The Best Apple Cider Vinegars for Sipping, Cooking, and Much More

Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar should be your pantry staple of choice

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Whatever you need it for, Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is a great choice at a great price. But for baking seasonal treats like pancakes and cakes, opt for the fall-flavored Wild Blueberry Apple Cider Vinegar from American Vinegar Works, and for those who want an easy way to enjoy ACV, the Vitafusion Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are perfect.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV), which is made from fresh apples that have been crushed and then fermented, is nature’s probiotic. "It needs to go through alcoholic fermentation (think hard apple cider!) that is then introduced to an acetobacter, the Mother, or nature’s bacteria- tiny bacteria insect feet- and go through a second fermentation. This takes the hard apple cider alcohol and turns it into acetic acid!" says Maggie Lebherz, owner of Lebherz Oil & Vinegar Emporium in downtown Frederick, Maryland.

But not all apple cider vinegars are created equally. Some are highly processed, while others are in their natural form. To help you differentiate the good from the not-so-good, we compiled a list of the best apple cider vinegars you can buy, based on taste, quality, and ingredients.

Best Overall: Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

4.8
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Who else recommends it? Healthline and Verywell Fit picked Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

What do buyers say? 90 percent of nearly 26,000 Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

You really can’t bring up apple cider vinegar without also mentioning Bragg, one of the first manufacturers to bottle ACV up and sell it. Bragg opened its doors in 1912 and since its inception, has used only the highest-quality, organically grown apples to make raw, unfiltered vinegar.

The finished product is completely unprocessed so that it still contains the "mother,” the cloudy substance within ACV.

Size: 16 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: No | Pasteurized: Yes

What Our Experts Say

"It needs to go through alcoholic fermentation (think hard apple cider!) that is then introduced to an acetobacter, the Mother, or nature’s bacteria- tiny bacteria insect feet- and go through a second fermentation. This takes the hard apple cider alcohol and turns it into acetic acid!" — Maggie Lebherz, owner of Lebherz Oil & Vinegar Emporium

Best Organic: Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Courtesy of Thrive Market

For the past few years, Thrive Market has been expanding its own product line, offering high-quality items at great-for-your-wallet prices. Thrive's organic apple cider vinegar is one of those items, and as far as taste, quality, and ingredients go, it’s right on par with Bragg’s version. It’s made from only two ingredients—organic apple cider vinegar and water—and has the "mother," nice and intact.

It’s a little less expensive than others, so it’s a great budget option as well and will help you save some money, especially if you purchase ACV regularly.

Size: 32 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: No | Pasteurized: Yes

Best for Drinking: Wedderspoon Apple Cider Vinegar With Monofloral Manuka Honey

Wedderspoon Apple Cider Vinegar With Monofloral Manuka Honey

Courtesy of Amazon

Manuka honey comes from a specific plant found in parts of New Zealand and Australia and is known for its antibacterial properties. If you have a hard time drinking ACV straight up, the Wedderspoon Apple Cider Vinegar has just enough manuka honey to take the edge off. Each tablespoon has 2 grams of added sugar, bringing the total carbs up to 3 grams per tablespoon (regular ACV doesn’t have any). This makes it a great addition to any tonic or shrub—a combo of fruit, sugar, and vinegar plus water or club soda.

Size: 16 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: No | Pasteurized: Yes

Best for Cooking: Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Courtesy of iHerb

Like the other plain apple cider vinegars on this list, the Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar has only two ingredients—raw organic apple cider vinegar and water—but, somehow, it doesn’t taste as tart as some of the others and it has lemony citrus notes that make it a great choice for cooking.

It’s best to use the vinegar with low-heat cooking or as a finishing touch on vegetables or salad.

Size: 16 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: No | Pasteurized: Yes

Best Flavored: Acid League Apple Cider Maple Vinegar

Acid League Apple Cider Maple Vinegar

Instacart

Apples and maple syrup go hand-in-hand, conjuring up an idyllic New England fall, so it makes perfect sense that Acid League has paired this iconic duo in their Apple Cider Maple vinegar. According to the brand’s website, "Our fermentation method preserves the flavor of fresh, crisp apples right out of the orchard, with a dash of maple syrup to balance the tartness." The flavor profile is described as "Fruity, Mineral, Nutty" and has tasting notes of “Orchard, Honeycrisp, Clementine, Tree Sap.” 

This versatile vinegar is the perfect addition to any dish, though the company specifically recommends pairing with "Walnut and Goat Cheese Salads, Pork Chops, Whipped Cream Topping, Caramel Desserts, Rum Cocktails, Autumn Feasts, Buckwheat Pancakes." With just three ingredients—apple juice, maple syrup, and living bacterial culture—this well-balanced sweet-plus-tart vinegar is the perfect addition to your pantry.

Size: 12.7 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: No | Pasteurized: Not stated

Best Spicy: Lillie’s Q Hot Pepper Vinegar

Lillie’s Q - Hot Pepper Vinegar

Amazon

Lillie’s Q is known for its wide variety of Southern-style BBQ sauces, so it should come as no surprise they also developed a unique, spicy vinegar for all your BBQ (and other) needs. It gets its "No. 15" name thanks to the number of garlic cloves that go into each batch. According to the brand’s website, "garlic is the final key that gives our Hot Pepper Vinegar its delicious, savory zing that will keep you coming back for more."

The company suggests pairing this vinegar with "any meat or green that could use that special Southern Kick. But if it has one soulmate, it’s collard greens. They’re made for each other." For those with dietary restrictions, this vinegar is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and contains no high fructose corn syrup.

Size: 16 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: Not stated | Pasteurized: Not stated

Best Gummies: Vitafusion Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

Vitafusion Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

Amazon

If drinking a glass or shot of cider vinegar isn’t your 'cup of tea,' don’t fret because there is a very fun alternative: gummies. Each serving of Vitafusion gummies contains 500 milligrams of apple cider vinegar, so you still get all the benefits, but in a chewable form. Each serving also contains 200 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12 for energy metabolism support. And they contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners, no synthetic (FD&C) colors, no high fructose corn syrup, no gluten, and no dairy. This is also a great option for those who travel frequently, as they are much more portable than a traditional bottle of vinegar.

Size: 60 count | Serving Size: 2 gummies | Filtered: Not stated | Pasteurized: Not stated

Best Capsules: Paleovalley Apple Cider Vinegar Complex

Paleovalley Apple Cider Vinegar Complex

Courtesy of Amazon

If you prefer to reap the benefits of apple cider vinegar without any taste or flavor at all, the Paleovalley Apple Cider Vinegar Complex is your best bet. The main ingredient—organic raw apple cider vinegar—is dried, turned into a powder, and coupled with turmeric, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, and lemon, in an easy-to-take capsule.

The capsules themselves are non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, and dairy-free, and there are no artificial binders or fillers.

Size: 90 capsules | Serving Size: 3 capsules | Filtered: Not stated | Pasteurized: Not stated

Best for Baking: American Vinegar Works Wild Blueberry Apple Cider Vinegar

 American Vinegar Works Wild Blueberry Apple Cider Vinegar

 American Vinegar Works

It may sound surprising, but that cider vinegar in your pantry isn’t just for vinaigrettes—you can also use it in baked goods! Vinegar, when paired with a base, can act as a leavening agent and help baked goods rise. This wild blueberry variety is "made from New England craft apple cider and co-fermented with wild Maine blueberries," giving it a particularly sweet and tangy flavor that would work great in anything, from blueberry pancakes to an apple spice cake. It is also small batch and barrel-aged in 25-gallon American oak barrels. 

Besides baking, you can use this vinegar in "vinaigrettes, dressings, marinades, warm grain salads, roasted beets, cocktails, and drinking shrubs", as suggested on the company’s website. The possibilities are endless!

Size: 8.5 ounces | Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Filtered: Not stated | Pasteurized: N

Final Verdict

When it comes to apple cider vinegar, you can never go wrong with Bragg Original Apple Cider Vinegar. If you can’t bring yourself to drink it, you can try the Paleovalley Apple Cider Vinegar Complex capsules.

What to Look for When Buying Apple Cider Vinegar

Taste

ACV's can have a strong smell and a sour, bitter yet tart taste that is not the most pleasant, while others have a lighter, albeit still bitter, taste. There are also ones that have added natural flavoring from fruits, herbs, or spices. Get one that fits your taste buds and preference.

"It needs to go through alcoholic fermentation (think hard apple cider!) that is then introduced to an acetobacter, the Mother, or nature’s bacteria—tiny bacteria insect feet—and go through a second fermentation. This takes the hard apple cider alcohol and turns it into acetic acid!" says Lebherz.

Ingredients

To get ACV in the purest form, look on the label for information such as raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, organic, and with the "mother." Watch out for added preservatives and additives, such as artificial colorings or flavorings. 

Type

Apple cider vinegar comes as a liquid or in gummies or capsules. The liquid, which can be used for both drinking and cooking, can be filtered or unfiltered, raw or pasteurized. Filtered will mean the mother has been removed, while pasteurization will kill off the acetobacter bacteria, which stops that from eating sugar and creating acid. Apple cider vinegar found in gummies or capsules tend to be used as supplements, not for cooking.

FAQs

How should apple cider vinegar be stored?

Unopened or opened bottles of ACV should be stored in the pantry or a cabinet. There is no need to refrigerate it.

What can be used instead of apple cider vinegar?

If you're cooking or baking, and you reach for that bottle of ACV only to find it's not there, there are a few substitutes that can be used. Lemon juice or lime juice can replace ACV in the same amount as called for in a recipe. Or you can use twice the amount of white wine to replace apple cider vinegar in a recipe. 

Should you shake apple cider vinegar before using?

You most definitely should shake ACV, as you will notice that the "mother" has settled down toward the bottom of the bottle. Always shake it before use to mix all the goodies in.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best apple cider vinegars on the market, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, flavor, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage-testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.

Sources

Updated by
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley has over 20 years of experience as an editor and writer and has been contributing to The Spruce Eats since 2019.
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Alyssa Langer
Alyssa Langer
Alyssa is a licensed registered dietitian who covers food and kitchen products. She has written for EatingWell, Martha Stewart, and more and has worked on many America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks.
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The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The 8 Best Apple Cider Vinegar Brands. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-apple-cider-vinegar-brands

  2. The 4 Best Apple Cider Vinegars, Chosen by a Dietician. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/best-apple-cider-vinegar-5118137

  3. United States Department of Agriculture. Labeling organic products.

  4. Food and Drug Administration. How GMOs are regulated for food and plant safety in the United States.

  5. Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods.

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