What Is A Substitute For Red Wine Vinegar

As a wine enthusiast, I often use red wine vinegar in my recipes for its sharp and sour flavor. But sometimes, I run out of this essential ingredient and need to look for an alternative. In this piece, I will discuss different options you can utilize as substitutes for red wine vinegar in your cooking. However, let me first explain what red wine vinegar is and its role in culinary practices.

What is Red Wine Vinegar?

Red wine vinegar is made from red wine that has been fermented. It undergoes a two-step process: first, the alcohol in the wine is converted into acetic acid by bacteria. Then, the acetic acid is further fermented to create vinegar. The result is a tangy and flavorful vinegar that adds depth to dishes.

Red wine vinegar is commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. Its acidity helps balance the flavors in the dish and adds a bright, tart note. It pairs well with a variety of ingredients, making it a versatile staple in many kitchens.

Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar

While red wine vinegar has a distinct flavor profile, there are several alternatives that can be used in its place. Keep in mind that the substitution may alter the taste slightly, but these alternatives can still provide a similar acidity and tanginess to your dishes.

1. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, syrupy vinegar with a sweet and tangy flavor. It is made from grapes, similar to red wine vinegar, but undergoes a different fermentation process. Balsamic vinegar adds a rich, complex taste to dishes and works well in salad dressings and marinades.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider. It has a fruity and slightly sweet flavor, which can be a good substitute for the tartness of red wine vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is commonly used in salad dressings, pickling, and marinades.

3. White Wine Vinegar

If you don’t have red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar can be a suitable replacement. It is made from white wine and has a milder flavor compared to its red counterpart. White wine vinegar works well in vinaigrettes, marinades, and sauces.

4. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can provide the acidity needed in place of red wine vinegar. It has a bright and citrusy flavor that can enhance the taste of your dishes. However, keep in mind that lemon juice will also add a distinct lemon flavor, so it may not be suitable for all recipes.

5. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is made from sherry wine and has a complex, nutty flavor. It can be a good substitute for red wine vinegar, especially in dishes where you want a more pronounced flavor. Sherry vinegar works well in dressings, sauces, and braised dishes.


While red wine vinegar is a popular ingredient in many recipes, there are several alternatives that can be used when you run out. Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and sherry vinegar can all provide a similar acidic and tangy flavor to your dishes. Experiment with these substitutes and find the one that best suits your taste preferences and the specific recipe you are making. Happy cooking!