5 BEST Chinkiang Vinegar Substitutes in Recipes

Have you ever heard of Chinkiang vinegar before?

Chinkiang vinegar, also known as Zhenjiang vinegar, is a dark and fragrant rice baking soda vinegar that is well-known and widely used in Chinese cooking.

From adding it to salads and marinades to stir-frying and sauces, this strong yet flavorful seasoning can be added to dishes for an extra zing of flavor.

While some people use it as it is without any substitution, many also look for the best substitutes for Chinkiang.

The main options are using balsamic or regular distilled white vinegar, along with mirin, cider vinegar, or even red wine vinegar.

What is Chinkiang Vinegar?

Chinkiang vinegar is one of the most iconic condiments in Chinese cuisine due to its unique taste and texture.

It features a deep brownish-black color, an intense aroma, and a slightly tart and smoky flavor.

When cooking with Chinkiang vinegar, you want to add it relatively late in the cooking process as its flavor will diminish when heated for too long.

This can be done by adding it when stir-frying vegetables or simply splashing a few drops over noodles or dumplings.

To get the full flavor of Chinkiang vinegar, try adding it at the end of your dish – this will give your meal an extra kick of umami that you won’t find anywhere else.

5 BEST Chinkiang Vinegar Substitutes in Recipes

If you’re looking for a Chinkiang vinegar substitute in your recipes, you’ve come to the right place.

Chinkiang vinegar is a deep-brown, savory rice vinegar with a complex flavor profile.

It’s used primarily in Chinese cooking and can be hard to find in certain countries.

Here are five excellent substitutes for Chinkiang vinegar that will give you similar results in your dishes.

1 – Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a popular Italian condiment that is made from cooked and reduced grape juice.

It has a sweet, rich, and slightly tart taste with a syrup-like texture.

Balsamic vinegar is very versatile and can be used in vinaigrette dressings, marinades, reductions, glazes, and even cocktails.

While it is not an exact substitute for Chinkiang vinegar, balsamic can often serve its purpose depending on the flavor desired.

When using balsamic vinegar as a replacement for Chinkiang vinegar, reduce the amount by half and add some sugar to enhance its sweetness.

2 – Rice or Wine Vinegar + Soy Sauce

Rice or Wine Vinegar mixed with Soy Sauce is a combination often used in many Asian cuisines to add bold flavor and zing to any dish.

This ingredient combination has a slight sweetness, with the vinegar mellowing out the saltiness of the soy sauce.

Its texture adds crunch to dishes that contain vegetables, such as stir fry, and its flavor pairs well with meaty proteins like steak or pork.

Rice or wine vinegar + soy sauce can easily substitute for Chinkiang vinegar when creating dishes like dumplings, as it adds a similar level of deep umami flavor while still giving your food an interesting spin.

3 – Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is a smart and sophisticated addition to any pantry.

Produced from aged red wine, it has a sharp yet mild flavor with sweet undertones.

The texture is thin and acidic, making it the perfect choice for pickling or as an extra zing in your favorite dressings and marinades.

Red wine vinegar also makes an easy substitute for Chinkiang or Chinese black vinegar in recipes like slow-cooked meats and savory sauces, lending a unique piquancy to whatever dish you’re making.

Try it today, and tantalize your palate with its unparalleled flavor.

4 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has grown in popularity over the years for its versatility in the kitchen.

It is a sour, pungent liquid made from fermented apple juice, but some producers will add spices and herbs for extra flavor.

Its taste is subtle yet tangy, with a slight sweetness that comes from the apples.

With a texture that ranges from watery to syrupy, this vinegar can be used to enhance salads, braised meat dishes, and even drinks.

When it comes to Chinese cuisine, apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for Chinkiang vinegar since they both have similar uses, although the flavor profile of Chinkiang may not be replicated exactly.

5 – White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar has a slightly sweet and mild flavor that can be used in many dishes to brighten them up.

Its mild taste differs from other types of vinegar, like Chinkiang vinegar which has very strong and almost sour notes.

The texture is usually thin and smooth, while the color varies from clear to golden yellow.

White wine vinegar is best used when making salad dressings, sauces, or dips, as it gives a subtle touch to the dish without overpowering other ingredients.

Additionally, it serves as a great substitute for Chinkiang vinegar because of its mild flavor.

As with most vinegar, it’s important not to overuse white wine vinegar so that your dish won’t be overpowered by its flavor.


In conclusion, there are plenty of options when it comes to substituting Chinkiang vinegar in recipes.

Balsamic vinegar, rice or wine vinegar + soy sauce, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar can all be used as replacements for Chinkiang when needed.

Make sure to adjust the amount used if using a substitute for Chinkiang, as the taste and texture of this vinegar can differ from the original.

With a little bit of creativity in the kitchen, you can find delicious alternatives to Chinkiang vinegar that will make any dish stand out.

5 BEST Chinkiang Vinegar Substitutes in Recipes

5 BEST Chinkiang Vinegar Substitutes in Recipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 – Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 – Rice or Wine Vinegar + Soy Sauce
  • 3 – Red Wine Vinegar
  • 4 – Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 5 – White Wine Vinegar


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

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