When not specified, how do I know whether to use white or cider vinegar in a recipe? I usually just guess on whether I want a sweeter taste or not. —S.H., Madison, AlabamaRecipes often call for the particular type of vinegar needed. If a recipe does not specify the type, use a vinegar that fits the particular recipe. White vinegar has a sharp harsh flavor and is generally used for pickling and in recipes where a clean strong taste is desired. Cider vinegar, made from apples, has a faint fruity flavor and is used in recipes where a slightly milder vinegar flavor is preferred. As a general rule, if more sharpness is desired, use white vinegar. If a milder flavor is desired, use cider vinegar.