Every cook has had this experience. You’re in the middle of creating a culinary masterpiece only to find that you don’t have one of the essential ingredients needed.
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This aggravation happens more frequently when the missing ingredient is one that isn’t used every day, such as white wine vinegar. If you don’t create complex recipes frequently, white wine vinegar may be something that you don’t regularly stock in your pantry.
Fortunately, if you’re someone who does a lot of cooking, you likely have a good white wine vinegar substitute somewhere in your kitchen that can give you the flavor you need.
Let’s dive in and explore some options that work well as a white wine vinegar replacement.
In some cases, the best substitute for white wine vinegar is red wine vinegar. A popular pantry staple, a bottle of red wine vinegar can be found somewhere at the back of most pantries.
Red wine vinegar is slightly bolder in flavor than its white wine counterpart. However, in terms of flavor, red wine vinegar is very similar to white wine vinegar.
As a white wine vinegar substitute, use red wine vinegar at a ratio of 1:1. For example, if your recipe calls for one tablespoon of white wine vinegar, you would use one tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
2. Champagne Vinegar
The flavor of champagne vinegar is just as wonderful as it sounds! Different from white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar is made from fermented champagne.
Because it has a mild flavor, champagne vinegar doesn’t have the intensity that you enjoy with white wine vinegar.
Because champagne vinegar is milder than white wine vinegar, substitute 1 1/2 tablespoon for every one tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
The bold flavor of apple cider vinegar doesn’t work in every recipe, but in some cases, you can use it as a white wine vinegar substitute.
Apple cider vinegar has a very bold flavor, but it can work if you don’t have any of the other white wine vinegar substitutes.
To use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for white wine vinegar, use one tablespoon of cider vinegar for one tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
4. Sherry Vinegar
If you don’t have red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar is a good replacement option.
Frequently used in Spanish recipes, sherry vinegar is lightly sweet and medium-bodied. This vinegar has a flavor profile that is more subdued than red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.
Note that as sherry vinegar ages, it becomes darker. This doesn’t mean it has gone bad, but the flavor will be much more robust.
If you use this vinegar, you will notice a more pronounced and distinct flavor than that of white wine vinegar.
Sherry vinegar makes an excellent red wine vinegar substitute as well.
To achieve the same flavor, use one tablespoon of sherry vinegar to replace one tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
Rice vinegar is frequently used in Asian cuisine and it’s made from fermented rice. This white rice vinegar is often used to season Asian-inspired salads and sushi rice.
The flavor of rice vinegar is similar to that of white wine vinegar.
Be sure you don’t grab a bottle of seasoned rice vinegar because it usually has salt and sugar in it. If you get flavored rice vinegar, you won’t have the same white wine flavor you’re going for.
To use rice vinegar as a white wine vinegar substitute, use the same portion. If a recipe calls for one tablespoon of white wine vinegar, use one tablespoon of rice vinegar.
Note that mirin is not a great substitute for white wine vinegar because it lacks acidity. Also, rice vinegar should not be confused with rice wine, although the term rice wine vinegar is used interchangeably.
6. Herb Vinegar
Depending on what you’re cooking, sometimes an herb vinegar can be used as a substitute for white wine vinegar. Some of the herb vinegar we commonly see are flavored with rosemary, tarragon, or thyme.
If you’re making salad dressing, herb vinegar can serve as an excellent substitute for white wine vinegar. Similarly, herb vinegar is also great in marinade as a substitute for white wine vinegar.
If you use herb vinegar as a white wine vinegar substitute, use one tablespoon of herb vinegar for every one tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
7. Lemon Juice (if you have nothing else)
If you don’t have any white wine vinegar (or other vinegar) in your pantry, you can use lemon juice. A citrus juice, lemon juice is not the best option, but it is tangy and acidic like white vinegar.
Keep in mind that lemon juice naturally has a lemon flavor, so it won’t work for every recipe. However, in salad dressings, lemon juice can be an excellent substitute for white wine vinegar.
Before you use vinegar juice as a substitute for white wine vinegar, be sure that a lemon flavor or tangy flavor will work well in your recipe.
All of these guidelines also apply to lime juice, although lime juice will give a slightly different flavor.
8. Other Vinegar
There are other types of vinegar, including distilled vinegar, that can be used as a white wine vinegar substitute in specific recipes. However, in most cases, these three are not the best white wine vinegar substitute.
Regular distilled white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, honey vinegar, and malt vinegar can serve as a white wine vinegar replacement in some recipes, but usually, one of the other options on our list will better serve your needs. Another popular vinegar is fruit vinegar, but it will give a decidedly fruity flavor to your recipes. Also, we don’t recommend using unpasteurized vinegar in recipes.
When a recipe calls for white wine vinegar, there is a specific flavor that the white wine vinegar achieves. The alternatives listed in the previous paragraph may drastically change the flavor of whatever you’re preparing.
Also, if a recipe calls for distilled white vinegar, none of these cooking vinegars is an adequate white vinegar substitute if you’re preserving food.
Here is a video that covers some white wine vinegar substitute options and discusses which white wine vinegar is best.