How to Substitute Balsamic Vinegar for White Vinegar


Vinegars are the tangy darling of the culinary world, adding a bit of zip to marinades, salad dressings, sauces and even some desserts. Made using a bacteria called Acetobacter aceti, diluted wines, fruits, grains and even ales are fermented until they are vinegar. White vinegar is the work horse of the vinegar world, used for pickles, salad dressings and cleaning applications. Balsamic vinegar is a dark, complex and slightly sweet vinegar used for salad dressings, meats and poaching fruit; it can substitute for white vinegar in culinary applications but not in cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Read over the recipe you are using to see if balsamic vinegar would be a good substitution. For example, if you are making pickles, balsamic vinegar will not be acidic enough. However, if you are making up a salad dressing, it will impart different flavors but won't harm the recipe at all.

  • Taste the balsamic vinegar mixed with some of the herbs or spices that your recipe calls for and see if the flavors of the balsamic vinegar suit your tastes for the dish.

  • Dilute the balsamic vinegar slightly with water in accordance with the recipe, to tone down the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar. If a recipe calls for a cup of white vinegar, for example, try adding 1/4 cup water to 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar.

  • Add another acid to make up for the lower acidity of the balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is very flavorful, but not as acidic as white vinegar. Try making your balsamic vinegar a little more acidic by adding lemon juice or another vinegar type like apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.

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