When it comes to making BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient used to add tanginess and acidity. However, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand or simply prefer not to use it, there are several alternatives that can be used instead. In this article, we will explore some of the best substitutes for apple cider vinegar in BBQ sauce.

White Vinegar

One of the most popular alternatives to apple cider vinegar is white vinegar. It has a similar level of acidity and can be used in the same proportion as apple cider vinegar in your BBQ sauce recipe. However, keep in mind that white vinegar has a stronger taste than apple cider vinegar and may alter the flavor of your sauce slightly.

Lemon Juice

Another alternative to consider is lemon juice. It has a bright, fresh flavor that can complement the other ingredients in your BBQ sauce recipe. Use it in the same proportion as you would apple cider vinegar and adjust the amount based on your preference for acidity.

Red Wine Vinegar

For a more complex flavor profile, red wine vinegar is an excellent substitute for apple cider vinegar in BBQ sauce recipes. It has a milder taste than white vinegar but still provides a tangy kick that complements smoky and sweet flavors. Use it in equal proportions as you would use apple cider vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar

If you’re looking for a sweeter alternative to apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar is an excellent option. It has a distinct sweet and sour taste that can enhance the flavors of your BBQ sauce recipe. However, keep in mind that it’s much thicker than apple cider vinegar, so you may need to adjust the amount accordingly.


In conclusion, there are several alternatives to consider when substituting apple cider vinegar in BBQ sauce recipes. White vinegar, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar are all excellent options that can provide the same level of acidity and tanginess as apple cider vinegar. Experiment with different substitutes to find the perfect flavor for your BBQ sauce recipe.