Smash Negativity Team

12 Common Substitute for White Vinegar 


Making a recipe that calls for white vinegar and you don’t have it? White vinegar is a type of vinegar that’s made from distilled grain alcohol. It has a strong, harsh flavor and is often used in pickling recipes and even as a cleaner.

It’s a versatile ingredient that adds a serious hit of acidity to whatever you incorporate it in, from zesty salad dressings to marinades that help season mouth-watering proteins.

And it’s also an absolute superstar when it comes to cleaning, helping you scrub away even the peskiest stains in your home.

It offers a sharp taste and potent smell, making it one of the most distinct vinegar types. That’s because white vinegar is distilled from grain, which results in a crisp and clear product.

White vinegar has a strong flavor, so it’s best used in small doses to add a touch of acidity to recipes. It’s a common preserving agent and can be used to pickle foods.

12 Common Substitutes for White Vinegar

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar in the garden. Selective focus. Food.

Apple cider is a fantastic addition to any pantry and a great substitute for white vinegar in many recipes. It offers great health benefits and it may indeed be helpful for everything from your skin to your gut.

It is crafted from fermenting apple cider, as the name suggests and it has a unique flavor that pairs bold acidity with a hint of fruitiness.

Those fruity flavor notes mean it’s not an exact match for white vinegar, but it can work well in a dish. It works well for recipes that are complemented by a bit of fruit flavor.

One thing to note, however, is the color. While white vinegar is colorless, apple cider vinegar does have a slightly amber hue, which could potentially impact the final look of a dish.

2. Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar has a completely different flavor profile than white vinegar, but it makes an ideal substitute.

It has a delectable combination of tang and sweetness that allows it to work within a variety of dishes, although it’s particularly well-suited to fish and chips, as well as other fried or potato-based dishes like french fries.

Using it could potentially change the color of a very pale sauce. It also has a slightly different flavor profile, although not in a bad way; it’s a bit more complex than white vinegar, with a hint of sweetness and some toasty, nutty flavor notes adding to the dish.

3. White balsamic vinegar

White balsamic vinegar is a bit more complex in flavor than regular white vinegar but it doesn’t pack the same powerful flavors that balsamic vinegar does.

It does add a hint of sweetness, something you may want to consider when thinking of the overall flavor profile of your final dish. This substitute is best suited for things like salad dressings or sauces, as the color and consistency will remain the same and the slightly milder flavor actually works well in those types of dishes.

It’s a very distinct type and doesn’t really work as a great substitute for white vinegar due to the unique flavor notes it features. However, a closely related option, white balsamic vinegar, actually serves as a great swap.

4. Lemon juice

A glass jar of tasty lemon juice and slices on a marble background. High quality photo

Lemon juice can be a great substitute for white vinegar because, like white vinegar, it adds a hint of brightness as well as a bit of acidity to whatever dish it’s used in.

It’s also a great swap because of just how easily accessible it is. You can find lemons just about anywhere and if you cook with any regularity, you likely have a few in your fridge or fruit bowl right now. After all, sometimes all a dish needs to take it from okay to incredible is a burst of citrus acidity.

Lemon juice is a good swap for white vinegar in recipes that involve baking, which can be a challenge for certain other substitutes with different pH levels.

However, depending on the amount you use, you may want to be aware of the overall flavor profile. While both white vinegar and lemon juice offer acidity, lemon does have some citrus flavor notes that may change the overall taste of your dish.

5. Lime Juice

Glass with lime juice, green lime and glass juicer close up

A great substitute for white vinegar that still packs an acidic punch is lime juice. One of the major perks of this swamp is the ease of finding it.

If you love to accentuate your dishes with fresh citrus, there’s a good chance you may already have a lime on hand, and limes are also readily available at just about any grocery store.

Fresh-squeezed lime juice also adds a degree of brightness and freshness to your dish, livening up all the flavors you’ve already created.

The one thing you’ll want to be aware of is the overall flavor profile. This substitute is particularly well-suited to cuisines that frequently feature citrus, such as Thai cuisine.

However, if the recipe you’re making calls for white vinegar because it needs that zip of neutral acidity and the citrus flavor notes might impact the overall flavors within the dish, you may want to try another swap.

6. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is not quite as easy to find in all grocery stores as something like white vinegar is, but it’s still relatively accessible. It has a similar color and consistency as white vinegar and works as a great substitute.

It is less acidic than regular vinegar. There’s just one major thing to note with this substitution, which is the sweetness. You’ll want to take a quick peek to see if the bottle of rice vinegar you’re working with is a regular or seasoned variety.

Seasoned varieties have added sugar, which will bring a bit of sweetness to your dish that you may not have been anticipating.

However, you can still use it as a substitute; you may just want to pay attention to any other elements in the dish and potentially combat that extra hint of sugar by adjusting some other components.

7. Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar shares a lot of similarities with white wine vinegar, as it’s crafted from the same type of grapes that create wines such as Chardonnays. It has slight floral notes and a much more mellow acidity.

The subtleties in its flavor mean that it is particularly well-suited in recipes that aren’t cooked, such as salad dressings or condiments, whereas a vinegar with a more harsh acidity might overpower those items.

It is certainly a lot tougher to find in your average grocery store than something like white vinegar or even apple cider vinegar.

However, if you happen to have a bottle on hand, it makes a great substitute. And, for those who value a dish’s appearance, the golden hue of this vinegar means it won’t change the overall look of your dish.

8. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is an absolute superstar when it comes to delivering a hint of tangy acidity balanced with some fruity flavor notes that complement a wide variety of greens. Its palate-pleasing flavor also makes a good substitute for white vinegar.

It does have a rosy hue, not as dark as an actual glass of red wine, but certainly not as pale as white vinegar. This means that your dish might get a bit discolored if you’re working with a lot of pale ingredients.

Additionally, it has a more complex flavor profile, with its own fruity flavor notes, whereas white vinegar really just delivers that punch of acidity. This complexity is great in a lot of recipes, but it is a slight change that you’ll want to be aware of when cooking.

9. White Wine  Vinegar

White wine makes a great swap for white vinegar in recipes. You’ll ideally want a white wine with zippy acidity like a Sauvignon blanc rather than a sweeter Moscato, For example, since vinegar is typically used in relatively small quantities due to how pungent it is, you should be able to use just about any white wine in a pinch.

This substitute is best used in things like sauces where the alcohol is cooked off and the wine adds a depth of flavor. It can also be a great way to deglaze a pan to keep all those flavors in your dish.

10. 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 same flavor as the fruit it is made from.

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

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.

It has a well-balanced sweet-sour flavor and is a great substitute for white vinegar in your dishes.

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 dressings that have strong herbs and competing ingredients.

What Is Vinegar Made Of?

Vinegar is made of water and acetic acid. All types of vinegar start as a liquid containing natural yeasts and sugars, like unpasteurized fruit juice.

The liquid goes through a fermentation process where the yeast consumes the sugar and produces ethanol (alcohol). The sour, pungent flavor of vinegar is deepened through a second fermentation that transforms the alcohol into acetic acid. The flavor profile of each kind of vinegar is determined by the type of juice or liquid that is used.

Health Benefits Of Vinegar

Vinegar contains polyphenols, plant chemicals that have an antioxidant effect that may protect cells from oxidative stress, a possible stimulator of tumor growth. Cell and mouse studies suggest that it may prevent the growth of cancer cells or cause tumor cells to die.

it is a transparent solution made of acetic acid and water. Vinegar is good for lowering blood glucose levels, helping with weight loss and boosting skin health. It also has anti-bacterial properties.


In conclusion, vinegar is a fascinating and versatile ingredient with a rich history and numerous health benefits. White vinegar has many uses: cooking, baking, cleaning, and even weed removal. It may also aid with weight loss and boosting skin health.




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