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The 7 Best Cane Vinegar Substitutes for Your Recipes

Cane vinegar is one of the staples of Philippine cuisine, but it is also an immensely popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine.

It is a mild, syrupy kind of vinegar and although not many people know it, it is a fantastic match for your salads, vinaigrettes, and roasted meat.

If the recipe you are working on calls for cane vinegar to be implemented in your dish, but you do not have any cane vinegar at home, do not worry just yet!

Here is a comprehensive list of the best cane vinegar substitutes you can use in your recipes to make them extra delicious. 

The best substitutes for cane vinegar

First of all, cane vinegar is a popular ingredient that originated in the southeastern part of Asia. Although it is vinegar, the level of acidity is exceeded by its signature sweetness.

As already mentioned, cane vinegar is incredibly popular in the Philippines and nearby islands where sugar cane is popular and is commonly known and harvested.

However, it is not exclusive to South-Eastern Asian countries anymore.

In fact, sugar cane can also be harvested in warm and sunny places like Hawaii and California, in the United States of America.

Thanks to its growing popularity and versatility in plenty of recipes, cane vinegar is quite easy to find in most supermarkets and corner shops around the world.

Cane vinegar is frequently used to make and complement delicious sauces and dips, like hummus or salad dressings.

On top of that, it is the perfect ingredient for pickling foods, and one popular example is pickled herring.

Some popular Filipino dishes call for cane vinegar as deglaze for meat, or to be added in fantastic vinaigrettes to go along main or side dishes.

In the eventuality, that cane vinegar is not available anywhere near you, or if you do not have the chance to get it at the moment, there is always a sugar cane vinegar substitute you can use for your recipes.

Often, it is possible to use alternatives that are incredibly easy to find, and that you might already even have in your kitchen!

Hence make sure to refer to this indispensable, comprehensive guide to the best sugar cane vinegar substitutes in order to find out more about this amazing ingredient and its alternatives.

1. Rice wine vinegar

Rice wine vinegar and specifically Japanese rice wine vinegar can be the perfect substitute for cane vinegar.

This kind of vinegar is made from wine or sometimes, even sake, the popular Japanese alcoholic beverage.

The wine or the sake is normally created from fermented rice.

Or in better words, it is the starches and sugar that are contained in the rice grains that ferment until they turn into alcohol.

Afterward, as for any type of wine vinegar, the alcohol turns into acetic acid. This will provide the vinegar with its signature, recognizable acidic taste.

If you are planning on using rice wine vinegar as a cane vinegar substitute, make sure to pick one that is unsweetened, as it will have a more familiar taste and flavor to the sugar cane one.

As it is just a little stronger and more flavorful than sugar cane vinegar, for every tablespoon of cane vinegar it is recommendable to use three-quarters, or a little less, rice wine vinegar.

Rice wine vinegar is customarily used in the making of sushi or fried rice. It can also be added to sauces and marinades to add a little acidity, but also a sweetness to them.

It is an incredibly versatile ingredient and can be a great white cane vinegar substitute for your homemade recipes. 

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known for being the perfect ally as a homemade method to relieve some of your ongoing health issues.

It is, in addition, a great cane vinegar alternative thanks to its acidic levels and slight percentage of sweetness in it.

As its own name says, this kind of vinegar is produced from apples. Yeast is included in the apple juice produced, and this process starts the fermentation of the vinegar.

This means, the yeast will turn the sugar contained in the fruit into alcohol, and subsequently the bacteria contained in the soon-to-be vinegar will transform the alcohol into acetic acid.

Apple cider vinegar is normally used for desserts or sweet dishes, like cakes, grilled peaches, or even fruit salads. But it does not stop there!

It matches perfectly savory recipes as well, such as baked goods, vinaigrettes, salad dressings and so much more.

It might not be as balmy as sugar cane vinegar, but it will definitely give that extra kick to your dishes and recipes.

3. Malt vinegar

Malt vinegar is surprisingly similar to apple cider vinegar, hence it is the exact substitution for cane vinegar too!

It is made from similar, if not the same grains, used to produce beer so it has the same sweet, malted, even nutty flavor.

Malt vinegar is a staple in British and Canadian cuisine, as its main production site in the United Kingdom.

On top of that, this is why an amazing match for malt vinegar is fish and chips! Fantastic on their own, fish and chips bring out all the flavor and deliciousness when you add salt and vinegar to them.

As it works perfectly as an ordinary vinegar as well, it can also be used in vinaigrettes, salad dressings, and roasted meat dishes.

Although it is produced from malted barley, and it comes from the grains that produce strong beers, its flavor is not as strong as cane vinegar.

That does not mean it does not work as a substitute, though. What matters is that for every tablespoon of cane vinegar, you include one tablespoon or even more malt vinegar.

This is to ensure that you include all the flavor and the sweetness to your homemade recipes. 

4. Fruit vinegar

Fruit vinegar is radically different from apple cider vinegar, as its own name explains. It is not a cider, hence here lies the essential, key difference.

Fruit vinegar can be made from different varieties of fruits, and it has plenty of health benefits too. It is habitually used in the making of cocktails, not only to give a fruity taste but also to add some sourness to it.

Depending on the fruit it comes from, this vinegar can be as sweet as sugar cane vinegar. And this is the reason why it can work perfectly as its substitute!

It is so similar, in fact, that it can be used in your recipes in the same proportion as sugar cane vinegar.

5. Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, or aceto balsamico, is a dark, intense kind of vinegar produced in Italy. It comes from grape juice, and it is normally kept in wooden barrels for years before it can be consumed.

Along with the signature acidic taste that every other vinegar has, it includes a hint of sweetness to it, and it makes the perfect ingredients to be added in vinaigrettes, glazes or to be used raw in salads.

Although it has a sweet aftertaste, it still is a perfect match as a cane vinegar substitute. It might be a little stronger than sugar cane vinegar.

Therefore, it is best to add a little less than a tablespoon in your recipes for every full tablespoon of cane vinegar.

6. White wine vinegar

White wine vinegar, not to be confused with white vinegar, can, in addition, be the ideal match as a substitution for white cane vinegar.

It is relatively similar to balsamic vinegar, and that makes it the ideal alternative for our sweet but sour ingredient.

White wine vinegar, as its own name gives away, originates from white wine. This particular trait makes its taste quite light, incredibly delicate with a fruity aftertaste.

This vinegar is fantastic to be used in Dutch sauces, but that is not it. It is equally great for braising or to be added in vinaigrettes too. 

7. Champagne vinegar

Last but not least, another outstanding cane vinegar substitute is champagne vinegar. Do not let it deceive you by its elegant name.

Its mild, fruity, and less acidic taste makes it the perfect alternative to cane vinegar in many ways.

Champagne vinegar is produced from sparkling champagne, obviously, but more specifically from higher-quality grapes like Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier.

Simply add it to any recipe that calls for sugar cane vinegar, and you will barely notice any difference in taste. 

How to choose a cane vinegar substitute 

Choosing a cane vinegar substitute can be a little overwhelming due to the unlimited options available.

All the alternatives listed above are capable of bringing out diverse qualities in your recipes, and they all bring plenty of benefits to your diet.

Cane vinegar is tart and acidic, like any other vinegar out there, but despite its qualities, its essential role in bringing out a little sweetness from your dishes.

Therefore, what you need to look for in a sugar cane vinegar substitute is that sweet aftertaste.

Fruit vinegar or any other wine-based, grape-based vinegar will do the trick. If you do not have the chance to use any of these, rice vinegar will be able to rush to your help too.

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