Can White Wine Vinegar Be Substituted For White Wine

Can white wine vinegar be used in place of white wine in cooking recipes? Known for its versatile usage, white wine vinegar adds a sour and acidic flavor to many recipes. But, what if you’re out of white wine? Let’s explore this topic and look into other options.

As a wine enthusiast and avid cook, I’ve encountered this dilemma quite a few times. While white wine vinegar and white wine may both come from the same source – grapes – they have distinct differences in terms of taste, acidity, and flavor complexity. Therefore, substituting one for the other requires careful consideration.

The first thing to consider is the acidity level. White wine vinegar is much more acidic than white wine. This higher acidity can have a significant impact on the overall flavor of your dish. If you’re using it in a marinade or sauce that requires a tart and tangy taste, then white wine vinegar could work well as a substitute.

However, if you’re using white wine as a cooking liquid to deglaze a pan or add flavor to a dish, the acidity of white wine vinegar may overpower the other ingredients and throw off the balance. In these cases, it’s best to opt for a milder white wine or even a dry vermouth.

Another important factor to consider is the flavor profile. White wine vinegar has a strong, pungent flavor with a hint of sweetness. On the other hand, white wine offers a more delicate and nuanced taste, with notes of fruit, flowers, and sometimes even oak. If the flavor of white wine is an integral part of your recipe, using white wine vinegar as a substitute may alter the overall taste.

When substituting white wine vinegar for white wine, it’s crucial to dilute it with water to reduce the acidity. The general rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar diluted with 3 tablespoons of water for every 1/4 cup of white wine required in the recipe. This will help to mimic the milder acidity and flavor complexity of white wine.

Personal touches and commentary:

Having experimented with substituting white wine vinegar for white wine in my own kitchen, I’ve found that it can work well in certain dishes. For example, in a classic recipe like Coq au Vin, where the acidity of white wine is essential for tenderizing the meat and adding depth to the sauce, substituting white wine vinegar can yield a satisfactory result.

However, in more delicate dishes like a creamy risotto or a light seafood pasta, where the subtle flavors of white wine are meant to shine, I would advise against using white wine vinegar as a substitute. The overpowering acidity and strong flavor could overpower the dish and take away from the intended taste.


In conclusion, while white wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for white wine in certain recipes, it’s important to consider the acidity level and flavor profile of the vinegar. Diluting it with water and using it in dishes that can handle its strong taste are key factors to keep in mind. However, in recipes that rely on the delicate flavors of white wine, it’s best to use a milder white wine or seek an alternative like dry vermouth. As with any substitution, it’s always a good idea to experiment and adjust according to your taste preferences.