Apple vinegar

White wine vinegar adds mild and lightly sour flavor to an assortment of foods, and the closest substitutes have similar characteristics and versatility. Although other vinegars lend different flavors, you can substitute any vinegar for white wine vinegar at a 1:1 ratio.

Mild Vinegars

Use a mild vinegar for light salad dressings, for sprinkling on subtle-tasting foods like 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 fruitier but delicate flavor.
  • Rice wine vinegar: This vinegar has less acidity than champagne vinegar and white wine vinegar.

Strong Vinegars

A stronger vinegar is good for adding tang to vegetables, potato salad, risotto or cream sauces for fish or poultry. Use 1 to 2 teaspoon less than you would white wine vinegar.

  • White vinegar: Regular white vinegar is more acidic and has a stronger flavor than white wine vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar: ACV is also more acidic and stronger tasting than white wine vinegar.
  • Red wine vinegar: This vinegar has a strong, bold flavor and high acidity.
  • 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 totally transform the flavor—and with dark balsamic, the color—of a recipe. It works for dishes in which stronger flavors are welcome, such as rich salad dressings or poultry sauces.
  • 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 meat or vegetable it accompanies.

Other Substitutes

  • Lemon or lime juice: If citrus flavor is appropriate for your recipe, use lemon or lime juice in place of white wine vinegar at a 1:1 ratio.
  • White wine: White wine has less acid than white wine vinegar, but a strong flavor all its own. It subs in best for white wine vinegar in sauces for chicken or fish but is too strong for salad dressings.


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