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BEST Tarragon Vinegar Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I personally taste-tested a variety of tarragon vinegar substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or want a swap that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.

The best tarragon vinegar substitute is to use white wine vinegar and fresh tarragon. If you don’t mind a flavor shift, balsamic vinegar is a versatile option. Or you can mix fresh tarragon with other vinegars like apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar.

The experiment

I roasted a medley of vegetables, divided them into batches, and drizzled each one with different tarragon vinegar substitutes to find the best one.

Tarragon vinegar might sound fancy, but it’s really just plain vinegar infused with fresh tarragon. It’s simple, but the tarragon brings a unique mix of anise and sweet notes that easily elevates simple dishes like roasted vegetables to the next level. Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

White wine vinegar + tarragonThe base for tarragon vinegar9/10
Homemade tarragon vinegarTakes 14 days9/10
Balsamic vinegarHas a rich, sweet-tangy kick9/10
Lemon juice + tarragonBudget-friendly7/10
Other vinegarsTake your pick!7/10

White wine vinegar

Pantry staple white wine vinegar is usually used as the base for tarragon vinegar, so makes the most sense as a substitute.

If you don’t mind skipping the tarragon, that’s fine, but you can also add some fresh or dried tarragon to your dish to make up for the missing flavor. You won’t need much to replicate the subtle notes of the vinegar, especially if you have dried tarragon.

Start with 1/4 teaspoon of dried tarragon, or 1/2 a tablespoon of fresh tarragon for an average-sized meal or a cup of vinaigrette, then add more to taste.

How to Substitute: Replace tarragon vinegar with white wine vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

Homemade tarragon vinegar

If you’re up for a DIY project, you can make your own tarragon vinegar. The process is easy and straightforward, but the catch is you’ll need to let the tarragon sit in the vinegar for 14 days before you can use it. It’s a long time, but this guarantees you get those licorice notes.

Not a fan of tarragon? Feel free to swap it out for your choice of spices and herbs. I’ve tried my hand at infusing vinegar with chives and chili peppers, and they’ve turned out fabulous!

How to Substitute: Replace tarragon vinegar with homemade tarragon vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

Balsamic Vinegar

Professional chefs, home cooks, and foodies will all be familiar with this Italian staple. It’s not an exact flavor match because there’s no tarragon in balsamic vinegar. But it has just as much complexity and depth to it and will add another layer of flavor to your dish.

As a bonus, it has a thick, syrupy consistency that perfectly clings to anything you drizzle it over. I loved how it looked over my roasted veggies.

And if you’re still craving that licorice kick, you can finish your dish off with freshly chopped tarragon.

How to Substitute: Replace tarragon vinegar with balsamic vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

Lemon juice + tarragon

For a non-vinegar option, you can’t go wrong with good old fresh lemon juice. It’s a bit less acidic than tarragon vinegar, but it has a citrusy punch that’ll brighten up your dish. Plus, it’s likely you already have it in your fridge, saving you an emergency grocery trip.

I probably don’t need to say this anymore, but if you want to feel free to mix the lemon juice with some fresh or dried tarragon.

How to Substitute: Replace tarragon vinegar with half the amount of lemon juice + tarragon, then adjust to taste.

Other types of vinegar

Tarragon vinegar is mainly used to bring a splash of acidity and some extra flavor to dishes, so really you can use any vinegar in its place because they all do this! Here are some of the most popular vinegars:

  • Sherry vinegar: Nutty and complex
  • Malt vinegar: Robust and malty
  • Apple cider vinegar: Has prominent fruity notes
  • Red wine vinegar: Tangy and fruity
  • Rice vinegar: Sweet and versatile
  • Champagne vinegar: Light, crisp, and floral

How to Substitute: Replace tarragon vinegar with your choice of vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

Substitute to Avoid

I came across several people suggesting white vinegar as a substitute, but I have to disagree. Not only does it lack those hints of anise, but it also has a sharp, acidic kick that may be too harsh if you’re replacing tarragon vinegar.

Pro tip: If it’s all you have, you can try mellowing it out by mixing it with sugar or water.

Best Tarragon Vinegar Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I tested several different tarragon vinegar substitutes to find the best one. I also found a homemade version that's easy to make, but needs some patience.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: American
Keyword: substitutes for tarragon vinegar, tarragon vinegar substitutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Steeping time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 10kcal


  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh tarragon


  • In a small saucepan, boil the vinegar.
  • Place the fresh tarragon leaves into a clean jar. Pour in the boiled vinegar and place lid on the jar.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. After one week, give it a taste to check for your desired flavor. Once you like it, strain the leaves out and pour the infused vinegar in a lidded jar or bottle.


Serving: 50ml | Calories: 10kcal

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