tarragon vinegar substitution

The 9 Best Substitutes for Tarragon Vinegar


Tarragon vinegar is known for its bitter-sweet, liquorice-like flavor and this unique taste makes this vinegar a widely popular ingredient in French Cuisine.

The tarragon vinegar is basically extracted from the lesser-known “Estragon”, or commonly known tarragon Plant. The plant leaves are processed to extract the vinegar, and the taste can range from mild to strong depending on the ageing period.

Tarragon vinegar not only has that strong kick in its taste, but it also has this refreshing “herby” flavor! Together this combination makes this vinegar a right fit to season several varieties of tarragon sauces, meaty treats like steaks or chops, roasted vegetables and the famous Béarnaise Sauce.

The good news is if you never really like the taste of Tarragon vinegar, or you couldn’t find one, then there is a whole list of ingredients that you can use to replace the tarragon vinegar.

Interestingly, all the Tarragon vinegar substitutions listed below are easily available, and you can at least find one or two of them somewhere hidden in your kitchen cabinet. Let us begin the search!

How to Use Tarragon Vinegar

Tarragon vinegar has many practical uses. It has that particular tarragon kick and a mild herby flavor which is suitable for most of the recipes that we make.

Despite having its distinct flavor, tarragon vinegar blends well with the rest of the ingredients of any recipe. In fact, it complements the taste of other ingredients.

Whether you want to season beef, lamb, chicken, seafood, vegetable or egg recipes, this vinegar works like magic.

Here are few options to use tarragon vinegar:

  • Marinades: By mixing tarragon with oil and basic spices like black pepper, salad, mustard and paprika etc., you can make a variety of marinades for meat, seafood and poultry.
  • Vinaigrettes or Salad Dressings: The taste of the tarragon vinegar makes it a perfect fit for all sorts of salad dressings; it is going to add more freshness to your salads.
  • Glazes: Since tarragon vinegar has a mild flavor, adding it to a glaze does not mask the taste of the steaks, or the meat chops that glaze is poured over.
  • Sauces: You can use a tarragon sauce in a variety of sauces like the bearnaise sauce or the Tarragon sauce.

How to Choose a Good Substitute for Tarragon Vinegar?

Well, generally, vinegar is easy to replace with one another because they all have that basic sour flavor and a certain level of kick with some aroma. By knowing the flavor base of vinegar, you want to substitute; you can find its perfect replacement. In the case of tarragon vinegar, there are endless options to choose from. The formula I find the most useful to choose a substitute for every other ingredient includes the following main factors to look upon:

  • Flavor or Kick
  • Aroma and Smell
  • The type of recipe you are using for

In the case of tarragon vinegar substitution, we are looking for an alternative that can give the same sourness, the kick, and the licorice-like flavor. Some of the substitutes given below are strong, and some are mild, so you will have to adjust their quantities accordingly.

The aroma or the smell of vinegar vary considerably. Take malt vinegar, for instance! It has a strong smell which is not bearable for everyone. So if you want to replace tarragon vinegar in a salad dressing recipe, you need to choose any other alternative but malt vinegar.

The final decision depends entirely on the type of recipes you are using the substitution for, whether you are making a sauce, salad dressing marinade, seasoning meats or vegetable or adding the vinegar to soups or stews, each recipe demands a particular flavor base, and you will have to choose the tarragon vinegar alternative according to it.

Substitutes for Tarragon Vinegar

While looking for a replacement for Tarragon vinegar, we must try things that could match its kick and, of course, the taste. So, here are few options that can wonderfully do this job.

1. Dried Tarragon leaves with White Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute

There cannot be a better substitute for tarragon vinegar than the dried tarragon leaves. They have that peculiar tarragon flavor and aroma that you can enjoy through the vinegar. Although dried tarragon leaves are easily available in every grocery store, if you can’t find them easily or you run out of them, then you can always the fresh tarragon leaves because they will give the same taste and aroma.

How to Use

Here is the thing! You cannot simply replace the vinegar with a spoonful of dried tarragon leaves. You will have to mix a tablespoon of dried tarragon leaves with ½ a cup of basic white vinegar that you have sitting in your kitchen cabinet. For better taste, add some chopped shallots as well. Leave this mixture for at least 30 minutes and then use it.  Make sure to strain the vinegar and remove the leaves once the flavor is infused, then use this substitution for tarragon vinegar in recipes.

2. Champagne Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute

What is a better substitute for tarragon vinegar than champagne vinegar? Why so? Well, for starters! Champagne vinegar has that mild taste that makes it a perfect alternative for tarragon vinegar. The reason why the champagne vinegar has this overwhelming taste is that it is primarily made out of chardonnay or grapes. The extracts of grapes are fermented by Kombuchas, a particular bacterium, and then the vinegar is left to age a little to produce some acetic acid in it.

How to Use

Its light taste makes it suitable for all sorts of recipes, whether it’s the sauces, glazes or marinade to be prepared. To replace the tarragon vinegar, you will have to use exactly an equal amount of champagne vinegar. One teaspoon of champagne vinegar will give the same kick and taste as the one teaspoon of tarragon vinegar.

3. White Wine Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute


As the name suggests, this vinegar is processed out of white wine and taste ‘wise; it belongs to the same group as that of champagne vinegar. Since there are endless varieties of white wine vinegar available in the market from Moscato to Riesling, and pinot grigio etc. Just pick any and start using instead of the tarragon vinegar.

How to Use

To replace the tarragon vinegar with white wine vinegar, use an equal amount! If the recipe says to use a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar, then simply add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar instead. You won’t even feel any difference in the taste because this vinegar also has a mild kick, and it is not too flavorful as well.

4. Fruit Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute


If you are a health enthusiast or someone who is suffering from high blood cholesterol levels then you should definitely use fruit vinegar as a replacement for tarragon vinegar. This vinegar is great for cardiac patients since it can lower the triglyceride level in the blood.

There are a variety of fruits that are used as a source of this type of vinegar. There are tomato vinegar, raspberry or blueberry vinegar or plum or pear vinegar.  Since these vinegar are extracted from the fruit, they receive all the vitamins, mineral and good nutrients and no sugar as a result of fermentation.

How to Use

Besides the basic sourness, fruit vinegar gets a little bit of sweetness which makes them a perfect fit for salad dressings. It is comparatively milder in taste than the tarragon vinegar, so you will have to use two tablespoons of fruit vinegar to replace a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

5. Malt Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute


f you still think about what to use instead of tarragon vinegar, then give the malt vinegar a try. Unlike other vinegar listed here, this one is processed out of germinated dried barley grain. Maltose is extracted from the grains, and then it is brewed into ale. Finally, that ale is fermented to get a brown colored Malt vinegar.

How to Use

This light brown vinegar is milder and sweeter in taste than the tarragon vinegar. However, it does have a strong smell. So, you can only use this vinegar if the smell doesn’t bother you. Due to its light taste, you will have to use two tablespoons of malt vinegar to replace one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

6. Rice Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute


It is so widely used in Asia and Asian cuisines that you can even call it the Asian vinegar. The region grows a wide variety of rice, so it is more common here to ferment the rice and get this sweeter and less sour vinegar.

How to Use

Rice vinegar can be a good substitute for tarragon vinegar as you can use it in all sort of sauces and dips. It is best to season the veggies and add flavor to the meat recipes. Use almost this vinegar in double the amount of tarragon vinegar. For every 1 tablespoon of tarragon vinegar, you will have to use 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.

7. Balsamic Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute


Balsamic vinegar is not new for most of us! It is a widely used Italian vinegar which is also known as Aceto Balsamico. It is super concentrated, thick and strong in taste. It is for this reason, is used in a very small amount in most recipes.

How to Use

Balsamic vinegar can be used to prepare meat marinades and to season the salad dressings or vinaigrette. Balsamic reduction is usually poured over prepared meat to add a nice taste and glaze on top. A teaspoon of balsamic vinegar is enough to replace a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar. Remember! It is a strong vinegar, so do not go overboard with this one.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

tarragon vinegar substitute


Since apple cider vinegar is fruit vinegar, it is quite healthy for cardiac patients. It can help alleviate blood cholesterol levels. Another great health benefit of apple cider vinegar is that it helps in weight loss. So, from the health’s point of view, you cannot find a healthier alternative for Tarragon vinegar than apple cider vinegar.

How to Use

Extracted from apples, this cider vinegar has its own place, and it is unlike all other fruit vinegar. It is mainly because that this vinegar has a very balanced and flexible taste, which is suitable for all sorts of marinades, seasonings and vinaigrette or salad dressings. As it is strong in flavor, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar is enough to replace one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.

9. Lemon Juice

tarragon vinegar substitute

If you don’t want to use any vinegar in your recipe and like to replace the tarragon vinegar with a fresh, organic and unfermented product, then no option is better than the good old lemon juice. That’s right!

How to Use

You can find fresh lemon easily, and squeeze out their juice and use it in any recipe you want. Since lemon juice’s flavor does not belong to the vinegar category, you will have to use it according to your taste preference in the desired amount.

                 1 Tablespoon of Tarragon Vinegar
                 Substitutes     Amounts of Substitutes
1. Dried tarragon leaves w/ white vinegar 1 tablespoon
2. Champagne vinegar 1 tablespoon
3. White wine vinegar 1 tablespoon


How to Make Tarragon Vinegar at Home?

What if you want to use authentic tarragon vinegar and none of its replacement? Well, if you have white wine vinegar and some fresh tarragon leaves at home, you can always make this tarragon vinegar at home.

This is by far the best substitute for the market bought tarragon vinegar.

To make your very own homemade tarragon vinegar, all you need is some fresh tarragon leaves, white wine vinegar and a fine strainer or a cheesecloth. And here is how you can make it:

  • Boil about 2 cups of white wine vinegar with half a cup of tarragon leaves in any cooking pan.
  • As soon as this vinegar starts to boil, remove the hot vinegar from the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Now strain this mixture and pour it into a sealable jar.
  • Keep this vinegar in a cool and dark place for 7-14 days.
  • Again, strain this vinegar using a cheesecloth and voila! Your tarragon vinegar is now ready to use.

Final Words!

The above-mentioned alternatives for Tarragon Vinegar can be used in a variety of recipes according to their respective strengths and flavors. It’s your call to better assess which vinegar will go best with which recipe.


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