9 Best Sherry Vinegar Substitutes

by Brittney

No time to shop for sherry vinegar? We’re sure one of these sherry vinegar substitutes will be the perfect complement to your recipe!

We’re huge fans of sherry vinegar. It’s complex, not at all overpowering and has the ability to liven up everything from salad dressings to hearty stews. But, at least where we live, it can be difficult to source without a trip to a speciality market. That’s why we’ve rounded up our favorite sherry vinegar alternatives. These pantry staples will add a touch of brightness to your favorite dishes!

What is Sherry Vinegar?

Let’s back up a bit before we get to the vinegar. First, what is sherry? Sherry (or jerez in Spanish) is a fortified wine made from white grapes that is produced in Spain. It’s regulated by Spain’s Denomination of Origin system, which ensures that all wine labeled as sherry comes from the Cadiz province in southwestern Spain and follows specific procedures. Sherry ranges from dry to sweet and is often served as a dessert wine.

And sherry vinegar (vinagre de jerez)? It’s simply sherry that has been transformed into vinegar through a process of fermentation and aging in oak barrels. The color and taste of sherry vinegars varies significantly depending on the type of grapes used and how long the vinegar was aged.

Sherry Vinegar: FAQs

What does sherry vinegar taste like?

Sherry vinegar has a more complex flavor profile than other vinegars. It’s slightly sweet with nutty and caramel notes. And while it will add a touch of acidity to your dish, it’s not at all overpowering. The taste will vary depending on the type of sherry used and how long the vinegar was aged.

How is sherry vinegar used?

Sherry vinegar is often used in marinades and vinaigrettes. It’s also excellent drizzled over salads, roasted vegetables and grilled meats. It’s a common ingredient in gazpacho and a great way to perk up a bowl of soup.

What is the difference between sherry vinegar and sherry cooking wine?

Sherry vinegar is made by fermenting and aging sherry wine. Sherry cooking wine is made by adding salt and preservatives to sherry wine and is intended for cooking only.

sherry vinegar substitutes

The Best Sherry Vinegar Substitutes

Whether you’re making gazpacho or a zesty vinaigrette, one of these sherry vinegar alternatives is sure to be the perfect fit! 

1. Sherry Wine + White Wine Vinegar

Sherry wine by itself isn’t a good substitute for sherry vinegar. That being said, if you do happen to have some sherry wine on hand, combining it with a bit of white wine vinegar can be an excellent substitute. It will lack the intensity of sherry vinegar, but still provide a touch of acidity and mild sweetness to your dish.

We recommend one part sherry to two parts white wine vinegar.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1 teaspoon sherry wine + 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar.

2. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is made by fermenting red wine. It has a bold and fruity flavor that we find works well in most recipes that call for sherry vinegar, especially for things like gazpacho and vinaigrettes. This is almost always our preferred substitution for both convenience and taste.

Red wine vinegar is a bit more acidic, so start with less and add more as needed to ensure you don’t overwhelm the dish.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.

3. White Wine Vinegar

Next we have red wine vinegar’s counterpart: white wine vinegar! White wine vinegar is similar to red wine vinegar in terms of acidity level, but it has a milder flavor.

We prefer white wine vinegar in lighter dishes, such as recipes that use fish or poultry.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.

4. Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is one of our favorite substitutes for sherry vinegar! It’s made from the same grapes that are used to make champagne. Like sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar has a more complex flavor profile and is less acidic than other vinegars.

Champagne vinegar is quite delicate and lacks the sweetness of sherry vinegar. If using in something like a dressing, consider adding honey or a splash of balsamic as well.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar.

5. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar isn’t a perfect substitute for sherry vinegar, but it’s likely something you already have in your pantry. It has a rich and distinct flavor that might not work well for all dishes. We particularly like balsamic vinegar in salad dressings, glazes and marinades.

Balsamic vinegar is sweeter and has a stronger flavor than sherry vinegar. Start with a small amount and add additional to taste.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.

6. Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is generally sweeter and less acidic than other vinegar varieties, making it a great replacement for sherry vinegar. While it has a less complex flavor profile than sherry vinegar, rice wine vinegar is a good alternative in most cases. 

Just make sure to stay away from seasoned rice vinegar, which has sugar, salt and sometimes additional flavorings.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a very distinct taste and its fruit-forward flavor profile means it’s not a suitable replacement for all dishes. We love apple cider vinegar for pan sauces and shrubs.

Apple cider vinegar is quite acidic, so you may want to start with less and add additional to taste.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = ½ – 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

8. Lemon Juice

No vinegar? No problem! Fresh lemon juice is a great way to add bright flavor to your recipe! The tart flavor of lemon juice is great at balancing heartier dishes by adding a touch of freshness.

Lemon juice isn’t a perfect replacement for sherry vinegar in all dishes. Make sure your recipe will pair well with citrus to ensure the flavors harmonize.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice.

9. Red Wine

And finally, a splash of red wine might be just the thing for dinner tonight! While not as acidic as sherry vinegar, it can add a tangy brightness to your final dish.

Red wine won’t add the same acidity as vinegar, but it works well to add flavor in marinades and sauces.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar = 1 tablespoon red wine.

And make sure to check out these posts the next time your pantry is looking a little empty:

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