What to Substitute for Any Kind of Vinegar

Assorted vinegars in bottles

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Many recipes specify a certain type of vinegar. If you don't have it in the pantry, there's an easy substitute you can use instead. Whether you need rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or something unusual like malt or sherry vinegar, one of these solutions should work perfectly.

Rice Vinegar

Often used in Asian recipes, rice vinegar adds a sweet, mild snap to dressings, marinades, stir-fries, and more.

For 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, use 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar plus 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Alternatively, use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar plus 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

In addition to adding a fruity punch to recipes, apple cider vinegar is known for its many healthful properties. Use it in juice blends, teas, dressings, and sauces.

For 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, substitute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, one tablespoon of lime juice, or 2 tablespoons of white wine. These substitutes won't give you the same health benefits, but they will come close to the intended flavor in recipes.

Balsamic Vinegar

Both sweet and luxurious, balsamic vinegar adds a rich, low-acid flavor to dressings, glazes, and sauces. Since it's aged like wine, it tends to be more expensive than other kinds of vinegar. 

For 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, substitute 1 tablespoon of either brown rice vinegar or Chinese black vinegar. You can also make a balsamic vinegar substitute from apple cider or red wine vinegar and either sugar or honey.

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar brings a bright flavor to salad dressings, without an overly acidic bite. It's best known for a flavorful champagne vinaigrette, but it can also be used in glazes for pork, chicken, and other meats. Because it's so mild in flavor, it's important to choose another mild-flavored vinegar as a substitute. Most kinds of vinegar will overpower the other flavors in a recipe that calls for champagne vinegar.

Try 1 tablespoon of either white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar in place of 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar, and you should get good results. A splash of white wine is another solid possibility.

Vinegar Substitutions
The Spruce / Melissa Ling

Red Wine Vinegar

A staple of Italian-American salad dressings, red wine vinegar also pairs nicely with chicken and other meats.

A good substitute for red wine vinegar is equal parts of white vinegar and red wine. For example, use 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine for 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. If you're trying to avoid alcohol, try a mix of grape juice and white vinegar.

White Wine Vinegar

Like red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar adds a nice acidic bite to salad dressings, meat glazes, and sauces. An easy substitute for one tablespoon of white wine vinegar is 1 tablespoon rice vinegar. An equal amount of white wine will also do in a pinch.

White Vinegar

White vinegar has a great reputation as a household cleaner, but it also brings a bright flavor to salads (especially coleslaw), barbecue sauce, pickled vegetables, and more. If you're working on a recipe that you plan to can, stick with the white vinegar, even if it means a trip to the store. You don't want to inadvertently lower the acidity of a recipe that you'll be storing long term.

For 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, swap in 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice, lime juice, cider vinegar, or malt vinegar.

Malt Vinegar

A staple condiment to fish and chips, malt vinegar is especially tasty in sweet and sour marinades, chutneys, and pickles. For 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar, use 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or cider vinegar. 

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar makes a tasty meat or fish glaze, pairing especially well with chicken and herb flavorings. A substitute for 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar is 1 tablespoon of either red or white wine

Herb Vinegar

Frequently, recipes will call for a vinegar flavored by herbs such as tarragon, rosemary, or thyme. Herb vinegar tastes great in salad dressings but can also be quite versatile.

For 1 tablespoon of herb vinegar, swap in 1 tablespoon of either wine vinegar, rice vinegar or cider vinegar. Add in an appropriate and complementary fresh herb. 

Raspberry Vinegar

Once trendy for adding a sweet punch to raspberry vinaigrette, raspberry vinegar also tastes great in glazes. One tablespoon of sherry vinegar is a good substitute.