Red wine vinegar is a staple in French cuisine. French cooks use it in almost everything. But as is the case with every chef, there comes a moment when you reach for the bottle of red wine vinegar, only to find it empty.
In some cases, there is not enough time to make a trip to the grocery store. In such cases, your option is to find a red wine vinegar substitute.
The good news is that there are many options you can try. Vinegar is an acidic liquid that is used widely in the kitchen.
Your choice of vinegar depends greatly on the taste of the cuisine you are preparing. For example, when you want to go for a French cuisine taste, red wine vinegar is the go-to ingredient.
Types of Vinegar
As I mentioned previously, there are many different types of vinegar. The ingredient comes in many types, and it all depends on how it was made. For example, red wine vinegar comes from red wine. Similar to white wine vinegar, which comes from the fermentation of white vine.
Cider vinegar is made from apples. Rice vinegar is processed from rice wines or fermented rice. You also have white vinegar made from distilled alcohol and balsamic vinegar.
In the past few years, balsamic vinegar has become one of the more popular vinegar options for cooking. The taste you get is raisiny, and you get a dish with a distinct aroma.
But if you want a clean flavour zing, red wine vinegar is a better option. So what happens when you are out of it? Well, then you go and check your red wine vinegar substitute options.
Here are some you can try.
When you look at how red wine vinegar is made, red wine is an obvious and logic option for a red wine vinegar substitute. The vinegar is essentially a fermented product of red wine. Therefore, you can safely substitute red wine in some recipes that call for red wine vinegar.
Just be careful, you cannot substitute red wine vinegar in all recipes with red wine. For example, a salad with red wine instead of vinegar is just absolute trash.
Salad dressings do not work unless you add some vinegar in them. One trick: you can add whisked mustard to help the emulsion process.
You also cannot substitute vinegar with just red wine in recipes that call for the acidic properties of the ingredient. However, you can easily use red wine in marinade and vinaigrette recipes.
Just remember, the wine and vinegar substitute works only in one way. That means you cannot use red wine vinegar in place of red wine.
Recipes with red wine do not demand acidity. Adding vinegar will make the dish sour and acidic.
Red Wine and White Vinegar
If the recipe does not work just with red wine, and you need some acidity in it, go for a combination of wine and vinegar. In a way, you will get a true red wine vinegar substitute.
You get the flavour from the red wine and the acidic properties from the vinegar. This substitute works great for marinades. But be careful, always go for a balanced mixture.
I would just easy on the white vinegar. For example, a 50-50 ratio of wine and vinegar accounted for the total amount works great. The taste might be a bit different than the original recipe, but it should yield something good.
White vinegar will make the dish tangy. If you are afraid of the taste you might get, add vinegar until you achieve the desired flavour.
Lemon and Lime Juice
The primary reason why we add vinegar in recipes is to get special flavour and acidity. In some cases, the special flavour is not that important.
But the acidity is. If that is the case, you can easily use lemon and lime juice as a red wine vinegar substitute. You will get the same acidic properties. But this substitute works only when you intend to acidulate water, not when you need a distinct vinegar flavour.
Red Wine and Lemon Juice
Similar in the way you can use red wine and white vinegar, you can use wine and lemon juice as a red wine vinegar substitute. For this combination, the best radio is a cup of red wine and two tablespoons of lemon juice.
The combination is not as harsh as the one you get with wine vinegar. Red wine and lemon juice work wonderfully when you want to prepare a traditional French dish like chicken and mushrooms, but you do not want the harsh flavour and taste.
Other Kinds of Vinegar
In total, there are 8 kinds of vinegar classified by the Food and Drug Administration. The Vinegar Institute, a marketing group representing the vinegar industry, there are no real standards to identify vinegar worldwide.
But let’s just stick with the eight spoonfuls of vinegar classified by the FDA. The good news is that you can sometimes substitute one vinegar for another. It all depends on the dish you want to prepare. And of course, on the properties and attributes of the vinegar.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at attributes of all eight vinegar types. If the dish you are preparing can stomach different vinegar than red wine, go for it.
- Cider vinegar is mild vinegar and has a slight apple flavour. Apple cider vinegar is the most versatile vinegar on the market. You can use it as a substitute for almost any other vinegar type
- White vinegar is made from distilled alcohol, and because of that, it is sour and harsh. White vinegar will overpower delicate flavours, so use it carefully
- Herb vinegar gets subtle savoury taste and flavour. Look at the herb used for flavouring the vinegar. Ask yourself would you use that herb in your recipe. If the answer is yes, then a herb vinegar is a good option for a red wine vinegar substitute
- Fruit vinegar always has a slightly sweet and mild flavour. You can use them in salads and for a chicken marinade
- Speaking of sweet flavours, rice vinegar is the sweetest and most delicate vinegar. You can use it only for delicate dishes
- Balsamic vinegar is often used as a red wine vinegar substitute. Balsamic vinegar can be used when you want to add mellow sweetness to Mediterranean dishes. And while people often use it to substitute red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar is best when used in recipes that call for it specifically
- Wine vinegar gives dishes rich and fruity taste. Red and white wine vinegar can be used to add flavour to the dish
- Malt vinegar is mild and sweet. If you want to add it, use more of the vinegar if the dish looks for a stronger version of vinegar