by adding brightness and acidity that balances out the flavors. This works especially well with vegetable stir-fries, where the vinegar helps to cut through any greasiness and highlight the vegetables’ natural flavors. Useful alternatives for white wine vinegar in these dishes include rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar, which offer different but equally delicious taste profiles.

When preparing desserts, white wine vinegar can be utilized to add a subtle tangy note and enhance the preferred sweet flavors present in the dish. For instance, it might be added to fruit-based desserts or even used in the creation of a unique caramel sauce. Some common substitutes that can be used to achieve a similar effect in desserts are lemon juice or mild-flavored vinegar types like champagne vinegar.

In summary, white wine vinegar is a multifaceted ingredient in the culinary world. Despite its versatility, other vinegar types and acidic agents can be successfully used as substitutes when needed. By understanding the characteristics of each alternative, one can continue to create delectable dishes across various cooking applications.

Exploring Vinegar Varieties

White wine vinegar is a staple in many kitchens, but sometimes you may find yourself in need of a substitute. Thankfully, there are several alternatives that can be used in place of white wine vinegar, providing similar flavors and acidity.

White vinegar is a popular substitute due to its versatility and neutral flavor. Made from distilled grain alcohol, white vinegar is often used in pickling and cleaning applications, but can also work in recipes that call for white wine vinegar. To avoid overpowering the dish, dilute white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio before using it as a substitute.

Red wine vinegar, made from fermented red wine, is another viable option for replacing white wine vinegar. Although it has a more robust and distinctive flavor, red wine vinegar can work well in recipes that call for stronger acidity. Keep in mind that using red wine vinegar may alter the color of your dish.

In addition to these common varieties, there are two types of sherry vinegar that can be used as substitutes: young and lighter sherry vinegar and aged sherry vinegar.

  • Young and lighter sherry vinegar is made from a combination of sherry wine and vinegar. This vinegar has a milder flavor than aged sherry vinegar and can be used in recipes that require a subtle acidity. When substituting, use the same amount of young and lighter sherry vinegar as you would white wine vinegar.
  • Aged sherry vinegar is created by fermenting sherry and allowing it to age for a minimum of two years, resulting in a rich, complex flavor. This variety works well in recipes that can handle a stronger, more distinct taste. Generally, you can replace white wine vinegar with an equal amount of aged sherry vinegar.

Consider these vinegar varieties and their unique characteristics when looking for a substitute for white wine vinegar. Each option has its own strengths, making it easier to choose a suitable replacement based on your specific recipe requirements.

White Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar Substitute: 7 Best Options

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 7 votes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Seasoning, Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 143 kcal


  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar unseasoned
  • Herb Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice if you have nothing else
  • Other Vinegar


  • Try our kitchen tested white wine vinegar substitutes,


Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.


Calories: 143kcal
Keyword white wine vinegar substitute
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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