16 Best Substitutes for White Vinegar

White Vinegar

Vinegar is an ingredient that we all have in our homes. Vinegar can be used for many purposes like cooking, baking, and salad dressings. Actually, vinegar is usually a staple ingredient in many recipes.

What is really interesting about vinegar is that there are many types and they all have more than one purpose. What is more important is that its shelf life is almost indefinite.

The acidic nature of vinegar makes this product self-preserving. Meaning, you don’t have to put it in the fridge.

One of the many types of vinegar is white vinegar. It is said that it’s kind of a miracle ingredient. White vinegar is used for both cleaning and cooking. You can find it in your local market and it’s not expensive. Furthermore, there are two types: white vinegar and distilled white vinegar.

Both types of white vinegar, the detailed and white vinegar are both really acidy and used in cooking as well. But, what if you don’t have white vinegar at home, and you really need it? Can other types of vinegar help?

Can I substitute white vinegar? Yes, you can. No need to worry, just read the article to find out which types of vinegar are a good substitute for your meal.

The list of alternatives includes Champagne vinegar, White wine vinegar, Malt vinegar, Rice vinegar, Apple cider vinegar, and White Balsamic Vinegar. First, let’s learn about white vinegar and what is the difference between the distilled and white vinegar.

White Vinegar Substitutes

If you don’t have white vinegar at home and the recipe actually requires it, no worries here is a list of the best substitutes that will help you save your meal. Be careful when using, because all types of vinegar have a different level of acidity, so try not to overuse.

1. Champagne vinegar

This is a version of white vinegar since champagne is a type of white wine, so it is a fermented champaign that brings lightness and an assertive acidy taste to a dish.

It has a more subtle taste than other vinegar and it is the closest to white vinegar. Keep in mind that it can’t be as assertive of the acidity as the white vinegar but it will provide sufficient flavor.

Actually, you can use it for pickling, mayonnaise, or some recipes that require deglazing pans which are similar to balsamic vinegar.

2. White wine vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

This is a type of vinegar that is made of fermented white wine and it has a more subtle taste than red wine vinegar. This type of vinegar has a mild taste of fruit because of the grapes that are used to make it, but that should not affect your recipes.

You can use this white wine vinegar to make sauces, salad dressing, and marinades. You can also use it for pickles since the pale color won’t affect anything. Also, what is important to know is that it is very easy to find and not expensive.

3. Malt vinegar

malt vinegar

This is a grain-based vinegar that is made from ale. The light version won’t interfere with the flavors of the dishes that require white vinegar.

The most common kind that is used for cooking is the light-colored vinegar and the dark malt one, which has a caramel added for color.

This type of vinegar is often found in condiments or bakery aisles. It is a culinary mainstay in British and Canadian cuisine.

4. Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar

Traditionally used for marines or sushi rice, this less acidic vinegar can be a substitute for white vinegar. If you need to lower the acidity, it may be considered an asset for those who find white vinegar too harsh.

When substituting make sure to use the unseasoned variety, since there is the option of a seasoned one.

5. Apple cider vinegar

Apple juice

This is a vinegar known for its healthy purposes. Made from fermented apple juice, in which the apples are crushed and squeezed out the juice. It goes through the fermentation process where the sugar is converted into alcohol. It has an acid and fruity taste.

This vinegar is good for salad dressing, marinades, food preservatives. Also, use it to add a fruity taste to your recipes like juice blends, teas, and other things.

6. White balsamic vinegar

White balsamic vinegar

Made of Trebbiano grapes grown in the Modena region of Italy, mixed with concentrated, uncooked grape must, we have the white balsamic vinegar.

This type of vinegar has a lightly sweet flavor with an amount of acidity and lacks the flavor of the traditional Balsamic.

This type of vinegar actually fits well in salad dressings or any other sauce where you can’t put red vinegar.

7. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a good and easy-to-find substitute for white vinegar. You can use it to give acidity to your recipes but keep in mind that lemon juice has a citrus flavor and can alter the flavor of your dish. It is best to use lemon juice as a substitute for white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio and add more to taste.

8. Lime Juice

Limes are round, small, green citrus fruit with an acidic, sour flavor.

Lime juice also has an acidic flavor similar to lemon juice, but it is slightly sourer and has bitter notes. Therefore, lime juice is more used in savory recipes than in sweet. Use lime juice as a substitute for white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio if you don’t mind the different flavors you will get.

9. Fruit Vinegar

There are various types of fruit vinegar made from grapes, berries, mango, peaches, plums, papaya, oranges, apples, and many other fruits. Fruit vinegar is acidic, slightly sweet, and has the flavors as the fruits they are made from.

They are usually used in salad dressings, marinades, desserts, and drinks. You can use fruit vinegar as a substitute for the white vinegar to get a  fruity flavor in your recipes. Just make sure to match the fruit vinegar flavor with the flavors of the other ingredients used in the recipe. Substitute white vinegar with fruit vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

10. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is a wine vinegar mostly used in Spanish and French cuisines. This vinegar is made from sherry, and its color, consistency, and flavor depend on the grapes used to make the sherry and the aging time.

The older types of sherry vinegar that are more aged have a more complex flavor and darker color. Sherry vinegar has a well-balanced, slightly acidic, and slightly sweet flavor with nutty and caramel hints.

It is used in marinades, sauces, soups, vinaigrettes, glazes, and desserts. If you want to brighten up and enhance the flavor of your recipes, use sherry vinegar instead of white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

11. Herb Vinegar

Herb vinegar is made with fresh or dry herbs infused in warm vinegar. Some herbs used in herb vinegar are rosemary, thyme, sage, dill, lemon balm, basil, parsley, and tarragon. White wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar work well to make herbal vinegar.

This vinegar is a versatile ingredient and is usually used in salad dressings, sauces, marinades, soups, and pies. If you think the herbal vinegar flavor will pair well with the other flavors in the recipe, you can use herbal vinegar instead of white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

12. Honey Vinegar

Honey vinegar is a healthy and good-tasting ingredient you must have in your pantry. It is a versatile product used in marinades, sauces, salad dressings, and other savory and sweet recipes.

Honey vinegar has a well-balanced sweet-sour flavor and is a great substitute for white vinegar in your dishes. Substitute white vinegar with honey vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

13. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar

Red wine vinegar has a different flavor and color than white vinegar, but you can use it as its substitute to give your dishes an acidic, fruity flavor.

This vinegar is made from fermented red wine and is used in salad dressings, sauces, marinades, pickles, vinaigrettes, and other recipes.

The only bad thing is that red wine vinegar will give a pink color to your dish. If you don’t mind the color, substitute white vinegar with red wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

14. Red Balsamic Vinegar

Red balsamic vinegar has a thick consistency, dark brown color, and rich, fruity, well-balanced sweet-acidic flavor. It is made from fermented grape juice and aged in wooden barrels. Red balsamic vinegar is used in marinades, salad dressings, sauces, and glazes.

You can use red balsamic vinegar as a substitute for white vinegar, but it will change the color and consistency of your recipes. Red balsamic vinegar is less acidic than white vinegar; therefore, you need to use more to get a similar flavor.

If you don’t mind a dish with a darker color, then substitute one tablespoon of white vinegar with 1,5 tablespoons of red balsamic vinegar and add more to taste.

15. White Wine

If you don’t have vinegar at home, but you have a bottle of white wine, you can use it to enhance the flavor of your dish.

White wines with an acidic flavor like Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay are a good substitute for white vinegar in cooking recipes where the alcohol will be cooked off, and the wine flavor will remain. Because the white wine is less acidic than white vinegar, use double the amount of white vine to get a similar flavor.

If the recipe calls for one tablespoon of white vinegar, use two tablespoons of the white vine as its substitute.

16. Tamarind Paste

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind paste is made from the fruit of the tamarind tree. In Thai cuisine, it is usually used in savory dishes. But it is also used in the Mexican, Caribbean, and Latin cuisines. Tamarind paste has a thick consistency and sweet-sour flavor with hints of caramel and citrus.

It is a versatile ingredient used in sauces, curries, soups, marinades, chutneys, dips, desserts, candies, and beverages.

Tamarind paste will make your recipes thicker and give a well-balanced sweet-sour flavor. So if a recipe calls for one tablespoon of white vinegar, use one tablespoon of tamarind paste instead.

White vs. Distilled Vinegar: What’s the Difference?

White vinegar is actually made from distilled grain alcohol that has a sour and harsh flavor. It typically consists of 4-7 % acetic acid and 93- 96 % water. However, the vinegar that contains higher acetic acid is usually used for cleaning purposes.

This type of vinegar has a reputation as a cleaning supply in your home. However, when it is used in cooking, it can bring bright flavor to salads, sauces, pickles, baking, etc.

White vinegar can be distilled as well. However, it is also used in cooking. The difference is in the purification. Meaning distilled white vinegar is more purified than white vinegar.

White vinegar is known also as spirit vinegar and it is usually produced from sugar cane.

It allows sugar cane to extract and go through acid fermentation. With the oxidation of the liquid, the chemicals change and become more acidic.

Extra information

The distilled vinegar is known as virgin vinegar. It is distilled from ethanol, which means that the liquid component is separated from the mixture. It is colorless and has 5% to 8% acetic acid in the water.

Since the white vinegar or the spirit vinegar contains a higher percentage of acid, it is ideal for cleaning and it also provides an eco-friendly solution. It can help with cleaning dirt on a wide array of materials like fabric, metal, fur, and many others.

It does not have ammonia and it can help you clean without leaving any trace and smell.

As compared, the distilled is milder and more subtle for cooking and adding additives as well as food preservation. It is effective and can prevent athlete’s feet and warts.

White vinegar can relieve sunburn and prevents the skin from peeling or turn itself into blisters. Both are very useful, available and there is a chance for you to make on your own, by fermenting fruit juices and slightly akin to produce wine.

Related Questions

Can I substitute lemon juice for white vinegar in baking?

Yes, it works the same way and you won’t even notice the difference. It will add sourness and what is important is free of chemicals. It is preferable to add it in the end. What you should also know about lemon juice, is that you don’t have to dilute while substituting.

Can I use distilled vinegar instead of white vinegar?

Of course, you can use them both in cooking, cleaning, for food preservation, and also for medical purposes. The only difference between the two is the strongness, meaning the white is stronger than the distilled vinegar. Make sure not to use too much.

What does white vinegar do in cooking?

When white vinegar is used in marinades it helps to tenderize the meat. It is best in sauces with a lot of sugars or dressing that have strong herbs and competing ingredients.

What’s a Good White Vinegar Substitute for Pickling?

Good white vinegar substitutes for pickling are malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and wine vinegar. When choosing vinegar for pickling, it is important to use the ones containing at least 5 % acetic acid.

What’s a Good Substitute for White Vinegar in Pancakes?

Good substitutes for white vinegar in pancakes are apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and rice vinegar.

Can I Substitute Apple Cider Vinegar for White Vinegar?

You can substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar in marinades, salad dressings, and pickling.

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