Best Sherry Vinegar Substitutes and Alternatives

Looking for the best sherry vinegar substitute? I have six easy and convenient substitutes for you to use when your recipe calls for sherry vinegar and you do not have any.

Three glass containers of vinegar.

Sherry vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be used to enhance the flavor of your dish. However, it can be difficult to find, and the cost can be prohibitive if you find it. In these instances, knowing which substitute to use can be invaluable.

The best substitute for sherry vinegar will depend on your dish. For example, if you’re making a salad dressing, you might want to use a mild vinegar, such as rice or white wine vinegar. If you’re making a marinade, you might want to use a stronger vinegar, such as balsamic or red wine.

Keep reading to find the best substitute for your dish!

What is Sherry Vinegar?

Sherry vinegar is a favored ingredient in Spanish dishes. The flavor is the perfect blend of white wine and red wine vinegar. Adding depth, aroma, and flavor. This vinegar is generally compared with Balsamic because of its complex flavor and rich color. However, the two are quite different. Sherry vinegar comes from fermenting wine and is thin in constancy. Whereas balsamic vinegar comes from fermented grapes and is thick in consistency.

Flavor Profile

Made from white wine grapes in Southern Spain. You can let this distinctive ingredient age for about ten years in wooden barrels. In terms of flavor, it can be described as lying somewhere between white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar. When you add sherry vinegar to your dish, it will leave a slight caramel and nutty flavor.

6 Best Substitutes

1. Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is the closest in sweetness and acidity to sherry vinegar and my best suggestion for a solution. This alternative is milder in flavor than sherry vinegar but still adds complexity. Add rice wine vinegar at a 1:1 ratio when preparing soups, stir-fries, roasted veggies, and salad dressings. 

2. Balsamic Vinegar

Known as Spain’s sherry vinegar’s Italian cousin, balsamic vinegar is slightly sweeter in flavor. Balsamic vinegar has a thicker and heavier consistency.  Balsamic vinegar has a richer flavor than sherry vinegar but can be used in a pinch. It’s especially good for marinades and salad dressings.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are all about convenience, apple cider vinegar is a good substitute for sherry vinegar. Note that apple-based vinegar has a higher level of acidity. Though it will add more zing to your dish, you must carefully pour the appropriate amount. Apple cider doesn’t have complex flavors, but adding too much will overpower your dish. Available in most kitchens, apple cider vinegar has a higher tartness level. Want to reduce the tartness? Sprinkle some brown sugar. 

4. Citrus Fruit Juices

Citrus fruit juices, such as lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice, can be used as a substitute for sherry vinegar in salad dressings and marinades. However, they don’t have the same complex flavor as sherry vinegar, so they should be used in much smaller quantities.

5. White Wine Vinegar

With a higher level of acidity and less sweetness, white wine vinegar also has a less complex flavor profile. This vinegar has similar elements, making it a solid sherry vinegar alternative. Generally, this type of vinegar works best with fresh garden salads, poultry, and seafood. A pinch of sugar will balance out the lack of sweet flavor. 

6. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar has a strong flavor, so it should be used sparingly. It’s best used in marinades and dishes that can handle a bolder flavor. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Best Alternative to Sherry Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is an excellent alternative. It is much closer in complexity and acidity to rice vinegar than red and white vinegar.

What Does Sherry Vinegar Taste Like?

I would describe the flavor as acidic and bitter. Others have described it has having sweet caramel and nuts notes. 

Is White Wine Vinegar the Same as Sherry Vinegar?

No, these two are not the same. White wine vinegar has a milder flavor. You can use white wine vinegar as a substitution; know it has a high level of acidity. For this reason, I would add about 25% less than the recipe calls for.

Ruth holding a whisk to her chin.

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