If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a recipe that calls for red wine vinegar and discovered you’re all out, there’s no need to worry. Chances are, you have a suitable substitute in your pantry. Often used in marinades, salad dressings, and stews, red wine vinegar adds a pleasant tanginess to many dishes.
There are several kinds of vinegars on grocery shelves these days. From basic distilled white vinegar to rich balsamic vinegar to light and fruity champagne vinegar, they all offer different flavors that truly make a dish pop!
We’ve gathered seven of the best substitutes for red wine vinegar that are easy to use in a pinch.
Can I Use Vinegar Instead of Red Wine Vinegar in Recipes?
If you have some red wine on hand, a great option is to mix a bit of the red wine with some white vinegar. Start with 1 part red wine to 3 parts vinegar. So for every tablespoon of red wine, add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. It’s best to let the mixture sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.
What Tastes Similar to Red Wine Vinegar?
It may surprise you but tamarind paste has a taste that’s similar to red wine. Note that it’s not a vinegar and isn’t an appropriate substitute for everything because of its flavor. It’s a good idea to start with less, for example a teaspoon or two. Tamarind does work well as a meat tenderizer. You can find tamarind paste in Asian and Indian grocery stores. White wine vinegar has a similar acidity to red wine vinegar but the flavor is slightly less intense. You can replace red wine vinegar with an equal amount of white wine vinegar in your recipes.
Best Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar
1. Sherry Vinegar
This vinegar is made from sherry wine and is sweeter than red wine vinegar, so you may need to adjust for the added sweetness it brings to your recipe. Swap it in any recipe at a ratio of 1:1.
2. White Wine Vinegar
Made from fermented white wine, this vinegar has a flavor that’s a little less intense than red wine vinegar. You can use this substitute at a 1:1 ratio.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This fruity vinegar packs more of a flavorful punch. Depending on what you’re making, you may want to slightly reduce the amount of vinegar called for in your recipe, or mix the apple cider vinegar with a little red wine. You can start with a 1:1 ratio with a pinch of sugar for every 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
4. Champagne Vinegar
This mild and floral vinegar won’t alter the taste of your recipes, but you may need to use more to achieve the kick of flavor you want. Use it in place of red wine vinegar at a 1:1 ratio to start, and add a touch more as required.
5. Lemon Juice
Because of its acidity and tanginess, lemon juice can be used in place of red wine vinegar. The acidity of the fruit is a good match to the acidity of the vinegar, but it does include a citrus taste. Add 2 parts lemon juice for every 1 part vinegar.
6. Balsamic Vinegar
Made from fermented grape juice, balsamic vinegar has undertones of molasses, fig and cherry. It’s also thicker, darker and sweeter than red wine vinegar so you may need to adjust the sweetness in your recipe. If you’re making a salad dress, a 1:1 ratio should work. For marinades or for pizza, dilute it using a 1:1 ratio of either white vinegar or red wine.
7. Rice Vinegar
Often used to make sushi rice, pickled vegetables and marinades, rice vinegar is sweet and tangy but milder than red wine vinegar. You may need to add a little extra rice vinegar to your recipe.
What are Some Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar?
Citrus juices like lemon or lime are naturally acidic and can be used in place of red wine vinegar. However, because of their different flavor profile, they are best used as a substitute for red wine vinegar in marinades and salad dressings.
Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitute Recipe
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Sherry vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Rice vinegar
- Lemon juice
- For white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar, use a 1:1 ratio and add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar for every 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar.
- For rice wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and champagne vinegar, use a 1:1 ratio to substitute.
- For the lemon juice, use 2 parts lemon/lime juice for every 1 part of vinegar.