Skip to Content

18 Tangy And Zesty Apple Cider Substitutes For Cooking

Sharing is caring!

Short riddle: What is dry but tangy with a sweet undertone? Yup, I’m talking about apple cider! 

Apple cider is a great way to add sweetness and flavor to your dishes. Given that you’re here, I assume that you run out of apple cider (or you can’t find it in stores at the moment). 

Luckily, there are numerous substitutes for apple cider that will work just as well.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to add some flavor to your cake or just need a bit of zest in your cobbler, these apple cider substitutes will go perfect with any dish!  

18 Best Apple Cider Substitutes

1. Apple juice

Apple juice is a popular drink that many people enjoy on a regular basis. As the name implies, this juice is made from apples, and it is usually served cold.

Apple juice has the same taste as apple cider and is less expensive which makes it a great substitute. It can be used in any recipe that calls for cider. Regardless of this, unsweetened apple juice and apple cider are different types of beverage. 

apple cider vs apple juice

2. Lemon juice

Lemon juice is one of my favorite apple cider substitutes after apple juice, of course. 

Fresh lemon juice can be mixed with a wide array of liquids to create different flavors, and it can also be used as a salad dressing or marinade for meat or fish.

Lemon juice has a similar taste to apple cider, it’s cheaper and easier to find, and it is 100% natural.

Among other nutrients, lemon juice contains vitamins B6, C and D, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron

3. Lime juice

Lime juice is another excellent substitute for apple cider because it has the same taste and consistency. It also has the same amount or even lower amount of calories as apple cider. This versatile ingredient is a good substitute even when you add sugar to it.

fun fact

4. Pineapple juice

Pineapple juice has a naturally sweet flavor with a tangy undertone, so it’s no wonder many people I know use pineapple juice instead of apple cider. 

ENCOURAGING FACT: Pineapple juice is available all year round and in all grocery stores. 

Pineapple juice is especially rich in vitamin C which makes it a healthy alternative, and it has a similar taste to apple cider. Also, here are the best pineapple juice substitutes that won’t leave you indifferent.

5. Rib sauce

This pickling sauce is used as a marinade in many recipes that contain meat (especially for smoked ribs). It has almost the same amount of sweetness as a fresh apple.

Therefore, rib sauce is another great substitute for apple cider because of its similar flavor (and because it tastes great with ribs). 

6. White wine

This alcoholic beverage has an acidic taste which is similar to all types of vinegar. This is why white wine works great as a substitute for apple cider in soups, stir-fries, and even stews. 

PRO TIP: Consider adding a pinch of brown sugar to get the same flavor profile.

The main difference between white wine and apple cider is that the flavor of white wine is more crisp and refreshing, whereas cider has a more fruity taste.

7. Red wine

Red wine has a rich, sweet flavor and texture similar to apple cider which is why it’s one of my favorite apple cider substitutes. If you’re cooking beef, lamb, or stew, then red wine is your best choice. 

did you know

8. Hard cider

Cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage that has been produced for centuries. The drink is usually made from apples, which are crushed and then fermented in water.

I believe hard cider is a good substitute for apple cider because both of these drinks are made from apples. Note that this is just an alcoholic version of apple cider. 

9. Honey cider

Apple cider is sweet, flavorful, and perfect for cold nights but it’s not always available in the grocery store or at your local gas station.

Honey cider is another good substitute for apple cider because it tastes almost the same (and is a lot easier to find). 

10. Champagne vinegar

Champagne vinegar is a type of wine vinegar fermented from Champagne wine. It has the same sour and acidic taste as other kinds of vinegar, but it also has a slightly sweet taste because of the sugar (that can be) added to it.

Champagne vinegar is used in cooking to give meals a more complex flavor. Its taste is similar to that of apple cider, with a hint of pickling. 

Champagne vinegar is also healthier than apple cider vinegar because it has less sugar and no preservatives.

11. Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a type of vinegar that is made from boiled-down and later fermented grape juice. It has a dark color and a rich, sweet taste. 

The flavor of balsamic vinegar can vary depending on its age, fermentation process, and the type of grapes from which it was made.

It is used in many dishes, such as salads and sauces, to add flavor and acidity or as an ingredient in marinades for meat. It’s a great substitute for apple cider and even ACV (apple cider vinegar) because it has the equal sugar content.

Balsamic vinegar

12. Marinades

Marinades are an essential part of cooking. Marinades are acidic liquids that are used to break down the tough fibers of meat or vegetables.

A marinade can also be used as a substitute for apple cider because it is cheaper and more common. You can use marinades like garlic, spice, soy, or barbecue marinades.

In my opinion, the best marinade is an acidic marinade because it mimics the taste of apple cider. Of course, add some sugar to your marinade to make it a perfect match.

13. Orange juice

Yes, classic orange juice can be a substitute for apple cider because it has the same or similar properties. The two drinks are similar in taste.

Orange juice can also be used to make apple cider. This means the two drinks are genuine substitutes because they both have the same function. 

According to Healthline, orange juice has many health benefits which makes it one of the best substitutes for apple cider: 

“Orange juice is a concentrated source of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that doubles as a powerful antioxidant and plays a central role in immune function. Additionally, vitamin C helps promote bone formation, wound healing, and gum health.” 

14. White wine vinegar

White wine vinegar is a  perfect substitute if you are looking for something cheaper or if you don’t have access to apple cider vinegar or plain apple cider for your recipe.

White wine vinegar is less acidic than apple cider, and it also has a different taste to apple cider, which may not be desirable in some recipes. Also, white wine vinegar and wine wine are not the same thing.

White wine vinegar

15. Red wine vinegar

Red wine vinegar is made from red wine and is usually used as a condiment for salads and other dishes. 

Red wine vinegar can also be used as a substitute for apple cider because it contains the same compounds that are found in apple cider vinegar, such as acetic acid, potassium, and pectin. 

Here’s what Healthline says about the health benefits of red wine vinegar: “Red wine vinegar has a number of benefits, including lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. As it’s derived from red wine, it also boasts a number of antioxidants.”

16. Rice wine vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is less expensive than apple cider, has a similar texture, and can be used in dressings. This Asian vinegar has a mild flavor that lasts which is why it’s perfect for meat and veggies.

In the West, rice wine vinegar first became popular during the 1960s after it was introduced to Japan by Chinese immigrants.

17. Sherry vinegar 

Sherry vinegar is an acidic liquid that has been made from the fermentation process of sherry wine. Sherry vinegar is also known as the “king of all vinegars” because it contains complex, nutty flavors you won’t find in other vinegars. 

It has a similar taste to apple cider vinegar and can be used in many dishes that require apple cider vinegar. It’s perfect for sweet stews and Asian stir-fries. 

18. Malt vinegar

Malt vinegar is a popular condiment in many countries. It is made from malt and is typically used as a salad dressing or to add flavor to various dishes.

Malt vinegar is a great substitute for apple cider because it has the same tangy taste, but doesn’t have any added sugars or sweeteners. However malt vinegar doesn’t contain any vitamins like apple cider does.

Find Your Perfect Apple Cider Replacement

Apple cider is a popular drink in the fall and winter, and it complements many dishes. The above apple cider substitutes are some of the best replacements you can find in stores. Which one is your favorite? Or do you have a few favorites? Happy cooking!