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Ce'nedra

A substitute for red wine vinegar?

14 posts in this topic

I'm planning on making a fairly simple French-ish dish and the recipe calls for red wine vinegar, which I don't have in the pantry at the moment (I do have white vinegar, palm vinegar and Chinese black vinegar). Seeing as I only need a few tablespoons, I'm probably not going to take a trip for it any time soon!

Are there any decent substitutes?

Browsing online, I came across the suggestion of white vinegar with red wine...if so, what do you suppose is a good ratio for the mixture?

Any other suggestions are very much welcome, thank you!


Edited by Ce'nedra (log)

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Well, it really depends on what is the recipe... If it is well cooked, I guess a little white vinegar with some red wine (or just plain red wine) should be alright. However, if it is for something raw, such as vinegrette, you might end up with something aweful..

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The recipe is a well-cooked chicken so I suppose the vinegar serves as a sort-of marinade. In that case, should the white vinegar + red wine be ok (I tend not to follow recipes to the tee anyhow)? I'm guessing maybe just a slosh of red wine...

I'm afraid I can't use white wine vinegar as I also don't have that at home currently.

Thanks plenty for the recs!


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Chicken marinated in red wine sounds good to me :) I would just easy on the white vinegar (maybe a 50-50 mix of vinager and wine accounting for the total amount required. It will probably be a bit different than the intended recipe but it should yeild something good!

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Well, it really depends on what is the recipe... If it is well cooked, I guess a little white vinegar with some red wine (or just plain red wine) should be alright. However, if it is for something raw, such as vinegrette, you might end up with something aweful..

Yeah, I'd agree with this statement. Cooked, white vinegar and wine is fine but I tried this same substitution in a dressing and it was just awful.

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The acid in a vinegar - or lemon juice - applied to meat before cooking acts to soften and moisten it a little, as well as leaving a tartness. If it's a tablespoon or two for a whole chicken, you won't notice a lot of difference in flavour between red or white wine vinegar, cheaper balsamic, lemon juice or other fruit or rice vinegars. Even the white spirit vinegar will do in a pinch.

It depends what else is in the recipe, whether palm vinegar or Chinese black vinegar or a mixture of them or a mixture including lemon juice will be a better match for the general diner - and what will be best for whoever will eat your chicken might be another question again.

You can spend money on more and more complex or refined versions of any particular vinegar - there can be at least as much difference between cheap red wine vinegar and expensive or carefully home-made red wine vinegar, as between red and white wine vinegar, or even between generic wine vinegar and generic balsamic vinegar.

FYI lemon juice has an acid content between maybe 5-9%; most commercial vinegars are between 4.5% and 7%. Functionally they can substitute for each other; what taste will best suit is in the skilled judgment of the cook.


Edited by Blether (log)

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Measure out 1/4 cup of red wine. Use the palm vinegar and add a tablespoon, let it stand for a few minutes and taste it. Add more vinegar if you thing it needs it and you might want to add just a scant pinch of sugar to balance it, unless your red wine is quite sweet.

Distilled white vinegar has too harsh a taste.


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I find that you can substitude it with a cup of red wine and two table spoons of lemon juice, my husband is french and I often cook dishes for him, but I find the combinations of wine and lemon juice not as harsh as wine vinager. Hope it helps, when making a traditional dish with chicken and mushrooms like coccavin, red wine and lemon juice is the best.

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Thanks for the all the comments, everyone. Very much appreciated.

I truly meant it when I said the recipe was simple haha; it's merely dijon mustard, red wine vinegar (which I will now substitute...I only need 3 tbsp), chicken, olive oil, parsley...done!

I need to use up my mustard and dying parsley.

From all of this, I can deduce that I'll be using a little red wine...perhaps 2 tbsp? And 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar...seeing as some of you saying the white vinegar is too harsh, I may stick to the lemon hmm.


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start w/ just one TEAspoon of the white vinegar, along w/ the 2 tbsp of red wine, and see how it tastes, before you add the chicken. If it tastes ok to you, then just add a bit of water if you need to increase the volumn for some reason.


Karen Dar Woon

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You've got some great advice, Ce'nedra. In your place, I'd sub lemon juice for the RWV. It will be different, but lemon/oil/parsley/mustard is a classic combination. Mixing in red wine will add red wine flavour, but reduce the acidity - so, give you an alternative in a different way. Neither of them better than the other.

Andie, I love reading your posts, and I really respect what you say. I've learned from you. But I'll add that roast chicken done with white vinegar, a lot of garlic, something like onion confit, sweet brown onion chutney or plain brown-fried onions to fill in the middle notes and lots of black pepper or chilli, with aromatics of your choice, can make for an exhilarating dish.


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