9 of the Best Apple Cider Substitutes

The autumn months have arrived. It is colder, and the leaves are starting to change color. You want to enjoy a nice tasty beverage for the season, so you grab some apple cider. Later, when you go into your kitchen to make a nice apple cider donut to go with the season, you realize you just used the last of your apple cider. What are you supposed to do now?

Apple cider is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make donuts or dumplings and can be used to decorate a salad. When you run out of apple cider, there are many substitutes that you can choose from that will help to make the dishes perfect. Some substitutes include apple juice, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, and white wine.

Continue reading to learn more about apple cider and its uses. Also, continue reading to learn about nine substitutes you can use to replace your apple cider when you run out.

What is Apple Cider?

Apple cider is a drink that is made using the juice of pressed apples. This beverage contains no alcohol. It is considered to be raw, unsweetened, and unfiltered. The taste is often sour as it is the taste of apples and acid.

Apple cider can be drunk when either hot or cold. You will often find that apple cider is served to drink during holidays throughout the autumn season, such as on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas in winter.

How Is It Different from Apple Vinegar?

Apple cider and apple cider vinegar are two different products. Apple cider is a beverage that is non-alcoholic and is made from the juicing of apples. Apple cider vinegar is made when alcoholic apple cider is fermented.

The biggest difference between the two is how each product is made. Apple cider is made when the juice of an apple is extracted from the apple and boiled in order to concentrate it. This process is much easier and does not take as much time.

To make apple cider vinegar, you must take alcoholic apple cider and put it in a fermentation jar. During the fermentation process, the yeast and bacteria of the apples will begin to break down the alcohol in the cider. While it is breaking down the alcohol, the bacteria releases acetic acid.

The cider is left to ferment for a week or two until the cider matures. The apple cider vinegar is then removed from the fermentation jar and placed in another jar to preserve the vinegar and make the vinegar ready to be used.

What Can I Substitute for Apple Cider?

Apple cider can be used to replace apple cider in dishes that require apple cider. These dishes are often pastry-like, but they have the apple cider flavor in order to fit with the theme of the holiday season. This includes apple cider donuts and apple cider cookies.

Making these desserts along with drinking apple cider can lead to you running out of apple cider very quickly. Luckily, there are many substitutes that you can use to replace apple cider in some recipes when you have no apple cider or when you want to save some apple cider to drink.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a common ingredient that can be found in your kitchen. Along with using white vinegar to cook, you can also use white vinegar to clean around your house.

White vinegar can be an excellent substitute for apple cider in some recipes. In most cases, you can replace apple cider with white vinegar when it comes to making sauces, stews, marinades, and pickles. Since the coloring of white vinegar is different from the coloring of apple cider, many think this will impact the look of their dish when cooking. Luckily, white vinegar does not change the look too much of the dish.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar can be another great substitute for apple cider. Balsamic vinegar has a subtle fruity taste which can make a great replacement for the taste of apple cider.

This type of vinegar originates from Italy and is a very versatile ingredient when used for cooking. Balsamic vinegar works well when it comes to making pasta, salad, sauces, and marinades.

You must be careful when using balsamic vinegar as a substitute for apple cider. Balsamic vinegar has a much darker color and a complex flavor. For this reason, you only want to use a tiny amount of balsamic vinegar to replace apple cider.

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is used as a substitute for many condiments. Rice vinegar is a versatile ingredient and is very popular in many Asian countries, such as China and Vietnam.

Much like apple cider, rice vinegar can help to incorporate an acidic flavor to your dish. You can mix lemon juice with the rice vinegar in order to incorporate a fruity flavoring. If you want to substitute rice vinegar for apple cider, it is best to use it for rice-based meals, soups, and veggies that are used in stir-fries.

Apple Juice

Apple juice is a substitute that you can use for apple cider that is the closest to apple cider. There is not much difference between the taste and color of the two, since both are made from apples.

When using apple juice as a substitute for apple cider, you want to use unsweetened apple juice. The sweetened version may be too sweet for the dish you are making. You can use sweetened apple juice, but you do not want to use a lot. You want to use only a tiny amount of sweetened apple juice as a substitute.

Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar can also be used as a substitute for apple cider, but you do not want to use a lot of red wine vinegar. This is due to the red wine vinegar having a taste that is harsh and very strong.

You also want to be careful using red wine vinegar because the color of the vinegar is a deep red. This can affect the color of the dish you are creating. For this reason, you do not want to use a lot of red wine vinegar.

Lemon Juice

While you may not originally consider it, lemon juice can also make a great substitute for apple cider. Much like apple cider, lemon juice has a fruity and acidic flavor. While it does not have the apple flavor of the apple cider, the taste will not be greatly impacted when using this substitute.

It is best to use lemon juice when making desserts as well as baked dishes. Lemon juice can also help in adding more vitamins to your dish. This can help to make the dishes healthier.

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is another type of vinegar that makes a great substitute for apple cider. You only want to start with using a little white wine vinegar when making your dish, but you can add more as you go along until you reach a taste you enjoy.

This type of vinegar lacks the fruitiness that apple cider would have, so it is important to take this into consideration before choosing to use white wine vinegar as a substitute for apple cider.

White Wine

White wine can also be a good substitute to use to replace apple cider in some dishes. White wine has a similar sweetness to apple cider, so this will not impact the taste of your dish too much. When using white wine as a substitute for apple cider, you want to use two tablespoons of white wine for each tablespoon of apple cider that your recipe requires.

Orange Juice

While you are not supposed to compare apples and oranges, you can use orange juice as a substitute for apple cider. Orange juice can also incorporate an acidic and tart taste to your dish.

It is best to use orange juice as a substitute for apple cider when making glazes, sauces, and marinades. Orange juice can also help to protect your heart due to the flavonoids in the orange juice.


Apple cider is an amazing drink to have when the autumn season comes around. It also works well to make sauces, marinades, and glazes. Apple cider can also be used to make desserts that you can enjoy during the holiday season.

Since there are many uses for apple cider, you can run out of apple cider easily. Luckily, there are many substitutes that you can use for apple cider that will not greatly change the taste and texture of your dish. When using substitutes like red wine vinegar, you want to use only a tiny portion in order to not drastically change the color of the dish.