White vinegar is a popular condiment made from acetic acid and water. It is made by fermenting liquid from any plant source to produce ethanol.
Acetic acid bacteria are then added to ethanol and fermented further to produce vinegar.
Since white vinegar is characterized by a strong, sour flavor profile, substitute white vinegar with ingredients that are equally as sour, such as apple cider vinegar and malt vinegar.
In baking, lemon juice can also be used as a substitute for white vinegar.
Best Substitute for White Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar
The best substitute for white vinegar is apple cider vinegar due to its strong acidic flavor. Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples.
Keep in mind that apple cider vinegar has some fruity notes, which may affect the flavor of dishes.
Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting apple cider vinegar for white vinegar.
For example, use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, so replacing white vinegar with apple cider vinegar may even be an improvement to health-conscious chefs.
Other White Vinegar Substitutes, Alternatives, and Replacements
Other Types of Vinegar
Malt vinegar is a good substitute for white vinegar because malt vinegar has a similar acidic profile to white vinegar, but doesn’t have the fruity notes that apple cider vinegar has.
Malt vinegar still lacks some sharpness and acidity, so consider adding a bit more than the recommended 1:1 ratio when substituting with malt vinegar.
Also take note that malt vinegar is brownish in color, which may affect the color and presentation of a dish.
Rice vinegar is commonly used in Asian cooking and has a flavor profile that is very similar to white vinegar.
Rice vinegar comes in different varieties and is sometimes seasoned with sugar.
Be sure to use the white variety of rice vinegar instead of a seasoned one for the closest match to white vinegar.
Rice vinegar has a lower acidity than white vinegar, so consider starting with a 1:1 substitution ratio and then adding a bit more rice vinegar to create the same acidic notes in a dish.
White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar is a good substitute for white vinegar because the two ingredients are similar in color and acidity.
Since the color is the same, white wine vinegar won’t affect the presentation of a dish.
In terms of flavor, white wine vinegar carries a few fruity notes, so be careful when using it as a substitute.
White wine vinegar isn’t quite as acidic as white vinegar, so to create a dish with the same acidity levels, consider adding a bit more than what the standard 1:1 substitution ratio calls for.
White Balsamic Vinegar
White balsamic vinegar is different from regular balsamic vinegar.
White balsamic vinegar doesn’t carry many sweet or fruity notes, so it’s a good substitute for white vinegar in salad dressings and sauces that don’t require strong acidic flavors.
Since balsamic white vinegar isn’t as acidic as white vinegar, start with a substitution ratio of 1.5:1, meaning 1.5 parts balsamic white vinegar to every 1 part white vinegar.
Then adjust according to taste.
Champagne vinegar is a good replacement for white vinegar.
Champagne vinegar is fermented from white grapes, similar to those used in chardonnay.
The mix of floral and fruity notes in Champagne vinegar may affect the taste of cooked dishes.
Champagne vinegar also doesn’t enhance acidity much, so other flavors may end up overpowering the flavor Champagne vinegar provides.
Champagne vinegar can be an interesting substitute to try out in sauces and, most especially, in salad dressings.
Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is fermented from red wine and is often used in salad dressings due to its fruity notes and mild acidity.
Red wine vinegar makes a good substitute for white vinegar in salad dressings, especially for those who don’t appreciate harsh flavors with their salad greens.
To enhance the acidic notes in cooked dishes though, consider using slightly more red wine vinegar than what the standard 1:1 substitution ratio calls for.
Also note that red wine vinegar is reddish in color, so it may affect the color and presentation of a dish.
Lime juice has a great tangy flavor that provides acidic notes similar to those of white vinegar. It also has a strong citrus profile, which will affect the flavor of a dish.
Lime juice often makes a good substitute for white vinegar in Asian dishes. Substitute lime juice for white vinegar starting with a 1:1 ratio and adjust for taste if necessary.
Lemon juice is a great replacement for white vinegar because it closely matches white vinegar’s acidic flavor.
Lemon juice is best used as a substitute for white vinegar in baking, when other ingredients may cause issues with acidity levels.
However, lemon juice’s strong citrus notes may alter the taste of cooked dishes, which is something to consider before substituting with lemon juice.
Using a 1:1 ratio works well when substituting lemon juice for white vinegar.
White wine, even if it’s leftover, can be a good substitute for white vinegar. The pungent flavor of white wine adds depth to cooked dishes.
The flavor left after the alcohol has evaporated during the cooking process enhances the taste.
Note that white wines with more acidic profiles, such as sauvignon blanc, are preferable to sweet wines, such as moscato.
Use a ½:1 ratio when substituting white wine for white vinegar.