What Does White Vinegar Do in Baking

Egg rationing during World War II may have initiated the development of cake recipes that used vinegar in place of eggs. Vinegar makes cake batter more acidic; the acidity, in turn, causes the proteins in the flour to set the cake as it bakes. This results in a cake that is fluffy yet still moist. You don’t have to eliminate eggs to achieve the same effect; just use a little vinegar in a traditional cake recipe or with a boxed cake mix.

Substitution Options

Mix 1 tsp. vinegar into the dry ingredients.

Replace 1 tsp. baking powder in the recipe with 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tbsp. vinegar.

Substitute 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1 tbsp. water for one egg.


Avoid using more than 1 tbsp. vinegar total in a cake; this may give it a vinegary aftertaste.

Petra Wakefield is a writing professional whose work appears on various websites, focusing primarily on topics about science, fitness and outdoor activities. She holds a Master of Science in agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University.


If you search for “What does vinegar on bread do?” you’ll be met with many people soaking their bread slices in vinegar and placing them in stinky areas. That’s because vinegar-soaked bread sucks up unpleasant odors, such as in the garage or inside a trash can.

Okay, that’s great and all – but today we’re talking about what vinegar does in a bread recipe.

So, if your bread recipe calls for the addition of vinegar, is it really necessary? It is. Vinegar works wonders in bread dough. It helps the bread to rise better and creates a moister crumb and a delicious flavor.

  • What Does Vinegar Do in Bread Recipes?
  • Do You Have to Add Vinegar to Bread?
  • Will the Bread Taste Like Vinegar?
  • How Much Vinegar to Add to Bread Dough?
  • FAQs
  • Vinegar is a Must-Have for Bread Dough!

You know those unsuspecting bottles of clear vinegar hogging all the space on grocery store shelves? Yeah, that’s distilled white vinegar, and your pantry should be well-stocked with it. Distilled white vinegar is made by feeding oxygen to a vodka-like grain alcohol, causing bacteria to grow and acetic acid to form. It’s those acids that give vinegar its sour taste. Vinegar can be made from any alcohol — wine, cider, beer — but it’s grain alcohol that gives distilled white vinegar its neutral profile. This vinegar tastes more assertive than most, but it contains roughly 5% acetic acid (about the same amount as other vinegars you use for cooking), making it perfectly safe to eat.

Now, don’t confuse distilled with basic white vinegar, which is stronger and has up to 25% acetic acid. That vinegar is sold exclusively for cleaning purposes and is not a good idea to ingest. However, beyond cooking, distilled white vinegar can be used for many of the same household chores. It might be a little unnerving that the same ingredient can be used to both clean your showerhead and liven up a barbecue sauce, but it is inexpensive to buy, good for the environment, and incredibly versatile. If you need further convincing, here are 15 ways to put that gallon-size jug of vinegar to use, both in your cooking and around the house.

Vinegar is a go-to ingredient when you want to increase the acidity in your recipes or preserve foods through pickling. It can help to cut the saltiness of over-seasoned dishes, and it can be combined with salad oil to create a tangy vinaigrette. Vinegar has a long shelf-life, which makes it convenient to keep on hand. To top it off, there are many different kinds of vinegar to choose from. We’ll introduce the different kinds of vinegar and explain what makes each type unique.

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What Is Vinegar Made Of?

Vinegar is made of water and acetic acid. All types of vinegar start as a liquid containing natural yeasts and sugars, like unpasteurized fruit juice. The liquid goes through a fermenting process where the yeast consumes the sugar and produces ethanol (alcohol). The sour, pungent flavor of vinegar is deepened through a second fermentation that transforms the alcohol into acetic acid. The flavor profile of each kind of vinegar is determined by the type of juice or liquid that is used.

Overview of apple cider vinegar in baking

Here are a couple common questions about apple cider vinegar.

What does apple cider vinegar do?

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of use in baking, dating back to the early days of home baking. Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice, and it has a slightly tart flavor that can be used to add a tangy kick to baked goods.

In addition to its flavor, apple cider vinegar can also help to tenderize dough and add moistness to cakes and quick breads. When using apple cider vinegar in baking, it’s important to start with a mild-flavored variety and to use it sparingly, as too much can give your baked goods a sour taste.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used as an ingredient in homemade frostings and icing, adding a unique flavor to your desserts.

Why do you need apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar’s acidic properties help to balance the sweetness of baked goods, and it can also be used to add moistness or texture. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using apple cider vinegar in baking.

First, it’s important to use quality vinegar. Second, be sure to add the vinegar at the end of the recipe, as it can quickly break down in the heat.

When used correctly, however, apple cider vinegar can add depth of flavor to your favorite baked treats.

Additionally, apple cider vinegar can also be used in savory dishes like salad dressings. All of these best apple cider vinegar substitutes for baking can also be used when you’ve making savory dishes as well.

Baking is an art that requires precision and attention to detail. Every ingredient used plays an essential role in the outcome of the final product. While we are all familiar with the basics of baking, like flour, sugar, and butter, some ingredients may be less commonly used.

One such ingredient is white vinegar. In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of using white vinegar in your baking recipes.

White vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various ways in baking. Its acidic properties can help to:

  • React with baking soda: When combined with baking soda, white vinegar creates a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide. This reaction causes the batter or dough to rise, resulting in a fluffy and light texture.
  • Tenderize meat: Adding white vinegar to marinades can help to break down tough fibers in meat, resulting in a more tender texture.
  • Balance pH levels: White vinegar can balance the pH levels in baked goods, which can affect how they rise and set. By adjusting the pH, you can create a more stable environment for your baked goods to rise properly.
  • Add tangy flavor: White vinegar has a tangy taste that can add a unique flavor to your baked goods, especially in savory recipes like bread and rolls.
  • Help preserve freshness: The acidic properties of white vinegar can also help to extend the shelf life of baked goods by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

How to Use White Vinegar in Baking?

White vinegar can be used in many different ways in baking, depending on the recipe. Here are some of the most common ways to use it:

  • As a substitute for buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes. The vinegar will curdle the milk, creating a buttermilk-like texture that can be used in recipes like pancakes and waffles.
  • In baking soda reactions: When a recipe calls for baking soda, you can add white vinegar to the mixture to create a chemical reaction that will help the baked goods rise.
  • In marinades: White vinegar can be used as a tenderizer in meat marinades. Combine it with oil, herbs, and spices for a flavorful and tenderizing marinade.
  • In bread dough: Add a splash of white vinegar to bread dough to create a tangy flavor and to help balance the pH levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar in baking?

Yes, you can substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar in baking recipes. However, keep in mind that the taste and color of your baked goods may be slightly different.

How much white vinegar should I use in baking?

The amount of white vinegar used in baking will depend on the recipe. As a general rule, a tablespoon of white vinegar is enough to react with a teaspoon of baking soda.

Does white vinegar affect the taste of baked goods?

When used in small amounts, white vinegar can add a tangy flavor to baked goods, especially in savory recipes. However, using too much can result in an overpowering taste.


White vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can enhance your baked goods in many ways. Its acidic properties can help create a fluffy and light texture, tenderize meat, balance pH levels, and even add a unique flavor.

Baking soda and cleaning vinegar, together or separately, have lots of uses in the kitchen or laundry room. Dougal Waters/Getty Images

Natural, non-toxic cleansers are all the rage, and white vinegar and baking soda are popular options in this area. Most people know that baking soda is a helpful cleaning and deodorizing agent, and that vinegar packs serious antibacterial and rust-fighting powers. But while each substance on its own is an effective cleanser, put together they pack an extra punch.

You may have made a homemade volcano by combining baking soda and vinegar as a kid. The two products generate quite a reaction. When vinegar (dilute acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) mix together, the pair “foams up” to produce carbon dioxide gas, as well as liquid water, acetate ions and sodium ions. The carbon dioxide gas is what produces the bubbles.

Once the liquid water evaporates and the solid baking soda dissolves, sodium acetate remains. This effective cleaning agent shows up in more than just household products, however. It’s a key ingredient in textiles, cosmetics and even as a food additive!

Now that you know a bit of the science involved in this impressive reaction, it’s time to find out how to use it to your advantage. Here are eight excellent suggestions on how to use baking soda and vinegar together for maximum effectiveness.

Clean Pots and Pans

The next time your food burns on the bottom of a pot or pan, turn to baking soda and vinegar to rectify the situation. Add some water and 1 cup (240 milliliters) or so of vinegar to the bottom of the pan, then heat it up to a simmer. Remove the pan from heat and then add 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of baking soda. Allow the pan to soak until there are no more bubbles. Then, scrub with a scouring pad and watch all the crustiness fall away.

Clean the Dishwasher

Some dishwashers get gunky with food debris, not to mention covered in rust stains. Fortunately, vinegar and baking soda are ideal for taking care of these problems. Simply put a measuring cup filled with 1 cup of vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then, run a hot water cycle. Once that’s done, liberally sprinkle some baking soda along the bottom of the appliance, then run a shorter hot cycle.

Clean the Washing Machine

Washing machines can build up soap scum, limescale or even mold over time. Although you can buy a commercial cleaner or use bleach, here is a cheaper alternative that is also safer. Put 1/2 cup (32 grams) of baking soda in the machine (for a front-loading machine) and fill the fabric softener tray with 1 quart (1 liter) of vinegar. If you have a top-loader, you can just put both ingredients in the drum. Run the machine on hot water for a full cycle.

Unclog the Drain

Grout gets stained over time, especially in the kitchen area where sauces tend to spatter. To get your grout back to “like new” status, sprinkle some baking soda over the affected area. Next, using a spray bottle filled with vinegar, spritz some of the wet stuff on the grout. Give the mixture some time to fizzle and pop, then scrub away at the grout using a scrub brush, toothbrush or something similar. Rinse the utensil as needed, and wipe up excess dirt with a clean, wet rag. (Note: this should only be done with grout that has been sealed. If your grout is unsealed, just use baking soda and scrub.)

Clean the Kitchen Sink

To bring back the shine on a stainless steel sink, get the sink nice and wet. Then sprinkle it with baking soda. Scrub using a brush or cloth and then rinse it off. Next, soak some paper towels in white vinegar, and place them all over the sink. Allow the towels to rest for 20 minutes, then remove and rinse the sink again.

Deodorize the Toilet

Even the cleanest toilet can benefit from this hack. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the bowl, then top it off with a 1 cup of vinegar. (Some people try this with a half cup of each product.) Close the toilet lid and let the bubbly mixture sit for about 30 minutes. Then use a toilet brush to scrub it clean.

Revitalize Towels

Towels can become stiff or smelly thanks to repeated use of detergent and fabric softener on them. Soap residue can make towels dry less effectively, so they may take on a funky smell or feel rough. Restore them with baking soda and vinegar. To do this, first wash your towels with 1 cup of vinegar and a hot water cycle. Don’t add any detergent. Then wash them a second time in hot water and 1 cup of baking soda. Finally, run them through the dryer without using a fabric softener.

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Out of all of the possible ingredients that you would use in any traditional baking recipe, vinegar might not be the first one that comes to mind. The sour taste and pungent smell of vinegar are likely enough for you to have dismissed it as an option entirely. However, do not overlook this common kitchen ingredient, as it may come in more handy than you think.

Vinegar is more often than not an essential ingredient in many traditional baking recipes and, contrary to popular belief, has a wide range of uses for baking. Vinegar can be used for assisting raising agents, stabilizing, and can even be used as a substitute for eggs and buttermilk.

By now, we are confident that your interest has peaked. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. If it is not already, vinegar will become one of the most crucial grocery items in your kitchen, particularly if you are an avid baker. Discover all that vinegar can do for your baked goods and why it should never be left out of your recipes.

If you have ever baked a cake, muffins, bread, or almost anything really, it is highly likely that you have come across vinegar on the list of required ingredients. Although it may seem like vinegar shouldn’t be brought anywhere near your delicious cake or bread, it actually plays a far more significant role than you might be aware of.

Except for balsamic vinegar, most kinds of vinegar like white vinegar and apple cider vinegar surprisingly do not alter the taste of your baked goods in ways that you might expect them to. Instead, the adding of vinegar to your baked goods does far more for the overall product in structure, appearance, and a host of other benefits.

Let us explore all of the incredible ways that vinegar can assist and improve your overall baking experience and ensure the best possible final product.

1 – Vinegar Assists Raising Agents

One of the first and arguably most helpful uses for vinegar in baked goods is that it is a wonderful ingredient when used to assist raising agents. Even if you have never baked before, you will know what happens when vinegar comes into contact with baking soda.

When acids like vinegar come into contact with baking soda, carbon dioxide gas is released, which is essential in aiding cakes, muffins, and cookies to rise as they bake. If your baked goods do not rise properly, the final product will undoubtedly be poor. Adding only a splash of vinegar will do wonders in preventing a kitchen nightmare.

2 – Vinegar Functions as a Stabilizer

If you have ever enjoyed a good meringue, then you will know that what makes it so perfect is its overall stability, maintaining a crisp exterior, and a delicious chewy center. Anyone who has ever attempted to bake a meringue before will tell you that achieving this perfect blend of results is no easy task.

Once again, vinegar comes to the rescue and is unquestionably one of the sole contributors to baking the perfect meringue. A small amount of vinegar is enough to slow down the formation of sulfur bonds in egg whites, which results in them becoming almost silky in appearance, and ultimately results in a higher and more even rise.

3 – Vinegar Works Well as a Substitute

Vinegar also makes an excellent substitute for ingredients that you might not expect, eggs being one of them. Some say that substituting eggs for vinegar in standard cake recipes began sometime during World War II when egg rationing was being enforced. It may seem like an unnatural or unlikely substitution, but the results speak for themselves.

Ultimately, adding vinegar to the cake batter increases the batter’s acidity, which results in the proteins found in flour to set while the cake is baking. What you would expect from eggs is what you can expect from vinegar. Your cake will come out both fluffy and moist – the perfect combination.

You could also substitute buttermilk by mixing vinegar with fresh milk. Once it has curdled slightly, it will work just as effectively as what buttermilk would.

4 – Vinegar Can Brighten the Color of Baked Goods

Red velvet cupcakes are one of those baked goods that have taken the world by storm. The now-iconic bright-red cake topped with white frosting is undoubtedly a favorite in many households and café’s alike.

Beetroot is a common ingredient in red velvet cake, used for its added moisture and, of course, its vibrant red color. We’ll spare you all of the scientific details, but vinegar actually brightens the natural color of many fruits. Adding a dash of vinegar to your red velvet recipe will ensure that you have the most vibrant-looking cakes in town.

Will the Bread Taste Like Vinegar?

Vinegar has a very pungent odor and flavor, and plenty of people (myself included) are not a fan. I can’t stand the taste or smell of vinegar. But when added to bread dough, you won’t notice it in your final product. That is, as long as you don’t use too much.

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is similar to its white wine counterpart. It’s derived from a red wine base and offers a sweet, less acidic taste. This Mediterranean staple has a mellow flavor profile that is perfect for use in vinaigrettes and reductions.

Is Red Wine Vinegar the Same as Red Cooking Wine?

No, red wine vinegar and red cooking wine are not the same ingredients. Red wine vinegar is made from fermented red wine, so it has a tangy flavor that enhances vinaigrettes and marinades. Red cooking wine, on the other hand, is a product that contains red wine along with preservatives, sodium, and sweeteners. Experienced chefs recommend using drinking wine instead of cooking wine for a higher quality dish.

  • Red Wine Vinegar Flavor: Tangy and sweet
  • Uses for Red Wine Vinegar: Mignonette (condiment served with raw oysters and clams), pickling vegetables, salad dressings, marinades, sauces
  • What Is Red Wine Vinegar Made From? Red wine

Red Rice Vinegar

Red rice vinegar is also known as Chinese red vinegar. Even in Chinese cooking, it’s not a commonly used vinegar. But in certain traditional recipes, it’s a necessity and cannot be substituted. Congee (rice porridge) and Chinese fried squab (pigeon) are two dishes enhanced with red rice vinegar.

The key ingredient of red rice vinegar is rice cultivated with red mold. This rice is referred to as red yeast rice and it gives red vinegar its signature salty flavor.

  • Red Rice Vinegar Flavor: Tart and salty
  • Best Red Rice Vinegar Uses: Chinese dishes and condiments
  • What Is Red Rice Vinegar Made From? Fermented red rice

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How Is Vinegar Made?

Vinegar is made using a two-step fermentation process. First, a liquid mixture containing yeast and sugar is fermented into alcohol. Then the alcohol goes through a second fermentation which produces a sour- or bitter-tasting product packed with acetic acid.

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is a type of white wine vinegar made from the same grapes used to make Champagne. It’s not actually made with a bottle of bubbly Champagne, which is a common misconception. But like Champagne, this vinegar is sweet and effervescent. It won’t overpower the flavors in your delicate sauces and marinades.

Substitute for Champagne Vinegar

In recipes calling for Champagne vinegar, the best substitute to replicate the delicate flavor is rice wine vinegar. You can use white wine vinegar, but its flavor is more acidic so opt for a lesser amount than you would normally use.

  • Champagne Vinegar Flavor: Floral and sweet
  • Best Champagne Vinegar Uses: Quick pickles, salad dressings, sauces
  • What Is Champagne Vinegar Made From? Chardonnay or pinot noir grapes

What Does Vinegar Do in Bread Recipes?

Vinegar plays a role in four elements of your bread: the rise, moistness, flavor, and longevity. Let’s take a closer look at how this versatile ingredient works in your bread dough.

Enhances/Quickens the Rise

Your bread dough has to rise – there’s no getting around that. But did you know that vinegar can help in this process?

Vinegar breaks down the proteins in bread dough, causing the gluten to tenderize. Over time, new – and, more importantly, stronger – gluten networks form. This results in bread with a perfect rise in a shorter amount of time.

Moistens the Crumb

Vinegar cuts down on flour oxidation, resulting in a superiorly moist crumb and a lightweight texture. So, if you’re one who enjoys a fluffy, airy loaf of bread, you will want to include vinegar in your bread recipe.

Improves Flavor

Think about your favorite type of artisan bread, such as sourdough. The flavors have plenty of depth and distinctiveness, creating a top-notch loaf. Well, this doesn’t happen quickly. Anyone who makes sourdough bread knows it’s a low and slow procedure to develop the taste.

What if you’re short on time but still want those same great flavors? Add vinegar.

Vinegar is an organic acid – the same kind that occurs naturally during yeast fermentation. So, by adding vinegar to your dough, you can create impressive flavors in a shorter amount of time. Nobody will be the wiser!

Increases Longevity

Unfortunately, bread doesn’t last forever – even if you store it in the fridge. This is especially true for homemade loaves, which tend to only have a few short days on the counter before they need to be frozen or tossed.

Well, one of the benefits of adding vinegar to your bread dough is that it will improve longevity, giving your homemade loaf an extra few days before going bad.

Vinegar reduces the pH level in your bread dough. In turn, this fends off mold formation, ensuring you can make toast, sandwiches, garlic bread, and other yummy bread-based recipes without fear of consuming old and moldy slices.

The Uses of Vinegar in Bread Baking

Vinegar can also be an excellent addition to bread-making recipes. The first and most obvious benefit is that vinegar will assist in the rising of the bread dough. The way it does this is by strengthening the structure of the gluten in the dough, which will ultimately prevent any air pockets from bursting and ruin your attempt at making some delicious bread.

Vinegar can also assist yeast fermentation, which in turn increases the rate that the bread dough will rise.

Vinegar can also do wonders for the flavor of the bread – in small amounts, of course. Other benefits of adding vinegar to bread dough include attaining a light texture to the bread, as well as a moist crumb. It is incredible to see how one seemingly unusual ingredient can have such a significant impact on baking something like bread.

Finally, if you want your bread to come out of the oven with a beautiful golden-brown crust, all you need to do is brush it with a small amount of vinegar a few minutes before you take it out of the oven.

Sherry Vinegar

A close cousin of balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar is an ingredient that can pack a big punch into your favorite recipes. Its nutty, rich flavor offers less sweetness than balsamic vinegar. It’s also potent, which means that it should be used sparingly – especially as a substitution.

The recipe for sherry vinegar was discovered by accident. This Spanish native vinegar is said to be the result of a few barrels of sherry that were spoiled and became too acidic. While this ruined the after dinner drink, it produced a new favorite ingredient for chefs.

  • Sherry Vinegar Flavor: Pungent and nutty
  • Best Sherry Vinegar Uses: Salad dressings, glazes, marinades, reductions
  • What Is Sherry Vinegar Made From? Fortified wine

Other Uses for Vinegar in Baking

If your baked good has turned out to be much sweeter than you intended – particularly desserts – then adding a small amount of vinegar can do wonders to balance out the flavors.

Best Substitutes for Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar is a key ingredient in many types of baking, from cakes and cookies to scones and quick breads. Its acidity helps to balance out the sweetness of other ingredients, and it also adds a pleasantly tart flavor.

While there are many different kinds of vinegar available, apple cider vinegar is often the best choice for baking. However, there are times when it can be difficult to find, or you may simply have another type of vinegar on hand.

In these cases, white wine vinegar is probably the best apple cider vinegar substitute. It has a similar level of acidity to apple cider vinegar, so it will provide the same flavor balance in your baked goods. Additionally, white wine vinegar is clear, so it won’t alter the color of your final product the way that some other types of vinegar can.

To substitute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, use one teaspoon of white wine vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in baking, thanks to its tart flavor and ability to help recipes rise. However, it’s not the only vinegar that can be used in baking.

Champagne vinegar, for example, is a great substitute for apple cider vinegar. It has a similar acidity level, which helps to promote rising, and it imparts a subtle sweetness that can enhance the flavor of your baked goods.

Be sure to add the champagne vinegar slowly and taste as you go, as it can be easier to over-do it than with apple cider vinegar. You may need to experiment a bit to get the flavor just right, but the results will be worth it!

To substitute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, use one teaspoon of champagne vinegar.

Unseasoned Rice Wine Vinegar

Unseasoned rice wine vinegar has a similar acidity to apple cider vinegar, making it a good choice for recipes that call for the latter. It also has a milder flavor, so it won’t alter the taste of your baked goods too much. It’s a good substitute.

One advantage of using unseasoned rice wine vinegar is that it won’t add any extra salt to your recipe. This is because the vinegar is made from distilled rice wine, rather than fermented rice wine like some other types of vinegar. As a result, it has a relatively neutral flavor that won’t compete with the other ingredients in your recipe.

To substitute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, use one teaspoon of rice wine vinegar.

There are many types of vinegar available on the market today, and each one has its own distinctive flavor. When baking, apple cider vinegar is often used to add a tartness to recipes. However, red wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for apple cider vinegar in baking.

The slightly fruity flavor of red wine vinegar can enhance the flavor of cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. In addition, red wine vinegar can help to tenderize dough and give it a light, fluffy texture. It will give you the same flavor profile as if you used ACV.

When substituting red wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar in baking, it is important to use a 1:1 ratio. This will ensure that your baked goods still have the desired level of tartness.

To substitute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, use one teaspoon of red wine vinegar.

Sherry vinegar is a type of vinegar made from dry white wine. It has a milder flavor than apple cider vinegar, making it ideal for use in light-colored cakes and cookies.

Sherry vinegar is one option that can be used in place of apple cider vinegar. It has a similar tartness and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. However, sherry vinegar is also quite a bit sweeter than apple cider vinegar, so you may need to adjust the other ingredients in your recipe accordingly.

To substitute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, use one teaspoon of sherry vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a great substitute for apple cider vinegar in baking since it has a similar acidic taste. This can help to balance out sweet flavors. In addition, balsamic vinegar is dark in color, so it can give baked goods a rich, caramelized flavor.

To substitute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, use one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.

Bonus recommendation

If you don’t have any vinegars on hand or you need to avoid them for any reason, you’ll be happy to know that you can simply use citrus juice like orange juice as an apple cider vinegar replacement.

You could also use lemon juice or lime juice from fresh lemons or fresh limes.

Vinegar FAQ

We answer some common questions about vinegar below. Check out our vinegar chart to compare the colors of the most popular types of vinegar.

Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar gets its name from malted barley. To make this amber-colored vinegar, grains of malted barley are fermented into ale, then fermented a second time to develop the tart, toasty flavor.

Malt vinegar is the type of vinegar served with fresh-cut french fries or with the classic British dish, fish and chips. But don’t neglect this vinegar in your cooking. You can also use malted vinegar to pickle vegetables and flavor sauces.

  • Malt Vinegar Flavor: Toasty and rich
  • Best Malt Vinegar Uses: Flavor enhancer for chips and french fries, pickled vegetables, salad dressings, condiments, sauces
  • What Is Malt Vinegar Made From? Malted barley

Black Vinegar (Chinkiang)

Black vinegar, also known as Chinkiang vinegar, hails from the eastern Chinese city of Zhenjiang. It offers an earthy and smoky umami flavor thanks to a combination of fermented glutinous rice, wheat, and millet. This pantry staple for Chinese cuisine can be used to pair with dumplings, duck, and Asian dipping sauces.

Substitute for Chinese Black Vinegar

Black vinegar has such a unique flavor that it’s hard to replicate its aromatic qualities with other types of vinegar. But in a pinch, you can substitute a combination of rice wine vinegar with soy sauce.

  • Black Vinegar Flavor: Earthy and umami
  • Best Black Vinegar Uses: Flavor enhancer for stir-fry, meats, and sauces
  • What Is Black Vinegar Made From? Fermented black sticky rice or glutinous rice, sometimes with other added grains

What Is the Mother of Vinegar?

A vinegar mother is a gelatinous mass of cellulose and bacteria (mycoderma aceti) that serves as a vinegar starter. The bacteria in the mother feeds off alcohol and turns it into acetic acid, the compound that gives vinegar its flavor. Sometimes a mother of vinegar will form on storebought vinegar that still has traces of unfermented alcohol. It’s harmless to consume and will not affect the taste of the vinegar surrounding it.

Because of its acidity, vinegar can be used to balance out the flavors in your dishes. Try the different types of vinegar on our list to create unique flavor profiles. This powerhouse ingredient lends itself to a wide variety of uses in a commercial kitchen.

A familiar ingredient in Asian cuisine, rice vinegar is made by fermenting rice into alcohol, then fermenting the alcohol into acidic acetic acid. Rice wine vinegar has a sweeter flavor than white wine or red wine vinegar. It’s also the key ingredient in the sushi vinegar that gives sushi rice its flavor and texture.

Rice Wine Vinegar vs Rice Wine

Rice wine and rice vinegar are two different ingredients. Rice wine is made from fermented rice, which produces a sweet flavor. Rice wine vinegar goes through a second fermentation, which adds more tang. These two ingredients cannot be substituted for each other.

  • Rice Vinegar Flavor: Sweet and delicate
  • Best Rice Vinegar Uses: Sushi rice, salad dressings, sauces, marinades
  • What Is Rice Vinegar Made From? Fermented rice

How to Use Distilled White Vinegar in Your Cooking

1. Poaching Eggs: Add a splash to simmering water. It helps the egg whites set and gives you a more uniform poached egg.

2. Pickling: Distilled white vinegar’s neutral flavor and color won’t affect the color of your pickles or detract from the herbs and spices you’re using. Also, considering its approachable price tag, it’s also great if you’re pickling in big batches.

3. Baking: Add a teaspoon or two to cakes, cupcakes, or cookies to react with the baking soda. This is especially great in egg-free desserts.

4. Cooking Rice: Add a teaspoon of vinegar to your rice cooking water. This will give you less starchy, fluffier grains.

5. Buttermilk in a Pinch: If you need buttermilk for a recipe, but are fresh out, add one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of whole milk. Let sit for five to 10 minutes before using.

6. Marinades and Dressings: Use like any other vinegar to balance out sweetness, or enhance saltiness without adding more salt. When used in marinades, it also helps tenderize meat. Distilled white vinegar is best in sauces with a lot of sugar (like barbecue sauce), or dressings with a lot of strong herbs and competing ingredients (think chimichurri).

7. Royal Icing: A teaspoon of vinegar in your royal icing balances out the sweetness, and helps it set faster. The acid stabilizes the egg whites, so it’s a good substitute if you don’t have cream of tartar. This is especially helpful when making a gingerbread house.

How to Use Distilled White Vinegar Around the House

1. All-Purpose Cleaning Solution: In a spray bottle, combine one cup of distilled white vinegar with three cups of water and use to clean nearly everything. This solution is good for streak-free windows, stovetops, tiles, and more. Double check before using on your wood floors. Also, if you have a pet, use this mixture to spot clean your carpeting — the vinegar sanitizes and covers up the smell of urine so your dog or cat isn’t tempted to revisit the same area. Don’t love the smell of vinegar? Let vinegar sit in a jar with strips of lemon zest and thyme for a week or two in a sunny spot, then strain. Mix with water as described above. This can be done with any herb or fragrant plant like lavender or eucalyptus, just avoid anything that colors the vinegar if you plan on using it on a white carpet.

2. Relieve Sunburn Pain: Soak a washcloth in a 50/50 solution of distilled white vinegar and water and dab on your sunburn, or add two cups to your bathwater.

4. Keep Flowers Fresh: Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your flower water to make your flowers last longer. When the water gets cloudy, dump it out and repeat.

5. Clean Your Microwave: To get rid of any smells or cooked-on food, in a microwave-safe container combine a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar and one cup of water. Microwave on high until the mixture comes to a boil and steam forms on the window. Let cool slightly, then wipe away any food residue.

6. Polish Copper, Pewter, and Brass: To remove tarnish, in a small bowl combine a half cup of distilled white vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, and enough flour to make a paste. Rub onto the metal and allow it to stand for 15 minutes. Rinse with clean water and polish with a soft, dry cloth.

7. Clean a Stinky Sink Drain: To keep kitchen drains fresh, pour one cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain once a week. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water.

Beer Vinegar

Just as it sounds, beer vinegar is made by fermenting any type of finished beer. It offers a very similar flavor profile to barley-based malt vinegar, which makes it an ideal alternative to use with classic fish and chips. Beer vinegar can be made with any type of beer, which results in a range of flavors. From stouts to pale ales, each type will create a unique taste.

  • Beer Vinegar Flavor: Nutty and complex
  • Best Beer Vinegar Uses: Flavor enhancer for
  • What Is Beer Vinegar Made From? Beer

Vinegar is a Must-Have for Bread Dough!

If you’re toying with the idea of adding vinegar to your bread dough, I highly recommend it. A little goes a long way and will help to create a delicious and moist loaf. It will also help your loaf last a few days longer without fearing mold growth.

Do you use vinegar when you make bread? What type of vinegar do you use, and how much do you add? We’d love to hear from you!

I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It’s been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

White Wine Vinegar

Not to be confused with distilled white vinegar, this vinegar has a much milder flavor. White wine vinegar is made with fermented white wine and is much less acidic than both white and apple cider vinegar. The light, balanced sweetness of white wine vinegar makes it a refreshing addition to salad dressings and soups.

White Vinegar vs White Wine Vinegar

Both of these types of vinegar have “white” in their name, but their flavor is very different. Distilled white vinegar is very strong and can easily overpower foods if you use too much. White wine vinegar is milder than distilled vinegar and has more culinary uses because of its complex flavor. Reach for the white vinegar for canning or cleaning, and use white wine vinegar for creating delicious sauces and marinades.

  • White Wine Vinegar Flavor: Sweet and mild
  • Best White Wine Vinegar Uses: Pickling and brining, salad dressings, condiments, sauces, marinades
  • What Is White Wine Vinegar Made From? White wine

How Much Vinegar to Add to Bread Dough?

When it comes to adding vinegar to your bread dough, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much vinegar is going to cause two significant issues:

  • Odd flavor. Nobody wants to eat bread with a cast of vinegar, but too much vinegar in your bread dough will leave an unpleasant aftertaste.
  • Killed yeast. Too much vinegar can also kill off your yeast – a necessary ingredient that allows your bread to rise. Needless to say, if the yeast is killed off, you won’t end up with a beautifully-risen loaf of bread.

You can avoid these unfortunate outcomes by adding one tablespoon of vinegar per every two cups of flour.

Can you use apple cider vinegar in bread dough?

While white wine vinegar is typically the go-to for bread, you can use apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has an element of sweetness that may show through in your recipe. This isn’t a bad thing, though – it’s just something to keep in mind.

Can vinegar replace an egg in a recipe?

Vinegar can replace an egg in specific baked recipes, such as light and airy cakes and cupcakes. To replace an egg with vinegar, simply mix one teaspoon baking soda with one tablespoon vinegar.

Is vinegar a rising agent?

Vinegar falls under the category of being a “rising agent,” which is one of the main reasons why plenty of bakers add it to their bread doughs.

Is vinegar a bread preservative?

Vinegar can help your bread last longer by reducing the pH levels and fending off bacteria that cause mold growth.

Cane Vinegar

This type of vinegar is produced by fermenting the syrup extracted from crushed sugar cane. While cane vinegar is derived from sugar cane, it offers a surprisingly un-sweet flavor profile often compared to malt vinegar.

Cane vinegar is more common in countries where sugar cane is grown. It’s a staple ingredient in Filipino dishes like chicken adobo (chicken simmered in vinegar).

  • Cane Vinegar Flavor: Mellow and fresh
  • Best Cane Vinegar Uses: Traditional Filipino dishes, sauces, marinades
  • What Is Cane Vinegar Made From? Sugar cane

Different Types of Vinegar

Have you ever wondered about the difference between apple cider vinegar and white vinegar? We’ve made a list of vinegar types and their flavor profiles to help you choose the best vinegar for the job.

Apple cider vinegar is the next most common type of vinegar on our list. It’s made by adding a bacteria and yeast culture to crushed, strained apples. Added sugars and natural sugars are consumed by the bacteria and yeast, producing ethanol. The ethanol is fermented a second time to produce acetic acid, the compound that gives vinegar its sour flavor.

Apple cider vinegar has a golden hue and can be used to add a tart and subtle fruity flavor to marinades, salad dressings, coleslaw, and chutneys.

Apple Cider Vinegar vs White Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is different than white vinegar because it retains a sweet, fruity flavor from the apples. White vinegar is stronger than apple cider with a higher percentage of acetic acid. Reach for apple cider vinegar when you want to add flavor to salad dressings and sauces. Choose distilled white vinegar when you want to pickle foods or add acidity without imparting any extra flavors.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Flavor: Tart and fruity
  • Best Apple Cider Vinegar Uses: Health tonics, salad dressings, and marinades
  • What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Made From? Crushed apples, sugar, and yeast

This Italy native is the only type of vinegar that is not produced by fermenting alcohol. Like a fine wine, balsamic vinegar is made by aging pressed grapes in oak barrels. And just like wine, the older the balsamic, the higher the price tag. True balsamic vinegar will carry a label that reads D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin). This certifies that the balsamic vinegar was produced according to protected standards.

Balsamic vinegar has a distinct sweet and zesty flavor that can be drizzled over both savory and sweet dishes. Or, mix it with olive oil for a classic balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

  • Balsamic Vinegar Flavor: Concentrated, complex, and sweet
  • Best Balsamic Vinegar Uses: Salad dressings, glazes, reductions
  • What Is Balsamic Vinegar Made From? Grape must (pressed grape juice)

Does Vinegar Go Bad?

Just because your vinegar has turned cloudy or the color appears to change doesn’t mean it has gone bad. Thanks to the acidic nature of vinegar, it can be kept on your shelf indefinitely. Store it in a cool, dry place away from heat and light, and always keep a tight lid on the bottle.

Over time, the appearance of your vinegar may change, including a shift in color or the development of sediment towards the bottom of the bottle. This can occur naturally in vinegar over time, but should not affect the taste. Types of vinegar with a higher acidity level, including distilled white or apple cider vinegar, are more likely to experience these changes. If you prefer, you can simply filter out the sediment using a paper coffee filter.

White vinegar is the most common type of vinegar, and there’s a good chance it’s sitting in your kitchen right now. It offers a sharp taste and potent smell, making it one of the most distinct vinegar types on this list. That’s because white vinegar is distilled from grain, which results in a crisp and clear product.

White vinegar has a strong flavor, so it’s best used in small doses to add a touch of acidity to recipes. It’s a common preserving agent and can be used to pickle foods. Distilled vinegar can also be used in baking applications to provide leavening (rise) to cakes and cupcakes. White vinegar is an effective cleaner for surfaces and cookware, and it can be used in your coffee maker to remove scale buildup.

  • White Vinegar Flavor: Sharp and potent
  • Best White Vinegar Uses: Preserving and pickling, cleaning, leavening baked goods
  • What Is White Vinegar Made From? Grain alcohol


There are many types of vinegar available on the market today, and each one has its own distinctive flavor. When baking, apple cider vinegar is often used to add a tartness to recipes. However, there are many substitutes that can be used in place of apple cider vinegar. Experiment with different types of vinegar to find the one that best suits your taste.

Final Thoughts

By now, it is likely that you are ready to grab your keys and head over to your local supermarket to purchase the biggest bottle of vinegar you can find and add it to just about everything that you want to bake. Vinegar is undoubtedly a baker’s asset, and learning to use it wisely can revolutionize your overall baking experience.

Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.

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