I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of sherry 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 I’ve got you covered.
The best substitutes for sherry vinegar are rice wine vinegar (the unseasoned version), apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar. In a pinch, you can use freshly squeezed citrus juice or try mixing equal parts sherry wine and distilled vinegar to mimic the flavor of sherry vinegar.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
One sunny Friday evening, I made different batches of gazpacho to test out various sherry vinegar substitutes.
Sherry vinegar comes from sherry wine that’s been fermented in barrels for at least six months.
Compared to regular white vinegar, sherry vinegar has a mellow acidity with nutty caramel notes that will add complexity to your dishes.
Its flavor is unique, so I couldn’t find an exact flavor match. But I found substitutes that could work with a bit of tweaking.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Apple cider vinegar||Replace with ½ the amount||8/10|
|White wine vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Balsamic vinegar||Replace with 1/4 the amount||8/10|
|Rice wine vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Malt vinegar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Sherry||equal parts sherry + vinegar||7/10|
|Citrus juice||Replace with ½ the amount||7/10|
Common uses of sherry vinegar
Here are some popular ways to use sherry vinegar and the best substitutes for those situations:
- For dressings and marinades: Try using apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or malt vinegar. Citrus juice is also an excellent non-vinegar option.
- For sauces, glazes, and broths: Try using apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or malt vinegar. You can also use that bottle of sherry wine and mix it with another vinegar.
- For pickling: Try using apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or malt vinegar.
Rice wine vinegar
Rice wine vinegar (the unseasoned version) is the best stand-in for sherry vinegar.
It’s sweetness and acidity levels are a close match to sherry vinegars, although it’s not as full-bodied and misses the nutty caramel notes.
Despite its Asian roots, it worked perfectly with my gazpacho!
Pro-tip: don’t get the seasoned rice wine vinegar – this has more sugar and added salt, which gives it a more pronounced flavor profile.
How to substitute: replace sherry vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with rice wine vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a decent substitute for sherry vinegar you might already have in your pantry (and if you don’t, go and get a bottle – you can use it for so many things!).
It’s slightly tangier and sharper than sherry vinegar, but it has a naturally sweet twist that keeps it from being overpowering.
And if you do find the tartness of ACV too assertive, a simple fix is to add a pinch of sugar to your dish.
This will help round out its acidity and take its flavor closer to sherry vinegar.
How to substitute: replace sherry vinegar with half the amount of apple cider vinegar.
White wine vinegar
White wine vinegar is another common pantry staple you can use to replace sherry vinegar.
It’s got more acidity than sherry vinegar and a sharper bite. But it’s light and crisp flavor works really well with other light ingredients like chicken and seafood.
It was perfect in my gazpacho, although I added a squeeze of extra honey to temper the sourness.
How to substitute: replace sherry vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with white wine vinegar.
Unsurprisingly, that bottle of sherry on your liquor shelf can help when you’re out of sherry vinegar.
But don’t just pour it in and hope for the best! You need to mix it with vinegar to get the signature tang.
It’s best to use a clean-flavored vinegar so the sherry flavor can shine through – distilled white vinegar is the cleanest vinegar.
But it’s VERY acidic. I also mixed in a bit of water to help temper the sharpness.
How to substitute: for each part of sherry vinegar, replace with a mixture of equal parts sherry and vinegar.
Next up is malt vinegar, a staple in English cuisine!
Like sherry vinegar, it carries a subtle caramel sweetness with nutty undertones that will add depth and complexity to your dish.
The only reason malt vinegar is lower down the list is because it’s not a common ingredient – you probably only know of it because of fish and chips.
Quick tip: malt vinegar isn’t suitable for those with gluten sensitivities because it’s derived from malted barley.
How to substitute: replace sherry vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with malt vinegar.
When you’re in a bind and out of sherry vinegar, don’t overlook the citrus sitting in your fruit bowl. These juicy gems can work wonders as a substitute.
I used lemons because they’re what I had.
The juice was tarter than sherry vinegar, but it added a fresh, zesty flavor that made my gazpacho even more vibrant.
And if you want to experiment, why not give orange juice a shot? It’s sweeter than lemon, so will add a nice balance of tangy and sweet to your food.
Or what about grapefruit juice? It has an added bitter edge that would perfectly contrast rich, meaty dishes.
Pro-tip: pop your citrus fruits in the microwave on high for 30 seconds to maximize the juice you can get from them. And don’t use the bottles stuff!
How to substitute: replace sherry vinegar with ½ the amount of citrus juice.
Balsamic vinegar shouldn’t be your first choice when looking for a sherry vinegar substitute, but you can use it in a salad dressing if it’s all you have.
Just like sherry vinegar, it’s an aged condiment.
But the aging process for balsamic is typically much longer, giving it a richer, heavier flavor.
The bold flavor can quickly overpower more delicate ingredients if you’re not careful. Use it sparingly – and be ready for the flavor of the dressing to change drastically.
How to substitute: replace sherry vinegar with 1/4 the amount of balsamic vinegar.
Other substitutes to consider
The list above are my top picks for sherry vinegar substitutes. But they’re not the only options!
Here are some other alternatives you can consider:
- Red wine vinegar – this is more robust than both white wine vinegar and sherry vinegar. It will work nicely with meaty dishes. And again, you can mix it with a bit of sugar to offset its flavor a bit.
- Champagne vinegar – this tastes nothing like sherry vinegar, but it has delicate floral notes that taste super nice in a salad dressing. It’s a lighter, less intense flavor also ensures it won’t be overpowering.
- Raspberry vinegar – this is white vinegar infused with raspberries, which gives it a fruitier taste than sherry vinegar. Like champagne vinegar, is delicious as the base for a salad dressing.
Substitute to avoid – distilled white vinegar
White vinegar is cheap and readily available, but I don’t recommend it as a substitute for sherry vinegar. It has no distinct flavor notes, unlike sherry vinegar’s nuttiness.
And it’s far sharper and tangier than sherry vinegar, so could easily end up overpowering your dish.
You could try blending this with honey to tone down its harsh flavor, but there are easier alternatives for you to use!
Read Next: Best Substitute For Balsamic Vinegar
10 Best Sherry Vinegar Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp sherry + ½ tbsp vinegar
- ½ tbsp citrus juice
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen sherry vinegar substitutes at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.