12 White Wine Vinegar Substitute Options You Can Use In a Pinch

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Odette Published: January 20, 2022
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What if your delicious deviled eggs require white wine vinegar and you don’t have it? Don’t worry. Replacing this versatile ingredient is not hard as you think since there are actually white wine vinegar substitute options that you might already have in your pantry!

Here, we listed 12 substitutes for white wine vinegar you can choose from. If you are wondering about what’s the best replacement on this list, well, it can’t be answered right off the bat. Depending on the dish you’ll cook, the best alternative also differs. But don’t worry, there’s a good alternative you can use for every dish imaginable. So scroll some more and find out how to use them!

What Is White Wine Vinegar?

Unbeknownst to some, white wine vinegar is the result when white wine is fermented and oxidized into acid. Once fermented, the flavor turns light and delicate, but still slightly fruity and tangy. It can be used as a marinade for fish and meat, to pickle food, and to create delicious sauces. But its delicate flavor compliments more with white meat rather than red meat. Although used in other cuisines, this vinegar is frequently seen among the ingredient list for classic French recipes and sauces such as hollandaise and béarnaise sauces.

Now, on to the white wine vinegar vs white vinegar debacle. The two greatly differ in flavor, but they somewhat resemble each other when it comes to color. Touted as one of the most aggressive kinds of vinegar, white vinegar has about five to 10 percent acetic acid which gives this variant a sharp sour taste that’s good for pickling. On the other hand, white wine vinegar has a much more delicate, sour taste that’s fruity rather than sharp.

12 Best White Wine Vinegar Substitute Options

three bowls of white wine vinegar substitute options

In the middle of making a cucumber salad recipe but discovered you’re missing one important ingredient? Don’t worry! Skip the hassle of running to the grocery store as there are white wine vinegar substitute options you can use in a pinch! Continue reading and discover what they are and how to use them.

Red Wine Vinegar

Despite its bold red color, red wine vinegar is one of the best substitutes for white wine vinegar because they’re both made from wine. But it’s also important to know what sets them apart from each other.

While white wine vinegar is delicate with a milder acidic flavor, red wine vinegar is rather bold with a strong acidic flavor. For that reason, this alternative is more suitable for marinating meats, pickling foods, and flavor vinaigrettes and salads if you’re looking for a bolder flavor. It is, however, not recommended for light-colored dishes because of its striking color. If you want to use it as a substitute, you can start with one tablespoon for every spoon of white wine vinegar for a 1:1 substitution.

READ ALSO: 8 Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitute Choices and How To Make It

Rice Vinegar

Most people confuse this condiment for mirin (a type of Japanese rice wine). Though unlike the former, the latter is not a suitable white wine vinegar substitute. Rice vinegar, made with fermented rice, is very similar to white wine vinegar. Both are light and just slightly acidic.

Additionally, both condiments work better for Asian dishes like stir-fry recipes, plus they imbue light salads with hints of sweetness. However, it’s important to note that there are two variants of rice vinegar: unseasoned and seasoned rice vinegar. Considering its taste and color,  the unseasoned variant is more suited as a substitute. Thus, it can be used in equal proportion with white wine vinegar.

READ ALSO: Rice Wine Vinegar and Rice Wine: How Are They Different?

Sherry Vinegar

Considered a gourmet condiment made from sherry, this too shares some of the flavor profile with the famous ingredient. Similar to other types of wine vinegar, it tastes rich, nutty, and somewhat sweet with caramel undertones. But its slightly more delicate flavor fits light salads, white meat marinades, and sauces more than dishes with stronger and bolder flavor profiles.

Comparable to white wine vinegar, this condiment is also not as overpowering as other kinds of vinegar in the market. Depending on its age, sherry vinegar is also darker in color. Note that only the lighter-colored ones are good as a replacement. For an even better replacement, you need lighter sherry. Use a 1:1 ratio for this alternative.

Lemon Juice

Probably one of the easiest to find on this list of white wine vinegar substitute options is lemon juice. It has a distinct sour and tangy taste with a strong punchy flavor. Because it only shares tangy flavor with the former, lemon juice is not a direct substitute for white wine vinegar in a wide variety of dishes. But it’s quite useful as an alternative for salad dressings and marinades.

Since it has a strong tangy flavor that can be quite noticeable in dishes, use half lemon juice and half water for a toned-down lemon flavor.

Champagne Vinegar

Like how red wine vinegar is made, this substitute is made by fermenting champagne. Generally on the sweeter side in the world of wine and alcohol, champagne is mild and delicate in taste. With that, it caters more to light-flavored dishes and ingredients such as chicken, seafood, and light salads and dressings.

Since it’s lighter in flavor, always add a bit more to compensate for the lack of strong flavor and acidity.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Made by fermenting, (you guessed it) apples, apple cider vinegar has a sweet yet strong sour taste with a strong pungent smell. Akin to white wine vinegar, this alternative also has a light color (some brands are close to light brown).

Considering its qualities, this substitute for white wine vinegar is more suitable for bold-flavored dishes that require a strong sour taste rather than delicate dishes. You can use it in marinades, pickles, soups, and stews with complex and strong flavors. Use a 1:1 ratio if you’re planning to use this replacement.

Balsamic Vinegar

Although not the best, balsamic can be an effective alternative if you know how to use it. Not only does it have the rich flavors of fig, molasses, cherry, chocolate, and prune, but it also has a distinctly sweet flavor and smokiness from the wood it matured in. Compared to the others in this list, the sour taste in this ingredient is tart rather than acidic and pungent.

That said, this condiment is not a very good substitute for a lot of white wine vinegar recipes. But it can be used for strong-flavored salad dressings, marinades, and other recipes. Because of its strength and its unique taste, start by incorporating half and mellow out with water. Then, adjust according to taste.

White Vinegar

This alternative is one of the most aggressive of the types of vinegar. To be exact, it has a very sharp, sour taste that burns in the throat if ever it’s consumed on its own. For that reason, it should be diluted in water and sugar for a watered-down substitute. Since it has a strong acidic flavor, this ingredient is more suited for pickles, marinades, and sauces that have a strong sour flavor. Also, be careful not to get distilled white vinegar, as its harsher flavor profile makes it unsuitable as a substitute.

Honey Vinegar

Like honey, this ingredient is also naturally versatile. But as a substitute for white wine vinegar, it can’t be used for a wide variety of dishes. However, it’s the perfect ingredient replacement for salads, sauces, and dressings. It’s also an excellent garnish for a variety of dishes and cocktail recipes. This substitute is very floral with noticeable caramel and honey flavors and a slight, delicate acidity like white wine vinegar. For this alternative, swap the original ingredient with equal amounts of honey vinegar.

White Wine

Now, white wine vinegar is made by fermenting white wine. So naturally, the original ingredient it came from can also be used as a substitute. Only, it’s less acidic in flavor as it’s not oxidized yet. To use this replacement, simply double the amount indicated in the recipe. This ingredient has a strong flavor, so avoid using it for salad dressings and other delicate-tasting recipes.

Fruit Vinegar

Fruit vinegar makes for an excellent alternative for a lot of dishes. Its sweet, fruity undertones and mild acidity greatly resemble that of white wine vinegar. Admittedly, this substitute is slightly sweeter and milder, so it’s ideally used for slightly sweet dressings and vinaigrettes. Use it as you would the original recipe, but you’re free to adjust according to your tastes.

Specialty Vinegar

Made using herbs and fruits such as tarragon, raspberry, and sherry, this vinegar gives a unique flavor to your sauces and salad dressings. Aside from its unique flavor of sweet, spicy, and acidic, this vinegar also lends a fragrant smell. However, since it has a more complex flavor, we recommend incorporating this ingredient little by little.

Malt Vinegar

As a last resort, you can also use malt vinegar as a substitute for some recipes. It has a very distinct flavor profile that’s described as lemony, nutty, and very caramel-like, tasting almost like malted ale. For that reason, it’s more suited for pickling foods and marinating meats for some recipes. And because of its dusty brown color, you should only use this for recipes that are not light in color.

How to Make Your Own White Wine Vinegar

pouring white wine vinegar in a cup

Despite how daunting it sounds, making your own white wine vinegar at home is easier than you might think.

Equipment you need:

  • 1 gallon glass crock
  • Funnel

Ingredients:

  • Vinegar starter or vinegar mother
  • White wine

Steps: 

  1. Combine white wine and vinegar mother in a glass crock. Mix the ingredients together to distribute the bacteria.
  2. Cover with a cheesecloth. Don’t seal the glass jar too tightly to allow for air circulation. You should still be able to smell the mixture if you place the glass near your face.
  3. Store in a cool and dark place. You can store it in your cupboard, a dark corner in your kitchen or pantry, or under your sink. The temperature should remain between 75 to 86 degrees F.
  4. Let sit for two to three months. If you notice a gelatinous layer form after a few weeks, this means your wine is turning into vinegar. If not, then you have to start over.
  5. Monitor your vinegar. After a month of letting it ferment, do a taste test. Push the gelatinous layer aside and scoop a small sample and taste. The taste should be a bright tart flavor with a slightly acidic taste. If not, add more vinegar mother and allow to ferment.
  6. Finish the fermentation period and harvest vinegar. Pour the vinegar in a sterilized container with an airtight lid (leave the vinegar mother in the glass crock). Stored in a cool dark place,  your vinegar can last for up to a year.

Delicious White Wine Vinegar Recipes to Try at Home

Warm Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Now that you know how to make your own white wine vinegar as well as the substitutes you can try in its place, it is time for some delicious recipes you can make at home! 

  • Instant Pot Sushi Rice — This sushi rice recipe highlights the flavor of white wine vinegar and seasoned rice vinegar.
  • Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad — This salad recipe features a dressing that’s nutty and slightly sweet in taste thanks to the sesame seeds, vinegar, and honey in it!
  • Easy Tahini Dip — Have pieces of pita bread lying around but don’t know what to do with them? Enjoy them even more with this easy tahini dip recipe. This dip is scrumptiously nutty, earthy, and slightly bitter in flavor. It’s also a good addition to your hummus.
  • Kansas City–Style Barbecue Sauce — This barbecue sauce combines tomato paste, ketchup, white wine vinegar, and more for a sauce that can easily amp up any grilled dish.

Use These Handy White Wine Vinegar Substitutes to Flavor Your Dishes

Vinegar is a truly versatile condiment in the kitchen. And white wine vinegar further proves this point. Given its wide variety of uses, it’s no longer surprising if you run out of this ingredient. That’s when white wine vinegar substitute choices come in handy. Some of them require a little adjustment, but nevertheless, are good alternatives that can save your dishes from being a complete disaster.

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Odette

Odette is a content writer and proofreader by day, and living her inner artist as a poet and singer by night. She's also a former member of a publication who she now mentors from time to time. She likes how sharing a tiny bit of her life and her journey can help others in return. And because she is a curl embassador, she finds joy in empowering fellow curlies to embrace their natural curls. She also loves doing random acts of service to people she loves by cooking for them during her free time. This girl loves anything pasta and French cuisine though she just went through her Japanese and Korean cuisine phase.

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