Substitutes For Apple Cider

Best Substitutes For Apple Cider

Offering a fresh, sweet taste with a slightly tart finish, apple cider is a perfect ingredient for a variety of recipes ranging from meat dishes such as beef stews and roasts to desserts such as doughnuts and tarts, and even for delicious drinks such as cocktails, dips, and ice cream floats. 

So, what do you do when you want to try out a recipe that requires apple cider as an ingredient but you don’t have any on-hand or it is not available in your local stores and supermarkets? 

Never fear, because you can substitute apple cider with apple juice, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and white wine vinegar. 

With a little bit of sugar for added sweetness or lemon juice for reduced sweetness in the case of apple juice, you could get the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and savory with these substitutes.

Top 5 Perfect Apple Cider Alternatives

In times of apple cider crisis, you have to come prepared with the knowledge of its best substitutes. Despite the differences in the sweetness or sourness of these substitutes, you could still get the taste you were going for.

The following are the best substitutes for apple cider that you can use to save your meals:

Apple Juice

In the absence of apple cider, apple juice is your number one go-to. While apple cider is unfiltered and contains particles of pulp, apple juice is filtered and pasteurized. 

Apple juice can be a little too sweet due to added preservatives and sweeteners. It’s best to use unsweetened apple juices or apple juices that are 100% natural. You may also opt to squeeze a lemon or two or use lemon juice to reduce the sweetness, depending on your taste. 

Apple juice is commonly used in baking but can be used in a wide variety of pork, beef, and chicken dishes, cocktails, and even as condiments.

Lemon Juice is a good alternative for Apple Cider
Lemon Juice is a good alternative to Apple Cider

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can serve as a great and readily available substitute to apple cider, with its similar sharp taste due to its high acidity and low pH. 

Delivering a distinct, citrusy sourness that adds a fresh flavor to dishes, lemon juice is used primarily in salad dressing and dips, but is also perfect for savory or sweet dishes. It provides vitamins to your recipes, making it tastier and healthier. 

Lemon juice, however, can prove to be too strong and can overpower your dish with its fruity undertones. It is advisable to mix lemon juice with sugar to help tone down the sourness. 

Rice Wine Vinegar

Giving off a more sour and acidic taste compared to apple cider, rice wine vinegar contains alcohol which increases the texture and gives a lush flavor to your dishes. However, you might want to add sugar to balance the acidity. 

Rice wine vinegar is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly in stir-fries, soups, dim sums, side dishes such as dumplings, condiments such as sauces, and seasoning used for marinade recipes. It also provides a mellowing effect for strong-odored meat and seafood recipes. 

If you need the perfect mixture of sweetness and sourness in your food that apple cider produces, rice wine vinegar is a good replacement.

Red Wine Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar Can Be Used Instead Of Apple Cider

Red Wine Vinegar

Known for its rich and intense flavor, red wine vinegar packs a strong punch and can be overwhelming if used in large quantities. It’s best to use it in small amounts and be mindful of its impact on your dishes.

Red wine vinegar offers the same tenderizing effect as rice wine vinegar, with alcohol that offsets strong smells, best for meat and seafood. Despite its full-bodied taste, it makes for an excellent apple cider substitute with its balanced sweet and sour taste. 

With its versatility, red wine vinegar can be used as salad dressing, marinade, and a key ingredient to pork, beef, and vegetable dishes. 

White Wine Vinegar

Also containing acetic acid and alcohol, white wine vinegar has lower levels of both and has a distinct citrusy flavor. Add a little bit of sugar and it can achieve the same sweetness as apple cider. 

White wine vinegar is used for salad seasoning and fish or fish-based recipes. Ideally, it is best for making marinades and seafood salads with octopus or shellfish. It acts as a deodorizing agent with the power to bring out the best of both sweet and sour flavors. 

Due to its nearly transparent color, it is more preferred than red wine vinegar which can add a reddish tint to dishes. It is also widely available in markets and grocery stores. 

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Be Used As An Apple Cider Substitute?

Yes, however, due to its sharp pungent taste as a result of its fermentation to acetic acid, it is not a recommended substitute. If you’re in a pinch and apple cider vinegar is the only ingredient available on your kitchen shelf, you can add brown sugar to match the sweetness of apple cider.