Cane vinegar is actually commonly used in Filipino cooking, particularly in regions where sugar cane is grown. It is often called “sukang Iloko” in the Philippines, after of the province of Ilocos in the northern region.
You can use cane vinegar to make your sweet and sour sauces, salad dressings, and vinaigrettes. You can use cane vinegar if you don’t have your regular vinegar in your pantry to cook the popular Filipino dish called adobo. [Source] Cane vinegar also makes a good addition to your meat marinade recipe.
If you cannot find cane vinegar in your local grocery store and there is no specialty store in your area, you can use some popular substitutes. . Here is part of the complete list of the best cane vinegar substitutes:
- Rice Vinegar
- Malt Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Champagne Vinegar
- Herb Vinegar
- White Wine Vinegar
- Sherry Vinegar
- Fruit Vinegar
Before we move on, let’s learn more about the origin of this common ingredient used in filipino cuisine.
14 Best Substitute For Cane Vinegar
Cane vinegar is made from sugar cane. The process involves crushing the sugar cane to get the juice, then simmering until syrup is produced. The last process is the fermentation of the syrup to make the vinegar.
You’ll find cane vinegar in most Filipino stores across the United States. There are cane vinegar producers from California and Hawaii, hence, you may also find them in your local supermarket as well.
This type of vinegar has a milder sour flavor than regular vinegar. Though the source of cane vinegar is known for its sweetness, cane vinegar is not exactly sweet. People say it tastes sour, as vinegar would taste, but it is also fresh and mild, hence, it can be used in a wide variety of recipes. It has a dark yellow to golden brown color.
There are different types of vinegar. They also come in a variety of textures, flavor profiles, and colors. When choosing a substitute for cane vinegar, pick one that will provide a beautiful flavor to your dishes and enhance their taste.
The top two on our list are rice vinegar and malt vinegar
Rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar is a staple in Asian cuisines. It is a milder type of vinegar, and it is less acidic. It is made from fermented rice wine, and even sake, a well-known Japanese alcoholic drink, hence, the variety of Japanese rice wine vinegar. The sugar and the starch in rice grains are actually turned into alcohol.
As for the most type of wine vinegar, the alcohol component turns into acetic acid, providing vinegar its signature unique acidic taste.
If using rice wine vinegar as a substitute for cane vinegar, choose the unsweetened variety available in the market today. Unsweetened rice wine vinegar has a more similar flavor and taste to cane vinegar.
However, it has a little stronger flavor than sugar cane vinegar, hence, you should just use about ¾ tablespoon (or maybe less) for every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar in your recipe. It can give your dishes a slightly sweet and slightly acidic taste.
Rice vinegar is an ideal replacement when cooking fried rice or making sushi. Add a little acidity to your meat marinades with rice wine vinegar. You can also use it when cooking soups, stir-fries, noodles, and making dips.
Malt vinegar makes a good substitute for cane vinegar. It is made from malted barley. Malt vinegar has a distinct acidic, nutty, caramel, and sweet flavor. Malt vinegar is often used in Canadian and British cuisines. Its primary production site is in the United Kingdom.
Malt vinegar works just as well as regular vinegar, so you can use it to make meat marinades, brines, sauces, chutneys, and salad dressings. You can also use it to enhance the flavor of some of your favorite side dishes. It is a perfect match with your fish and chips.
It came from malted barley. It doesn’t have that strong vinegar taste of cane vinegar, but you can still use it as an alternative to cane vinegar. The ideal ratio is for every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar in your recipe, use 1 to 1 ½ tablespoon of malt vinegar. You can add more if you want your dish to have a stronger flavor.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another good substitute for cane vinegar. It is a little more acidic than cane vinegar, though, it still has a similar fruity and nutty flavor.
It is made from fermented apple juice, and it has a strong aroma. It can be used to replace cane vinegar in marinades, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, stir-fries, chutneys, stews, soups, and even in baked goods.
The ideal substitute ratio is 1:1.
Balsamic vinegar is also known as “Aceto balsamico.” This dark and intensely flavored vinegar is manufactured in Italy. Balsamic vinegar is made from grape juice and is usually stored in wooden barrels for several years before it can be used.
Aside from the distinct acidic taste of other kinds of vinegar, it also has a hint of sweet flavor, making it a good substitute for cane vinegar in meat glazes, vinaigrettes, and salads.
Having a stronger flavor than cane vinegar, use about ½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for every full tablespoon of can vinegar in your recipe.
Champagne vinegar is popular for its mild and floral flavor. it is usually made from Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes. It is an ideal substitute for cane vinegar because its light and mild flavor won’t overpower the other flavors you have in your dish.
You can use it to make salad dressings, fish and chicken marinades, fruit salads, and sauces.
For every 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar, use an equal amount of 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar. You can always add more, depending on how you want your dish to taste.
Herb vinegar makes a good replacement for recipes requiring cane vinegar. It is infused with different herbs like sage, basil, lemongrass, dill, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, parsley, and fennel. The flavor of the vinegar will depend on what herb was used.
Herb vinegar is a versatile ingredient that you can use when making sauces, salad dressings, marinades, soups, and stews. You can purchase a readily available herb vinegar from your local grocery store, or you can make it. Use your regular vinegar in your pantry and infuse it with your choice of herb.
The ideal substitution rate of cane vinegar with herb vinegar is 1:1.
White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar and champagne vinegar have similar colors and aromas. They only have different flavors because they do not come from the same type of grapes.
White wine vinegar is more acidic and is stronger than champagne vinegar. It also makes a good replacement for cane vinegar in stews, sauces, soups, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, and chicken and fish marinades.
Use 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar for every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar in your recipe.
From its name, sherry vinegar comes from fermented sherry wine. It has a slightly sweet, nutty, and acidic flavor. It is less acidic than red or white wine vinegar. A sherry vinegar that has been aged longer will have a darker color and will have a stronger more complex level of sweetness.
Sherry vinegar works best with stews, soups, sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. For every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar needed in your recipe, use 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar as a replacement.
Fruit vinegar is made from different kinds of fruits and berries. Some of these are mango, apricot, pear, passion fruit, pomegranate, figs, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and raisins.
This is different from apple cider vinegar. Fruit vinegar is not a cider. Depending on the fruits used, fruit vinegar can taste as sweet as cane vinegar.
You can use it to make salad dressings, desserts, soups, meat marinades, and beverages. For every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar on your recipe, use 1 tablespoon of fruit vinegar as a substitute.
Another popular type of vinegar in the Philippines is palm vinegar. It is made from palm sap. Two of the most common types of palm vinegar in the Philippines are kaong palm vinegar and nipa palm vinegar.
Kaong palm vinegar is sweeter and less sour than nipa palm vinegar, which has a hint of citrus flavor. both types of palm vinegar are ideal as a dipping sauce and salad dressing.
For every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar needed on your recipe, use an equal amount of palm vinegar as a substitute.
Distilled White Vinegar
This is the most commonly used type of vinegar in the U.S. It has a sharp taste. Some people find white vinegar to have a harsh smell. White vinegar is distilled from grains, making it crisp and clean.
There are a few people who don’t like white vinegar’s pungent effect on dishes, but it is still a good replacement for cane vinegar.
It is often used as a pickling agent. You can add it to your barbecue sauces and salad dressings. Some people add vinegar to their ketchup to enhance the flavor. it provides a good balance for extremely sweet ingredients.
For every 1 tablespoon of cane vinegar needed on your recipe, use less than a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. You can adjust the measurement according to your preference.
Apricot vinegar is another good substitute for cane vinegar. It is made from dried apricots. It provides a sweeter flavor profile to your marinades and salad dressings.
The ideal ratio for cane vinegar and apricot vinegar is 1:1.
Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is made from a red wine base. It is less acidic and sweeter than most kinds of vinegar. It is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisines for its mellow flavor profile. it is perfect for use in reductions and vinaigrettes.
The ideal ratio is 1:1.
Red Rice Vinegar
Red rice vinegar comes from fermented red rice. Its flavor is milder compared to red wine vinegar. You can also use this to serve as a substitute for cane vinegar. It is acidic and tangy, with a hint of sweetness. Its flavor profile can be likened to apple cider vinegar.
Unlike rice wine vinegar, red rice vinegar should only be added in smaller quantities. You can use it to make pickled vegetables, sushi rice, and meat marinades.