Different Types Of Vinegar For Cooking – A Complete Guide

With so many types of vinegar to choose from, do you need to have all of them in your kitchen? Need anyone of them only if the flavor profile of your recipe calls for it.

Vinegar is very common in every kitchen. An essential ingredient is needed in cooking as well as baking.  It’s a must-have ingredient in salad dressing, marinades, and pickling.

Vinegar is made from ethanol fermentation. Any liquid containing alcohol is worthy enough for making vinegar.  The process involves the use of bacterial culturing to break down the ethanol into byproducts like acetic acid, minerals, vitamins, and flavors.

Nutritional Benefits

Many argue that vinegars have several health benefits.

For example, apple cider vinegar is expected to help weight loss, lower blood sugar, and reduce bad cholesterol.

Some folk medicine use vinegar for relieving skin allergies and blemishes.  Similarly, the antibacterial agent in vinegar may help managing inflammation caused by wounds.

Vinegar may help to fight oral candidiasis and candida vulvovaginitis.

Most types of vinegars are gluten-free except the malt vinegar and white vinegar distilled from grains.

According to a study report, vinegar is a source of dietary polyphenols, a type of antioxidant which helps to defend against oxidative stress.

Cooking with Vinegar

Cooking with vinegar is both versatile and creative. The myriad uses of vinegar include flavoring and lending brightness dishes.

It acts as a tenderizing agent in meat, vegetables, and foods.  Also, it’s used as a leavening agent in baked goods.

In cooking, it helps to balance the flavors with its sour and tart notes.  Again, using different types of vinegar helps to manage sour or sweet elements with tartness according to the flavor profile of the recipes.

Types of Vinegar

Various types of vinegars came about from their different sources of origin. They are made by fermenting different fruits, grains, or food that are high in sugar.

They differ in taste and level of acidity depending on the source of origin. In the same way, various verities of vinegars are common in different countries or regions of the world.

Here’s a list of the most commonly used types of vinegar for cooking.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is sourced from pure ethanol and has a comparatively harsh flavor. It’s the most commonly used vinegar in almost every home.

This vinegar works best for salad dressing and pickling. Most chefs prefer to use white vinegar in ketchup and for giving a bright tint to dishes.

White Wine Vinegar

As the name suggests, white wine vinegar is made from fermented white wine.  The mellower flavor and softer edge of this vinegar are liked by most people.

White wine vinegar does great in marinades, salad dressing, and sauces.  The fruity flavor of this vinegar is exceptionally good for lighter vinaigrettes.

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is very similar to its white counterpart but has a harsher flavor.

Of all the wine vinegars, red wine tends to be punchier, with a more vibrant grape flavor. You’ll experience the sweet and grapy taste of red wine and the harsh sourness of white vinegar with it.

Red wine vinegar is a nice addition to sauces, salad dressings, pickling, and marinades.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is loved for its sweet flavor, thicker consistency, and dark color.  The more it is aged, the better it turns out to be.

Dark balsamic vinegar is made from the fermented juice of freshly crushed whole grapes including seeds and stems.  White balsamic vinegar is another type of balsamic vinegar made from white Trebbiano grape must.

Balsamic has a higher acidity with a note of alluring sweetness.

A mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar is amazingly great for salad dressing. Chicken marinades taste wonderful when this vinegar is added to them.

Champagne Vinegar

As you might have guessed, it’s made by fermenting champagne.

Of all the verities of vinegars, Champagne vinegar has the lightest flavor. The mild tartness and sweetness of this vinegar can very well uplift the flavor of any dish that requires vinegar. Use it in salad dressing, braised pork, and chicken.

Since it is mild vinegar, it may not work well in dishes that require high-heat cooking. It’s best for use in finishing hot sauces or making vinaigrettes.

Rice Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar is made from fermented rice wine. You’ll find several variants of rice vinegar that come in white, brown, and black colors with slightly different flavors for each of them.

The sweet and delicate flavor of rice vinegar is simply loveable and is less acidic compared to most types of vinegar.

Rice wine vinegar is popular with Asian recipes like sushi rice, stir-fry, noodles, salads, and even vegetables.

Apple Cider Vinegar

In recent times, apple cider vinegar has become highly popular for several health benefits, especially for weight-loss reasons.

As the name suggests, it’s obtained through the fermentation of apple cider.

It has a fantastic laid-back tartness and fruity notes that make it a versatile cooking ingredient for several recipes. Its mild acidic flavor does not overpower most dressings and other ingredients.

When mixed with olive oil, this vinegar tastes great in salad vinaigrette. Popularly, apple cider vinegar is a regular ingredient in many steak marinades.

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is made from sherry wine in the Cadiz province of southwestern Spain. The longer it is aged the better it becomes.

Sherry vinegar has a tawny, non-astringent flavor. It brings brightness and depth to your recipes.

This mildly flavored vinegar fits well in all types of marinades. Drizzle over roasted meat, fish, and vegetables to get that wonderful taste of sherry and a mild tartness.

Malt Vinegar

As the name indicates, the malt vinegar comes from malted barley.

Its bold, unique flavor makes it a great condiment. Works incredibly well on French fries, chips, or fish. Also, it’s a wonderful addition to pickling mixtures.

Many home chefs prefer to use it on salad dressings and toppings on roasted or fried fish and meat.

Read Next: What are the best substitutes for any type of vinegar?