Finding a proper sherry vinegar substitute takes work. Honestly, no other vinegar or ingredient perfectly mimics its complex flavor.
However, when your recipe demands sherry vinegar, and you don’t have it, you could be looking for a suitable replacement.
In this article, you’ll read about a few worthy alternatives to it—just enough to save your recipe.
Best Substitutes for Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is less common than others and is valued for its exotic profile and delicious caramel notes.
If you are in a pinch or can’t find it in your nearby grocery stores, here are some excellent replacements worth considering:
1. Rice Wine Vinegar
Rice wine vinegar from fermented rice has a similar acidity and flavor profile. One is made from grape wine, but the other is made from rice wine. Overall, it’s a great substitute for sherry vinegar that you can lay your hands on.
It is popular in East Asian cooking, like sushi rice, sauces, and meat dishes.
In terms of cost, this one is much cheaper.
Use rice wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar for sauces, marinades, and vinaigrettes. It can also add flavor to your introductory course or be used for pickling vegetables.
Use it in a 1:1 ratio in any recipe that requires the former. Even an ingredient equivalent to rice vinegar can be used if unavailable.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is made by fermenting the sugar in apples. It has a moderately complex flavor with the fruity taste of apples.
Unlike SV, ACV is readily available and much cheaper as well.
The downside of using ACV instead of sherry vinegar is the level of acidity.
The fruity flavor of ACV may only fit into some recipes that call for SV, but it works for some.
If you have sherry wine in the kitchen, just a splash with the cider vinegar will take care of the missing flavor, especially when SV is called for in the recipe.
While using apple cider vinegar instead of SV, use it in slightly less quantity to balance the level of acidity.
In an emergency, a suitable apple cider vinegar substitute can be used in your recipes.
3. Champagne Vinegar
In comparison to SV, champagne vinegar is slightly sweeter and milder.
Using too much can make your dish noticeably sweet. Tweak some things along the way, depending on the dish. Overall, it’s a similar replacement.
For example, you can reduce sweetness by blending it with white wine vinegar.
CV is a substitute for sherry vinegar in making light sauces, pasta salads, and vinaigrettes. Unfortunately, it isn’t available everywhere; even a champagne vinegar substitute can be used in such a scenario.
4. White Wine Vinegar
Another acceptable substitute is white wine vinegar. Both are grape wine-based and share a similar grape flavor.
It has a slightly higher level of acidity. So use it in less quantity while replacing it.
To your benefit, both of them are used in some types of dishes.
You can easily use this substitution in salad dressing, European soups, stews, and marinades that call for sherry.
Mixing it with sherry wine also makes an excellent substitute for sherry vinegar. If it isn’t feasible, choose a substitute for white wine vinegar. Add half a teaspoon of sherry wine for every tablespoon of it while preparing this mixture.
5. Red Wine Vinegar
It is made from, yup, red wine. Besides the tart acid flavor, it has a more vibrant grape flavor.
This one is punchier, hotter, and more robust than all the wine vinegars.
Most of us love it for its complex and bold taste. Anyway, it is much stronger than sherry vinegar.
When you use it as a substitute for sherry vinegar, always start by using less.
This alternative works best with something hearty, like roasted vegetables or meat. Drizzle it over pasta, greens, or vinegary French potato salads that call for sherry vinegar. If it isn’t available, another ingredient similar to red wine vinegar can save your recipe.
6. Lemon or Lime Juice
Citrus juice, like lemon or lime, is the best natural replacement for vinegar.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, but lemon extract contains citric acid. So it is evident that the flavor of lemon juice differs from that of vinegar.
But when you don’t have sherry vinegar, one or two teaspoons of lemon juice can add an appealing vinegar flavor to your dishes. Instead of lime juice, even lime zest may work for some recipes.
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes in Andalusia, Spain.
Sherry wine alone can be an alternative to sherry vinegar in some dishes. This can add the fruity flavor of sherry to your words.
Most chefs prefer a blend of sherry and red or white wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio instead of only sherry wine.
Significantly, the flavor of sherry can vary according to the type of sherry used. Preferably, use dry sherry to replace sherry wine vinegar.
As a word of caution, cooking with any alcoholic beverage like sherry adds alcoholic content to your dish. Thus, it is not a perfect exchange option for people who strictly avoid alcohol.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use white vinegar instead of sherry vinegar?
White vinegar is a neutral swap for any kind of vinegar, including sherry. However, white vinegar is more acidic and harsh. But the SV has a roundness of flavor with a rich nutty taste, and you'll not find that pleasant flavor in white vinegar.
Can you use balsamic vinegar instead of sherry vinegar?
The sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar isn't an ideal replacement for sherry vinegar, but it'll work. To your advantage, it is cheaper and readily available in most grocery stores. SV is less sweet than balsamic. Both have almost equal acidity levels, so use the same amount of balsamic vinegar as the former in your cooking.
Can I substitute red wine vinegar for sherry vinegar?
Both are made from fermented wine, but they are not the same.
Red wine vinegar is made by fermenting red wine and is primarily tangy with a bit of sweetness. Sherry vinegar, made from fermenting sherry wine, is exclusively made in Spain and is produced from brewed sherry wine. It's a superior item with a rich, nutty, sweet flavor. They can be used interchangeably despite their differences in taste.
Can I substitute mirin for sherry vinegar?
Mirin alone would not be an excellent ingredient to substitute for sherry vinegar. However, a combination of mirin and dry sherry in equal amounts will be much like the actual sherry vinegar. You can also add a little white sugar to this mixture to bring in the sweetness of SV.
Is sherry vinegar the same as dry sherry?
Sherry vinegar is made from sherry wine and has an exquisite taste. However, dry sherry has a wine taste, and it's neither acidic nor has the qualities of genuine vinegar. If you have run out of SV, use another type of vinegar instead.
The substitute for sherry vinegar is rice vinegar, which has the closest flavor and acidity strength to SV. ACV and red or white grape wine vinegar will work as suitable replacements for SV.
If you have sherry wine on hand, drizzle it with any other vinegar to take care of the sherry flavor.
The ultimate choice for you is none other than the humble lemon juice, which is a universal replacement for any vinegar.