Mild and lightly sour, white wine vinegar works in an assortment of foods, and the closest substitutes have the same mild characteristics and versatility. Some other vinegars and acidic liquids may change the taste of the foods you use them in, but the end result will still taste good.

Tips

Although some vinegars will change the flavor of your dishes, you can substitute any vinegar for white wine vinegar on a 1-to-1 basis.

Use a mild vinegars as you would a white wine vinegar, in dressings for delicate lettuce, such as butter lettuce, for sprinkling on light-tasting foods, such as avocados or baked leeks, or in a cream sauce to top shellfish or artichokes.

  • Champagne vinegar. Made from champagne, this vinegar is as mild as white wine vinegar and has a more fruity but delicate flavor.
  • Rice wine vinegar. This vinegar has less acidity than either champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar. 

Use a teaspoon or two less of a strong vinegar than you would white wine vinegar, whether you sprinkle the vinegar over vegetables, potato salad or risotto or use it to give more tang to cream sauces for fish or poultry.

  • White vinegar and cider vinegar. Both of these vinegars are more acidic than white wine vinegar and have stronger flavors.
  • Red wine vinegar. This vinegar has a strong bold flavor and high acidity. It adds more flavor than white wine vinegar for any use.
  • Balsamic vinegar. Available in dark and white varieties, aged balsamic vinegar has more sweetness and a stronger flavor than white wine vinegar, but it has a low acid level. Balsamic vinegars change the flavor — and with dark balsamic, the color — of the dishes you cook.  It works for dishes where stronger flavors don’t matter, such as salad dressings or sauces for poultry.
  • Specialty vinegars. Tarragon, sherry,  raspberry and other herb or fruit vinegars have distinctive flavors that substitute for white wine vinegar in salad dressings and some sauces, depending on whether the fruit or herb pairs with the chicken or vegetable it accompanies.

Tips

Store open bottles of vinegar in your cupboard for three to six months to retain the most flavor.

  • Lemon or lime juice. Use either of these on a 1-to-1 basis when you substitute for white wine vinegar in any dish, but be aware that you will bring a strong  lemon or lime flavor to your salad dressing or sauce.
  • White wine. White wine has less acid than white wine vinegar, but a strong flavor all its own. It substitutes best for white wine vinegar in sauces for chicken or fish but is too strong for substituting in salad dressings.