In need of the best red wine vinegar substitute? This article breaks down your options if you’re short on this specific vinegar. You’ll learn each substitute’s components and how they effect your dish. You’ll be a vinegar substitute pro after reading through this quick article!

A zoomed in view of apple cider vinegar substitutes.

What is red wine vinegar?

Red wine vinegar is red wine fermented past its alcoholic profile, which turns it into a vinegar. This vinegar, like all vinegars, start out as acetic acid and water with red wine. Red wine vinegar contains safe bacteria that is no longer alcoholic.

Red wine vinegar can be used in vinaigrettes, sauces, soups, marinades, and dressings. It can be paired with olive oil when dipping bread, or can be used as a staple ingredient for a recipe that calls for vinegar. You’ll usually add just a small amount because it has a strong, sour taste.

Red wine vinegar in a small glass bowl with the container in the background.
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The Best Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes

While this vinegar can have an extremely specific taste, other vinegars can still act as a good substitute when you’re in a pinch.

1. Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar might just be the best alternative to red wine vinegar. It has a fresh and fruity flavor that is very similar to red wine vinegar, so use the same amount the recipe calls for.

2. Raspberry Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar with raspberry flavors added is slightly sweeter but because it’s similar in acidity you can use exactly what the recipe calls for. Additionally, it’s similar in color, so you don’t have to worry about the presentation of your dish.

3. Rice Wine Vinegar (Rice Vinegar)

Rice wine vinegar is a great substitute in place of red wine vinegar. Its flavor profile is very similar because of its sweet and tangy taste. It has a milder flavor, so use double the amount the recipe calls for.

Organic rice wine vinegar in a small glass bowl with the container in the background.

4. Balsamic Vinegar

A good red wine vinegar substitute would be balsamic vinegar. It differs in color and consistency, but has a savory, sweet flavor. You can thin it out with some water or wine, but it won’t really make a difference in your overall dish. Use the same amount that the recipe calls for.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

This pantry staple is a great substitute. It has a fruitier flavor and is a completely different color than red wine vinegar. Use half of what the recipe calls for and taste as needed for preference. This vinegar is usually found in marinades, barbeque sauces, and salad dressings.

6. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar can also be used as a red wine vinegar substitution. It has a sweeter and milder flavor, but can be used in heavier dishes like stews and soups to brighten them up. Using the same amount as the recipe calls for will be perfect.

Close-up of balsamic vinegar in a small, glass bowl with other vinegars in the background.

7. Citrus Juices

If you’re the type of person to always have citrus on hand, then lime juice, lemon juice, or even orange juice can be suitable substitutes. While both red wine vinegar and citrus fruits are acidic, the citric acid in these fruits are less acidic than vinegar. So, when using this as a substitute, use what the recipe calls for—and then some—depending on the dish.

8. White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar could be a great red wine vinegar substitute. It depends on the particular white wine that the vinegar is using. It will differ in flavor and color, but you can generally use the exact amount that the recipe calls for.

9. Tamarind Paste

Tamarind paste isn’t the best substitute but if you happen to have it, you can use it! It is sour, and is thicker since it’s a paste. When you need to substitute for flavor but not necessarily acidity, then use this. Use the same amount of paste for what the recipe calls for after you water it down a bit.

5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.
Zoomed-out view of alternative vinegars including apple cider vinegar.

Health Benefits of Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar can be very beneficial to your overall health. It is loaded with antioxidants, which means your body is better suited to:

  • Be protected from chronic diseases
  • Amplify vitamins and minerals
  • Increase heart health by lowering cholesterol
  • Lower blood sugar
  • Assist in weight loss
  • Improve skin care

While this type of vinegar is very versatile and has many health benefits, it also has risks when not used in moderation. Because it’s very acidic, it can affect your digestion if you have certain health restrictions or diseases. It can also promote acid reflux if that is something you are prone to.


Can I use red wine vinegar for more than cooking?

Outside of its culinary uses, red wine vinegar can be used for skin care as a toner and to ease the pain in a sunburn.

Can I make homemade red wine vinegar?

It is possible to make homemade red wine vinegar, but it’s much easier to grab it off the shelf at your nearest grocery store.

Recipes with Vinegar

Take a look at these recipes that can be easily adaptable when you’re short on a vinegar:

Read through these vinegar substitute posts that will educate you more on vinegars:

If you’re ever wanting to pickle, use these easy pickling recipes:

Check out these salad dressings and sauces that include vinegar:

Cook these main and side dishes that call for different vinegars:

5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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