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12 Best Substitute For Tarragon Vinegar In Salad Dressing

If you are craving for tarragon vinegar-infused dishes or salad, and you suddenly have run of it in the kitchen or could not find it on its usual shelf in the market, you do not have to make quick changes to your planned recipe. You can use an alternative for tarragon vinegar, and no one will notice that you made slight changes in your recipe.

When we talk about tarragon vinegar, it is that favorite French ingredient that chefs love to infuse in their marinades, salad dressings or vinaigrettes, meat or steak glazes, or sauces such as Tarragon sauce or bearnaise sauce. We love the kick of tarragon vinegar— a hint of licorice or hints of anise that shines in white wine vinegar.

We cannot stress enough the taste of Tarragon leaves on this alcohol-turned acid— bright, tangy, minty, and smells a bit of hay. Soaked in a bottle of white wine vinegar, its hints of eucalyptus and peppery tones shine and sit right on your favorite marinated dish and salad dressings.

Now, this is not to make you crave for tarragon vinegar if you can’t find one now and badly need it. We have a long list of replacements that you can use for your tarragon vinegar recipes.

Finding the Best Tarragon Vinegar Substitute

Tarragon Vinegar Substitute

If you are looking for a substitute for tarragon vinegar, you want one that fits well with its usual dishes. There are hundreds of them: seafood, egg dishes, salmon, chicken, and you are looking for one that can make that subtle punch of tarragon leaves.

So basically, you’re looking for that subtle kick from alcohol that turned acidic through the aging process or simply acidic liquid, and you want to mix it with herbs closest to tarragon leaves. In this case, if you have dried tarragon, that’s a much better replacement. But if you have none, the closest you can get is thyme.

So here, we can only recommend the top tarragon vinegar substitutes: white wine vinegar, dried tarragon leaves, malt vinegar, and champagne vinegar. So if you want to know how close they can get, read on, and find out how you can replace them with tarragon vinegar.

White Wine Vinegar


If there is any vinegar more appropriate to replace tarragon vinegar for its usual recipes, it would be white wine vinegar. It is the vinegar base of tarragon vinegar.

You add fresh tarragon leaves to white vinegar and seal it aside for a few weeks, and you’ll have tarragon vinegar. You can use it for many béarnaise sauces, vinaigrettes, salad dressings, or marinades.

If you want to add some punch to it, use a 1:1 ratio with apple cider vinegar or use thyme as a replacement for tarragon leaves. Thyme has a closer minty tone, sweetness, and aroma, but white wine vinegar alone is already enough to replace it.

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Dried Tarragon Leaves

If you do not want to drift away from the kick of tarragon in your dishes, but you have plenty of dried tarragon in the kitchen, take a pinch from the jar. Dried tarragon leaves are pretty much available in the market than tarragon vinegar because it’s dried and has a long shelf life. [Source]

Take note of this: dried tarragon leaves have a higher concentration and have a stronger flavor than fresh ones. You have to be cautious that you might only need a small pinch for your recipe.

To use dried tarragon leaves as a replacement, use it with distilled, white vinegar as much as needed in the recipe. And then sprinkle a small number of dried tarragon leaves.

Malt Vinegar


If you look to substitute tarragon vinegar for your favorite salad dressing, use malt vinegar. While this is not a popular choice for replacement, its taste is sweet, roast tart-like, with citrusy notes— making it a great topping, salad dressing, and pickling.

And because it comes from the barley that makes up the beer, you would find it sweeter than tarragon vinegar. However, it smells stronger— you know what a beer smells like.

But with the darker color, it could be an issue if you have color requirements in your tarragon vinegar dish. But if you can deal with it, go ahead. You will probably need two tablespoons of malt vinegar for a tablespoon of your usual tarragon vinegar. This ratio is enough because malt vinegar is softer.

Champagne Vinegar

If you are looking for a lighter acid than white wine to substitute for tarragon vinegar, go for champagne vinegar. It has fruity notes that we love in grape-made wine vinegar.

Sometimes, you can use it as a substitute for the white wine vinegar base of tarragon vinegar. Chefs prefer its lighter notes and tart, floral, and fruity sweetness that packs a punch to any salad dressing.

Use it for recipes that require no heating: vinaigrettes and the like, or use it as a finishing ingredient for hot sauces. If you’re going to use it as a replacement for tarragon vinegar, use one tablespoon of champagne vinegar for one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

Rice Vinegar


Rice vinegar is probably the mildest substitute on this list. It is so soft that those who prefer rice vinegar want it for not being overpowering seafood dishes like how you would with tarragon vinegar.

Rice vinegar is incredibly sweet, unlike white wine vinegar, which is harsh. It has this sweetness because it came from rice sake; you can use this as an alternative to sweet and sour tarragon dressing.

If you will use rice vinegar for tarragon vinegar in salad dressings, sauces, pickles, or soups, use two tablespoons for every spoon of tarragon vinegar. Add dried tarragon leaves, thyme, or parsley with cinnamon, and you’ll get the closer kick of tarragon vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are looking for a tarragon vinegar replacement that is easier to find and you know you will need it frequently, go for an apple cider. Although it has an incredibly pungent, sharp, tangy odor, it does not compare to the taste of the apple tartness and sweetness in acidic condiment.

While you can use this ingredient in baking, it is an easy replacement for tarragon vinegar for marinades for steaks and salad dressings. Also, you would love how easy it goes well with chicken and fish like how tarragon vinegar does.

Since it’s a bit stronger than tarragon vinegar, use only one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar


Balsamic vinegar has much very different taste from any other vinegar. It has a rich, concentrated, and thick consistency brought by long years of double fermenting grape must. [Source]

It’s a mouthful flavor of smoke, tart, and sweets. This combination goes from the tones of molasses, cherries, prunes, fig, and chocolate.

And because of its richness, it goes rightfully paired with marinades of meat, chicken, or toppings for plates of seafood or salad dressings. To replace tarragon vinegar, use only one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, equivalent to one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

Lemon Juice

You will not usually use lemon juice for its flavor as it tastes different from tarragon vinegar. You will use it for the kick of its acidity.

If you love to use the tarragon vinaigrette for Mediterranean seafood or green salad, lemon juice would be a great substitute. If you have tarragon leaves, go ahead, and sprinkle some chopped leaves on your lemon-infused recipe.

What we love about substituting lemon juice for tarragon vinegar is it does not usually leave strong flavors from other kinds of vinegar on this list. It usually adds refreshing citrus notes to marinades and salad dressings.

Rice Wine

You don’t have to wait for rice wine to process into vinegar before you can use it as a substitute for tarragon vinegar. It already has the sharp sour taste of vinegar, albeit milder than tarragon vinegar.

And even being a wine, it doesn’t smell like alcohol as we think. It can either be sweet or tangy with some spicy notes.

Use two tablespoons of rice wine for a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar for your salad dressings, marinades, or sauces. Also, you can add some fresh herbs to add spice to your usual tarragon vinegar recipe. 

You don’t have to wait for rice wine to process into vinegar before you can use it as a substitute for tarragon vinegar. It already has the sharp sour taste of vinegar, albeit milder than tarragon vinegar.

And even being a wine, it doesn’t smell like alcohol as we think. It can either be sweet or tangy with some spicy notes.

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Use two tablespoons of rice wine for a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar for your salad dressings, marinades, or sauces. Also, you can add some fresh herbs to add spice to your usual tarragon vinegar recipe.

Fruit Vinegar

Fruit vinegar is a nice refreshing take on vinegar. You can make vinegar out of different fruit scraps: apple peels, overripe grapes, strawberry hulls, cherry pits, or lemon.

Add some herbs like basil, thyme, or mint, and you can have a mouthful replacement for tarragon vinegar. If there are none of them and you have plenty of tarragon leaves, go ahead and chop them to top them with your marinades, sauce, or dressing.

If you’re going to substitute it for your marinades, Mediterranean dishes, or pickles, you can use one tablespoon of fruit vinegar in replacement for one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

Sherry Wine Vinegar


Sherry vinegar comes from the Sherry wine of Spain. It is much softer than white wine and has a rich, nutty taste. With mild sweetness, this medium-bodied wine vinegar is not overpowering, making it best to replace tarragon vinegar for vegetables, seafood, and lean meats.

The longer aging time gives off its liquid dark color, so it may not fit color-specific recipes. We can compare it to how balsamic vinegar ages in wooden barrels; its texture becomes richer, and the flavor becomes more concentrated.

If you use a regularly aged sherry wine vinegar, use a 1:1 ratio when replacing tarragon vinegar.

Cranberry Vinegar

This vinegar has cranberries infused with distilled white vinegar, champagne vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. With the right proportion, it can have the balanced-rich fruity sweetness and citrus notes of the cranberry.

We love how it can replace tarragon on salad dressings or meat-based salads, but it’s not advisable for heated recipes.

Use a 1:1 ratio in replacing tarragon with cranberry vinegar. Put some thyme or mint if you need herbs on your tarragon vinegar substitute.

Can Any Vinegar Replace Tarragon Vinegar?

Technically, you can use any vinegar to replace tarragon. But you want this vinegar to be milder and more delicate to taste. To do this, you have to reduce the amount of vinegar in your recipe.

If this is something like red wine vinegar, it has to be more delicate and subtle, so reducing its amount may work. But if you have white wine vinegar, it’s much more appropriate than red wine vinegar.

You can also consider using cane vinegar as it’s mild, and you can compare it to malt or champagne vinegar.

Can I Use White Vinegar to Substitute Tarragon Vinegar?

Yes. To use distilled white vinegar in your tarragon recipe, put two tablespoons of wine into one cup of white vinegar and add freshly chopped tarragon leaves. If you do not have tarragon leaves, use thyme or mint leaves.