Black Vinegar Substitute: Top Picks

Black vinegar is a condiment popular in many Asian cuisines and is commonly available on websites and in stores. Though common, the uniqueness of black vinegar makes it stand out among other types of vinegar. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a decent black vinegar substitute available.

Vinegar was fermented and brewed in ancient China using wine as a leavening agent. The word “vinegar” was originally a term for wine, and its ancient Chinese translation as “bitter wine” supports this theory.

In this post, you’ll learn about black vinegar’s impact on your dishes and some great black vinegar alternatives to try.

What Is Black Vinegar?

Black vinegar is an ingredient comprised of fermented rice, wheat, and millet. It’s dark brown and has a flavor that’s somewhere between sweet and acidic.

Traditional Chinese cuisine often incorporates black vinegar into their dishes as a condiment. It is used for dipping, marinating, or even as a component of stir-fry. Many classic Chinese recipes, including Peking duck and braised pig belly, rely on it.

Black vinegar is useful in the kitchen and may also have medicinal effects. Some say it can aid glucose regulation, increase circulation, and fortify the immune system. 

You should look for black vinegar if you want to use it in cooking or take advantage of its health advantages. It’s widely available at Asian supermarkets and specialty food stores.

Black Vinegar Substitute

Black vinegar is indeed quite tricky to replace. It may seem impossible to mimic that acidic flavor. However, some black vinegar substitutes are capable of doing the same job. Below are some creatively delicious alternatives to try.

1. Balsamic Vinegar

If you can’t find black vinegar, balsamic vinegar is an excellent replacement that’s readily available. Grape juice is reduced in a pot and aged in barrels to create balsamic vinegar. It’s characterized by its rich brown color and sweet taste, making it ideal for salad dressings and meat glazing.

To counteract the sweetness, use one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for every two tablespoons of black vinegar. If the concentrated flavor is too much for you, just add some water. 

Most stores stock balsamic vinegar, an essential component of Italian cuisine.

2. Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar is a great choice when looking for a substitute for black vinegar. Dressings, salads, and even cooked dishes can benefit from its inclusion.

Unlike other kinds of vinegar, malt vinegar has a rich brown hue and a deep malty flavor. Many pickling and fish-and-chips recipes call for malt vinegar. Soups, stews, and sauces also benefit from its seasoning abilities. 

Using malt vinegar in cooking is most frequently linked with British cuisine. And it can be used in place of black vinegar at a ratio of 1:1.

3. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar, another Chinese vinegar variant, is sweeter than other types. However, it is not too sweet for meals that call for black vinegar, making it the perfect black vinegar replacement.

This vinegar is produced by fermenting and distilling rice. It’s an acidic liquid that’s translucent pale yellow in color. Rice vinegar is a staple in Asian cooking for both marinating and dipping. It’s also a common ingredient in traditional Korean cuisines, including kimchi and bibimbap.

Aside from malt, black vinegar also includes rice. Therefore, rice vinegar is an ideal alternative to black vinegar. Rice vinegar can be substituted for black vinegar at a 1:1 ratio. 

4. Date Vinegar

Date vinegar is a thick, sweet liquid prepared from dates, also known as date syrup. It tastes like thick molasses and has a rich amber tint. Date vinegar is perfect if you’re looking for a sweet substitute for black vinegar. 

However, you must be careful when using it in dishes that don’t require much sweetness. Add this ingredient gradually until you achieve the required taste. Too much date vinegar sweetness could negatively affect your meal. You can use half a teaspoon of date vinegar for every teaspoon of black vinegar called for.

Throughout the Middle East, stews, curries, and sauces benefit from adding date vinegar for its sweet and savory notes. It can be used to sweeten and moisten baked goods.

5. Apple Juice

Apple juice makes a perfect substitute for black vinegar because of the traces of acidity and subtle sweetness. And if you need to sweeten it a little more, you can always add a little sugar. 

The mild flavor of apple juice will blend well with the other ingredients in your dish and won’t overpower their taste. But remember that this milder taste may not make as much impact as black vinegar would.

Add one teaspoon of honey or sugar if you wish to substitute sweet black vinegar with apple juice. You can use three tablespoons of apple juice to replace one tablespoon of black vinegar.

6. White Wine Vinegar

Compared to other vinegar, white wine vinegar is noticeably less sugary and more acidic. If the color difference doesn’t bother you, you can use it instead of black vinegar.

White wine vinegar is versatile and may be used in many stir-fries, stews, soups, and salads. And you can always add sugar, honey, or both to add some sweetness. One tablespoon of white wine vinegar will replace two teaspoons of black rice vinegar.

7. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is a classic option, sweeter and more complex in flavor than the other options. It retains the dark color of black vinegar and delivers a similar sweet taste. This vinegar is also just as acidic as black vinegar. 

You can put red wine vinegar to good use in everything from salads to stir-fries. But remember that your red wine vinegar proportion should be smaller. The ratio of red wine vinegar to black vinegar should be 1:2.


There are different reasons you may want to replace black vinegar. Nevertheless, there are plenty of perfect alternatives to try instead. And you won’t be disappointed when you select one of the delightful black vinegar substitute options mentioned in this post.