10 Best Malt Vinegar Substitutes You Should Try

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

Looking for the best malt vinegar substitutes? You did right coming here. Malt vinegar is a popular variety of vinegar used for various culinary purposes. I once decided to make coleslaw using malt vinegar. To my horror, I could see no nearby shops selling it. That pondered me to look for its substitutes, and the results are what you will find out in this article.

Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar is a type of vinegar made using malted barley grains. It has a sharp, tart flavor and finds use in pickings, salad dressings, and toppings. The beautiful balance of acidity and sweetness makes malt vinegar a major ingredient in many recipes. 

So, what can you do if you are out of malt vinegar? Substitutes, of course! Some of the best malt vinegar substitutes are apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Before we look into the substitutes for malt vinegar, let us explore malt vinegar to expand our culinary knowledge base. 

Quick Peek: Malt Vinegar

Malt Vinegar

The following scribbles tell you what malt vinegar is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Malt Vinegar?

Malt vinegar is a kind of vinegar prepared using malted grains of barley. These malted grains of barley are used for making beer as well. It is available in light and dark brown colors and is a major ingredient in British and Canadian cuisine. 

Light, dark, and distilled are the three types of malt vinegar available. Adding barley or caramel to light malt vinegar gives you dark vinegar. 

How Is Malt Vinegar Made?

Vinegar is usually prepared through a fermentation process. In the case of malt vinegar, double fermentation is used. Barley grains are immersed in alcohol to produce malt. Malted barley grains are fermented to brew the ale. In the second fermentation process, this ale is turned into malt vinegar. The vinegar is aged for a while for a sharp flavor.

Describing Malt Vinegar: Flavor 

Malt vinegar has a sharp, lemony, nutty flavor similar to malted beer since malted barley grains are the common ingredients. It has a mild flavor when compared to the usual white vinegar. Malt vinegar has a very close flavor to malted ale – a toasty, caramel flavor. 

How Is Malt Vinegar Different From White Vinegar?

Malt vinegar is made with the help of malted barley through a double fermentation process. White vinegar is made by fermenting acetic acid in vinegar. White vinegar has a much bolder, sour flavor, unlike malt vinegar which has a sweet, nutty flavor.

Uses of Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar is majorly used as a preservative in pickling and salad dressings. In England, malt vinegar is a major accompaniment to fish and chips. When used with herbs, malt vinegar is an excellent alternative to apple cider vinegar. It can also be used to clean surfaces. 

Malt vinegar is also used to create some amazing recipes. Coleslaw, bean salads, maple-bourbon glaze, and aioli sauce are some recipes in which the flavor can be enhanced with a kick of malt vinegar.         

 Malt Vinegar On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Malt vinegar, when combined with water and honey, is used as a medicine to treat joint pain and swelling. It is also great in assisting weight loss regime. Consumption of malt vinegar also gives the body the necessary calcium intake. It is effective in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol. It is also great in assisting the detoxification process. 

Why Should We Substitute Malt Vinegar?

Malt vinegar has now become an often consumed condiment due to its versatility. High demand is always followed by limited supply, which means you can’t always expect to find it at stores. This necessitates the need for the best malt vinegar substitutes.

Also, there is no harm in trying out various ingredients in place of malt vinegar which can give you a close flavor to that of malt vinegar. So, shall we talk about the best substitutes for malt vinegar?

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

10 Best Malt Vinegar Substitutes 

Now that you know everything you need to know about malt vinegar let us discuss the best substitutes for malt vinegar.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is what you get by fermenting apple juice. That is when yeast or bacteria is added to apple juice, the sugar in the juice is converted into alcohol. It is used in salad dressings, preservatives, sauces, soups, chutneys, and marinades.

Apple cider vinegar has a sour taste with a subtle sweetness and a strong flavor, making it one of the best malt vinegar substitutes. It can substitute for malt vinegar in marinades, salad dressings, sauces, and chutneys. Aged apple cider vinegar is a great substitute for malt vinegar for those on a gluten-free diet.

2. Wine Vinegar

Wine Vinegar

Wine vinegar can be made from either red wine or white wine. Red or white wine is fermented with the help of starter culture and acidic bacteria. This process turns the alcohol in the wine into acetic acid, and you get the sour wine vinegar.

Wine vinegar has a sharp, tangy flavor. Of all the wine vinegar, red wine vinegar has the most fruity flavor. White wine vinegar has a much more nuanced, light flavor. The flavor of wine vinegar is based on how much the wine has aged. Wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for malt vinegar since it has a sharp flavor. 

3. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has its origin in Italy. It is prepared using grape juice. Earlier, balsamic vinegar was prepared by boiling, fermenting, and acidifying grape juice and aged for 12-25 years in barrels. Modern balsamic vinegar uses wine vinegar to accelerate the acidification process and is aged for two months-three years.

Balsamic vinegar has a rich, complex flavor with a sweet, fruity taste and can be a good substitute for malt vinegar. It can be used as a malt vinegar substitute in salad dressings, steaks, marinades, sauces, seafood dishes, and pasta. It is an excellent malt vinegar replacement in fish and chips. 

4. Rice Vinegar

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is prepared by fermenting rice with the help of acetic acid. At first, the sugars are converted to alcohol, and with the introduction of acetic acid, you get rice vinegar. There are different types of rice vinegar – white rice vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar, and brown rice vinegar, to name a few.

Rice vinegar has a sweet, acidic flavor, similar to apple cider vinegar. Rice vinegar has a mild flavor and thus can be a wonderful substitute for malt vinegar in recipes. It is one of the least acidic vinegar and can be comparable with the flavor of malt vinegar.

5. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a sauce variety hailing from the UK. It is a well-known condiment made using vinegar, molasses, garlic, anchovies, tamarind, chili pepper, cloves, pickles, soy, sugar, and salt. Anchovies and soy sauce give an incredible and strong umami flavor. 

Due to its flavor profile, Worcestershire sauce is a considerable substitute for malt vinegar. This is the only substitute that is not based on any grain or fruit. This sauce is easily available and can be or should be used in small quantities. It can be used in pies, marinades, steaks, soups, or other dishes. 

6. Black Vinegar

Black Vinegar

Black vinegar is an ingredient vastly used in Chinese cuisine. It is made using black, sticky, or glutinous rice and malt. It can also be made with sorghum or wheat. Most black vinegar is aged for several years, giving it its signature color. There are several types of black vinegar based on the regional differences. 

Black vinegar has a fruity flavor with subtle hints of umami taste. It also gives a sweet aftertaste. Black vinegar is a worthy substitute for malt vinegar due to its rich flavor. It can be used in marinades, sauces, and dressings. The only thing about black vinegar is its dark color. 

7. Cane Vinegar

Cane Vinegar

Cane vinegar is a prominent ingredient used in Filipino cuisine. This vinegar is produced from the fermentation of sugar cane. Sugar cane is crushed, fermented, and boiled to a thick syrup, after which it is distilled into vinegar. Quality cane vinegar is aged in barrels for a sweet flavor.

Cane vinegar has a mellow flavor similar to malt vinegar, making it a good malt vinegar substitute. It is used in pickles, salad dressings, deglazes, vinaigrettes sauces, and chutneys. Its mild flavor makes it a good replacement for malt vinegar. Cane vinegar is rich in phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

8. Sherry Vinegar

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is an exclusive product made from sherry wine using the solera system. Sherry wine is fermented and then strained and bottled. It is aged in American barrels for a minimum of seven months. It has to be aged in the ‘sherry triangle,’ an area known for the production of sherry. It also has to have 7 degrees of minimum acidity.   

Sherry vinegar has a mildly sweet flavor with a subtle nuttiness, too, and is a considerable malt vinegar substitute for the same reason. It can be used in marinades, sauces, and brines.

9. Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice needs no introduction. The sour, tangy juice extracted from the pulp of lemons has medicinal and culinary uses. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and helps fight against kidney stones, colds, and coughs. It also regulates the internal pH of the body. 

Lemon juice has a unique, sour flavor, making it a versatile substitute for malt vinegar. Although lemon juice doesn’t have a strong flavor like malt vinegar, it still can be deemed a great substitute for malt vinegar. It is also easily available and inexpensive, with impressive health benefits and salad dressings. 

10. Lime Juice

Lime Juice

Lime juice is a citrus product extracted from the pulp of limes. These are natural acidulants with multitudinous uses in the culinary world. There are different types of limes, and thus the flavor profiles may vary. Lime juice has a tart, acidic flavor with a subtle sweetness. 

Lime juice has a vibrant, acidic flavor and can be one of the last substitutes to consider to substitute malt vinegar. It lacks a sweet aftertaste but has an intense acidic taste. Therefore, care has to be taken about the quantity while adding to replace malt vinegar. 

Short Recap Of Best Malt Vinegar Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best malt vinegar substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Best Malt Vinegar Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor-

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Wine Vinegar
  3. Balsamic Vinegar

Final Musings

The best malt vinegar substitutes list is now ready for you to explore. Use the substitutes depending on your preferences. I am sure they can help you emulate the flavor of malt vinegar. I am sure you won’t be worried when you are out of malt vinegar next time. See you soon with another article!

How To Use Malt Vinegar Substitutes In A Recipe

Malt Vinegar

Malt Vinegar Substitutes

Thinking of preparing coleslaw and you find yourself out of malt vinegar? Not to worry. Some of the best malt vinegar substitutes are apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
5 from 3 votes


  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Wine Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Black Vinegar
  • Cane Vinegar
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What vinegar is closest to malt vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is the closest to malt vinegar.

What is the substitute for malt vinegar on fries?

Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice can be used to substitute for malt vinegar on fries.

What is the substitute for malt vinegar in marinades?

Red wine vinegar can be a good substitute for malt vinegar in marinades.

What is the gluten-free malt vinegar substitute?

Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar and lemon juice are gluten-free malt vinegar substitutes. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating