A tangy, zesty ingredient, white wine vinegar is often used in a range of recipes such as marinades, sauces, salad dressings, and in fish and meat dishes.
Its flavors are distinctly different from distilled vinegar. While white wine vinegar is mellower with nuances of fruity flavors, cooks do wonder if you can substitute it with its distilled counterpart.
White or distilled vinegar has a harsher and more acidic flavor compared to white wine vinegar. You could add a pinch of sugar to white vinegar when looking for a replacement to white wine vinegar, but there are other better substitutes.
When looking for substitutes for white wine vinegar some of the best include sherry vinegar and champagne vinegar. Both of these vinegars are made with fermented wine, similar to white wine vinegar.
Red wine vinegar is also a good substitute even if it does add a touch of pink to the dish. And, many chefs swear by using rice vinegar as a white wine vinegar substitute.
White Wine Vinegar Substitutes
The secret to finding a substitute for white wine vinegar is ensuring it’s not overpowering or highly acidic. White wine vinegar, made with fermented white wine, has a light and piquant fruity flavor which enhances any dish it’s added to. The substitute ingredient should share similar taste and acidic profiles.
Another consideration is using a substitute that’s also light in coloring. However, if you don’t mind your dish having a darker hue than normal, you can use a replacement that has bolder colors.
White wine vinegar is a popular ingredient used in the following recipes:
- Brining: Combined with some distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar is an excellent pickling ingredient for vegetables and fruits such as watermelon rind.
- Salad dressings: By adding 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar to 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil and whipping up with seasonings such as salt and pepper this makes a tasty vinaigrette.
- Braising: Add some acidity to bring out the flavors of chicken breasts by adding white wine vinegar to stock when braising this meat.
- Sauces: White wine vinegar makes delicious hollandaise and bearnaise sauces.
But, what do you do when you run out of white wine vinegar just before preparing one of these dishes? Don’t panic! Here are 11 great substitutes that can be used without compromising the flavors of your dish too much.
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is an extremely versatile ingredient every chef should have in their kitchen at all times. It’s a good substitute for white wine vinegar. But, its citric acid content is not as strong as the acetic acid levels of white wine vinegar. For this reason, it may not work as well in rich, savory meat dishes. However, you can use lemon juice to replace white wine vinegar when making a vinaigrette.
Because of its tart flavor profile, it’s recommended to substitute one tablespoon of white wine vinegar with half a tablespoon of lemon juice and half a tablespoon of water. This way you can be sure your dish won’t have an overpowering lemony taste!
2. Red Wine Vinegar
Both white and red wine vinegar are made from fermented wine. This means they both contain similar acidity levels. However, red wine vinegar is bolder in flavor and of course, has a red color. Both the robust flavor and color may change the taste and coloring of lighter dishes with paler ingredients. But, if this doesn’t bother you, then red wine vinegar is one of the best substitutes for white wine vinegar.
Red wine vinegar can be used as a replacement ingredient in meat dishes as well as in vinaigrette sauces. When substituting with red wine vinegar, use in a 1:1 ratio to get the best results in your recipe.
3. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is another food item made with fermented wine. Its often compared to red wine vinegar with its similar flavors. However, sherry vinegar is a slightly sweeter, more refined option to its red wine counterpart. It also imparts a nuttier flavor with hints of caramel. Although it has a more distinctive, nuanced flavor compared to white wine vinegar, it can be used in most dishes successfully.
It’s better to use a young and lighter sherry vinegar when using it as a substitute. And, you can use it in recipes such as marinades, glazes, and salad dressings. Substitute white wine vinegar with sherry vinegar in equal amounts.
4. Rice Vinegar
Not every kitchen pantry has a bottle of rice vinegar in it. But, if you’re if one of those chefs who likes to cook with this ingredient, then you’ve got a good substitute on hand. While rice vinegar is made with fermented rice, it shares similar flavors to white wine vinegar. However, make sure you don’t use seasoned rice vinegar as this will not work as well as a substitute.
Rice vinegar has a light, acidic taste and is an ideal substitute when a recipe calls for white wine vinegar in salad dressings, coleslaws, pickled vegetables, and sauces. Replace with 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar for every tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
5. Champagne Vinegar
When looking for a substitute that closely resembles the taste profile of white wine vinegar, you can’t go wrong with champagne vinegar. This vinegar has light and delicate flavors with a milder taste. It’s ideal for replacing white wine vinegar in recipes such as seafood dishes, dipping sauces, and marinades.
Champagne vinegar has a milder flavor profile compared to white wine vinegar so always add a bit more. The best substitution amount should be one and half tablespoons of champagne vinegar for every tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Not only does apple cider vinegar have many health benefits. But, it also works well as a replacement for white wine vinegar. It’s made from fermented apples and has a fruity, tangy flavor. Apple cider vinegar does have a bolder, sour taste with a slightly higher acidic content compared to white wine vinegar so avoid using in dishes with delicately flavored ingredients.
It works well as a replacement in chutneys, marinades, and stews. You can also use apple cider vinegar as a substitute in pickling recipes. When using apple cider vinegar as a replacement, use it in a 1:1 ratio. But, sample as you add to ensure you don’t have too much sourness in the recipe.
7. Honey Vinegar
Honey vinegar is not often seen in local supermarkets and you may have to hunt it down in specialty stores. It’s produced in Spain, Italy, and Romania and as the name suggests, it’s made from honey. It shares a similar flavor profile with white wine vinegar which is why it makes an excellent substitute – if you can find it!
Honey vinegar works well in dishes that call for a light and tangy but sweet flavoring ingredient. Use it as a substitute for white wine vinegar in dressings and salads. You can replace white wine vinegar using equal amounts in a 1:1 ratio.
8. Balsamic Vinegar
A darker-colored ingredient, balsamic vinegar is famous for its sweet, fruity flavors. Because it’s bolder than white wine vinegar, in both taste and color, it’s not ideal for recipes using lighter, paler ingredients. However, you can use it as a substitute in meat dishes, marinades, and risottos. Avoid using it as a replacement for white wine vinegar in pickling recipes.
While it has a distinctive complex, sharp flavor, balsamic vinegar can be used in equal amounts depending on the recipe. Replace one tablespoon of white wine vinegar with one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Always taste on the go to ensure you’re not adding too much and overpowering the flavors of the other ingredients.
9. White Wine
It’s only natural to wonder if white wine would be a good substitute for white wine vinegar. They’re both made from white grapes. However, white wine vinegar does have a higher acidic level than its alcoholic counterpart. And, if you’re making a dish for teetotalers, you’ll have to avoid using this option as a replacement.
But, if you’ve run out of alternatives to white wine vinegar, white wine works well in most dishes. To ensure it meets a similar taste profile in recipes, replace one tablespoon of white wine vinegar with two tablespoons of white wine.
10. White Vinegar
Is it a good idea to consider white vinegar as a substitute for white wine vinegar? At a pinch, it can work but you’ll need to add some other ingredients to it to counteract its high levels of acidity. It’s also best used as a replacement in pickling recipes and not in other dishes.
When substituting white wine vinegar with white vinegar, replace with three-quarters of a tablespoon of white vinegar, one-quarter of a tablespoon of water, and a pinch of sugar. Combine together well before adding to the dish.
11. Fruit Vinegars
A variety of fruit vinegars can be used to substitute white wine vinegar. These vinegars are sweet and tart with nuances of flavors of the fruit it was made with. Fruit vinegars are also known to have many health benefits including healing infections and lowering high blood sugar. It has a lower acidic content compared to white wine vinegar as well as being sweeter.
Use fruit vinegars as a replacement to white wine vinegar in chicken recipes, dressings, and some sauces. You’ll have to experiment with how much to use but start with the 1:1 ratio rule of thumb and taste as you go.
While white wine vinegar has its own unique flavors, you can successfully replace it with other ingredients when you run out of it in your kitchen. Most substitutes can be used in equal amounts although chefs always recommend tasting on the go to ensure you don’t ruin the other ingredients.
The best substitutes are champagne vinegar and sherry vinegar. But, red wine vinegar is also an excellent replacement as well as rice vinegar.
When substituting white wine vinegar, consider its softer and slightly sweet flavor profile. You’ll also need to factor in its acidity and tartness when using a substitute. Use our list of white wine vinegar substitutes to ensure you use the best replacement when cooking your next meal. You’ll still enjoy the flavors!