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The 10 Best Cane Vinegar Substitutes For Your Recipes

Vinegar is something that is available in every kitchen and can be used for multiple purposes, from making dressings and marinades to cleaning your home. Cane vinegar is no exception.


Cane vinegar is one of the vinegar varieties made of sugarcane juice. It is less acidic than other varieties and is extensively used in Asian cuisine and across Brazil and the Philippines.

However, if you live somewhere where this all-purpose liquid is unavailable, or you simply don’t have enough at your home, don’t worry! Our list of cane vinegar substitutes will give you enough options to choose from to make an equally delicious dish.

In this article, we will discuss cane vinegar, its uses, substitutes, and some of our personal favorite recipes to make this multipurpose solution at home.

What Is Cane Vinegar?

Cane vinegar is a type produced by brewing sugar cane juice using bacteria and water. The resulting liquid is heated until it has a syrup-like consistency. It is then allowed to ferment (which creates the characteristic sour taste of acetic acid) and eventually turns into vinegar. The solution is stored for about three to six months before being filled into bottles and sold.

Oak barrels are primarily used for storing purposes. This step is responsible for developing and subsequently mellowing out vinegar flavors.

Cane Vinegar is a 100% natural product with many advantages. It helps relieve constipation and gas and can improve digestion, appetite, and overall health. This versatile liquid is used as a condiment and a crucial cooking component.

It is popular across Southeast Asia and other countries where sugarcane is harvested and grown.

Sukang Iloko, or Sukang Base, is one of the more popular types native to the Philippines. However, other countries like the US, Brazil, and France also produce their own vinegar.

With time, cane vinegar has become more popular, and now this valuable liquid is readily available in nearly every grocery store worldwide.

How Is Cane Vinegar Used In Cooking?

Cane vinegar is a versatile food ingredient that can be utilized in both savory and sweet dishes. This golden brown liquid features a mild and delicate taste that is the perfect combination of sweet and sour and is used to improve the flavor of gravies and marinades.

Either use your cane vinegar in sweet sauces like Sauerbraten or add it to your hummus to provide that “oomph” factor to your favorite dish.

10 Best Cane Vinegar Substitutes You Can Use

Running out of cane vinegar does not always have to result in meals stripped of flavor. You can always go for a different variety as an alternative for cane vinegar.

Each variety of vinegar is different. Some are more sour, and some are less. They also possess distinct flavors, textures, and shades. You can pick the one which suits your taste buds and provides an excellent taste to your food.

Here are a few options you can choose from.

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a great substitute for cane vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is made from white Trebbiano grape juice, stored between three and twenty-five years. This storage lends the vinegar its unique, distinct sweet-sour taste and a natural brown.

Balsamic vinegar

For every one tablespoon of cane vinegar,  you should use three-quarters teaspoon of balsamic vinegar since it has a sharper taste than regular cane sugar.

Balsamic vinegar imparts mellow sweetness and sharp flavor to classic Italian and Mediterranean food. From salad dressings and sauces to pasta and risotto, it can work with every dish. Or you can even drizzle it over desserts like ice cream, fruits, and berries to give them a unique acidic touch.

An older Balsamic Vinegar is denser and sweeter but also more expensive. Additionally, you also have the option to choose from white or dark balsamic vinegar, depending on the shade of food you desire.

>>> READ MORE: Top 6 Best Substitutes For Cognac: Cooking Tips and Ideas

Apple cider vinegar

Another excellent and near-perfect substitute for cane vinegar is Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has more acidity than cane vinegar and imparts a more fruity and pleasant flavor. It is equally sweet and delicious which makes it a key ingredient in many sweet dishes.


It is often used in baked goods, sauces, dips, salad dressings, and many more. It is light and has a distinct aroma and a sour fruity flavor arising due to the fermentation of apple cider.

When using Apple Cider Vinegar in your recipes, you can use it in the same ratio as Cane Vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented Apple juice. It is made from crushing apples and then extracting the juice. It can be used as a cleaner alongside to using to enhance the flavor of dishes.

Apple Cider Vinegar comes in various types including; Filtered Apple Cider Vinegar, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, etc.

Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is another excellent substitute for cane vinegar. It is milder and less acidic than other varieties and, in fact, the sweetest and most delicate variant of all.

Rice vinegar

This vinegar is made from fermented rice and plays a significant role in various Asian food items. For example, it is used in stir-fries, marinades, dressings, fried rice, noodles, soups, dips, and sauces.

However, it possesses a more intense zest; hence, you should use about three-quarter teaspoon (or perhaps less) of rice vinegar for each tablespoon of cane vinegar.

Always go for the unsweetened version of Rice Vinegar since it tastes just like cane vinegar, and no one would know the difference.

Malt vinegar

This sugar cane vinegar substitute is made from malted barley, hence the name. It is slightly sweet and has an acidic, sweet caramel nutty flavor.


Malt vinegar is an excellent alternative to cane vinegar and is commonly used for fish and chips. However, it can also go hand in hand with various salad dressings, marinades, sauces, chutneys, and brines. You can also incorporate it into meat and other proteins to enhance their flavor.

The central production location of Malted Vinegar is The United Kingdom and it is commonly used to prepare Canadian and British dishes. Apart from being used as a condiment, this type is also used in preparing cleaning solutions. When mixed with water, it can act as an effective cleaner to wipe your floors or counters.

Unlike the previous alternatives, Malt Vinegar is milder in taste, and you might have to add it a tad bit more than you usually would add your Cane Vinegar. We prefer a 2:1 ratio, but you can add more if it is not sweet enough for your liking.

Fruit Vinegar

Fruit vinegar is highly used in cocktails and confectionaries, particularly those containing fruits as their ingredient. It is mild-flavored and sweet and can also be added to salad dressings, pickling, and meat or chicken recipes.

This vinegar is made of various fruits, including blueberries, mango, raspberries, apricots, passion fruit, strawberries, pears, pomegranate, and figs, and shares the same flavor as the fruit it is made from.

Select a fruit vinegar that you think will be the best match for your meal as a sugar cane vinegar substitute and use it similar to your cane vinegar.

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar shares an identical scent and color to champagne vinegar. However, both features different flavor since they are made from different grapes.

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar features a sharper flavor than champagne vinegar and is often used in stews, sauces, soups, and batters for fish and chicken.

As for the intensity of its taste, white vinegar certainly is more overpowering and sourer than cane vinegar. So, don’t forget to take ¼ tablespoon of white wine vinegar for every one tablespoon of cane vinegar.

Another distinction between Cane and White Vinegar is their color. White vinegar, sometimes known as spirit or distillation vinegar, is transparent and clear in color, while cane vinegar has a darker shade.

Aside from being a great cooking companion, White vinegar also possesses antimicrobial qualities and is a fantastic disinfectant for your household.

As for cane vinegar vs white vinegar, Replace one teaspoon of cane vinegar with ¼ tablespoon of white wine vinegar  

Cane vinegar vs white vinegar: what’s the difference? White vinegar has an overpowering taste; it’s stronger and sourer than cane vinegar.

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is well-known for its light and floral flavor. It is generally made from Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes.

It is a sought-after sugar cane vinegar substitute due to its mild and subtle flavor, which does not overpower the taste of your food.

It is used for salad dressings, marinades, fruit salads, and sauces. Ideally, you should use one tablespoon of champagne vinegar for one tablespoon of cane vinegar. However, you can alter the amount based on your liking.

Herb Vinegar

Herb vinegar is another substitute for cane vinegar that you can use in your recipes. This vinegar is infused with various herbs like sage, basil, lemongrass, dill, tarragon, thyme, rosemary fennel, and parsley, and its taste depends on the herb it is made from.

Herb vinegar is a versatile ingredient you can use to make sauces, marinades, salad dressings, stews, and soups. Substitute cane vinegar with herb vinegar at 1:1 to prepare dishes with similar tastes.

You can prepare Herb Vinegar using any vinegar type (white vinegar is the most common) and any of your favorite herbs. To make it, mix vinegar and herbs in a jar and let it rest for a minimum of 24 hours. Remember, the longer you leave your vinegar to sit, the more flavor it will acquire. Once the desired flavor is achieved, strain the herbs and keep the resulting solution in a dark, cool location for a few days.

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Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar comprises of fermented sherry wine, and this sherry wine comes from grapes of the Jerez region of Spain.

Since sherry vinegar sits longer, it shows a higher level of sweetness, complex flavors, and a darker color. It has a slightly sweet flavor, with a nutty and acidic taste, yet it is not as acidic as white or red wine vinegar.

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for soups, sauces, stews, marinades, and salad dressings. Use one teaspoon of sherry vinegar as an alternative to one tablespoon of cane vinegar.

As per the USDA, this vinegar contains zero sodium, protein, fats, and only a few calories, making it one of the preferred options for all health-conscious cooks.

Additionally, it contains antioxidants, vitamins, organic acids, vitamins, and minerals that your body requires, and therefore it won’t be wrong to say that it enhances both the flavor and health of its consumers.

Palm Vinegar

The last substitute for cane vinegar on our list is the popular variety from the Philippines, the Palm Vinegar. It is made of palm sap and is available in two types: Nipa palm vinegar and Kong palm vinegar.

Palm Vinegar

Nipa palm vinegar boosts an almost sweet, citrusy taste, whereas Kong palm vinegar is sweeter and less acidic. Both are great for making salad dressings, dipping sauces, and condiments, and as an ingredient in many other recipes.

You can add one teaspoon of palm vinegar to substitute for one tablespoon of cane vinegar in your meals.

Making Cane Vinegar at Home – Easy Guide

Cane vinegar is an ingredient that adds luscious flavor to your dishes and to help you do this, we are going to teach you an easy and affordable way of making it in your very own kitchen if you don’t have easy access to ready made cane vinegar or cane vinegar substitutes.

Homemade sugarcane Vinegar

Ingredients For Cane Vinegar

  •     Sugarcane Juice – 1 liter
  •     Water – 500ml
  •     Nails – 2 (unrusted)
  •     Acetic acid – 2 tbsp

Step By Step Recipe for Natural Vinegar (Sugarcane Vinegar)

  1. Put 1 liter of Sugarcane Juice and two non-rusted nails into a glass jar.
  2. Place the mixture in a cool, dark room or cupboard for about two months.
  3. After two months, strain out the liquid using a cotton cloth and store it in a glass, porcelain, or food-grade plastic bottle.

Step By Step Recipe for Synthetic Vinegar

  1. Take 500 ml of RO (reverse osmosis) water and add two tablespoons of acidic acid to a bowl.
  2. Stir the blend using a wooden spoon.
  3. Enjoy!

Note: Vinegar made of synthetic ingredients does not need standing and can be used immediately.


  •       Do not use a metallic strainer for filtration but one with plastic wires.
  •       The bottle you use for storing should be of glass, porcelain, or food-grade plastic.
  •       If you don’t have RO water, you can use boiled water.


What’s the difference between cane vinegar and regular vinegar?

Vinegar is used for many purposes and comes in various varieties. Regular vinegar and cane vinegar are among the many, and the thing that sets them apart is how they are created. Ordinary vinegar is derived from natural sugar-based food, which could either be an apple, grape, or sugar cane. While Cane Vinegar is specifically made using molasses. In Filipino recipes, cane vinegar is often used to prepare popular dishes such as dinuguan or adobo (Filipino blood stew).

Are rice vinegar and cane vinegar the same?

The significant distinction between the two is that cane vinegar is prepared from extracted fresh cane juice, while rice vinegar is made up of fermented rice. However, they share a similar moderate flavor and acidity, which means you can use them interchangeably.

Can I Use White Vinegar Instead Of Cane Vinegar?

Yes you can use white vinegar as a sugar cane vinegar substitute. However, remember that both have different characteristics. Cane vinegar is clear and generally made by fermenting sugar cane extract. On the other hand, white vinegar is prepared from white wine and has a stronger and more sour taste.

What is Datu Puti Cane Vinegar?

Datu Puti vinegar, sometimes referred to as sukang maasim, is an acidic, fresh flavoring condiment widely consumed across the Philippines. It is made of fermented sugar cane juice and has a similar flavor to rice vinegar.

Due to its bittersweet flavor and delicate, fruity tinge, this vinegar is ideal for all sorts of salads, marinades, and dressings. It can also enhance the taste of your oysters, fish, and other seafood.


Cane vinegar is unique, versatile, and an in-demand ingredient in the Philippines cuisine. It is a crucial component of their cooking and is used in nearly every Filipino household.

This natural, healthy product can be used in myriad recipes to impart deep layers of flavors in them.

Aside from a few differences in taste and color, cane vinegar is identical to any other available kind. Therefore, there is no reason to be worried when you run out of it.

If you don’t have any cane vinegar, you can use one of the above-listed substitutes for cane vinegar in your recipes. Just pick the one you like the most, pour it into your food and enjoy the magnifying taste!


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Anya Kaats

Hi! I’m Anya, a San Diego-based Holistic Health Coach and Marketing Consultant on a mission to share good food, health & happiness with as many people as possible. I am a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and have worked in the natural & organic products industry for my entire professional career with companies such as Suja Juice, Brad’s Raw Foods, and Mamma Chia. While my life may be totally consumed with healthy food now, nutrition wasn’t always a passion of mine.