5 Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes

Don't have what you need in the pantry? Find the right red wine vinegar substitute on our list below.

Pickles, salad dressing and sauces like chimichurri wouldn’t be the same without red wine vinegar.

It’s one of several types of vinegar, but this one is unique. It has an unmistakable sharp, tangy flavor and its bright red color turns vegetables a pinkish hue, making it an ideal choice when pickling vegetables.

But what if your recipe calls for red wine vinegar and you don’t have it? Use any of these options as a good red wine vinegar substitute.

Red Wine + White Wine Vinegar

If you don’t have any red wine vinegar on hand, the best substitution is a combination of white wine vinegar and red cooking wine. The red wine brings sweetness and color while the white vinegar brings acidity and tang. To use this substitution, mix the two liquids in equal parts (2 tablespoons red wine vinegar = 1 tablespoon red wine + 1 tablespoon white vinegar).

White Wine Vinegar

When color isn’t important, or if you don’t want to add alcohol to the mix, use white wine vinegar as a straight substitute for red wine vinegar. The two have a similar acidity, so you can substitute in equal parts without modifying the recipe. Even though white wine vinegar has a milder flavor, it’s extremely difficult to tell the difference between the two in a marinade or salad dressing.

Sherry Vinegar

This vinegar is made from fortified wine, so it’s a little sweeter than red wine vinegar. It’s also aged in oak barrels, giving it a unique, almost savory flavor. Sherry vinegar makes an especially suitable substitute for red wine vinegar in any recipe where the vinegar is cooked, like pan sauces, soups or stews.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar isn’t as sharp or tangy as red wine vinegar, but it does have a similar fruit-forward flavor. To compensate for the lack of acidity, you might need to use slightly more than the original recipe. Alternatively, you can cut back on the sugar in recipes like quick pickles to amplify the acidic vibes.

Lemon Juice

In a pinch, lemon or lime juice will work as a red wine vinegar substitute. Citrus juice has a completely different flavor profile, though, so it’s not our first choice. That said, using lemon juice will bring an acidic brightness to the dish that you may find more pleasing than the original recipe!

We recommend this substitution if you’re only using a small quantity, like in coleslaw dressing or in a marinade.

Ways to Use Your Red Wine Vinegar Substitute

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Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.