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What Can I Substitute for Red Wine Vinegar?

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Whether you’re working on a gourmet dish or a batch of homemade meatballs, vinegar has always played an important role in culinary history. It also comes in a variety of varietals, each with a particular acidity and taste impact. However, among the various vinegars available, red wine vinegar is one of the most complex. When it’s asked for in a recipe, many people assume they can’t do without it and are trapped if they don’t have it.

However, there are several red wine vinegar replacements available, and we’ve included a few of them below. And they’ll work just as well in your kitchen, whether you’re making a batch of chimichurri or a quick ranch dressing. But, before we get into these alternatives, let’s first define red wine vinegar and how it obtained its distinct taste and tang.

What is Red Wine Vinegar?

What Can I Substitute for Red Wine Vinegar?

Red wine vinegar, as the name suggests, is made from red wine. A vinegar mother or live starter is obtained first, and then put to a mixture of water and red wine. This combination is then placed in a glass jar and allowed to ferment. The alcohol in the wine is oxidized during this process, causing it to ferment. This produces a tart drink that keeps the red wine’s grape taste and color. Red wine vinegar has been used in Mediterranean cuisine for ages, but it has now made its way into cuisines from all around the world.

Uses in Recipes

What Can I Substitute for Red Wine Vinegar?

Red wine vinegar is mostly used to enhance the dish’s moderate acidity and subtle sweetness. It works in a variety of ways and has a wonderful impact in a variety of dishes. It’s most often seen in marinades and vinaigrettes, where its fruity taste enhances flavor while softening tissues in the latter. However, it is also used in cooked meals where its sour flavor increases the umami level of the dish.

With its fruity touch, red wine vinegar also serves to enliven savory foods. It’s also a fantastic pickling ingredient, and its red color enhances the visual appeal of many dishes. Furthermore, the acetic acid and bacterial component of this condiment aid with digestion and blood sugar control.

Red wine vinegar has several applications, some of which are as follows:

  • Potato salad
  • Caramelized onions
  • Pork chops
  • Green salad
  • Poule saut au vinaigre
  • Roasted root veggies
  • Chicken pitta
  • Braised red cabbage
  • Pasta salad
  • Steak dishes
  • Traybake
  • Curries
  • Mexican beef tostadas
  • Meatballs
  • Crunchy fish cups
  • Slow-cooked brisket
  • Prawn and chorizo pasta
  • Duck a lorange
  • Sauted tofu
  • Sauces
  • Marinades
  • Stir-fried broccoli
  • Slaws
  • Greek salad
  • Chimichurri
  • Chicken fricassee
  • Kebabs
  • Beef shin and blue cheese cobbler
  • Gazpachos
  • Crispy chicken
  • Blue cheesecakes
  • Sauted mushrooms
  • Tuna
  • Roasted aubergines
  • Pickling recipes
  • Braised chicken
  • Turkish lamb chops

Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar

It may be inconvenient to require a bottle of red wine vinegar only to discover that you’ve ran out. If this occurs, feel free to try any of the replacements suggested below.

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is the yang to red wine vinegar’s ying. Because both varietals are derived from identical grapes, their taste characteristics are quite similar. They also have a comparable acidity, so white wine vinegar will work just as well in these recipes.

However, keep in mind that this substitution works best when the original component is only needed in little quantities. Furthermore, white wine vinegar lacks the intensity of taste seen in red wine vinegar. However, it may be used in equal parts as required and can be used to braised chicken, sauces, brines, and vinaigrettes.

White Vinegar and Red Wine

Most people use a simple trick to substitute red wine vinegar: combine some white vinegar with a decent bottle of red wine. This combination is versatile; it may be used in practically anything, including salads and vinaigrettes, sautéed vegetables, crispy chicken, marinades, and caramelized meat. While the vinegar provides the necessary acidity and tang, the red wine maintains the final taste faithful to its grape source, resulting in a powerful knockoff that is readily mistaken for the genuine thing.

To make this alternative, mix one part red wine and three parts white vinegar, then set alone for a few hours to allow the flavors to merge. Check to see whether the taste is to your liking, and modify the content as needed.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is another common vinegar element in our cooking. It is often used in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, brines, and sauces, and its unique taste and appearance make it a popular condiment. Because it is created from fermented grape products, it may be used in salad dressings in lieu of red wine vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, is prepared from grape juice and has overtones of fig, molasses, and cherry, as opposed to red wine vinegar. It’s also thicker, sweeter, and darker, so it can’t be used in the same proportions for marinades and pizza sauces. Instead, it should be diluted in equal parts with red wine or white vinegar to make a good red wine vinegar alternative.

Lemon or Lime Juice

If you don’t want to use vinegar, you may substitute lemon or lime juice. This method works best when the dish focuses on the acidity rather than the specific red wine vinegar taste. Lemon and lime juice are very acidic and will perform the same tasks as red wine vinegar in this situation.

Despite having the same acidic levels, lemon juice is sweeter than lime juice and will show up in the recipe, so keep that in mind. And you may use equal quantities of it, particularly when acidifying water in a recipe.

Tamarind Paste

This alternative is made from sour tamarind, so you can anticipate the powerful tangy flavor of red wine vinegar. It is also often used in Asian and Indian recipes, and its taste is similar to that of red wine vinegar. Tamarind paste may sometimes be difficult to locate, since it is mostly offered in specialist shops, but it is a good substitute when you require both acidity and taste.

However, because of its strong taste, tamarind paste works well in marinades for meats. And you only need a little amount of it to replace red wine vinegar (approximately one or two tablespoons). Because of its strong taste, it should only be used in recipes that call for a minimal quantity of red wine vinegar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use instead of red wine in cooking?

Red wine vinegar is an ideal non-alcoholic substitute for red wine in cooking since it is generated from the same base and has comparable taste and acidic consequences.

Are red cooking wine and red wine vinegar the same?

Not exactly, however they are derived from the same source: red grapes. However, red wine vinegar is made from soured red wine, and its distinctive bite comes from sugars transformed to acetic acid.

How much alcohol is in red wine vinegar?

Despite being generated from an alcoholic source, red wine vinegar has no alcohol. The red wine is converted into acetic acid throughout the procedure, which eliminates the presence of alcohol in the finished condiment.


Red wine vinegar is a fantastic condiment to have in the kitchen, so it’s obvious that anybody would be concerned if they ran out. However, these replacements can readily replace it in many meals, so you won’t have to worry about dashing to the grocery store to get a fresh supply. Furthermore, they provide you with a broader choice of selections and the opportunity to discover new possibilities in your diverse gastronomic experiences.


What is the closest vinegar to red wine vinegar?

Vinegar of White Wine

White wine vinegar is prepared in the same way as red wine vinegar, but using white wine instead of red wine. It also tastes the most like red wine vinegar and is hence the ideal substitute if you don’t have any on hand. Use a 1:1 ratio of white wine vinegar.

How do I substitute red vinegar?

Juice of lime.The Best White Wine Vinegar Substitutes for Simple Red Wine Vinegar. While the color difference is noticeable, the flavor characteristics of red and white wine vinegars are surprisingly similar.
Vinegar made from apple cider.
Vinegar of Sherry.
Vinegar made from rice wine.
Vinegar de Champagne.

Is lemon a good substitute for red wine vinegar?

Do you lack vinegar in your pantry? In a pinch, lemon juice might be substituted. Lemon juice, like red wine vinegar, is acidic and tart. However, it should be noted that it naturally tastes like lemon rather than red wine.

Can I substitute red wine vinegar for white vinegar?

The fundamental distinction here is one of hue. While white wine vinegar blends effortlessly into a creamy salad dressing, red wine vinegar gives it a reddish color. If you don’t mind the color change, feel free to substitute equal amounts red wine vinegar in any recipe that asks for white wine vinegar.

Can I use apple cider vinegar mother to make red wine vinegar?

At this point, there are three critical points to consider: You can make a vinegar mother in one kind of alcohol and then utilize it to make vinegar from other types of alcohol. (For example, an apple cider vinegar mother will easily convert red wine to red wine vinegar, and vice versa.)

What is the difference between red wine vinegar and regular vinegar?

Red wine vinegar is manufactured from, you guessed it, red wine. This suggests that the secondary taste (hidden under all that acidity) is fruit. Red wine vinegar is the punchiest of the wine vinegars, with more vivid grape taste. The taste is spicy and forceful, rather than subtle.

How much apple cider vinegar to substitute for red wine vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar has a stronger flavor since it is made from fermented apples. It’s also lot more fruity, but it’s still a good red wine vinegar alternative for marinades, salads, and pickling. Because of its intensity, a 3:1 ratio for every four tablespoons of red wine vinegar in a dish is advised.

Is balsamic the same as red wine vinegar?

Red wine vinegar has a thin, liquid consistency, but balsamic vinegar is thick and syrupy. Balsamic vinegar, unlike red wine vinegar, goes directly to the vinegar stage and never becomes a wine. As a consequence, balsamic vinegar is softer and sweeter. Here’s a brief way on distinguishing between the two.

Is red wine vinegar interchangeable?

Yes. If you have cider vinegar and red wine on hand, you may easily produce a red wine vinegar replacement. And, after much research, I realized that if all you need is flavor and taste, you can replace the red wine vinegar with simply red wine.

What does red wine vinegar do for a recipe?

What Are the Culinary Applications of Red Wine Vinegar? Wine vinegars provide a mid-level acidity and delicate sweetness to almost everything. Chef Alice Waters favors red wine vinegar for salads, drizzling it over everything from a green salad to a vinegary French potato salad.

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