10 Best Malt Vinegar Substitutes

malt vinegar

Vinegar is a staple in every kitchen. There are many ways that you can make vinegar and use it not only in cooking, but it can find its way in your cleaning as well.

One of those many ways we have malt vinegar. This is very typical for the UK since it is used with fish and chips. It is made of malted barley and it has a mild and sweet taste. However, keep in mind that this is vinegar that contains gluten and many people may not enjoy it.

Regardless, if you use malt vinegar it will add richness and taste to meals. Just like wine vinegar, malt vinegar becomes stronger in its taste with age. But if you have no malt vinegar or you need something else, is there a way to replace it with the other types of vinegar?

Can I substitute malt vinegar? Yes indeed. Common substitutes include Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice vinegar, or some of the next products.

Substitutes for Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar is a common ingredient in many recipes. However, if you do not have it on hand, use some of the following substitutes and save your recipe.

1. White Wine Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

The first vinegar replacement for malt vinegar is wine vinegar. It is made from fermenting white wine in wooden barrels. The taste and the acidity depend on how long it was kept in the barrels.

The light yellow color and the balanced mild taste will be suitable for many ways in your cooking. Add it to sauces, salad dressing, seafood, chicken, vegetables, and many more that call for malt vinegar. 

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another replacement for malt vinegar in your cooking. It is made of fermenting apples which are crushed to liquid. The sugar transforms the mixture into alcohol. Then, it is fermented and turned into vinegar.

You may not find it suitable since it is made from fruits. But malt and apple cider vinegar have a lot of things in common. They share the same acidity, so it works for salads, marinades, pickles, sauces, and many other recipes.

You can use a substitute of 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar for a tablespoon of malt vinegar. Increase if you feel like you need more acidic taste in your cooking.

3. Lemon juice

Lemon juice

A suitable next replacement on our list is the lemon juice for malt vinegar. It may not have a strong taste like vinegar. But it will do well in most of the recipes.

If you run out of malt vinegar, you always have lemon juice in your fridge and your recipe will be saved. You may notice a change in your taste, but it won’t be that noticeable. Serve it in salads, fish, sauces, vegetables, or any other recipe that calls for malt vinegar. 

4. Red wine vinegar

Red wine vinegar

Another common type of cooking vinegar is red wine vinegar. It is created by fermenting red wine, straining, and afterward placing it in bottles.

Meaning, it has a sweet, fruity grape taste. It may not be that similar to malt vinegar. However, it can serve you well in most of the recipes that ask for it. Red wine vinegar pairs well with veggies, meat, beef, and other similar recipes.

5. Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar

Another suitable replacement for malt vinegar would be rice vinegar. It is made of grain, fermented rice wine and sometimes it is referred to as rice wine vinegar.

Keep in mind that this is one of the least acidic vinegar, so it does not have that strong taste. It has almost the same range of acidity as malt vinegar.

This is considered as an upside because you can basically add it in most of the recipes that call for malt vinegar. However, you have to increase a bit the amount you add or adjust. Rice vinegar is easy to find and it would work in many malt vinegar recipes. 

6. Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Something that is very commonly used in cooking and we usually have it in our kitchen is balsamic vinegar. This would be a good replacement for malt vinegar since it has a very similar taste.

Balsamic vinegar is made of grapes and is kept in wooden barrels for fermentation. This vinegar has a darker color with a taste that is in between sweet and sour.

It works in salads as a dressing. However, you can also serve it with steaks, seafood, pasta, fish, or other meals that require malt vinegar. It would be a perfect substitute for fish and chips as a dipping sauce.

7. Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

A good replacement for malt vinegar would be the Worcestershire Sauce. It is made from anchovies or soy sauce which provides a very strong umami taste.

The sauce is fermented and the base is vinegar, mixed with anchovy or soy sauce which makes it similar to malt sauce. It works well in different pies, soups, marinades, or on top of meats, stakes, cheese, or anything else that requires malt vinegar.

8. Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar is another way to replace malt vinegar in your meals. It is a type of vinegar that is made from sherry wine and it is kept in a barrel to age for at least 6 months.

This vinegar is a traditional vinegar in Spain. It is similar to malt vinegar but has a more complex taste which has nutty and sweet traces.

But no need to worry. The acidic taste won’t affect the other ingredients in your recipe. You can always add a few drops on top of your dish the same way as if you have used malt vinegar. 

9. Black vinegar

Black Vinegar

Malt vinegar can also be replaced by black vinegar. It is a nice black product that consists of rice and sorghum and becomes maltier and provides a smokey flavor over time.

This vinegar is traditionally kept in clay pots to age well. It is a staple in Chinese cuisine and you can serve it with meat or fish. It will add nice acidity and traces of sweetness to your dish.

10. Spirit vinegar


The last on our list is spirit vinegar which will be a very good substitute for malt vinegar. It is produced from agricultural sources with acetic acid components.

Spirit vinegar provides a strong, savory, and sharp taste which makes it similar to malt vinegar. It gives a lovely zest to potato crisps, pickles and it is added to preserve fresh foods. But here’s the kicker. You can also clean your home with this ingredient.

Related Questions

What is the difference between vinegar and malt vinegar?

When you compare the two ingredients, you’ll determine that the main difference is that vinegar is purified. Further, malt vinegar is grain-based and is made from malting barley. You’ll also notice the difference in the taste since malt vinegar is milder.

Is balsamic vinegar and malt vinegar the same?

Both are types of vinegar, but they are not the same. Malt vinegar is made of malted grains, whereas balsamic comes from balsamic wine. They are both very flavorful and you can use them interchangeably in your cooking.

Is malt vinegar the same as red wine vinegar?

Malt and red wine vinegar are made differently. However, they can always be used to substitute each other in cooking.

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