Making a recipe that calls for red wine vinegar and only to realize that you are all out? That can be so frustrating, but there are some substitutes that you can use in place of it that won’t change the taste much if at all.
Many recipes call for some kind of acid and the likelihood of you having all the varieties of vinegar in your pantry is unlikely, but substituting one acid for another usually works out just fine.
Best substitutes for red wine vinegar
There are so many options that can save you when you are in a bind. An acid is an acid but they do all have their own distinct flavor.
I always say you need 4 things to get the good flavor in your food. Those 4 things are heat, salt, acid, and fat. So as long as you substitute your red wine vinegar with another acid and not just omit it you will ok and your dish will be good.
You can always use another vinegar as a substitute and then add in a little bit of red wine to keep the profiles as close as you can.
With that being said, here are some great substitutions for rice wine vinegar.
1. White wine vinegar
White wine vinegar is very similar in taste to red wine vinegar. Other than being yellowish in color rather than red, the taste is close to unnoticeable.
You can add red wine to it to keep the bold flavor and color as you will find the white wine vinegar to be milder. When substituting white wine vinegar for red wine vinegar the ratios stay the same.
If the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar then you would add the same when using white wine vinegar.
2. Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar offers the acidity needed to substitute but it is sweeter and richer than red wine vinegar.
When substituting with balsamic you want to add in a smaller amount than your recipe calls for and add in as needed until you get the right flavor. Adding in teaspoon by teaspoon works best.
3. Sherry vinegar
Although it is a little milder and has a bit of a nutty flavor, Sherry vinegar can be used as a substitute when you are in a jam and don’t have red wine vinegar on hand.
It will really enhance rich flavors and add that vinegar taste much like red wine vinegar. You will want to add in a little at a time much like using balsamic or apple cider vinegar.
You won’t notice much of a difference in your dish when using Sherry as a substitute.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great option to use instead of red wine vinegar. It tends to be a little more fruity so you want to start off adding less than the recipe calls for.
There are great health benefits to using apple cider vinegar and it also adds a good punch when you use it in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
5. Lemon juice
You will want to be careful using lemon juice as a substitute. It adds the acid that you get from your red wine vinegar but it also will change the flavor of your dish a little.
It can add in a sour note if you use too much. Add in a little bit, let it render, and then taste to see if you need more. If you are going for a bold-flavored dish, I don’t recommend using lemon.
This will be great with fish, chicken, dressings and some sauces, depending on the flavor goal.
6. Red wine
So you may not have red wine vinegar on hand but if you have red wine you can definitely add it to keep that same flavor. If you want to really mimic the same flavor add in 1 part red wine to 2 parts vinegar of choice. to your recipe.
This will give you the closest outcome to the original recipe. I mean it is red wine and vinegar. Again, don’t go overboard though, add it is slow to be sure you achieve the same taste.
7. Rice wine vinegar
A versatile vinegar used widely in Asian cuisines. This is a comparable substitute for red wine vinegar. It is sweet and acidic but is subtle.
You can use this as a 1:1 ratio and it won’t change the flavor much if at all. Add in a little red wine if you want to have the color but otherwise, it is a great option.
This is a vinegar that I use all the time.
Substitute chart for red wine vinegar
|White Wine Vinegar||Closest substitue|
|Balsamic Vinegar||Sweet and lightly acidic|
|Sherry Vinegar||Nutty and sweet|
|Apple Cider Vinegar||Fruity and acidic|
|Lemon juice||Sour and acidic|
|Red Wine||Same flavor – Mild|
|Rice Vinegar||Tangy and acidic|
Red Wine Vinegar Substitute (7 Best Substitutions)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
White wine vinegar
- Add the same amount that calls for red wine. If you have some red wine on hand you can add a little of that also.
- Use less than the recipe calls for red wine. I like to add and taste to make sure it doesnt over power the dish.
- I would use the same amount it will just have a bit of a nutty flavor.
Apple cider vinegar
- Same use equal parts, it might bring a little more of a freshness to the dish.
- All the citrus is a great options. Squeese a lemon to the same amount that is called for in your recipe.
- Add one part red wine to 2 parts vinegar.
Rice wine vinegar
- Use the same amount that the recipe calls for. I find this to be a great substiture.