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Alternative For Sherry Vinegar: 7 Amazing Substitutes

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Are you looking for an amazing alternative for sherry vinegar? You’ll find excellent ones here!

A bottle of sherry vinegar on a wooden table, with text title "Substitute for Sherry Vinegar".

As a cook or kitchen enthusiast, one of the most important things to learn is knowing substitutes for just about any recipe ingredient – including sherry vinegar. Sometimes, you might find yourself out of this condiment just as you’re about to start cooking. Or worse, you find it hard to buy one since your go-to local grocery store doesn’t have it in stock!

No need to worry. With these fantastic substitutes, you won’t need to go out of your way to look for sherry vinegar. Reach for any of these items in your pantry, and you will brighten up any delicious dish that calls for it! 

Jump to:

What is Sherry Vinegar?

Sherry vinegar is no ordinary type of condiment! It comes from fermenting Sherry wines in only one place: Southern Spain’s Jerez Region. Three types of grapes are often used for making both sherry wines and vinegar: Palomino, Pedro Ximenez, and Moscatel. 

Palomino grapes make sherry vinegar that’s more on the light and tangy side. Most bottles you’ll find in the market are made from them. On the other hand, both Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel make for richer-tasting vinegar thanks to sweeter grapes. 

Sherry vinegar and grapes on a wooden table.

Adding bacteria transforms the alcohol inside oak barrels into acetic acid. This aging process can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, giving the vinegar its complex, rich flavor profile. The longer the vinegar stays in the wooden barrel, the more complex and concentrated it becomes. Some are even aged for decades! 

This Spanish vinegar has a deep amber, even mahogany color, though it generally depends on how long it has been aged. It has hints of caramel, notes of nuttiness, and some fruitiness that you won’t easily find in other types of vinegar.  

How Do You Use Sherry Vinegar When Cooking?

This condiment is fantastic to add to a wide array of dishes. It adds a delicate sweetness and tanginess to your recipes without unnecessarily overpowering them.  

You can easily add it to:

  • Dressings
  • Stews
  • Soups
  • Casseroles
  • Sauces
  • Vinaigrettes
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Marinades
  • Fresh Fruit

It’s also a typical addition to gazpacho, a type of soup made mostly from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and pepper. 

A splash of sherry vinegar can easily give any of these dishes a unique, more sophisticated, and all-around fancier taste!  

Additionally, sherry vinegar can make for a fantastic substitute for other types of vinegar. You can use it in place of champagne vinegar or as an alternative to apple cider vinegar.

Why Would You Need an Alternative for Sherry Vinegar?

As fantastic and versatile as it might be, sometimes you can’t help but need an alternative for sherry vinegar due to the following reasons:

Health Conditions and Food Sensitivities

As stated earlier, sherry vinegar comes from sherry wine. That means the vinegar itself may still contain traces of alcohol, though most has already evaporated during the aging process. 

So, if you’re cooking for someone with a wine allergy or sensitivity to alcohol, it might be best to look for an alternative to sherry vinegar.


Given that sherry vinegars are made in Spain, you might be able to find this ingredient in the international section of most major supermarkets or specialty shops. 

However, many people may not live near such stores, or even if they do, they might find that the vinegar isn’t available. That’s when the substitutes will come in handy!


Most may consider sherry vinegar relatively inexpensive, as you can buy a bottle for less than $10.

Of course, others working on a very tight budget may find adding it to their list of grocery items a bit of a luxury. Most would rather work with ingredients already in their pantry. That’s why this list of alternatives is a must! 

7 Substitutes for Sherry Vinegar

Check out these alternatives you can use and how to use them the right way.

Rice Wine Vinegar

Many consider rice wine vinegar the best alternative to sherry vinegar and for a good reason! It’s probably the condiment closest to the sweetness and acidity of the real thing, though bear in mind that rice wine vinegar has a milder flavor. 

A bottle of rice wine vinegar on a bed of rice, an alternative for sherry vinegar.

When using it as a substitute in soups, dressing, and roasted vegetables, use the same amount as you would sherry vinegar (1:1 ratio.)

Champagne Vinegar

This fancy alternative to sherry vinegar is made by fermenting champagne. While champagne vinegar tends to be milder and less sweet than sherry vinegar, it may still be a suitable alternative.

If you’re using it in a dressing, use 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar for every 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar needed. But, if you find yourself missing the sweetness, you can still add some sugar or honey to balance the flavor.

White Wine Vinegar

On the other hand, white wine vinegar tends to be stronger in flavor than sherry vinegar. It also has a lower sweetness but a higher level of acidity.

A bowl of White Wine Vinegar, an alternative for sherry vinegar, on a wooden table.

This substitute works best when cooking fish, poultry dishes, or even fresh garden salads. You can use a 1:1 ratio when using white wine vinegar as an alternative, and a pinch of sugar can easily solve its lack of sweetness. 

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar might have a harsher flavor than sherry vinegar, but it can still be used! 

Red Wine Vinegar in a glass bowl, perfect for those seeking an alternative for sherry vinegar.

Use it as a substitute in marinades, vinaigrettes, gazpacho, and other dishes that will still turn out despite red wine vinegar’s strong flavors and high level of acidity.

You can use 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar for every 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar. However, you can also use less at first and then add more as needed to not overpower or overwhelm your dish. 

Citrus Fruit Juices

A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice may also be an alternative in salad dressings. These citrus fruits are acidic and tangy, like sherry vinegar. You’ll be adding a burst of freshness to your dishes as well! 

Lemons and limes on a burlap sack, perfect as an alternative for sherry vinegar.

Of course, not all recipes might work with a citrus alternative. Thus, it’s best to ensure your dish pairs well with them beforehand so you’ll have a delicious dish.

You can use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of citrus juice for every 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, though having a sweeter and bolder flavor, can also work as a substitute for salad dressings, glazes, and marinades whenever you’re in a bind.

An alternative for sherry vinegar, a bottle of Balsamic vinegar on a wooden table.

Since it has a rich, distinct flavor, it’s best to use less of this alternative. So if the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar, 1 to 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar might do the trick. You can always add more if needed!  

Apple Cider Vinegar

You’re in luck if you’re in a pinch, and apple cider vinegar is all you have! It can work well as a substitute in sauces.

An alternative for sherry vinegar, a bottle of apple cider vinegar next to a basket of apples.

Just remember, however, that this substitute has a higher level of acidity than sherry vinegar. Also, if you add too much, it might overpower your dish. 

Again, it’s all about balancing the taste. If the recipe needs 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar, use ½ to 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. If it tastes too tart for your liking, add a bit of brown sugar to counteract it.

How Do You Choose the Best Sherry Vinegar Substitute?

The best alternative will depend on what dish you’re whipping up!

If you’re using sherry vinegar in marinades or dressings, try white, red, balsamic, apple cider, or citrus juices. 

Balsamic vinegar pouring on a salad with a unique alternative for sherry vinegar.

If you’re using it for sauces, soups, and broths, you can add rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar in place of sherry vinegar. 

A good rule of thumb is to taste as you go along! Start with a small amount of these alternatives and then add more later if you deem it necessary.


What is The Difference Between Sherry Vinegar and Regular Vinegar?

The difference is the main ingredient used in making them. Sherry vinegar is created from fermented sherry wine, while ordinary vinegar is made from fermented fruits or grains.

How Do You Store Sherry Vinegar?

Once opened, you can store a bottle of this condiment in a cool, dark place like your pantry or cupboard. No need to refrigerate! Just keep it away from light and heat, as it may lead to a decrease in quality over time.

Does Sherry Vinegar Expire?

While vinegar doesn’t expire, it’s generally recommended that an opened bottle of sherry vinegar be used within 2 years. That’s because its acidity level decreases over time, making it less potent. 

The Best Substitute For Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is amazingly versatile. You can add it to various dishes to brighten their flavors and give them a sweet kick!

A plate with a salad and salmon drizzled with balsamic vinegar, an alternative for sherry vinegar.

Of course, not every pantry will always have them 24/7. That’s why you’ll need to be familiar with an alternative for sherry vinegar – and these 7 substitutes should easily do the trick! 

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