Substitutes for Malt Vinegar

By Dana Poblete

Malt vinegar lends a rich, nuanced flavor to recipes. It's made by brewing malted barley in a process similar to beer brewing. Like wine vinegar, malt vinegar is strong, flavorful, and improves with age. If a recipe calls for malt vinegar but you don't have any or you have a sensitivity to barley, you can sub in other types of vinegar and condiments.

Various types of vinegar
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Various types of vinegar

Wine or Cider Vinegar

unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar
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Apple cider vinegar

To substitute for malt vinegar in marinades, use a strong grape or red wine vinegar that's been aged. For those who can't consume malt vinegar due to dietary sensitivities, an aged, high-quality apple cider vinegar is an excellent gluten-free alternative. The flavor notes won't be exactly the same, but the impact will be similar.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar
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Balsamic vinegar

Malt vinegar is a popular dipping sauce for the British dish of fish and chips as well as French fries in other parts of the world such as Canada. A quality balsamic vinegar is a great substitute in these scenarios. Blend it with olive oil and other spices for a dynamic vinaigrette.

Other Substitutes

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Lemon juice

Because it's also tart, lemon juice can pass for malt vinegar in baked dishes. You can try a blend of lemon and lime extract as well.