9 Apple Cider Vinegar Substitutes To Keep the Zing in your Cooking

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has become a household favorite for its tons of uses. For a time you run out of apple cider vinegar at home while cooking or preparing a recipe that calls for ACV, we have listed our top 9 choices for apple cider vinegar substitutes.

Because of apple cider vinegar’s antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, many people have been using this for food preservation, to wash fruits and vegetables, to soothe a sore throat, as a deodorizer, as a mouthwash, and many more. 

Apple cider vinegar also does wonders in many recipes like steak marinades, sauces, and soups.

Try these fruity apple cider vinegar substitutes for your cooking: 

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has a low pH so it is quite high in acidity that mimics apple cider vinegar’s acidity. Add to that the fruity notes you can get from these juices. Lemon juice makes a great apple cider vinegar alternative for salad dressings or sauces.

Lemon juice, in fact, is frequently used to brighten up vegetable salads. Naturally, you’ll be missing that vinegar zing when you use lemon juice in place of apple cider vinegar. However, it’s no surprise that either juice will give a different kind of zing and freshness. Have you tried lemon vinaigrette yet?

2. Lime Juice

Lime juice is pretty similar to lemon juice except some varieties of this option tend to have a more intense taste. Like lemon juice, it has a low pH level similar to apple cider’s acidity.

This alternative also tastes great in salads as a dressing or added to either sweet or savory dishes that need a refreshing flavor. 

3. Apple Juice

Apple cider vinegar is a fermented apple juice and it makes a good cider vinegar sub for a savory dish. Just remember to use the unsweetened apple juice so it can give you a result that is close to that of using apple cider vinegar. 

Since apple juice isn’t a type of vinegar and doesn’t have the acidity of vinegar either, it can’t activate leavening agents for baking. 

Read more: 9 Best Apple Juice Substitutes For Recipes And Meals

Or, stick to these vinegar alternatives:

4. White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is the best vinegar type to replace apple cider vinegar in many recipes. Although white wine vinegar lacks the apple undertones that apple cider has, both have the same acidity levels. It helps to start with a smaller portion when substituting then gradually adjust to your satisfaction.

White wine vinegar’s versatility in cooking makes it a great substitute for many types of vinegar. It can replace cider vinegar in making sauces, marinades, and bringing sou flavors to life. 

5. Rice Wine Vinegar (Unseasoned)

This Asian staple condiment adds delightful, tangy, and bright flavors to many dishes. You can use rice wine vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar in whatever recipe that calls for it. Although it lacks apple cider vinegar’s subtle apple flavor, it still contributes great flavors with its sweet, mild, and similarly low acidity level to cider vinegar.

Additionally, rice wine vinegar does better than apple cider vinegar in pickling because it doesn’t have that apple flavor tone that becomes more pronounced when used in pickling. 

6. Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar’s mild, sweet, and low acidity level makes it a nice replacement for cider vinegar. However, since malt vinegar is made from malted grains of barley, it comes with a slight yeasty flavor. Additionally, if you are sensitive to any food with gluten, malt vinegar is not the best option for you.

Malt vinegar is great in marinades, dipping sauces, glazing, and adding a sweet zest to potatoes. You can use a 1:1 ratio when using malt vinegar in place of cider vinegar in recipes.

7. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar has a fruity, rich taste being made from Sherry wine. Its distinct and complex flavor is different and more pronounced than apple cider vinegar. However, Sherry vinegar still makes a fantastic swap as it has a similar acidity profile and zing with apple cider vinegar.

Do a taste test first before substituting and start with a 1:1 ratio. Sherry vinegar does wonders in leafy salads, pan-roasted chicken, soups, and beans. It can also be used in pickling vegetables and meat marinades.

8. Champagne Vinegar

Just reading champagne vinegar may compel you to skip this part but hear (or read) us out. First, champagne vinegar isn’t as fancy as the French champagne because it’s not, in fact, made of champagne but of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. 

Secondly, its mild, sweet, delicate tastes make it a great replacement for any vinegar if you prefer a less pungent vinegar for homemade mayonnaise and hollandaise.

Champagne vinegar also levels up salads so if you’re craving something elegant on date nights and parties, this is your go-to vinegar. To use champagne vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar in seafood dishes, sauces, marinades, and soups, it’s good to start with a 1:1 ratio. Since it’s more mellow than ACV, you can add more to your liking.

9. Red Wine Vinegar

One of the most common questions in substituting apple cider vinegar is “can I use red wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?” 

Yes, you can. However, it is worth noting that red wine vinegar may affect the color with its red hue especially when you use it with light-colored ingredients. Additionally, red wine vinegar is a little sharper and stronger than apple cider vinegar so if you’re red wine vinegar instead, start with a smaller portion than you would with ACV. 

Live apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar has a fruity flavor profile being made from wine grapes but not as tart compared to cider vinegar.

Related FAQs

What’s the difference between apple cider vinegar and regular white vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice and is light brown in color. Some homemade apple cider vinegar is a bit cloudy because they’re not thoroughly filtered than store-bought ones. 

Apple cider vinegar’s acidity level is between 5% to 6%. It also has a subtle apple flavor. It has many uses so it is very popular nowadays, especially to the health-conscious. 

On the other hand, white vinegar is usually made from fermented sugar cane extract that eventually produces the vinegar or by combining water and acetic acid. White vinegar has a sharp, pungent smell and has a very strong acidity. 

White vinegar is often used in vegetable pickling and cooking. Additionally, its antimicrobial properties make it an effective disinfectant. It is used to clean vegetables and fruits. 

What does apple cider vinegar do in baking?

Apple cider vinegar enhances the texture and flavor in baked goodies, especially when for baked vegan treats that don’t have eggs as an ingredient.

Does apple cider vinegar go bad?

Apple cider vinegar’s acidity makes it preserve itself, meaning it generally doesn’t go bad or expires. The antimicrobial properties natural to ACV prevent bacteria and ill-causing germs. However, you will notice some color changes over time since opened bottles of ACV are exposed to oxygen. Proper storage is still important. Keep it in your cupboard, pantry cabinet, or anywhere that doesn’t have direct sunlight.

So, what apple cider vinegar alternative should you use?

You might find more suggestions for apple cider vinegar substitutes and they may work just as well as the ones we have listed here. 

Just keep in mind that each kind of vinegar has different flavor profiles depending on what they are made of as well as the fermentation process. Additionally, the level of acidity varies so it is highly recommended to do a taste test first before substituting.

These kinds of vinegar, especially the ones with similar acidity levels and sweet undertones, can be used interchangeably in many recipes. 

So whether you have white wine vinegar, malt vinegar, or apple cider vinegar in your cupboard while the recipe calls for another type, you can try to use whichever is on hand and available. It’s fun to do a little experiment first and see which one works best; you’ll never know, you might like it better.

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