I’ve personally tried and tested a range of different white balsamic vinegar substitutes to find the best one.
Whatever your reason for avoiding white balsamic vinegar is and whatever dish you’re cooking.
The best substitutes for white balsamic vinegar are rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. These will keep the appearance of your dish the same and bring a similar tart flavor. You might need to add a squeeze of honey or some sugar for sweetness. Traditional balsamic will work if you don’t mind the dark color.
Keep reading for more details.
I whipped up a basic salad dressing to try out 9 different white balsamic vinegar substitutes.
White balsamic vinegar has a sweet-but-tangy flavor and a pale color that won’t darken dishes in the same way balsamic vinegar does. I was looking for a substitute with a similar acidity level – a pale color was a bonus!
Here’s what I tested and my verdicts:
|Rice wine vinegar||Sub in a 1:1 ratio, adding extra sweetener if needed||9/10|
|Apple cider vinegar||Sub in a 1:1 ratio, adding extra sweetener if needed||9/10|
|White wine vinegar||Sub in a 1:1 ratio, adding extra sweetener if needed||9/10|
|Regular balsamic||Ese 3/4 the amount of regular balsamic in the recipe||8/10|
|Lemon juice||Sub in a 1:1 ratio, adding extra sweetener if needed||8/10|
|White wine||Sub in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Sherry vinegar||Sub in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Champagne vinegar||Sub in a 1:1 ratio, adding extra sweetener if needed||8/10|
|Chinese black vinegar||Use half the amount of Chinese black vinegar in the recipe||4/10|
Most of these substitutes are more acidic than white balsamic vinegar, so you will need to add something sweet to better match the original flavor.
Psst… I wasn’t impressed with Chinese black vinegar.
Common dishes that use white balsamic vinegar and the best substitutes
Here are some common use cases for white balsamic vinegar and the best substitutes for those situations:
- Salad dressings: rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice
- Marinades: regular balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar
- Sauces and glazes: rice wine vinegar, white wine, apple cider vinegar
- Cocktails: champagne vinegar, lemon juice, white wine
Rice Wine Vinegar
Rice wine vinegar, with its mild acidity and subtle sweetness, is a great alternative to white balsamic vinegar.
And if you’re a fan of Asian dishes, you probably already have some in your cupboard!
Its light, clean flavor won’t overpower your dish or discolor it like other darker vinegars would.
And I found that it worked perfectly in everything from salad dressings and marinades, to dipping sauces.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with rice wine vinegar. You may need to add a extra squeeze of honey or sugar to taste.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Oh, the wonders of apple cider vinegar! This fruity, tangy vinegar is a pantry staple that can step in for white balsamic vinegar in your hour of need.
It’s an especially good substitute for fall-inspired dishes because it lends a touch of apple flavor that complements warm autumnal spices.
Pro tip: its acidity is more pronounced than white balsamic vinegar, so you might need to add some extra sugar or honey to your recipe to balance the extra tang out.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with apple cider vinegar, adding a touch of sugar or honey if needed.
White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar is another good substitute option for white balsamic vinegar.
It’s got a crisp acidity and a delicate flavor that works well in lighter dishes without too many bold flavors, for example it would be great in a dressing for a seafood salad.
This is another vinegar with a clear color, so it won’t stain your recipes and your culinary creations will stay picture-perfect!
Again, you may need to balance out the sharp vinegar with a touch of something sweet.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with white wine vinegar, adding extra sugar or honey if needed.
When you’re out of white balsamic vinegar, the most obvious solution is regular balsamic vinegar.
While it’s definitely a good option in terms of replicating white balsamic vinegars flavors, keep in mind that its darker color will change the appearance of your dish.
It’s also slightly sweeter and less clean-tasting than its white counterpart (but the flavor differences are far from a deal-breaker).
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe with regular balsamic vinegar, using about 3/4 of the amount called for.
When life gives you lemons, save them for using as a white balsamic vinegar substitute (you can also use limes).
Lemon juice isn’t vinegar, but it has a similar bright acidity. And the citrusy zing will lift your dishes just like white balsamic vinegar would, although you will need to add a sweet element to stop the dish getting too tart.
Lemon juice is great in Mediterranean and European dishes, while lime juice shines when paired with Southern, Mexican, or Asian ingredients. But of course you can use whatever you have to hand!
Pro tip: use fresh lemon juice for best results, the bottled stuff will work in a pinch but wont have the same brightness.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with lemon or lime juice, and be prepared to add some extra sweetener.
In my experiments, white wine proved to be a surprisingly effective substitute for white balsamic vinegar, particularly in sauces and deglazing applications.
The flavor isn’t the same, but it will add depth to your dish and help enhance the other flavors. Just be cautious with the amount you use, as too much may overwhelm your dish.
Pro itp: if your wine is too dry, a touch of orange juice can add some much-needed sweetness.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe with an equal amount of white wine, adjusting for sweetness if necessary.
Sherry vinegar, with its nutty, complex flavor, can be a unique and exciting substitute for white balsamic vinegar.
The flavors are quite different. White balsamic vinegar has a lighter, brighter taste, while sherry vinegar is known for its robust, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor profile.
But if you have some sherry vinegar in your cupboard, it will add an extra layer of complexity to your dish.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with sherry vinegar, taste the dish before serving and adjust and sweet ingredients as needed.
Champagne vinegar is a luxurious and elegant substitute for white balsamic vinegar.
It’s got a similar clean flavor profile with a touch of sweetness and it will add some sophistication to your dressing and sauces.
But keep in mind this isn’t the most economical option, so I only recommend using it if you already have some. It’s also quite mild (as vinegars go), so works better in lighter dishes.
However, the flavor it imparts to your culinary creations is worth the splurge.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with champagne vinegar.
Chinese Black Vinegar (not recommended)
Chinese black vinegar was suggested as a substitute from a few sources, so i thought I’d try it out. But I was disappointed.
It doesn’t taste much like white balsamic vinegar, and the deep color will alter the appearance of your recipe.
Its flavor is often compared to balsamic in terms of its complexity and richness. But I found it to be harsher and more tart, especially compared to the milder white balsamic vinegar.
If you are using this as a substitute, use less than the amount of white balsamic vinegar called for in the recipe.
How to substitute: replace white balsamic vinegar in your recipe with half the amount of Chinese black vinegar, keeping in mind the flavor differences.
Best White Balsamic Vinegar Substitutes [Tried and Tested]
- 1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Regular balsamic
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tbsp White wine
- 1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp Champagne vinegar
- 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen white balsamic vinegar substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.