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Exploring 5 Best Substitutes for White Vinegar in Cooking

In the kitchen, white vinegar is considered one of the most versatile ingredients.

Its tangy taste and acidity make it perfect for pickling, marinades, dressings, and more. However, sometimes we run out of this essential ingredient or simply want to try something new.

In such cases, there are plenty of substitutes that can replace white vinegar in cooking without compromising on flavor or texture. In this article, we will explore 5 of the best substitutes for white vinegar in cooking. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • When in a pinch, use these 5 substitutes for white vinegar: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar.
  • Substitutes can save the day when you run out of an essential ingredient or have dietary restrictions.
  • Get creative with substitutions and discover new flavors and ingredients.
  • Using substitutes can also be budget-friendly.

Why Look for a Substitute?

Before we dive into the world of substitutions, let’s talk about why they are important. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, there will be times when you run out of an essential ingredient or simply want to try something new.

This is where substitutes come in – they provide alternative options that can save your dish and even elevate it to new levels.

But why bother with substitutes when you can just go to the store and buy what you need? Well, for one, sometimes it’s not possible or convenient to make a trip to the store.

Plus, having an understanding of substitutions allows you to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with new flavors and ingredients.

Substitutions are also helpful for those who have dietary restrictions or allergies. With substitutes, they can still enjoy their favorite dishes without compromising their health.

And let’s not forget about the cost – using a substitute ingredient can be more budget-friendly than buying the original one.

5 Best Substitutes for White Vinegar in Cooking

1 – Lemon Juice

When life (or your pantry) gives you an absence of white vinegar, use lemons! Lemon juice is a delectable alternative, offering a vibrant citrusy zing that white vinegar simply can’t match. This liquid sunshine also imparts a slight sweetness that can elevate your dish to new heights.

The tangy essence of lemon juice is distinct, with a punch of acidity that’s perfect for cutting through rich flavors in dishes. Its subtle sweetness can add a pleasant contrast, especially in desserts and seafood fare.

For every 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a recipe, substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. It’s particularly delightful in salad dressings, marinades, and as a finishing touch on roasted vegetables.

2 – Apple Cider Vinegar

If apple cider vinegar is for health buffs, it’s also a boon for the flavor-conscious. It brings a warm, mellow fruitiness coupled with a slightly sweet note, making it an excellent white vinegar stand-in.

Apple cider vinegar carries the unmistakable essence of apples, which softens its vinegary bite. It’s a perfect match for tangy slaws, pickled vegetables, and fruit-based chutneys.

To replace white vinegar, use a 1:1 ratio, ensuring a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. This versatile substitute works wonders in baking and meat marinades, especially those destined for the barbecue.

3 – Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is a staple in many Asian cuisines, renowned for its mild and slightly sweet flavor. With a less pronounced acidity, it offers a nuanced twist to your dishes.

Characteristically delicate, rice vinegar’s sweet and sour balance is a treat for the taste buds. Its subtleness enhances rather than overtakes other flavors, making it an ideal choice for sushi rice, salad dressings, and stir-fries.

In most cases, you can swap white vinegar with rice vinegar in a 1:1 ratio, though you may need to adjust sweetness levels if the recipe’s balance relies on the inherent sweetness of the ingredients.

4 – Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, with its rich, dark color and complex, sweet flavor, is often the star of gourmet dishes. It’s a strong contender to step in for white vinegar, especially in dishes that will benefit from its caramel-like undertones.

Boasting a profile that includes a potent sweetness, balsamic vinegar’s tartness is subtle, making it a sumptuous add-on for fresh fruits, aged cheeses, and even desserts.

A straight swap in a 1:1 ratio will work in most recipes. Just remember, balsamic’s bold flavor means it may overpower lighter dishes and require the reduction of other sweetness sources in your culinary endeavors.

5 – Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar brings the robust character of red wine to the table, with a deep red hue that can dramatically alter the appearance of your dish in a pinch. Its assertive flavors can be just what your recipe needs.

Red wine vinegar, known for its sharp and robust flavor profile, brings a tangy fruitiness with its trademark acidity, making it a versatile ingredient in various dishes. Its vibrant taste adds depth to vinaigrettes, enhances the richness of stews, and elevates the flavors of sauces, making it a go-to choice for culinary enthusiasts looking to add a touch of complexity to their creations.

Utilize red wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio to white vinegar for a hearty substitute. Its strong presence can enliven meat dishes, improving the depth of flavor and offering a slightly more mellowed acidity.


By exploring these five white vinegar substitutes, you’re not only expanding your cooking possibilities, but you’re also making environmentally conscious choices.

Many of these alternatives—particularly lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar—come with their own health benefits and intriguing flavors that can enhance your culinary creations.

Next time you run out of white vinegar, keep these substitutes in mind and give them a try. You might just discover a new favorite ingredient or take your dish to the next level with a touch of creativity and resourcefulness.


White Vinegar Substitute Recipe

A handy guide for those who run out of white vinegar, providing 5 alternative substitutes and their respective ratios to use in cooking.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1 Measuring spoons
  • 1 Mixing bowl


  • Lemon Juice – for every 1 tablespoon of white vinegar use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – use a 1:1 ratio to replace white vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar – in most cases can be swapped with white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio
  • Balsamic Vinegar – straight swap in a 1:1 ratio may need to adjust sweetness levels
  • Red Wine Vinegar – utilize in a 1:1 ratio to white vinegar


  • Choose your desired substitute based on availability and taste preference.
  • Measure out the appropriate amount of substitute needed according to the given ratios.
  • Use in place of white vinegar in your chosen recipe, keeping in mind the potential adjustments that may need to be made to balance out flavours.
  • Enjoy your dish with a unique twist!
Keyword substitutes for white vinegar
Did you make this recipe?Mention @CooksCrafter or tag #CooksCrafter!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating