Skip to Content

What Is The Difference Between White Vinegar And White Wine Vinegar?

If you have ever stood in a store holding a bottle of white vinegar in one hand and white wine vinegar in the other hand, then you might be left wondering what the difference actually is between the two.

Although it might not seem like there is a difference between the two, there actually is.

What Is The Difference Between White Vinegar And White Wine Vinegar

Both white vinegar and white wine vinegar will have their own purpose when it comes to cooking, and both of them will work well in a dish, but in very different ways.

Although lots of people mistake these two kitchen essentials for being the same thing, they are very different. 

Not only is the process of making each of these items different, but they are also designed to be used for different things.

In this article, we are going to explain the differences between white vinegar and white wine vinegar to help you to understand the difference between the two. 

What Is The Difference Between White Vinegar And White Wine Vinegar?

If you are wondering what the difference is between white vinegar and white wine vinegar, then you have come to the right place. White vinegar is made through the further fermentation process of white wine.

On the other hand, white vinegar, also called distilled vinegar, is made from distilled water and acetic acid. Essentially, it is a type of distilled water that dilutes the acetic acid and combines to create white vinegar.

What Is Vinegar?

Vinegar is a liquid that begins its production journey as a fruit. This can then be made into wine, or another type of alcohol, like cider or beer.

Once you are left with ethanol alcohol, you will be able to add a new bacteria culture to it, and this will work to eat up all of the alcohol. This is referred to as the process of fermentation. 

This process will break down any by-products, and by the end of fermentation, it is important to be sure that there is no alcohol left. The acidity of the liquid should also be more than 5%.

For white vinegar, the mixture is made up of both distilled water and acetic acid, and this is the reason why white vinegar has a much stronger smell than white wine vinegar or other types of vinegar.

What Makes Various Types Of Wine Different?

You should know that each type of vinegar will have its own unique flavor, and different types of vinegar are used for different things.

For example. You probably wouldn’t use red wine vinegar and white vinegar for the same purposes. This means that each type of vinegar is unique, but what makes them different? 

You can take a look at our table below, which highlights the different types of vinegar that you can get and how they are used for different purposes when cooking. This will make it easier for you to understand the difference between the different types of vinegar.

Type of VinegarUses in Cooking
White WineSalad Dressing, Marinades, Chicken and Fish, Pickling.
Red Wine Salad Dressing, Beef and Pork, Vegetables.
ChampagneSauces, Salad Dressing, Deglazing a Pan, Dipping.
SherryVinaigrette, Glaze on Chicken or Duck, Sweetener for Soups, Deglazing Pans.
RiceAsian Dishes and Salad Dressings.
Apple CiderButtermilk, Pickling, Marinades.

This works to highlight the fact that different types of vinegar are often better suited to specific types of cooking. This is because the flavors pair well together, and there are various different cooking applications for each type of vinegar.

The type of vinegar that you choose to use will depend on what you are cooking or preparing. 

Pasteurized Vs Unpasteurized Vinegar

Something else that you might be wondering about is the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized vinegar.

In simple terms, the word pasteurized means that the vinegar has been heated up and bacteria that typically grows in the bottom of the container that is filled with vinegar will be killed.

This will leave you with a clear bottle of vinegar. This is the type of vinegar that is the most appealing when you understand the process of making it.

On the other hand, unpasteurized vinegar will still contain this bacteria, which makes the vinegar quite cloudy in appearance.

Although, there are some people that argue that this is the healthier alternative because pasteurized vinegar will also be free from good bacteria, whereas unpasteurized vinegar will still contain good bacteria.

Can I Substitute Any Type of Vinegar For Apple Cider Vinegar?

If you are following a recipe that is asking you to include a certain type of vinegar, but you don’t have any available to you, then you might be left wondering if you can swap it out for apple cider vinegar instead.

But ultimately, this dish that you are making will decide whether or not it is a good idea to use apple cider vinegar instead.

If it is a last resort and you would otherwise have to abandon the recipe, then you could use apple cider vinegar instead of whatever type of vinegar the recipe is asking for.

However, this will alter the taste of the dish, and you can expect it to add a fruity kick that you don’t typically find with other types of vinegar. 

You will be able to use the same amount of apple cider vinegar that you would your originally requested type of vinegar, but you should avoid adding more or less than the recipe is asking for.

One of the best things about apple cider vinegar is that it is very versatile in its uses, and it is probably the most versatile of all of the different types of vinegar. 

If you didn’t already know, apple cider vinegar is actually made out of fermented apple cider. Although, if you are not someone that likes apples or fruity flavors, then you might want to avoid using apple cider vinegar as a substitute.

It might instead be worth going out to the grocery store to see what other alternatives you can use instead.

How To Make Your Own Vinegar Substitute At Home

If you are stuck without vinegar in your kitchen, but you need some for a recipe that you are following, then you could also choose to make your own vinegar substitute at home. 

Sometimes, we don’t think of different types of vinegar in the kitchen. It’s often I find myself unable to use some of the different types of vinegar because I only hang on to white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

We are going to share some of the things that you could use in place of different types of vinegar below. All of these are based on a ratio to one tablespoon of vinegar.

White vinegar – 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice
Sherry vinegar – 1 tablespoon of red wine
Rice vinegar – 1 ½ tablespoons of white wine vinegar and ¼ of a tablespoon of sugar
Red wine vinegar – 1 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 ½ tablespoons of red wine
Apple cider vinegar – 1 tablespoon of Lemon or lime juice

Are White Wine Vinegar And White Cooking Wine The Same Thing?

White cooking wine is usually a cheaper type of wine that you will be able to find in your local grocery store. These types of wine are usually not particularly special, they are just simply a basic type of white wine that can be used for cooking.

More often than not, people tend to use up leftovers of bottles that they had started drinking but never finished. 

Alternatively, you could use a white wine that wasn’t particularly to your tastes for drinking, but that could work really well for cooking purposes.

If you really wanted to, you could have a glass of the cooking white wine as you cook, but this isn’t something that you can do with white wine vinegar, because white wine vinegar is much different from cooking with normal white wine.

White wine vinegar actually comes from white wine, but it is a type of fermented wine that has been oxidized and has a type of bacteria that will have eaten up all of the alcohol from within the wine.

So, even though white wine vinegar and white wine are often confused with one another, they are two different things. Although, if you were to open up a bottle of wine and leave it unattended for long enough, you would be left with vinegar.

There is sometimes a cross-over between these two things, and lots of people would assume that if you leave your cooking wine for long enough you could use it as a wine vinegar, but you should know that this isn’t always the case.

It would all be dependent upon the stage of fermentation that your wine is currently in. The best thing that you can do in this situation if you are unsure is to test the wine before you use it. Although, they can be substituted for one another at times. 

Is It Possible To Use Cooking Wine Rather Than Wine Vinegar?

It could be possible to use cooking wine instead of wine vinegar, but this is something that will greatly depend on what you are cooking. It can be difficult to make this swap without compromising your dish, because you will be swapping out something acidic.

Making this swap for something simple like deglazing the pan would, but it might not always make the best substitute for cooking.

The best way to find out whether or not something works is to try it out and hope for the best. Who knows, you might even find a new preferred way of making a certain dish.

It might be worth trying to experiment with a few different types of vinegar and wine to see if you can create the results that you are looking for. 

Can Wine Vinegar Go Bad?

The majority of things that you store at home in your pantry will have a best before date to use as a guideline or a use by date that needs to be abided by.

When it comes to white wine vinegar, there will be a best before date. After this date, some of the flavor may be lost, as the vinegar is not guaranteed to be at its best quality after the best before date.

If you want to make your vinegar last for as long as possible, then you should store the bottle somewhere that is cool and dark. You should also ensure that the lid is tightly screwed on the bottle.

If you were to store your vinegar this way for years, you would eventually notice a breakdown in color and taste. You could even choose to keep your vinegar in the refrigerator, but this is not necessary if you will use it up within a few months.

Jess Smith