White wine vinegar is essential for cooking certain dishes, particularly if you are preparing a big French family meal.
However, we sometimes don’t have this specific kind of vinegar, and unfortunately, it is not very common in every grocery store. Don’t worry though as there are many options you can try to substitute white wine vinegar.
Vinegar is great for several things, like peeling a hard-boiled egg or tenderizing the protein in the meat you are cooking or even just for adding acid to your meal.
But if your recipe calls for white wine vinegar, you may want to know what other options can replace it without altering the flavor or effect it is meant to have.
First things first.
What is white wine vinegar?
This type of vinegar is made from fermented white wine. It is common in pickled foods, deglazes, sauces, and marinades. If you like French food, you have probably used it in stews, and in some famous sauces like Hollandaise and Béarnaise.
The flavor in this type of vinegar is milder and the acid level in it is also less than other kinds of vinegar, like plain white vinegar. That’s why using white wine vinegar is the right choice in certain cases, but there are other options out there that you can consider if you run out of this vinegar or when you can’t find any in stores.
These are the best white wine vinegar alternatives you can find:
#1. Red Wine Vinegar
This option is made from red wine, so it has a very similar acidity level to white wine vinegar. However, this vinegar is slightly stronger than white wine vinegar and it does have a red color, which will make your meal appear slightly browner if it contains pale or white ingredients.
Because of the similar taste, you can change red wine vinegar for the same amount called in your recipe without a problem. Usually, this kind of vinegar is used in stews, steak sauces, and marinades, but you can use it when you don’t have any other option.
#2. Champagne Vinegar
As you have probably guessed by now, this vinegar is made from the fermentation of champagne. It is a very light and delicate choice, which means that the flavor is also milder, so you add about half more of this vinegar to substitute white wine vinegar. For example, if your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, then you should add two and ½ tablespoons of champagne vinegar.
You can almost always find this type of vinegar as a dressing for salads, but it can be a good addition to your chicken or fish marinade. Some stores even sell it already pre-mixed with olive or herb oils.
#3. White Rice Vinegar
White rice vinegar is made from fermented white rice, and it is a staple in Asian foods, particularly in soups, stir-frys, and in the preparation of dishes like dumplings. It also has a milder flavor, so it is a good way to substitute for white wine vinegar when you need to.
You can add the white rice vinegar in the same amount of white wine vinegar, but consider that this choice doesn’t have that tangy flavor that you get from wine, so you may want to add more if necessary.
#4. Cider Vinegar
Also called apple cider vinegar, this option is made from fermented apples, and it does pack a more acidic kick to it. Usually, people use cider vinegar for pickling vegetables, in marinades, chutneys, and even as a homemade remedy for gastric problems.
Because this vinegar is more acidic, you should be careful when adding it to your recipe, as the flavor profile could change. We recommend that you try it first and see if it’ll be a good choice when mixed with the rest of the ingredients. If you think it is good to go, then consider changing it for the same amount, or perhaps a little bit less.
#5. Balsamic Vinegar
This is maybe one of the best-known types of vinegar, and it has been around since the Middle Ages. It is made from the juice of wine grapes and it is traditionally from the Modena and Reggio Emilia regions in Italy. This vinegar is used in marinades, dips, risottos, vegetables, and as part of salad dressings.
While you can substitute it for equal parts, the flavor of this vinegar is stronger and sweeter, so it may alter your results. Also, the appearance will change because balsamic vinegar is darker in color, and it will dye your food. If you need a more acidic flavor, add a bit of lemon or lime juice when using it.
#6. White Vinegar
This is the most common vinegar, which you will find almost everywhere. This type of vinegar though is much more acidic than any of these previous options, and it should be used carefully. For better results, you should add water and sugar when replacing it for white wine vinegar.
White vinegar has been used before to add acidity to dishes, but it can also be used to clean and disinfect kitchen tools. It has a very powerful smell and flavor, so be careful if you do pick this as a substitute.
There is a small trace of alcohol in white wine vinegar, but the amount is extremely small, but it isn’t enough for it to count. The alcohol of white wine is used up in the fermentation process, which is why it has that acidic final flavor.
That is up to you! But white wine vinegar is easy to use and can be added to marinades, sauces, dressings, and when pickling foods. This vinegar works better with white meats, like fish and chicken.
Making your own white wine vinegar is actually possible and simple. You might have actually made one already when you accidentally left a wine bottle open for weeks. The vinegar is made by simply leaving a bottle of wine (usually ¾-full) open, and let the natural oxidation do all the works. To keep it clean, you may alternatively use a piece of thin cloth to cover the opening.
White wine vinegar is not the only choice out there for your recipes, so you may consider these alternatives and try them out before adding them.
Some of these have a very similar flavor to white wine vinegar, others though, are more acidic and darker, which can create a different final product. Don’t worry if you run out or can’t find white wine vinegar, your recipe will work with any of these substitutes.
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