Don’t have red wine vinegar, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best red wine vinegar substitute to use in recipes.

Red wine vinegar substitute

Making a recipe that calls for red wine vinegar and don’t have it? We got you. Red wine vinegar is made from fermenting red wine, then straining and bottling it. The flavor is tangy, punchy, fruity and robust. You should be able to find it in your local grocery next to the other vinegars. But don’t have time to shop for it? Here are some substitute ideas.

Best red wine vinegar substitute

1. White wine vinegar

The best substitute for red wine vinegar? White wine vinegar! This vinegar is easy to find and you might have it in your cupboard already. It’s not quite as bold as red wine vinegar, but the flavors are very similar. Use it as a 1:1 substitute.

2. Apple cider vinegar

Don’t have white wine vinegar? No problem. The next best red wine vinegar substitute is apple cider vinegar. Its boldness matches that of red wine vinegar, so it makes an especially good substitute.

3. Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar is another good red wine vinegar substitute: the flavor is a bit softer and slightly less tangy. It is medium-bodied and lightly sweet. It’s often used in Spanish cuisine.

4. Champagne vinegar

If you have it, champagne vinegar also works as a substitute! It’s made by fermenting champagne. Note that it is very mild in flavor, so it’s not near the intensity of red wine.

5. Lemon juice (in a pinch)

Don’t have any vinegar in the pantry? In a pinch you can use lemon juice as a substitute. Lemon juice is also acidic and tangy like red wine vinegar. But note that naturally, it tastes like lemon and not like red wine. Lemon juice can work if you’re whisking it into a vinaigrette, but you may find you need to add a little more lemon than the vinegar amount in the recipe (do so to taste).

What not to use as a substitute? We recommend not using balsamic vinegar or distilled white vinegar: they are much too strong.

Here are some recipes where you could use this red wine vinegar substitution:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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