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5 Best Vinegar Substitutes in Cooking and Canning

Are you curious about the best substitutes for vinegar in cooking and canning?

You’ll be surprised to learn that there are a variety of delicious alternatives to choose from.

In this article, we’ll uncover what makes vinegar so special, as well as explore five of the top recipes for substituting it.

Don’t miss out- get cooking with these amazing alternatives today.

What’s Vinegar?

Vinegar is just one of many types of acid used in cooking and canning.

It’s a tasty and versatile tool for making flavorful dishes and preserving foods for longer storage.

However, it can be hard to find and is not always available when you need it.

Luckily, there are a variety of substitutes that you can use in its place.

What’s vinegar? Vinegar is an acidic liquid made from the fermentation of wine, beer, or cider.

It’s used to give dishes an extra kick or tangy flavor.

There are numerous types of vinegar available on the market – white, apple cider, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic – each with their own unique flavor profile.

Additionally, some vinegars have been aged or flavored with herbs or spices to further enhance the flavor profile.

How to use it: Vinegar can be used in a variety of ways depending on the recipe’s needs – as a marinade (especially helpful on tougher cuts; adds moisture while breaking down fibers), as a dressing (adds brightness and cuts through fatty flavors), as an ingredient (pickling vegetables; preserving ingredients) or as a deglazing agent (makes everything taste great).

Even without any specific instructions in the recipe, adding a dash of good quality vinegar will often help to round out any dish’s flavor profile, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

5 Best Vinegar Substitutes in Cooking and Canning

If you’re a fan of cooking and canning, then you know that vinegar is a necessary ingredient.

But what if you don’t have any on hand? Don’t worry.

Here are five excellent substitutes for vinegar to help simplify your next recipe.

1 – Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a great substitute for vinegar in cooking and canning.

It has the same bright and tart flavor of other vinegars, but it’s gentler on the stomach and easier to find.

Though you won’t get the same acidity level as vinegar, lemon juice is a good choice for most recipes and works especially well in pickling.

Lemon juice also acts as a tenderizer for tough cuts of meat and helps on wilted salads or herbs like parsley or basil that are served cold.

To replace white vinegar, use an equal amount of lemon juice; if substituting for other types, use slightly less to account for the difference in acidity levels.

2 – Lime Juice

Lime juice fresh from the fruit has a pungent, sour flavor that makes it a great substitute for vinegar in marinades and sauces.

In canning or preserving, lime juice is often used for pickling in place of vinegar.

It’s especially good for recipes featuring tropical fruits where the tartness of lime can bring out even more flavor.

When using lime juice, be sure to adjust the salt amount in the recipe as limes are naturally sweeter than vinegars.

Traditionally, lime juice is paired with chile peppers and cilantro for a classic Mexican marinade or fillet of fish.

3 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great substitute for any recipe that requires white or distilled vinegar.

It has a mild flavor, so it will not interfere with the subtle flavors of a dish.

Apple cider vinegar possesses many of the same properties as white vinegar when used in recipes, particularly in pickling and preserving fruits and vegetables.

When pickling, use one part cider vinegar to two parts white vinegar to give your preserves the right proportion of acidity for processing.

While apple cider vinegar’s color may have an effect on light-colored foods such as pickles and relishes, you can neutralize its color by adding 1/4 teaspoon (1 milliliter) tartaric acid for every cup (250 milliliters) of apple cider vinegar used.

4 – Distilled Vinegar

Distilled vinegar is one of the most common types of vinegar and is available in every grocery store.

Also known as ‘white’ or ‘spirit’ vinegar, it is made from a grain-based alcohol that has been distilled twice to increase the strength and acidity.

The result is a strong, harsh flavor that works especially well in pickling foods like cucumbers, onions and tomatoes.

It can also be used as a substitute for any other type of vinegar in cooking and canning recipes.

The high acidity level makes it ideal for food preservation as studies have shown that it inhibits the growth of microorganisms better than any other vinegar.

5 – Wine

Made from fermented grapes and other fruits, wine is another common vinegar substitute.

It contains acetic acid, which gives it a slightly acidic taste – similar to vinegar.

A white or red wine will impart more flavor than apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar.

This makes it a great addition to sauces and dressings, as well as in marinades for meats and vegetables.

If you want to get creative with your cooking and canning recipes, then you can use different types of wines for unique flavor profiles.

Red wine adds stronger flavor that works best with heartier dishes like stews and roasts; whereas dry white wine like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc adds mild acidity to salads, marinades, fish dishes and creamy sauces.

To substitute one cup of apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, use 1/2 cup of red or white wine plus 1/2 cup of water.

Alternatively you can use 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar plus 2/3 cup water if you are after a sweeter taste.


Vinegar is a versatile ingredient with many varieties and uses.

Depending on the type of vinegar, it can be used in cooking, pickling, cleaning and health remedies.

Though vinegar is not essential to cooking or canning, some recipes may require it for flavor or safety.

However, if you don’t have vinegar on hand there are many substitutes that will work as a flavor enhancer in everything from sauces to salads.

Not all substitutes have the same power as traditional vinegars; no one replacement can match every component of Vinegar’s flavor profile (for instance; sugar content).

It ultimately comes down to what you need the substitute for — sourness? Sweetness? Tanginess?

Or just a plain hit of acidity? Experimenting with recipes is part of any successful culinary adventure and will help you masterfully craft delicious dishes using these appropriate substitutions.

5 Best Vinegar Substitutes in Cooking and Canning

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Lemon Juice
  • 2 – Lime Juice
  • 3 – Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 – Distilled Vinegar
  • 5 – Wine


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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