Sherry vinegar is a wine vinegar that is a popular ingredient in Spanish and French food. Sherry vinegar is known for its unique blend of sweetness and tartness that makes it a versatile ingredient for everything from soups to salads and casseroles. In recent years, it has become popular and available in many well-stocked grocery stores and online; however, you may still need an alternative if you can’t get your hands on any right now. Here are some of the best sherry vinegar substitutes:
Your best bet: Rice vinegar
Rice vinegar (a.k.a rice wine vinegar) is sweeter and less acidic than most other kinds of vinegar, which is one of the reasons that it may be the best possible sherry vinegar substitute. Traditionally used in Asian meat dishes to help reduce the gaminess and other unpleasant odors, rice wine vinegar is great as a marinade. The low acidity and high sweetness make it similar in flavor to sherry vinegar. Another significant similarity is that it is made from wine, just like sherry vinegar. Advantages include the fact that rice wine vinegar is often relatively inexpensive.
One downside is that rice vinegar won’t have the complex flavor of sherry vinegar.
A decent second choice: Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made with apples that are covered with water and then allowed to ferment. After ethanol is formed, bacteria will convert it to vinegar. In other words, the process is the same as in wine vinegar only with apple cider instead of fermented grape juice or rice. With its moderately complex flavor, apple cider vinegar offers something that many sherry vinegar substitutes don’t: availability. It is relatively inexpensive compared to most other sherry vinegar substitutes, but apple cider vinegar is also one of the easiest to find.
A downside of apple cider vinegar is that it is somewhat more acidic than sherry and has a distinctive flavor. The flavor will work in some recipes that call for sherry vinegar, but not all.
In a pinch: White wine vinegar
White wine vinegar has a relatively mild flavor profile, including a moderate amount of acidity similar to that of sherry vinegar. Like sherry vinegar, it is made from wine that has been acetified after fermentation.
Traditionally, white wine vinegar is used in the same types of dishes that call for sherry vinegar. You will see it in European soups, stews, and salad dressings. One way to make white wine vinegar an even better sherry vinegar substitute is to add a little sherry wine to it. A half teaspoon of sherry wine to a tablespoon of white wine vinegar should give it enough of the distinctive sherry flavor to make it a close match.
Balsamic vinegar is another vinegar that has a sweet taste and mild acidity. It can work in many of the same dishes in which sherry vinegar would be used but has its own distinctive flavor.
Sherry wine on its own can work as a sherry vinegar substitute in some dishes. Sherry vinegar starts as sherry wine, so the two do have many flavor notes in common. While sherry wine won’t have the strong acidity, it can still work in many recipes. Keep in mind that there are different kinds of sherry, and their flavors can differ significantly. Try to choose a sherry wine that is similar to the type of vinegar you are replacing.