white wine vinegar substitute

What Can I Substitute for White Wine Vinegar?

Vinegar is a must-have in every pantry. Its uses are incredibly versatile from dressings, sauces, and pickling, to baking, cooking eggs, and even cleaning. There are a variety of vinegar types available, each with its own unique flavor profile. 

White wine vinegar can easily be substituted when you run out, but make sure you use the appropriate alternative. If you don’t, you can ruin your dish. If you aren’t sure which white wine vinegar substitute is best, we’ve got you covered. Here is a full guide to the best substitutes for white wine vinegar and when to use which alternative.

What is White Wine Vinegar?

White wine vinegar is made by the fermentation of white wine. Since the acid in the vinegar retains some of the original wine flavors, it has a less sour, and slightly fruity taste compared to other kinds of vinegar.

White wine vinegar is popularly used in vinaigrettes, for tenderizing meat, stews, soups, sweet-and-sour dishes, chutneys, brining, braising, marinades, pickles, hollandaise, and béarnaise sauce.

Things to Consider When Choosing a White Wine Vinegar Replacement

When choosing a substitution for white wine vinegar, first determine the role it plays in your dish. Is it used to provide acidity, for a specific flavor profile, or for the way it synthesizes with other ingredients?  Depending on the alternative you use, it could affect the acidity level, color, and flavor of your dish.

Best White Wine Vinegar Substitutes

#1. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is also made by fermenting wine which provides it with a similar acidity level to white wine vinegar. Red wine vinegar has a slightly stronger flavor. The red color of the vinegar can affect the look of your dish. If you are making a stew or marinade for red meat this won’t be a problem.

Best for: Stews, marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes.

#2. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is less acidic. As its name suggests it is made from fermented rice. Due to its light color, sweet, and mild flavor it is an ideal replacement for white wine vinegar in most dishes.

Rice vinegar is often used in Asian dishes. In Japanese cuisine, it is used in salads and sushi rice. Chinese cooking includes it in soup and stir-fry recipes.

Best for: Salad dressings, chicken, and fish dishes.

#3. Cider Vinegar

Cider vinegar, popularly known as apple cider vinegar, is more acidic than white wine vinegar. Made from fermented apples it has a fruity flavor. When replacing white wine vinegar with apple cider vinegar it could make the dish a little sour. It is best to add a little less than recommended in the recipe and adjust it to taste. 

Apple cider vinegar is not a great replacement when making delicate sauces or vinaigrettes due to its pungent acidity.

Best for: Pickling, marinades, stew, and chutney.

#4. White Vinegar

White vinegar is also referred to as white distilled vinegar. It is stronger and more acidic than white wine vinegar. If it is all you have in your pantry to use as a substitute it is best to dilute it and add a pinch of sugar.

Best for: Pickles and souring water.

#5. Champagne Vinegar

Made from the fermentation of champagne, this is a mild vinegar. Its light and delicate flavor makes it a great replacement for white wine vinegar, especially if you are looking for something a little less pungent.

Best for: Dressing salads and vegetables, making spaghetti and marinara sauce, and marinades.

#6. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is dark brown with a sweet and fruity flavor. It is made from the concentrated juices of white grapes. Swapping out white wine vinegar for balsamic will affect the color and look of your dish tremendously. It is however a great option paired with grilled meats. 

Balsamic vinegar is usually more expensive than other types of vinegar and is not suitable for pickling. It is popularly used with steak, pasta, and vegetable dishes.

Best for: Marinades, sauces, salad dressings, seasoning grilled meat, fish, and eggs.

#7. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar has a slightly subdued flavor compared to white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. It offers a balanced acidic profile in many dishes. Since sherry vinegar becomes darker as it ages, it is best to use a lighter, younger sherry vinegar when replacing white wine vinegar.

Best for: Marinades, sauces, stews, and vinaigrettes.

#8. White Wine

If you don’t have any vinegar around but a bottle of white wine is lying in the wine rack, your problem is solved. White wine is made by the fermentation of white grapes. Its alcohol content makes it unsuitable for salad dressings, but it is great as a substitute in cooking recipes. It has a strong flavor but is less acidic than white wine vinegar.

Best for: Marinades, sauces, risotto, pasta, fish, and chicken dishes.

FAQ

Is white vinegar the same as white wine vinegar?

White vinegar and white wine vinegar are two very different products. White vinegar has a very strong, sharp, and highly acidic profile. Also called distilled vinegar, white vinegar is made of acetic acid diluted in distilled water. White vinegar acidity ranges from 5–7% acetic acid. It even comes in a cleaning strength version.

Can you use white wine vinegar in baking?

Yes, white wine vinegar can be used in baking. Since it has a light color and mild fruity flavor it should not affect the flavor of most baked dishes.

Can you substitute lemon juice for white wine vinegar?

Yes, lemon juice can be used as a substitute for white wine vinegar. It is best used in salad dressings and can also be used as a replacement in baking.

Conclusion

Red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and champagne vinegar are all good substitutes for white wine vinegar in the right application. Generally, you can use one tablespoon of vinegar substitute per one tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Keep in mind that each type of vinegar has a unique flavor profile that may translate slightly differently into your dish.

white wine vinegar alternative

*image by serezniy/depositphotos

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