The Best Substitutes For Red Wine Vinegar

Popular in Mediterranean cuisine, there are plenty of recipes that call for red wine vinegar, but what happens when you don’t have this ingredient?

What are the best substitutes for red vinegar? The good news is there’s plenty of options, and you may have these already stored in your pantry.

If you have white wine vinegar, that is the best option because the flavor and acidity are very similar.

However, other options are available and can be beneficial for specific types of recipes like vinaigrette or marinades.

What Is Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is a staple ingredient in Mediterranean cooking which is made by fermenting red wine which is then strained and bottled.

It has a tangy flavor which is similar to white wine vinegar, however the latter is lighter in flavor.

Combined with other ingredients like olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and mixed herbs can serious add tons of flavor to many recipes.


Red wine vinegar is popular in Mediterranean cooking which can be ideal for vinaigrette dressings and marinades.

For example, in this homemade peri peri sauce recipe, red wine vinegar is one of the key ingredients which helps preserve the sauce and tenderize the chicken.

However, it’s ideal for many red meat recipes such as beef stew.

Another, albeit less conventional way to use red wine vinegar, is to wash it with vegetables as it’s an effective solution at killing E. coli.


One of the main health benefits of red wine vinegar is that it can help lower blood sugar levels, which could also reduce the GI of foods.

It also contains powerful polyphenol antioxidants to help prevent chronic diseases.


Red Wine Vinegar Substitutes

There are many substitutes for red wine vinegar, so don’t be put off preparing or cooking a recipe that calls for it because it’s you might have these options below in your pantry.

However, it depends on the type, so we have listed these options because red wine is an ingredient called in many recipes.

In most cases, you won’t notice the difference if you substitute it, but if the wine is the highlight of the dish, you can use red wine with vinegar.

Nevertheless, here are some good substitutes for red wine vinegar.

White Wine Vinegar

One of the best and most popular substitutes for red wine vinegar is white wine vinegar because it can be used interchangeably for most recipes.

In fact, for most recipes, it will be difficult to tell each other apart because the flavor is almost the same, and they both contain similar levels of acidity.

The reason why a recipe may call for red wine vinegar is that the flavor and acidity is slightly more intense compared to white wine vinegar.

If you’re looking for a substitute, this should be your go-to choice if you have this type of vinegar stored in your pantry.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Another fantastic substitute for red wine vinegar is apple cider vinegar which is ideal if the recipe is a salad and requires a dressing.

Vinaigrette dressing is amazing and tasty which is perfect for salads, but you might see the recipe call for red wine vinegar and you do not need to worry if you don’t have this stored in your pantry.

The go-to choice in this event should be apple cider vinegar because it goes best with fresh salads.

Rice Vinegar

If you don’t have white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, you can also use rice vinegar as a substitute which is best suited for vinaigrette, sauces, and marinates.

Although rice vinegar is less intense compared to red wine vinegar, it can be a good replacement because it does have a tangy flavor and acidity.

If the recipe calls for other tasty ingredients, or lemon for example, you can get away with using rice vinegar because the other ingredients will add flavor.

Lemon Juice

Although this isn’t vinegar, lemon juice is extremely versatile, healthy, and easily accessible which is a great alternative for red wine vinegar.

In particular, it’s perfect for salad dressings which means you can skip the vinegar and use lemon juice instead.

While lemon juice can’t replace the rich and intense flavors of red wine vinegar, it can offer a light and zesty kick which can be ideal if the recipe is a sauce, marinade or dressing.

However, if the recipe is specifically calling for red wine vinegar because of its flavor, you should choose the first substitute – white wine vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar

Although balsamic vinegar is milder, sweet, and doesn’t have a similar taste to red wine vinegar, it can be a good alternative for various reasons.

Firstly, balsamic vinegar is a popular ingredient which most home cooks have stored in their pantry because it’s ideal for drizzling over pasta bakes or grilled vegetables.

Secondly, because this type of vinegar is great for drizzling over salads, it’s perfect to substitute this in place for red wine vinegar for the salad dressing.

Sherry Vinegar

Another sweet replacement is sherry vinegar which can be used in similar ways to replace red wine vinegar by drizzling it over salads and playing a key role in marinades.

It’s made from sherry wine, but it’s a lot different from red wine vinegar because it’s sweeter and has its own flavor profile.

In most cases, it’s fine to use sherry vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, but you do need to bear in mind that it’s not as strong and may require you to add more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Replace Red Wine Vinegar With Red Wine?

It depends on the recipe because red wine vinegar is more acidic than red wine.

If the recipe calls for red wine vinegar because it requires its acidity, then you should use a substitution from above such as white wine vinegar.

However, if the recipe calls for flavor from the vinegar, then red wine is perfectly fine to use and has a richer taste.

Does Red Wine Vinegar Go Bad?

Red wine vinegar doesn’t go bad, and it should last indefinitely when stored in an air-tight glass bottle.

Of course, over time, and we are talking years, the quality may change but in terms of food safety, it’s still fine to use.

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