If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand when you’ve got a recipe that calls for it, there are other pantry staples that could work as good stand-ins.
Apple cider vinegar has been having a moment in the health and wellness space, from being touted as a beauty remedy to reveal healthier hair to being dosed out in shots or spoonfuls, as well as gummy and pill form, in an effort to treat digestive issues and other ailments. But seeing as how it’s made from apples, a commonly consumed fruit, it’s no surprise that it’s also popular for cooking various dishes, often used as a salad dressing or marinade ingredient.
But if you find yourself short on or missing apple cider vinegar in your pantry, chances are you have a solid substitute on hand. Read on for six recommendations from a registered dietitian.
According to Johna Burdeos, RD, a registered dietitian in Houston, if you don’t have ACV on hand when you’ve got a recipe that calls for it, there are plenty of other pantry staples that could work as good stand-ins while also providing unique flavor.
“Balsamic vinegar is slightly sweeter and darker in color than ACV,” Burdeos says. It’s a great substitute option for salad dressings, as balsamic vinaigrette is already a popular choice for certain salads, particularly those with fruit in them.
If you’re set on going for a similar apple flavor, apple juice can work in certain recipes. Just note that it will not have that signature sour, acidic taste ACV is known for and will instead be on the sweeter side, Burdeos says.
“Lime juice is a great option for marinating foods like chicken and fish,” Burdeos says. It’s also a great ACV substitute in salad dressings or sauces.
If you happen to have it in your pantry or cupboard, sherry vinegar can provide a strong and distinct taste in whatever dish you’re subbing it into, Burdeos says. It also has the same level of acidity as ACV, providing a similar zing to salad dressings and cooking liquids.
“Rice wine vinegar can be another good ACV substitute if you don’t mind a less fruity taste,” Burdeos says. It’s also fermented like ACV, though from rice instead of apples, which gives it a similarly sweeter profile. It’s a very versatile type of vinegar that can be used in salads, sauces, and marinades.
Finally, “malt vinegar is another ACV substitute that will provide a less fruity and more yeasty taste to your foods,” Burdeos says. It can work well in marinades and sauces in addition to salad dressings, though you may want to add some herbs to balance out the yeastiness if using it that way.
In addition to the above recommendations, you may be wondering if plain white vinegar can also have the same effects, especially since you might be more likely to have it on hand than some of the other alternatives.
According to Burdeos, if you’re going to be using it for cooking, white vinegar can be successfully substituted for apple cider vinegar. Just note that it will taste slightly different and obviously won’t have that hint of apple flavor if that’s also what you’re after.
“White vinegar is a little higher on acidity and has a more sour taste,” Burdeos explains. “This just depends on the flavor and look you are going for in a dish or condiment. So if your palate is flexible, then go for it.”