Apple cider vinegar is a well-known home remedy and one of the most multipurpose vinegars available. It can do everything other vinegars can (even cleaning!). In the wellness world, it is even advertised as a health tonic. So, what happens when you’re about to spill the last precious drop from the bottle and don’t feel like running errands? Forget about making a last-minute grocery run because you probably already have a few apple cider vinegar substitutes in your pantry. Continue reading to learn more.

Benefits of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is thought to be beneficial to your health in a variety of ways. Here’s what research says about its benefits.

Weight loss

Taking vinegar before or with a meal, according to proponents, may help you feel full quicker and lose weight. This can result in consuming fewer calories and losing weight. Adding or removing particular meals or ingredients, on the other hand, rarely has a noticeable influence on weight. Adopting healthy and supportive diet and lifestyle habits leads to long-term weight loss.

Overall, apple cider vinegar may help in weight loss by increasing satiety, lowering blood sugar levels, and lowering insulin levels.

Blood sugar

The acetic acid in vinegar may block enzymes that help in starch digestion. Starchy meals like bread, pasta, and rice can produce an increase in blood sugar after consuming. As a result, ingesting apple cider vinegar may result in a lower blood sugar surge following starchy foods.

To include ACV into a meal, try a splash on salads or in marinades, vinaigrettes, and sauces.

If you have pre – diabetes, consult your healthcare practitioner before using more than you would normally find in cooking. Diabetes medications can be affected by vinegar. It should not be taken if you have certain medical issues, such as gastroparesis, a digestive disorder that causes the stomach to empty slowly.


Some people apply an apple cider vinegar and water solution to their scalp to cure dandruff. It is thought to help with flaking, itching, and irritation. The acetic acid in vinegar may alter the pH of the scalp, making yeast growth more difficult. Dandruff is caused by yeast.

Some folks rinse their hair with apple cider vinegar to eliminate shampoo build-up and clarify dull hair. If you do this, make sure to dilute the vinegar with plenty of water to avoid stinging your eyes.


ACV’s skin-perfecting acids are similar to a mild chemical peel that gently exfoliates the skin. Gentle is the key word here; when used properly, ACV may help slough away dead skin cells that you can’t see, brightening your complexion.

ACV’s acidic characteristics also make it ideal for acne-prone skin – it has a low pH, which experts say helps to maintain our skin’s healthy acid mantle.

A well-balanced skin tends to be more acidic, so a few strategic swipes of the stuff on specific areas can work to bring your skin back down to a healthy pH, which, according to experts, is beneficial in balancing things like oil production and calming eczema flare-ups. It’s also worth noting that, due to the fermentation, ACV is naturally antimicrobial, which adds to its power in combating acne.

Sore throat

One of the oldest use of ACV is as a sore throat treatment. It has antibacterial properties. Capsaicin, found in spicy peppers, is also thought to ease pain. However, no particular research has been conducted to demonstrate that apple cider vinegar relieves sore throats.

In fact, there is evidence that using vinegar to cure a sore throat may cause more damage than good. Vinegar can cause throat tissue damage if not mixed with enough water. The damage may aggravate discomfort and make swallowing more difficult. So make sure to dilute the mixture with plenty of water.

Body odour

Some people believe that apple cider vinegar might help keep smelly feet and armpits at bay. It may help to balance the pH (acidity level) of the skin and combat bacteria that produce body odour. You may smell a vinegar odour at first. When the vinegar dries, it usually fades away.

It’s a good idea to start by testing the apple cider vinegar solution in a small area. It should also be avoided near delicate textiles such as silk or leather. They might get damaged by the acids.

Apple cider vinegar nutrition

The nutritional information for 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of apple cider vinegar is provided by the USDA.

Apple cider vinegar is not a significant source of micronutrients or macronutrients because it is consumed in small amounts. It is also an appropriate condiment for a variety of meal plans. For those who are not allergic to apple cider vinegar, it is a great vegan, gluten-free, and low-sugar option.

Why use a substitute to apple cider vinegar?

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Apple cider vinegar allergies are rare, however some people may be sensitive to it. Because vinegar is a byproduct of fermentation, some of the byproducts of that fermentation (such as salicylates or sulphites) are present in apple cider vinegar, and anybody who is sensitive to these elements should avoid it.

Vinegar has a sour or tart flavour, and apple cider vinegar has a particularly distinct flavour. While it is one of the most palatable vinegars, it may not be to everyone’s taste. Swapping out apple cider vinegar for one you prefer is a good excuse to look for an alternative.

If you use apple cider vinegar regularly, you may go through a bottle quickly. Another reason to use a replacement is if you run out of apple cider vinegar or don’t have any on hand to begin with. While apple cider vinegar is often inexpensive and widely available, other types of vinegar may be even more affordable and can be found easily.

Best apple cider vinegar substitutes

White Wine Vinegar

Since white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar have similar levels of acidity, they may be easily substituted. If desired, add a dash of fruit juice to sweeten it up.

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is milder than apple cider vinegar, but a 1:1 substitution will suffice. If you want a stronger punch, add extra champagne vinegar to taste.

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar has a stronger flavour than white wine vinegar, but it can still be used in place of apple cider vinegar. However, keep in mind that the dark colour of red wine vinegar may impact the colour of a dish.

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar has a more strong and complex flavour than apple cider vinegar, but it’s still a terrific substitute. If you like sherry or sherry vinegar, increase the quantity to taste—just don’t change the amount of liquid in a baking recipe!

Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is a great substitute for apple cider vinegar since it is sweeter and milder. It has a lovely flavour, but it also has the snappiness that you’d expect from vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar

substitute for apple cider vinegar
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If you add a little honey or maple syrup with apple cider vinegar, you’ll get something that tastes like balsamic vinegar. You may use the mixture as a 1:1 substitute for apple cider vinegar, but bear in mind that balsamic vinegar is substantially sweeter, so adjust the quantity to taste. It’s also darker and more opaque, so it will change the colour of a dish.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is naturally tart and acidic, making it a great substitute for apple cider vinegar. Use it to add acidity to salads, sauces, and other dishes.

Orange Juice

Any citrus juice will perk up a dish, but orange juice is somewhat sweeter than the other citrusy alternatives. Use a 1:1 ratio, but feel free to add a dash of another vinegar for a sharper note if needed.

Lime Juice

substitute for apple cider vinegar
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Lime juice is another ideal option since it contains all of the necessary acidic tones. Keep in mind that it is slightly sharper than lemon or orange juice and has a distinct flavour.

Distilled White Vinegar

Though white vinegar is generally neutral in flavour, it is very acidic and has a strong sharp bite. Use it in place of apple cider vinegar, but add a splash of fruit juice or a pinch of sugar to balance the flavour. Distilled white vinegar may be harsh on its own.


When following a recipe, it can be difficult to find the perfect ingredient replacement without fear of affecting the final result. Other types of vinegar that replace the sour, tart taste are the best substitutes for apple cider vinegar. They can be used in the same amounts as apple cider vinegar because they have the same consistency.

People who are sensitive to vinegar or fermentation byproducts should avoid the ingredient entirely. In that case, lemon juice is probably the best substitute because it has the same fruity flavour and acidity level. Other reasons to use apple cider vinegar instead include its flavour and accessibility.

Main image credit: Craig Adderley/Pexels and Feature image credit: Shutterstock

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Is apple cider vinegar harmful to consume?

Answer: Because vinegar contains a lot of acid, consuming it directly is not recommended. If you consume too much of it, it might create difficulties such as eroding the enamel of your teeth. If you want to use it for health reasons, most people recommend adding enough water to it.

Question: Is apple cider vinegar better than its substitutes?

Answer: Apple cider vinegar has more nutritional value because of the added bonus of fruit in it.   There are several ways in which ACV can benefit your health. If you want to try them for yourself, go for organic, raw choices.

Question: Is white vinegar a substitute for apple cider vinegar?

Answer: Yes, white vinegar is a substitute for apple cider vinegar. Though white vinegar is generally neutral in flavour, it is very acidic and has a strong sharp bite. Use it in place of apple cider vinegar, but add a splash of fruit juice or a pinch of sugar to balance the flavour. Distilled white vinegar may be harsh on its own.

Question: Is rice wine vinegar a substitute for apple cider vinegar?

Answer: Yes, rice wine vinegar is a substitute for apple cider vinegar. Rice wine vinegar is a great substitute for apple cider vinegar since it is sweeter and milder. It has a lovely flavour, but it also has the snappiness that you'd expect from vinegar.