If you enjoy cooking or baking, you may have experienced the frustration of discovering that you're out of apple cider when a recipe calls for it — especially when you don't have time to go out and get it!
In such a situation, apple cider alternatives can save the day and deliver delicious outcomes.
But if finding a substitute for this wonder ingredient has proved challenging, there’s no need to worry! We've taken the guesswork out of the equation and provided a list of the best substitutes for apple cider.
Curious about what options are available? Keep reading to discover them!
Apple Cider Substitution Chart
Here’s a table you can use as a quick reference:
|Apple Cider Substitute||Best For||Substitution Ratio|
|Apple Juice||Donuts, pork chops, vinaigrettes||1:1|
|Pear Juice||Baked goods, braised chicken, sangria, glazed ham||1:1|
|White Grape Juice||Baked goods, marinades, brines||1:1|
|Lemon Juice||Dressings, marinades, coleslaw||1:½|
|Lime Juice||Margaritas, salsas, pork tenderloin||1:½|
|Pineapple Juice||Glazed salmon, pulled pork, BBQ sauce||1:1 (adjust)|
|Orange Juice||Glazed carrots, glazed ham, mimosa||1:1|
|Red Wine||Beef stew, beef roast, braised short ribs||1:1|
|White Wine||Risotto, braised chicken dishes||1:1|
|Sherry Wine||Glazed pork chops, carrots, salmon||1:1|
|Hard Cider||Donuts, bread, cakes, sauces, glazes||1:1|
|Apple Cider Vinegar||Dressings, coleslaws, sauces||1:½|
|White Wine Vinegar||Vinaigrettes, marinades, glazes||1:½|
|Red Wine Vinegar||Dressings, brines, pork and beef glazes||1:½|
|Balsamic Vinegar||Dressings, marinades, sauces||1:½|
15 Best Substitutes for Apple Cider
Selecting the right apple cider substitute is vital to saving your recipe!
Here are some of the best options available to replace apple cider in your dishes:
1. Apple Juice
Apple juice is an excellent substitute for apple cider. It maintains a similar sweetness and color, so using it for your dish won't dramatically change its flavor and appearance.
It is important to note that apple cider differs from apple juice as cider has a more natural and unprocessed taste.
For this reason, the juice may lack some of the acidity and depth that apple cider provides.
Still, this substitute works well in recipes that require apple cider's flavor and hue, such as donuts, pork chops, and vinaigrettes.
To use apple juice as a substitute, replace it with a 1:1 ratio.
2. Pear Juice
Because its subtle sweetness and light color resemble apple cider, pear juice is another alternative you should consider.
Pear juice is an excellent substitute for apple cider in sangria, baked goods, braised chicken, and glazed ham recipes.
But while it retains most apple cider characteristics, it is worth noting that pear juice may add a slight pear flavor to your dish.
In recipes, use a 1:1 ratio of pear juice to apple cider.
3. White Grape Juice
In lieu of apple cider, white grape juice presents itself as a viable alternative. However, it has a slightly more distinct sweet flavor and may alter the original dish's flavor profile.
Still, it is suitable for recipes requiring similar acidity levels and color, such as marinades, brines, and baked goods.
To substitute, use a 1:1 ratio of white grape juice to apple cider.
4. Lemon Juice
Even though it could impact the dish's color with its lighter and clearer appearance and contribute a more pronounced citrusy flavor, lemon juice is an ideal replacement for apple cider, especially if you require acidity in your dish.
It perfectly replaces apple cider in dressings, marinades, and coleslaws.
Use lemon juice sparingly, starting with half the quantity of apple cider in the recipe, as its acidity is more potent.
5. Lime Juice
In pork tenderloin recipes and margaritas, lime juice is another suitable option for replacing the acidity of apple cider.
When using lime juice as a substitute for apple cider, it is essential to be mindful of its potency and adjust the quantity accordingly.
To counteract its acidity, you can add sweeteners such as sugar or honey to balance the flavor.
Like lemon juice, start with half the amount of apple cider called for in the recipe.
6. Pineapple Juice
This fruit juice has a fruity, sweet, and slightly acidic profile. For this reason, it’s the perfect replacement for apple cider in glazed salmon, pulled pork, and BBQ sauce recipes.
Remember that it introduces a tropical touch and boasts a light yellow color, which can make your dishes taste and look different.
Replace apple cider with pineapple juice using a 1:1 ratio, but adjust the quantity depending on your taste preference.
7. Orange Juice
If you’re making glazed carrots or glazed ham, orange juice offers a fruity, sweet, and slightly acidic alternative to apple cider.
However, orange juice may not be the best substitute for apple cider in recipes requiring its unique apple taste and flavor profile, such as apple cider donuts, due to its citrus taste.
Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing apple cider with orange juice, adjusting to consider the change in flavor.
8. Red Wine
Red wine can substitute apple cider in recipes that call for a richer flavor and deeper color, such as beef stew, pot roast, and braised short ribs.
Use a 1:1 ratio, but remember that the change in color may be noticeable, especially in lighter-colored dishes.
9. White Wine
For risotto and braised chicken dishes that require acidity, bright taste, and light color, you can use white wine to replace apple cider.
Keep in mind that white wine has a higher alcohol content and a more delicate flavor profile.
Use a 1:1 ratio for substitution.
10. Sherry Wine
If you want a slightly nutty and sweet flavor in your recipes, try swapping apple cider with sherry wine.
It may affect the dish's color and add a nutty taste to it, but it will still provide a sweet flavor reminiscent of apple cider. For this reason, it works for glazed pork chops, carrots, and salmon.
Substitute sherry wine for apple cider in a 1:1 ratio.
11. Hard Cider
Hard cider is a fermented version of apple cider, making it a suitable substitute for a boozy twist in a recipe. It retains the original flavor profile and color while adding alcohol.
Try it in donuts, bread, and cakes. It can also be used in recipes that call for an apple cider reduction, such as sauces or glazes.
Substitute hard cider for apple cider in a 1:1 ratio.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
When you need both acidity and a prominent apple flavor in your dish, consider using apple cider vinegar as a suitable substitute for apple cider.
It’s the best replacement for apple cider in salad dressings, coleslaws, and sauces.
However, apple cider vinegar is much more robust and sour, so use it sparingly.
Start by substituting half the amount of apple cider in the recipe and adjust to your taste preference.
13. White Wine Vinegar
Although it lacks the apple flavor, the light color and mild taste of white wine vinegar can work well in recipes needing acidity.
It works for vinaigrettes, marinades, and glazes.
Due to the difference in flavor and acidity level, start with half the amount of apple cider your recipe calls for.
14. Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is another vinegar option as an apple cider substitute.
It has a more robust, tangy flavor and may alter your dish's color, but it’s ideal if you’d like to add a twist to your classic recipes.
It is an option worth trying if you’re making salad dressings, brines, and pork or beef glazes.
Like other vinegar substitutes, start with half the amount of apple cider called for in the recipe and adjust to your taste.
15. Balsamic Vinegar
Due to its comparable acidity level, balsamic vinegar is a fantastic replacement for apple cider.
Its sweet and tangy taste, combined with a hint of caramel, can add depth and complexity to your dish, making it a great option for dressings, marinades, and sauces.
Expect a change in the overall flavor profile of the dish, though, along with a shift in the dish’s appearance because this vinegar has a more robust taste and a darker hue than apple cider.
It is best to start with half the amount of apple cider in your recipe when using balsamic vinegar as a substitute.
How Is Apple Cider Used in the Kitchen?
In the kitchen, apple cider is often used for making sauces, marinades, and glazes.
It can also be used in baking recipes, like cakes, pancakes, and apple cider muffins.
Apple cider adds moisture and flavor to baked goods and also helps activate baking powder and baking soda, which are leavening agents commonly used in baking.
The acidity of the apple cider can react with the baking powder or soda to create carbon dioxide gas, which helps to make the baked goods rise and ensure they have a light, tender texture.
All in all, apple cider is a versatile ingredient that's crucial to making and enhancing a wide variety of dishes.
But if you've run out of it, the great news is you can always choose any of the substitutes we've listed above to provide the benefits it does! You might even find something that infuses exciting new flavors into your recipes.
Factors To Consider When Choosing the Right Substitute for Apple Cider
When choosing the best substitute for apple cider in recipes, there are several factors to consider:
Consider the flavor profile of the substitute and how it will affect the dish's overall taste.
Some substitutes, such as apple or white grape juice, have a flavor profile more or less similar to apple cider.
Others, such as lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, have a more distinct taste that may alter the dish's flavor.
So it's crucial to use them in smaller amounts to prevent them from completely changing how your dish tastes.
You can also balance their flavor out with honey or any sweetener of your choice, especially if you're using them to replace apple cider in a dessert.
Apple cider is known for its acidity, so it's essential to choose a substitute with a similar level of acidity if you want to stick to your original recipe as much as possible.
Lemon juice and vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, are excellent substitutes for acidity.
Apple cider has a distinct color that may be important in some recipes.
Some substitutes, such as pear juice or white wine, have a light color resembling apple juice, so they won't affect your dish's visual appeal.
However, its appearance may be altered by alternatives like balsamic vinegar or red wine, which have a darker color.
So consider how you want your dish to look when selecting an apple cider substitute.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Healthier Alternative to Apple Cider?
If you're looking for a healthier substitute for apple cider, consider using lemon juice.
Lemon juice contains higher amounts of vitamins B1, B2, and B6 than apple cider. Plus, this fruit juice has higher vitamin C and antioxidant content.
Which Ingredients Are Not Suitable Substitutes for Apple Cider?
While there are many good substitutes for apple cider, there are also some that should be avoided.
For example, using apple juice concentrate or apple flavoring in place of apple cider can result in a flavor that is too artificial or sweet.
Let These Apple Cider Substitutes Save the Day!
Apple cider isn't always on hand. And sometimes even when you do have it, you're just in the mood for something different.
Keeping these 15 apple cider substitutes in your arsenal means you're never left high and dry when craving a particular dish with apple cider as one of its star ingredients.
Whether sipping them during a cozy evening or experimenting in the kitchen, these substitutes can add a tasty twist to your culinary adventures. So go ahead and give them a try today!