Best Substitutes for Black Vinegar

Black vinegar is a one-of-a-kind product that cannot be replaced with any other vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and red wine vinegar, for example, may all be used as excellent Chinese black vinegar alternatives.

What Is Black Vinegar Made Of?

Before we go into the replacements, it’s important to understand what black vinegar is. Its robust taste distinguishes it from other vinegars. It is not just acidic. A excellent bottle will include malt and licorice aromas, creating an earthy foundation that balances the acidic sharpness.

The product, like other vinegars, undergoes a two-step fermenting procedure. In step one, mixing sugary fruit or grain with yeast produces an alcoholic substance, which yields ethanol as a byproduct. In the second phase, microorganisms convert the ethanol to acetic acid.

So, what distinguishes black vinegar? For starters, its manufacturing method involves the utilization of cereals, most notably rice. The grain contributes the malty notes mentioned before. It has also aged from half a year to three years and more. This is how it gets its distinctively deep color. Finally, black vinegar was traditionally fermented in clay pots.

Black vinegar is widely used in Chinese cuisine, where it is blended with anything from soy sauce to sweet-and-sour sauce. As a result, it is also known as Chinese black vinegar. In reality, there are four major geographical variants of black vinegar in China.

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1. Balsamic Vinegar

When it comes to Chinese black vinegar alternatives, balsamic vinegar is an obvious first pick. It has a similar hue and consistency. It is also adaptable. It may be used to make sauces, dressings, glazes, and other things.

Balsamic vinegar isn’t a great complement in terms of flavor. The taste of the material is sweeter than that of black vinegar. It’s also a little sweeter. However, it is also aged for a lengthy periodof timeranging from 12 to 25 yearsin order to retain the rich taste of black vinegar.

Because of its thick viscosity, balsamic vinegar is an excellent substitution for producing a thick sauce or glaze. You will not need to thicken the sauce as much as you would with regular black vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar is substantially sweeter than black vinegar, making it excellent for any sweet dish, such as a sweet-and-sour sauce. Take note that you will most likely need to use less balsamic vinegar than black vinegar in your recipe.

2. Rice Vinegar

As previously stated, black vinegar differs from other forms of vinegar in that it is created from grains, often rice, rather than fermented fruit. Because they share the same foundation, rice vinegar is an apparent substitute for black vinegar.

The key distinction is that rice vinegar has no malt. It’s also worth noting that rice vinegar comes in a variety of forms. The original rice vinegar is unsweetened. Some varieties, however, include taste enhancers such as ginger or orange peel.

Ideally, you should replace the black vinegar with simple rice vinegar. Rice vinegar may have a more powerful and robust taste than black vinegar since it ferments for a longer period of time. As a result, you may require less black vinegar than the original recipe asks for.

So, how would you put rice vinegar to use? It’s fantastic in marinades, sauces, and pickling brines. You may also use it in dishes that call for tofu or stir-fry with black vinegar. Any of these foods should benefit from simple rice vinegar with no flavor additives.

3. Red Wine Vinegar

As a Chinese black vinegar alternative, red wine vinegar has a few advantages. First and foremost, it has a similar sweet but tangy taste. Furthermore, it has a deeper tint, so you can be certain that the appearance of your dish will be consistent.

However, red wine vinegar is not a suitable substitute. It does not have the same acidity as black vinegar. The flavor is also lacking in the earthy overtones of black vinegar. There are also no malt-like undertones that you would anticipate from Chinese black vinegar.

As a result, red wine vinegar is a better substitute for recipes that don’t depend substantially on black vinegar. You may use it in a salad or stir fry, where other foods take center stage.

Please keep in mind that the recipe ratio will need to be altered properly. Use one tablespoon of red wine vinegar for every two teaspoons of black vinegar. This ensures that the meal retains the proper acidity.

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4. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is often referred to as the “cool cousin” of balsamic vinegar. This product, which originated in Spain, is the southern European country’s counterpart to Italy’s balsamico. (Balsamic vinegar may technically only be called as such if it originates from Reggio Emilia or Modena.)

Sherry vinegar is substantially less expensive than balsamico while retaining a comparable taste character. It is created from fermented, colored, and sweetened grape juice that has been squeezed. One popular sweetener used is caramel.

Although sherry vinegar is older than black vinegar, the flavors are uncannily similar. It’s also fairly acidic and has some of the same sweetness due to the caramel addition. This results in a nutty aftertaste that perfectly complements the acidic flavors.

One notable difference is that you will not receive the same dark color as black vinegar. This might be a disadvantage if you are concerned about visual display. In terms of taste, sherry vinegar, on the other hand, is an excellent substitute.

5. Date Vinegar

Finally, if you’re looking for a sweet alternative to black vinegar, dates may be the solution. Although black vinegar is derived from grain (rice) and date vinegar is made from fruit (fermented dates), the two have some taste similarities.

Date vinegar is the earliest form of vinegar that has been documented. It contains spices and herbs in addition to dates to enhance the taste. This imparts a wonderful sweetness that balances the sour acidity of normal vinegar.

Date vinegar may be used in the same ratios or volumes as black rice vinegar. You’ll even notice that the colors of the two solutions are almost identical. As a result, you will have a comparable look as well as a very similar flavor.

Date vinegar may be used in a variety of dishes since it is so similar to black vinegar. Dressings, marinades, glazes, and sauces will benefit from it. It is also great for stir-frying. Make careful to taste test as you go to avoid overpowering your dish with a sugary flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

The list above includes some of the most useful and popular black vinegar replacements. You may, however, still have some queries regarding the subject. The commonly asked questions listed below will answer all of your concerns.

Why Is Black Vinegar Black?

The fermenting process gives black vinegar its distinctive hue. It is often prepared from grain and fermented in clay pots rather than wooden barrels.

Is Black Vinegar Good for You?

In general, vinegar is an excellent provider of antioxidants. This is particularly true with darker vinegar, which is fuller and less polished.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Similar to Black Vinegar?

While both balsamic and black vinegar are vinegars, they have unique flavors, consistency, and tastes. Black vinegar is less tart and often has an earthy, smoky taste.

What Is the Best Black Vinegar?

There are several varieties and brands of black vinegar. Good-quality black vinegar is frequently available in Asian stores. Soeos Chinkiang Zhenjiang Vinegar, Gold Plum Chinkiang Vinegar, and Koon Chun Black Vinegar are all popular brands.

Can You Use Normal Vinegar Instead of Black Vinegar?

Because of its one-of-a-kind manufacturing technique, black vinegar has a distinct scent and taste. As a result, substituting white or apple cider vinegar is not recommended. Instead, consider using red wine or date vinegar.


Black vinegar is distinguished from other vinegars by its earthy and malty overtones, which cut through the solution’s inherent acidity. This taste is derived from vinegar, which is created with grains (often rice) and goes through a specific fermentation process.

Because of its distinct flavor, black vinegar cannot be substituted for other vinegars such as white or apple cider vinegar. However, there are several acceptable Chinese black vinegar replacements available, ranging from date vinegar to balsamic vinegar. The selections in the preceding list are the finest.


Can I use regular vinegar instead of black vinegar?

White vinegar is a mild vinegar that may be used to replace black vinegar. It has a sour taste and is suitable for use in salad dressings, marinades, and dipping sauces.

What tastes like black vinegar?

If you need an alternative for Chinese black vinegar, use white rice or rice wine vinegar. These are more often seen at conventional supermarkets. Another option is balsamic vinegar.

What’s the difference between balsamic vinegar and black vinegar?

The tastes get more complex as it sits longer. The primary distinction between black vinegar and balsamic vinegar is that black vinegar is created from grains rather than grape juice and is matured in clay pots rather than barrels.

What is the difference between black vinegar and white vinegar?

The majority of vinegar is acetic acid, and black vinegar has some of it as well, but citric acid is at the heart of the “citric acid cycle.” The citric acid cycle is one of three key metabolic mechanisms that convert food into energy.

Is black vinegar same as apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is manufactured from apple juice, while black vinegar is prepared from raw black or brown rice.

Can balsamic vinegar replace black vinegar?

When it comes to Chinese black vinegar alternatives, balsamic vinegar is an obvious first pick. It has a similar hue and consistency. It’s also adaptable. It may be used to make sauces, dressings, glazes, and other things.

Is black vinegar better than apple cider vinegar?

While apple cider vinegar (ACV) is more popular in the US, black vinegar (BV) has even more health-promoting characteristics since it contains much more amino acids, polyphenols, trace minerals, and organic acids than other vinegars such as balsamic and ACV.

Is black vinegar the same as Chinese vinegar?

Chinkiang vinegar (also known as “black vinegar” or “Chinese brown rice vinegar”) is a staple of Chinese cuisine and should be kept in your pantry. It comes from the eastern Chinese town of Zhenjiang.

What are examples of black vinegar?

Traditionally, black vinegar was aged in clay pots. Black vinegar is prepared from wheat bran and seasoned with traditional medicinal spices in Sichuan. A well-known example is Sichuan’s Baoning vinegar ( or ). Fujian black vinegar is prepared from glutinous rice and is tinted red by the infusion of a specific fungus.

What does black vinegar do?

According to Asian nutrition expert Paul Pitchford’s book “Healing with Whole Foods,” black vinegar detoxifies the body, regulates pH levels, and aids digestion. Black vinegar is also known to increase energy and enhance mood.

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