Vinegar is a staple condiment in most homes. Its uses range from salad dressing to marinades and dressings.
While vinegar is fine as an ingredient, there are times when nothing but the real thing will do (especially true for certain dishes).
This is where tarragon vinegar comes into play.
Made from the white wine and infused with the flavor of tarragon, this is a vinegar that can stand alone and shine.
Tarragon recipes abound with good reason; its herbaceous flavor lends itself to many dishes.
The trick in cooking with tarragon vinegar is knowing when to use it (and in what ways).
While most vinegars are versatile in their uses, there are times when you want to make sure you are using the best possible vinegar for the desired outcome.
Some dishes call for tarragon vinegar, while others don’t (or shouldn’t) stand a chance with it.
In this article, we will discuss the best substitutions for tarragon vinegar.
What is Tarragon Vinegar?
Tarragon vinegar is a type of vinegar made using the leaves of the tarragon plant.
Although other types of vinegar are available, such as white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, tarragon is excellent for use in salad dressing due to its distinct flavor.
Light-bodied oils blend best with this richly flavored vinegar to create delicious salad dressings that can be used on green salads or as marinades.
Tarragon vinegar can be used to dress fresh greens with flavor, either as a dressing itself or combined with other ingredients such as walnut oil, garlic, mustard and honey.
Mix tarragon vinegar with olive oil for an amazing dressing that can be used on bean salads or potato salads.
Tarragon vinegar can be used in marinades for meat, seafood and vegetables.
It is also excellent combined with fruit to dress a fruit salad.
When choosing tarragon vinegar, look for flavors that are not too strong.
Since it has such a refined flavor, this vinegar can easily overpower other ingredients in the same dish if the flavor is too intense.
Look for light, fresh flavors to find the best quality and taste.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Tarragon Vinegar
There are many substitutes for tarragon vinegar.
While these will provide a different flavor than the real thing, they are excellent for marinades or mixed dressings that do not call for an overwhelming amount of vinegar.
Some may even be preferred by those who cannot eat tarragon due to food allergies or personal preference.
1 – Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a traditional ingredient that many use in salad dressings and marinades.
For those who love the flavor of tarragon, apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for this particular type of vinegar.
However, it does not contain the same sweetness due to its stronger flavor profile.
It is important to use a lighter oil such as olive or canola oil.
Since most tarragon vinegar also contains sugar, this will help cut the acidity of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a good substitute for those who do not have access to tarragon vinegar due to allergies or personal preference.
It is also possible to make your version of tarragon vinegar by using apple cider vinegar and adding a few drops of dried or fresh tarragon.
To get the most out of this, add the dried herb to the sun tea for a few weeks before straining.
2 – Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is made from grapes and crafted from a reduction process.
It is dark and has a much stronger flavor than regular vinegar since it contains grape juice, which can be used as a sweetener for dressing or marinade recipes.
This type of vinegar works better with lighter oils such as sunflower oil or grapeseed oil rather than extra virgin olive oil, but this is personal preference.
Balsamic vinegar is a great substitute for tarragon vinegar because it has a stronger taste, which works well in dressings or marinades that contain strong ingredients such as apples or cranberries.
It also makes a good addition to gravies when combined with fresh parsley and garlic powder.
3 – Distilled White Vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is a popular ingredient in both salad dressings and marinades.
It works well with both lighter oils such as canola or grapeseed oil and stronger tasting oils like extra virgin olive oil.
This type of vinegar doesn’t provide much sweetness due to its low acidity, so it is important to use the same amount as tarragon vinegar.
Distilled white vinegar works best as a substitute for those who do not have access to tarragon vinegar because of allergies or personal preference.
It can also be used in apple cider vinegar since it has a similar acidity and flavor profile.
Be cautious, however, if the recipe also calls for sugar.
Unless the amount is minuscule, distilled white vinegar does not contain enough sweetness to balance out the flavor of sugar.
4 – Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is a popular ingredient in salad dressings and marinades due to its strong flavor.
This vinegar also works well with lighter oils such as canola oil or grapeseed oil.
Still, it does not have the same sweetness as apple cider vinegar, limiting its use compared to tarragon vinegar.
Red wine vinegar is a good substitute for those who do not have access to tarragon vinegar.
It also works well as a substitute for apple cider vinegar, especially in dressings and marinades that contain strong ingredients such as apples or cranberries.
5 – Rice Vinegar
A common ingredient in Asian cuisine, rice vinegar comes from fermenting rice wine made from sticky rice.
It has a milder flavor than other vinegars and works well with lighter oils such as canola oil or grapeseed oil.
This type of vinegar does not have a high acidity level, making it a poor substitute for tarragon vinegar.
Rice vinegar is not suited for use in recipes that call for tarragon vinegar.
It does not contain enough acidity to balance sugar or apple cider vinegar flavors.
This vinegar is also best when used sparingly but can overpower lighter dressings and marinades since its flavor profile is mild.
Tarragon vinegar is a popular ingredient used in various dishes, but it can be a difficult ingredient to find for people with allergies or who do not enjoy the taste.
The 5 substitutes listed above are some of the best options that you can use in place of tarragon vinegar.
Distilled white vinegar is also a suitable choice if you don’t have access to apple cider vinegar.
Use these substitutes sparingly because they are not as sweet or flavorful as tarragon vinegar, but it is better to be safe than sorry when you’re throwing together a quick marinade.