I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of champagne vinegar substitutes to find the best one for every cooking or baking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
White wine vinegar is the closest substitute you’ll get to champagne vinegar. Rice vinegar is also a good option if you don’t mind the extra sweet note. Another easy replacement you can try is freshly squeezed lemon juice. And as a last resort, dilute regular white vinegar with water.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made a basic vinaigrette for my lunch time salad to test different champagne vinegar substitutes.
To make champagne vinegar, regular champagne is fermented with a bacteria called Acetobacter Aceti.
The resulting vinegar is more delicate and light-bodied than other kinds of vinegar but will still bring a tangy flavor to your dish.
It’s great in cocktails, for drizzling over salads, or for using with milder proteins like chicken or fish.
It’s not the most common kind of vinegar though, and it’s definitely not cheap!
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|White Wine Vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Rice Vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Raspberry Vinegar||Replace with 1/2 the amount||8/10|
|Lemon Juice||Replace in a 1:1 ratio, adjusting to taste if necessary||9/10|
|Balsamic Vinegar||Replace with 1/2 the amount||8/10|
|Apple Cider Vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|White Vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio with a mix of white vinegar, water, and a pinch of sugar||7/10|
|Homemade Champagne Vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses of champagne vinegar and the best substitutes
Here are some popular ways to use champagne vinegar and the best substitutes for those situations:
- For vinaigrettes and marinades: Try using white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or lemon juice. Balsamic vinegar also works but imparts a darker color to your dressing or marinade. You can also use white vinegar, but you’ll need to tweak it to dial down its sharpness.
- For pickling: Try using white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- For sauces and condiments: Try using white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. White vinegar also works, but you must dilute it with water to lessen its acidity.
White wine vinegar
White wine vinegar is perhaps the most obvious substitute for champagne vinegar.
It’s flavor is stronger than champagne vinegar and it has a more noticeable sharpness, but you can also dilute it with a bit of water to mellow it out.
The best thing about white wine vinegar is how accessible it is.
You can find it in pretty much any food shop, and it’s cheaper than champagne vinegar.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with white wine vinegar.
Rice vinegar is another great substitute for champagne vinegar.
It has a milder acidity than other varieties of vinegar, making it a good option if you’re looking to replicate the subtlety of champagne vinegar.
And despite its Asian roots, it works well with Western flavors and ingredients.
Rice vinegar as a slight sweetness to it as well which I really liked.
Psst… don’t mistakenly get seasoning rice vinegar. This has added sugar, and sometimes salt or MSG which gives it a stronger flavor.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with rice vinegar.
Raspberry vinegar can make an excellent substitute for champagne vinegar.
It’s made from raspberry wine, is quite bold and has a distinct sweet-tart flavor profile.
This doesn’t sound much like lighter champagne vinegar, but both will add a unique and sophisticated feel to your dish.
And raspberry vinegar works well with the same sorts of dishes you’d usually fine champagne vinegar in (i.e chicken and fish dishes).
Because raspberry vinegar is a bit more robust, it’s advisable to start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar with half the amount of raspberry vinegar.
Can’t make a grocery run to look for champagne vinegar? Use the lemons in your fridge instead!
They’re not as acidic as regular vinegar, but they still offer a tart flavor that can stand in for champagne vinegar’s delicate tang.
The citrus notes will add an extra layer of brightness to your dish, something champagne vinegar doesn’t offer.
Pro tip: to get the most juice out of your lemons, microwave them first to get the juices flowing more freely.
The Kitchn recommends blasting the lemons on high heat for 20 seconds for the best results!
And avoid bottled lemon juice. It’s nowhere near as good as fresh.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with lemon juice, adjusting to taste if necessary.
Balsamic vinegar is another alternative that brings a unique twist to the table.
It’s tangier than champagne vinegar but carries similar fruity notes.
If you’re worried about balsamic vinegar’s darker color clashing with your dish, try white balsamic vinegar instead.
It’s essentially the same vinegar but the grapes aren’t caramelized. This means it has a lighter color and a slightly less complex flavor.
I recommend using less balsamic than Champagne vinegar because it has a potent flavor and you don’t want it to overwhelm your dish.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar with 1/2 the amount of balsamic vinegar and add more to taste.
Apple cider vinegar
Trusty apple cider vinegar is another substitute you may already have in your cupboard.
It’s tangier than champagne vinegar (like every vinegar), but it’s not as sharp or overpowering as plain old white vinegar.
It also has similar fruity notes, albeit more apple-forward than champagne vinegar. You won’t notice this in a finished dish though!
A massive bonus for apple cider vinegar? Once you have a bottle it has so many uses.
You can use it in cooking, in your beauty regime, for cleaning, in the garden, and even to clean your teeth!
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with apple cider vinegar.
If your pantry looks a bit bare and all you have is a bottle of white vinegar, don’t worry.
With a little modification, you can use this as a replacement for champagne vinegar.
White vinegar has a sharp, intense acidity which you’ll need to tone down. The best way to do this is the mix with vinegar with a bit of water and sugar.
Start with ¾ part of vinegar to ¼ part of water and a pinch of sugar, then adjust according to your taste.
This wasn’t a perfect replacement, but it was quick and easy to make.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with a mix of white vinegar, water, and a pinch of sugar.
Homemade champagne vinegar
This option won’t help in the sort term, but homemade champagne vinegar is an easy project if you have leftover flat bubbly.
The process is relatively straightforward and mostly hands-off.
Transfer any leftover, flat champagne into a jar and simple leave it to ferment for one to six months.
It’s a waiting game, but it’s much better than throwing your Champagne down the sink and you won’t have to fork out for an expensive bottle of vinegar at the store.
How to substitute: replace champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with your homemade champagne vinegar.
Other substitutes to consider
The list above are my top picks for champagne vinegar substitutes, but they’re not the only options.
Here are some other alternatives you can try:
- Red wine vinegar – this has a more robust, rich, and fruity flavor profile, but the acidity isn’t too strong. This is an excellent substitute for heartier salads or red meat.
- Sherry vinegar – a more sophisticated substitute for champagne vinegar, thanks to its complex, nutty flavor. The unique blend of dryness and sweetness in sherry vinegar can lift a dish really easily. Use less than the amount of champagne vinegar called for.
- Coconut vinegar – this has a mild, slightly sweet flavor profile that’s not too overpowering, much like the balance you’d find in champagne vinegar. But it’s not the easiest thing to find!
Avoid using champagne or white wine
While it might be tempting to use champagne or white wine as a substitute for champagne vinegar, they’re not the best choice.
Wine and champagne lack the acid vinegar provides, which is key to balancing the flavors and preserving foods in many recipes.
Without this acidity, your dish will turn out flatter and less vibrant than expected.
11 Best Champagne Vinegar Substitutes + 2 To Avoid
- 700 ml flat champagne
- Transfer your flat champagne into a wide-mouthed jar. Cover the mouth with a cheesecloth to prevent dust or bugs from contaminating your vinegar.
- Store in a cool, dry place for at least 1 month up to 6 months. Give it a taste periodically to check if it has turned into vinegar.
- Transfer your DIY vinegar in a bottle with a stopper and store in your pantry.