White Vinegar Vs. Apple Cider Vinegar | What is the difference?

When dressing salads, baking veggies, or making chicken soups, one condiment that readily comes to mind is vinegar. Vinegar adds a distinct sourness to dishes, balancing out other flavors.

In previous posts, we examined the difference between apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar and their various uses in recipes. Today, let’s answer your questions about apple cider and white vinegar.

The prime difference between apple cider and white vinegar is their color and acidity. White vinegar is clear, while apple cider vinegar is brown.

Also, white vinegar is generally more tart than apple cider vinegar because of its higher acid concentration. The flavors of these two ingredients are also very different. 

Read on to find out more about apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. 

What is white vinegar? 

Also called distilled or spirit vinegar, white vinegar is the most popularly used vinegar in the kitchen and the most acidic of all types of vinegar. 

White Vinegar

It is produced by mixing sugar, yeast, and grain to make grain alcohol which then undergoes fermentation to yield white vinegar. 

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider is made from apple, yeast, and sugar by a process called fermentation. 

apple cider vinegar

It has a unique sweet flavor and is known to possess many healthful properties.

White vinegar vs. apple cider vinegar 


White vinegar is transparent, while apple cider vinegar varies from amber to dark brown.

Acid concentration 

White vinegar is more acidic than apple cider vinegar; it contains 4 – 7 percent acetic acid, while apple cider vinegar contains about 6% acetic acid.


Compared to white vinegar, apple cider has a sweet-tart flavor, making them a better option for salad dressings and marinades. It also has a more satisfying aroma than white vinegar.

Conversely, white vinegar has a sharp, bitter taste and smell.


Another difference between apple cider vinegar and white vinegar is their fermentation process.

In the case of apple cider vinegar, the apple mash is first mixed with yeast and sugar to produce alcohol, and then the mixture is exposed to acetic acid bacteria to form vinegar. This is known as a two-step fermentation process.

White vinegar, on the other hand, can be made by fermenting ingredients like corn, potatoes, or sugar cane into acetic acid. It can be produced by a one-step and two-step process.


Because of its high antimicrobial properties, white vinegar is more popular as a disinfectant and household cleaning agent. It is also the cheapest vinegar on the market. 

Contrariwise, apple cider costs a lot and is mainly used in the kitchen.

Which is best: White vinegar or apple cider vinegar?

The vinegar to use depends on your recipes. 

Note that apple cider vinegar will add a little color to your dish while white vinegar will not. 

If your recipe includes lighter-colored vegetables like cauliflower and white nectarines, it may be best to opt for white vinegar since it does not give any additional color.

For sweet salad dressing, apple cider will do better than white vinegar.  

Can I substitute white vinegar for apple cider vinegar?

Yes, you can use white vinegar instead of apple vinegar and vice versa. To do this, substitute at a 1:1 ratio. 

However, note that apple cider may cause your dish to be darker than usual if white vinegar is used. Aside from this, you’re not likely to notice any difference.

Health benefits of white vinegar 

  • Lowers cholesterol level
  • May promote heart health 
  • May fight skin infections
  • Improves insulin level
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis
  • May help relieve sour throat and bad breath

Health benefits of apple vinegar

  • May help fight arthritis 
  • Supports weight loss
  • May help treat gouts
  • Improves high blood pressure
  • Relieves constipation

How to make white vinegar 

Ingredients: Water, sugar, wine yeast, unfiltered vinegar, and a big balloon.


  • Mix water and sugar in a large pot and heat on the stove. Stir till the sugar dissolves. 
  • Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Next, transfer the water sugar mixture to a glass mug and add some wine yeast (or baking soda). Stir gently.
  • Cover the mixture thoroughly by stretching a balloon over the jug rims so that air is firmly locked in, then place the container in the pantry for two weeks.
  • The balloon will inflate with time, and you will notice some bubbles on the liquid. You can deflate the balloon a little if it’s getting too big. 
  • Leave the mixture for two weeks, then pour it into a large container.
  • Next, cover the vinegar with cheesecloth with a rubber band seal and place it in a dry, dark area. Check the solution for a vinegary taste after about two months.
  • Once it tastes like vinegar, put it in an airtight container and store it in your kitchen. You now have white vinegar. 

Learn how to make apple cider vinegar in this article.

Best substitutes for apple cider vinegar

  • White wine vinegar
  • Rice vinegar 
  • Malt vinegar 
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Lime juice 

Best substitutes for white vinegar

  • White balsamic 
  • Lemon juice 

Best apple cider vinegar to buy

Best white vinegar to buy 

Frequently asked questions

Which vinegar is better for cleaning, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar?

While you can use either vinegar for cleaning purposes, white vinegar is more potent in removing all kinds of stains.

Is white vinegar stronger than apple cider vinegar?

Yes, white vinegar is relatively higher in acidity than apple cider vinegar.

Can apple cider vinegar and white cider vinegar be used interchangeably?

Yes, you can substitute white vinegar in equal amounts with apple cider vinegar and vice versa.


Although white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are used for cooking and baking, they don’t have the same acidity, color, and taste.

Jude Uchella

Jude Uchella is a passionate research writer whose work has been published on many reputable platforms, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and more! He prioritizes research, writes comprehensively, and only shares factual and helpful content. He is a reader’s delight!

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