Champagne vinegar may sound fancy, but it’s not much different from the average acidic vinegar you use regularly. That said, it’s not always easy to find it in stores. And when that happens, you’ll need to find a champagne vinegar substitute to use in its place.
This vinegar has a rich flavor without an intense acidic punch. It is best known for adding a flavorful touch to vinaigrettes and glazing for pork, chicken, and other meats. But what happens if you’re out of champagne vinegar?
If you have a few kinds of vinegar in your pantry, you can cherry-pick a champagne vinegar replacement for your dish and save some money. Here are some champagne vinegar alternatives to try if you’re in a bind.
What Is Champagne Vinegar?
Champagne vinegar is produced from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. The primary production process involves adding healthy bacteria. It then matures and ferments to produce acetic acid. And this gives it floral flavor undertones.
Because it’s mild, champagne vinegar shines most when paired with other ingredients. For instance, combine a little with olive oil and lemon juice for a great salad dressing. Or add a few tablespoons to your spaghetti bolognaise to combine all the flavors.
Champagne vinegar has an impressive aroma. It delivers bitter notes and leaves a fruity aftertaste. And it manages to be both balanced and delightful in dishes.
Champagne Vinegar Substitute
Finding a champagne vinegar substitute may seem like a daunting task. Because of its subtle flavor compared to other types of vinegar, you must choose a champagne vinegar substitute that’s relatively mild.
1. White Wine Vinegar
White vinegar is the closest to champagne vinegar. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a more acidic taste. In fact, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Although it has a stronger flavor, you can use it on fish, meats, or salad dressings. White vinegar comes in larger bottles and is less expensive, making it an excellent all-purpose vinegar.
Due to its strong acidity, use ½ tablespoon for 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s less likely you’ll notice a difference between apple cider vinegar and champagne vinegar in a dish. Made from the fermentation of apples, it provides notes of apple and a touch of sweetness.
Apple cider vinegar is a little stronger than champagne vinegar. However, the fruity flavors go well with fish and veggies. Depending on the dish, you can substitute an equal amount of apple cider vinegar for champagne vinegar. Be sure to taste as you cook to ensure the dish’s flavor is balanced.
3. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is often overlooked but can be used as a good champagne vinegar substitute. Produced from the Spanish wine called sherry, it carries a nutty and caramelized flavor.
The color of sherry vinegar is slightly darker than the light-yellow champagne vinegar. Additionally, it is more acidic. So it’s best not to use too much. Sherry vinegar is excellent for scallops or tapenade with luscious figs.
Like champagne vinegar, it shines brightest in salad dressings because of its mild and acidic flavor. Use at a ratio of 1:1 in recipes that call for champagne vinegar.
4. Rice Wine Vinegar
Used in many Asian cuisines, rice wine vinegar makes a fantastic champagne vinegar substitute because of its similar acidity. Made from Japanese rice wine, it’s mildly acidic with a delicate flavor.
Because it’s mild, it’s perfect for drizzling over fish and chips. You can also use it as a substitute in meat marinades, stir-fries, and pickling. But remember that it might add color to your dish, so using it in a light-colored dish may not be a good idea. In addition, it leaves a bit of an aftertaste.
If replacing champagne vinegar in a recipe, you can use it at a 1:1 ratio. Because it has a hint of sweetness, you can adjust it according to your taste.
5. Lemon or Lime Juice
If you don’t have vinegar, lemon or lime juice will suffice as a champagne vinegar substitute. While it is not the closest match in terms of flavor, it will add an acidic kick to your food.
Squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice as a salad dressing, meat marinade, and vegetable flavorant. It adds a delightful fresh citrus flavor to any dish.
Lemon or lime juice may be overbearing in some dishes due to its higher level of acidity. As a result, when replacing champagne vinegar in recipes, add very little lemon or lime juice at a time while tasting.
Though it appears that you can replace champagne vinegar with any vinegar, it’s not quite that simple. When using an alternative, the best champagne vinegar substitute should match the fruity flavors without overpowering your dish.