Red Wine Vinegar Substitute – 8 Smart Alternatives

red wine vinegar substitute

In cooking, ingredient substitution is something you must be adept at handling. Imagine, you are all out of red wine vinegar but you can’t get it very soon. Stop panicking! In this article, I’ve got a list of red wine vinegar substitutes that you can comfortably use. 

I’m sure at least one of these substitutes you already have in your pantry.

Remember, the choice of vinegar substitute depends on the demands of the recipe and its flavor.

What is red wine vinegar anyway?

Usually, vinegars are made by fermenting a carbohydrate source into alcohol. The strong aroma of the vinegar is induced acetobacter bacteria that convert alcohol into acetic acid.

Red wine vinegar is produced by fermenting red wine.

Many of us like to relish the pungent and vibrant grape flavor of red wine vinegar in recipes, besides having many other household uses.

In cooking, it’s popularly used for salad dressing and marinades. Also, this vinegar can bring added flavor to your dishes made of pork, beef, or vegetables.

French foodies love to have it for vinaigrettes and marinades.

Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes

Now the question arises, ‘what can I substitute in place of red wine vinegar?’ Fortunately, you have a couple of good replacement from wine sources and other vinegars. Here are the best alternatives I’ve found:

1. Red Wine

As you know, red wine is the source of red wine vinegar. Therefore, red wine is a natural substitute for the wine vinegar in some recipes.

You can use seasoned red wine in marinade or vinaigrette recipes that require red wine vinegar.

Red wine may not work for salad dressing for it won’t emulsify without vinegar. So for this reason, some prefer to use a mixture of red wine and white wine vinegar to get it right.

In short, you cannot use red wine as a substitute for red wine vinegar in recipes that needs the acidic properties of vinegar.

2. White Wine Vinegar

Red and white wines are different so is also the red and white wine vinegar. Yet they both retain the aroma of grapes.

Though they both differ in color, they have a closely matching flavor profile that is difficult to distinguish.

White wine vinegar is light and more delicate in flavor and not suitable for use in red meat.

Also, you can recreate the flavor of red wine vinegar by using a mixture of red wine and white wine vinegar.

Use white wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio instead of red wine vinegar.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Both apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar share a fruity flavor. One has the apple flavor and the other has grapes flavor.

The sweetness and acidic properties of both these vinegars are quite the same. In fact, in most cases, you won’t even notice the difference between them in a finished dish.

Substitute 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with a mix of 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon red wine. This combination of apple cider vinegar and red wine works just like the red wine vinegar.

4. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is gourmet wine vinegar made from Sherry.

Due to its aging in barrels this vinegar has a dark amber color with some shades of mahogany and its aroma contains hints of nuts and wood.

It works best in vinaigrettes and also used instead of wine to deglaze pans or to add a little burst of flavor to stews, sauces, and soups.

The flavor is less harsh and acidic. While substituting sherry vinegar for red wine vinegar, use it in a little more quantity.

5. Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is slightly sweeter and milder than red wine vinegar.

The tangy flavor of rice wine vinegar is quite the same as red wine vinegar.

As a substitution for red winder vinegar, rice vinegar is best suited for sauces, marinades, stir-fries, French fries, and pickling.

Due to its subdued flavor, kick-off by using a 1:1 ratio for substitution. If required, you can add more rice vinegar until you obtain the desired flavor of red wine vinegar.

6. Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is another wine vinegar. It is a mild, floral vinegar typically made from pinot noir grapes and Chardonnay.

You’ll love it as it’s slightly sweeter and less harsh than red wine vinegar.

Works well for salad dressings and marinades. Just like the red wine vinegar, it gives heartier flavor to beef, pork, and vegetables.

For being a mild vinegar, use a little more quantity of this vinegar when using as a replacement for red wine vinegar else your dish would taste a little flat.

7. Lemon / Lime Juice

Lemon or lime juice contains citric acid but vinegars have acetic acid. There is no connection between the flavor profile of lemon juice and red wine vinegar.

However, lemon juice is a universal substitute for all types of vinegar.

You can easily use lemon juice in lieu of red wine vinegar if it does not matter for the flavor profile of your recipe.

The acidity or sourness of lemon/lime brightens the flavor of food just like red wine vinegar does. Use lemon juice in place of red wine vinegar, the quantity of substitution depends on the level of acidy required for recipe.

8. Tamarind Paste

Lastly, when you are left with nothing as a substitute for red wine vinegar, just use tamarind paste. It works as a fantastic alternative to vinegar, especially in savory dishes.

The protein denaturing properties of tamarind is useful for marinating seafood. Many of the Asian cuisines have tamarind as a staple ingredient for marinating and sour flavor.

The Bottom Line

Red wine vinegar is a staple of Italian and American salad dressings and also pairs nicely in marinated fish and meat recipes.

To my findings, the best substitute for red wine vinegar is equal parts of white vinegar and red wine. If you dislike alcohol, then try a mix of grape juice and white vinegar.

White wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, all can be substituted for red wine vinegar.

Use the substitutes wisely according to the flavor profile of your recipe.

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