Does French cuisine entice you? Also known as the mother of various cuisines, French cuisine is where many famous foods and sauces come from. Now, if you like French cuisine, I am sure you must have planned something extremely tempting to make.
How does grilled chicken or veal with some fresh béarnaise sauce sound? Yum! I am sure your mouth is watering already. However, you realize you are all out of one very important ingredient used extensively in French cooking- tarragon vinegar.
Now you are confused about whether to get a new bottle from the supermarket or if you could use something else instead. This article will actually help you with the best tarragon vinegar substitutes.
What can you use as a substitute for tarragon vinegar? The best tarragon vinegar substitutes are white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, apple cider vinegar and sherry vinegar. However, before we dive into the substitutes, let me help you understand tarragon vinegar itself a little more.
Quick Peek: Tarragon Vinegar
This section will help you with all the information on tarragon vinegar and its flavor profile, uses, and nutritional facts. Read on to know all about it!
What Is Tarragon Vinegar?
As the name itself suggests, tarragon vinegar is essentially white vinegar mixed with tarragon. However, the real question is, what even is tarragon?
Tarragon is a species of herb from the sunflower family. It is cultivated across Eurasia and North America for cooking and medicinal purposes. Certain species of tarragon have a herby aroma and are mainly used for culinary purposes. However, not all types of tarragon have an aroma.
It is one of the four fine herbs in French cooking, along with parsley, chives, and chervil. It goes especially well with poultry, fish, and egg dishes. It is also the main flavoring agent in bearnaise sauce, which is one of the main sauces in French cooking.
Describing Tarragon Vinegar: Flavor and Texture
Before describing the flavor and texture of tarragon vinegar, let me help you with the flavor profile of tarragon itself. Tarragon has a pungent, herby, licorice-like taste. This is due to the presence of estragole which also gives fennel and anise their distinct flavors.
It has glossy, skinny leaves. When combined with vinegar, the vinegar itself has a thin liquid consistency. Adding tarragon to vinegar gives the vinegar a herby taste and its sourness.
Moreover, fresh tarragon is much more aromatic than dry tarragon. Hence, most chefs prefer using fresh rather than dry tarragon leaves. Tarragon also has a minty and peppery taste, distinguishing it from fennel and anise. French tarragon has a milder flavor.
Uses Of Tarragon Vinegar
As mentioned earlier, tarragon vinegar is mostly used in French cooking and is one of the main ingredients in bearnaise sauce. However, the vinegar’s uses are not limited to that.
If you like the flavor of tarragon, tarragon vinegar can very well be used as a substitute for white vinegar in any recipe!
It goes extremely well with most egg and seafood dishes. It is also used to amp up the flavor of chicken, lamb, veal, and other types of meat and goes well with vegetarian food too. Tarragon vinegar can be used to make various salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
Tarragon Vinegar On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Tarragon vinegar is usually used in very minute quantities in various recipes. Hence, it isn’t really a source of any vital nutrients. However, it still does contain vital nutrients.
Tarragon vinegar is rich in minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and enzymes. Moreover, it has absolutely no fat. A tablespoon or 15 grams of tarragon vinegar has only 5 calories.
To get the nutritional benefits of tarragon vinegar, it would have to be consumed in high amounts, which is not usually done since it is just a flavoring. However, tarragon itself has some health benefits and is also used for certain medicinal purposes.
I hope that was enough information on tarragon vinegar! Now, let us dive into the main part of this article, the best substitutes for tarragon vinegar.
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9 Best Tarragon Vinegar Substitutes
Don’t have the time to make tarragon vinegar at home? Not to worry! There are many other store-bought substitutes that you could use. They are listed below.
1. White Wine Vinegar
Unlike red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar has a gentle and delicate taste profile. It is one of the main ingredients in tarragon vinegar. Hence, it is the best substitute for tarragon vinegar.
If you decide to use white wine vinegar instead of tarragon vinegar, make sure you use dry white wine vinegar. This is because it is less sweet.
It does have a slight fruity flavor. But when combined with certain other herbs, the flavor balances out. Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for tarragon vinegar. Here is the recipe for Italian antipasto salad made with white wine vinegar.
2. Malt Vinegar
Malt vinegar is a dark flavorful vinegar made from malting barley. The barley is turned into beer which is further processed into vinegar. It has a sweet, sour, and toasty flavor, all at once.
The more the malt vinegar is aged, the stronger its flavor gets. However, malt vinegar is brown in color. So, it may not work for the food that requires a certain appearance.
However, if the color doesn’t bother you, malt vinegar makes a great substitute for tarragon vinegar. You can use it in a 1:1 ratio while using it as a substitute for tarragon vinegar.
3. Champagne Vinegar
Champagne vinegar has a mild flavor and is typically made with chardonnay or pinot noir grapes. It is also often used as a base for tarragon vinegar, making it a great substitute.
This vinegar works best when drizzled over salads. It also pairs really well with chicken, fish, eggs, and vegetables. However, when used for dark meats, it usually gets difficult to capture its flavor. You can use champagne vinegar as a substitute for tarragon vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.
Here is the recipe for baked whole trout made using champagne vinegar. Do give this recipe a try!
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very acidic with an undertone flavor of apples. It is an easy and very accessible option to use as a substitute for tarragon vinegar.
The taste of apple cider vinegar reminds many people of the licorice-type taste that tarragon gives. However, apple cider vinegar is sour compared to tarragon vinegar. You can use it as a substitute in any recipe, even with red meats. This is because it is a very versatile ingredient.
It could be a little harsh in taste; hence try substituting every tablespoon of tarragon vinegar with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for a milder flavor profile. Here’s the recipe for apple chutney using apple cider vinegar.
5. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is made with Sherry wine which hails from Southern Spain. However, it is much milder in flavor than even white wine vinegar. It goes really well with lean meats and vegetables, making it a great substitute for tarragon vinegar.
Some manufacturers do age sherry vinegar for a longer time, giving it a dark hue. So, it might not be the best option for recipes that are color specific.
However, it still provides a wonderful, almost nutty flavor. It does not have an overpowering flavor. Hence, it can be used as a substitute for tarragon vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Here is the list of sherry vinegar substitutes that you can use.
6. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar has a thick consistency and is generally dark in color. It gives a nice flavor to foods that are generally milder in flavor. This would make it a great substitute for tarragon vinegar.
The consistency of Balsamic vinegar is quite thick. However, it can be thinned down with some white wine vinegar or oil. Because of its thick texture and strong taste, use one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for every tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
7. Rice Vinegar
Rice vinegar is extracted by fermenting rice and is extremely popular, especially in Southeast Asia. It has an extremely mild sweet and sour flavor.
Rice vinegar makes a great substitute for tarragon vinegar, especially in seafood recipes. This is because the flavor of rice vinegar is quite mild, and it does not end up overpowering the food itself. It also works well with vegetables.
Use two tablespoons of rice vinegar for every single tablespoon of tarragon vinegar while using it as a substitute.
8. Lemon Juice
Ah, the simplest of them all! If you don’t have any sort of vinegar handy, you can very well use lemon juice as a substitute for tarragon vinegar.
Lemon juice will work extremely well in recipes that use tarragon vinegar for the acidity and not the tarragon flavor. Add some chopped tarragon and lemon juice to give your food a herby flavor and the sourness of the lemon juice.
It will work very well in marinades and salad dressings. You can use lemon juice in a 1:1 ratio while using it as a substitute.
9. Fruit Vinegar
Fruit vinegar has a tart and sweet flavor. It usually also carries the flavor of the fruit used to make the vinegar.
Fruit Vinegar is not extremely overpowering in taste and can easily be used to substitute for tarragon vinegar. Add some herbs and fruit vinegar to your food to give it a fresh taste.
Fruit vinegar has a lot of varieties, hence you can choose the one you like best, as per your favorite fruit. You can use fruit vinegar in a 1:1 ratio while using it as a substitute for tarragon vinegar.
10. The Best Substitute For Tarragon Vinegar: DIY Tarragon Vinegar
The best substitute for store-bought tarragon vinegar would any day be homemade tarragon vinegar. It is extremely easy to make. All you need is tarragon, white wine vinegar, and a little bit of patience!
You can also use distilled white vinegar if you don’t have white wine vinegar. The exact amount of ingredients and the method to make homemade tarragon vinegar are given below.
Ingredients For DIY Tarragon Vinegar
- ½ cup of Fresh Tarragon
- 2 cups of white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar.
Method To Make DIY Tarragon Vinegar
- Add the tarragon and vinegar to a saucepan and let it come to a boil.
- Once the vinegar starts boiling, take it off the flame and let the tarragon soak in it for a few hours.
- After that, strain the vinegar and store it in airtight containers for 7-14 days.
- The longer you let the vinegar sit, the higher the amount of tarragon flavor it will give.
Those were a lot of substitutes for tarragon vinegar. However, it can still be confusing which one would work best for your recipe. Hence, I have broken it down further for you as per suitability, availability, and best flavor profile.
Most suitable: The most suitable substitute for tarragon vinegar would be white wine vinegar.
Easily Available: Lemon juice is the most easily available substitute for tarragon vinegar.
Best Flavor Profile: Homemade tarragon vinegar would give the best flavor profile.
Other Food Substitutes You Can Try
- White Wine Vinegar
- Malt Vinegar
- Champagne Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sherry Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Rice Vinegar
- Lemon Juice
- Fruit Vinegar
- DIY Tarragon Vinegar
- 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.
After reading the entire article, I hope it has helped you find the right substitute for tarragon vinegar. Tarragon vinegar is the perfect balance of flavors to make any food stand out. Use it the next time you decide to cook any lean meat or vegetables. I’ll see you next time!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What vinegar is closest to tarragon vinegar?
White wine vinegar is the closest to tarragon vinegar.
How long is tarragon vinegar good for?
If properly stored, tarragon vinegar can stay good for almost 3 years.
Can I use red wine vinegar instead of tarragon vinegar?
White wine vinegar would make a better substitute than red wine vinegar.
Does tarragon vinegar have gluten?
No, tarragon vinegar is completely gluten-free.
Should I refrigerate tarragon vinegar?
Tarragon vinegar does not need refrigeration.