Skip to Content

The 5 Best Substitutes for Malt Vinegar

Have you ever wondered what the main ingredient is in malt vinegar?

It has a distinctive flavor that you may recognize from fish and chips and French fries.

But did you know how versatile it can be when cooked and used as a condiment?

Plus, if, for some reason, you don’t have any malt vinegar on hand, there are plenty of substitutes to choose from.

Knowing how to cook with malt vinegar and finding a good alternative will take your dishes to the next level of flavor.

What’s Malt Vinegar?

Malt vinegar is an acidic condiment made through the fermentation of malted barley, providing it with a unique flavor.

This golden-colored vinegar has a pungent, malty aroma that carries through to its flavor profile.

The texture of malt vinegar is sharp and toothsome on the tongue, producing a pleasant tingle sensation.

Malt vinegar tastes both tart and sweet, great for complementing savory foods like chips or fish and making the perfect addition to many recipes.

This thick consistency pairs best when poured atop fried dishes or used as an ingredient for vinaigrettes, marinades, pickling liquids, and condiments alike.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Malt Vinegar

If you’re looking for an alternative to malt vinegar, you have several options.

Here are the five best substitutes that you can use in recipes and as condiments.

1 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular condiments used in cooking and baking.

It is made from apple juice that has gone through a fermentation process to create an acidic liquid with a slightly sour taste.

Apple cider vinegar has a strong, sharp flavor and an unmistakable tartness.

Some food lovers prefer to use it as a substitute for more traditional malt vinegar due to its more potent taste.

To substitute apple cider vinegar for malt vinegar, simply double the amount used, as malt is milder than cider and will require more flavor.

Despite its powerful bite, apple cider vinegar can greatly enhance various flavors in your favorite recipes, making it a delicious addition to any meal.

2 – White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is a bright, acidic condiment made from white wine that has been fermented and aged.

It’s often used in marinades and salads due to its mild fruitiness and medium acidity.

The texture of white wine vinegar is sharp and acidulous, but it’s much milder than other types of vinegar, such as balsamic or apple cider vinegar.

If you’re looking for an alternative to malt vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar instead.

You may want to use a little bit less as it will be tangier than the malt version.

A few tablespoons of white wine vinegar with some herbs like parsley, oregano, and garlic make an easy base for tasty vinaigrettes and flavorful marinades.

3 – Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is a popular condiment for culinary dishes.

It is made from red wine that has been allowed to ferment and oxidize until it turns into acetic acid.

The resulting taste of the consequence is sharp and tangy, with underlying notes of sweetness.

The actual texture resembles that of mild white vinegar, making it ideal for dressings, pickles, marinades, and sauces.

Red wine vinegar also contains more antioxidants than other types of vinegar, offering further health benefits such as helping regulate blood sugar levels.

If you’re looking to substitute malt vinegar in any recipe, red wine vinegar is an excellent alternative, as they possess a similar acidic intensity while still allowing the flavors of the dish to shine through.

4 – Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is an invaluable kitchen resource, providing both a distinctive taste and a lightness of texture that other ingredients cannot match.

When combined with other ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice can bring out the best qualities of a salad dressing or dish.

The flavor profile is distinctly citrusy and slightly acidic, bringing out the sweet notes in even the fruitiest dishes.

Even though it’s primarily used for cooking and dressings, lemon juice can also be substituted for malt vinegar in certain recipes.

To do this, simply add enough to balance out the acidity levels of your dish; this will ensure you get all the flavors that malt vinegar provides without having to buy such specialty ingredients.

5 – Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is an intense, dark-colored vinegar produced in Italy since the middle ages.

It’s made primarily from fermented grape must – freshly pressed grape juice that includes skins, seeds, and stems – and aged in wooden barrels.

The flavor of balsamic vinegar develops complexity with age as it filters through multiple layers of wood, each adding its own unique flavor.

This aging gives balsamic vinegar its distinctive sweet-tart taste and velvety texture.

Balsamic vinegar can be used as a substitute for malt vinegar, but because of its more full-bodied and complex flavor, it should only be used sparingly to avoid overpowering the dish.


In conclusion, malt vinegar is a popular condiment used in many recipes.

However, if you don’t have it on hand or simply wish to try something different, there are several alternatives that work just as well.

You can substitute malt vinegar with apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar, depending on the desired flavor and texture of your dish.

All of these options provide their own unique flavors that can help enhance any recipe.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Malt Vinegar

The 5 Best Substitutes for Malt Vinegar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
    Skip to Recipe