Are you a fan of the tangy and slightly sweet flavors in your dishes?
Then check out these red wine vinegar substitutes to add some zing to your cooking!
Red wine vinegar is a staple ingredient across different cuisines for its amazing flavor.
It has a tart, acidic bite with a hint of sweetness that adds complexity to everything from salad dressing to pasta.
Unfortunately, red wine vinegar can be expensive and hard to find.
Luckily, several options work well in most dishes. It just depends on what you’re making.
Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes
If you’re a fan of red wine vinegar, you know what a terrific ingredient it is.
It’s made from fermented red wine mixed with starter culture and acidic bacteria until it’s sour.
Doesn’t sound tasty, but it’s excellent in marinades, salad dressings, and sauces. Plus, it pairs well with fresh veggies and red meat.
So to find the right alternatives, you need something with a blend of tart, sweet, fruity, and acidic notes.
It’s hard to find a perfect swap, but I think you’ll enjoy the options below.
Try them out and let me know which you prefer!
1. Red Wine + White Wine Vinegar
As you might’ve guessed, this is the closest taste-alike to red wine vinegar you’ll find.
And it’s the best alternative that captures the complex flavors without spending too much.
The white wine vinegar packs in plenty of acidity and crisp fruitiness, while the red wine adds a deep hue and subtle sweetness.
Throw this into marinades, salad dressings, and rich reductions, and you won’t even notice the difference.
Just remember to buy red cooking wine. There’s no need to waste that Château Margaux on a salad dressing!
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 1/2 tablespoon of red wine + 1 1/2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a staple in many kitchens.
And for a good reason! It’s super cheap and has a rich flavor that complements a variety of dishes.
One of the best ways to use it is as an alternative to red wine vinegar.
It’s budget-friendly, loaded with all the right flavor notes, and has such a lovely color.
That said, it’s not quite as acidic. And while it’s just as fruity, it’s very apple-forward.
You could use this with a splash of red wine if you like. But if you want something really easy, it’s a simple swap on its own.
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
3. Balsamic Vinegar + White Wine Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a fantastic ingredient that can be used in many different ways.
But did you know it’s also a great substitute for red wine vinegar?
That’s right – this pantry staple recreates the flavors of red wine vinegar with just a bit more of an aromatic kick.
It’s fruitier and sweeter than red wine vinegar, but it’s less acidic.
To make up for that, I suggest adding a splash of white wine vinegar. It’ll bring that crisp zing you get from red wine vinegar.
But if you don’t mind it more mellow, just use it as is. It’s terrific in salads, dressings, and marinades.
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar + 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
4. White Wine Vinegar
I’ve already mentioned this a couple of times, but it deserves a mention on its own.
White wine vinegar might be more mellow than its red counterpart, but it’s a fantastic substitute when you don’t have anything else.
It has a similar flavor, but it’s less acidic. And, obviously, the color isn’t there.
But for salads and sauces, you’ll still get a zippy finish with hints of fruit.
Better yet, it’s not as likely to overpower the dish. So you may find you enjoy this more.
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
5. Sherry Vinegar
If you’re a fan of tangy dishes, sherry vinegar is a perfect red wine vinegar replacement.
It adds the same sour, acidic punch to your meals with a slightly sweet, fruity taste.
This substitute has a similar flavor profile but leans on the sweeter side.
Still, it has a rich, deep flavor that’s perfect for everything from salad dressings and marinades to vinaigrettes.
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar.
6. Rice Vinegar
If you’re looking for an alternative to red wine vinegar, rice vinegar is a great choice.
It’s made from fermented rice starches and has a milder flavor than other swaps on the list.
But this Asian cuisine staple does have an acidic finish, making it an ideal alternative.
Plus, it’s amazing with marinades and pickled veggies.
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 2 1/2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
7. Lemon/Lime Juice
How do you get tangy flavor without buying a bottle of red wine vinegar? With lemon or lime juice, of course!
Citrus is naturally acidic with a fun and fruity kick of tang and zestiness. Better yet, it’s crazy cheap!
That said, this substitute will likely change the flavor of your dish entirely. So if your recipe won’t be complemented by citrus, use another alternative.
One thing’s for sure, though, it will brighten any dish.
How to Substitute: Swap 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.
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