apple cider vinegar substitutes

Top 6 Apple Cider Vinegar Substitutes To Use In Your Next Meal

These days, it seems like apple cider vinegar is everywhere, particularly for those that believe it helps their digestion. But what if your recipe calls for a bit of this ingredient and you have none around? It’s probably a good idea to know what other ingredients you can use instead. 

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

This vinegar is the result of fermenting apple juice until it becomes acidic. This food item has been around in vinaigrette, salads, chutney, sauces, and marinades for many years.

Vinegar has long shelf life. While apple cider vinegar (ACV) is often part of alternative medicinal practices, there is no sound evidence to suggest that it has true health properties.

Still, this ingredient is important when pickling foods, or adding acid to the cooking process. Because it comes from apples, this vinegar is a bit sweeter and darker in color.

What Can I Replace Apple Cider Vinegar With?

If you are about to start cooking and can’t find this ingredient, these apple cider vinegar substitutes are just what you need for any recipe:

Best For Pulled Pork, Ribs, and BBQ Sauce

#1. Lemon or Lime Juice

Since apple cider vinegar is used in many recipes to add acid and sweetness, a good replacement is using lemon or lime juice. This option works well in making a BBQ sauce, cooking ribs, pulled pork, and other thick sauces.

You can use both lemon or lime, but lemon will add more sweetness to the dish, so use this if available.

Finding lemons or limes shouldn’t be too hard, as surely you will find them in any grocery or even convenience store. For added sweetness, you can sprinkle a bit of brown sugar while you cook. Add one tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for every tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. 

See more: Lemon Juice Alternatives

#2. Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is sour and sweet, which is a great thing when you need to replace apple cider vinegar. Normally, this vinegar is reserved for Asian cuisines, but it will work well in making BBQ dishes, like sauce, pulled pork, ribs, and even coleslaw.

You can add the same amount of rice wine vinegar that your recipe calls for.

If you decide to go with rice wine vinegar, try buying it at the local grocery store or an organic market. You can add a bit more sugar if you want as you go, but start without it, as this vinegar is very sweet.

#3. Red Wine Vinegar

This vinegar comes from the fermentation of red wine into acetic acid, so it still has a bit of that fruity flavor from the grapes. You can add it to any dark sauce, like BBQ, or dishes like stews, brisket, pulled pork, or ribs.

Since it comes from sweet fruit, this vinegar isn’t necessarily as acidic, so you should add ½ a tablespoon more for every tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. 

You can find red wine vinegar in any grocery store, usually by the marinades and dressings section. This choice also works great in making salad dressings. If you feel that this choice needs more tartness, add a splash of lime juice as well.

See More: Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes

Best For Pickles, Bone Broth, Sweet and Sour Sauce, and Salad Dressing

#4. White Vinegar

Though this choice isn’t the finest ingredient out there, it does work when it comes to adding acidity. You can add this vinegar when you are pickling, making broth, sweet and sour sauces, or salad dressings. However, you may want to add a splash of lemon juice for a bit of more fruity flavor.

To substitute for apple cider vinegar, use the same amount of white vinegar, but taste as you go and add lemon juice, if necessary. You can buy white vinegar in any grocery or convenience store.

See more: White Wine Vinegar Substitution

#5. Sherry Vinegar

This vinegar is very different from the rest, as it comes from the fermentation of the fortified wine sherry. It still has a tartness to it, but it is also sweet and a bit nutty. You can use it in preparing sauces and marinades, like sweet and sour sauce or salad dressings.

Finding sherry vinegar may be a bit harder, but your local grocery store may have it. This vinegar is great for adding body and color, so try it first, and use it whenever you feel the flavors mix well.

#6. Champagne Vinegar

This vinegar, as the name suggests, is the product of fermenting champagne into acetic acid. The flavor is sharp and a bit tangy, but it also has a little bit of sweetness. This vinegar works great in making sauces, marinades, dressings, and even in some broths.

You can find champagne vinegar in any grocery store, as it is a common addition to salad dressings and vegetable dishes. Substitute apple cider vinegar for the same amount of champagne vinegar, but you may need to add a bit of sweetener as well.


Can apple cider vinegar be used instead of apple cider?

Apple cider is an alcoholic drink, while apple cider vinegar doesn’t contain any alcohol. You can substitute apple cider with the vinegar form, but you have to keep in mind that it won’t add the fizziness or alcohol. Also, the dish may turn too acidic, so you may want to consider another choice. 

Which is stronger, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar?

White vinegar is much stronger in terms of tartness and aroma. Apple cider vinegar is much sweeter and only a bit tart in comparison to regular white vinegar.

Is apple cider vinegar a disinfectant?

Apple cider vinegar is an acetic acid, which is considered a natural disinfectant. While it can be added to homemade cleaners, white vinegar is a stronger cleaner. For the safest results, white vinegar and alcohol should be used.


While many drink apple cider vinegar for health reasons, it is also a common ingredient in plenty of recipes. If you need to find a replacement, try any of these substitutions that work wonders in various dishes, sauces, and marinades. You can even mix some of these for closer results in flavor and aroma.

Up Next: Does apple cider vinegar expire?

apple cider vinegar alternative

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