If you add some fresh tarragon herbs to white wine vinegar in a fancy jar, you have just created mystical licorice, anise flavoring gift for any recipe – particularly for classic French cooking.
But hey, the world of herbs is a fun and complex experience where many food enthusiasts would love to try on different ingredients for their salad dressing, béarnaise sauce, marinades, and other recipes.
Well, there are some fantastic and aromatic substitutes for tarragon vinegar you can always try. I know the subtle licorice finish is quite irreplaceable.
However, you can use champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, malt vinegar, fruit vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar instead of tarragon vinegar – as they have almost similar flavor notes.
What is Tarragon Vinegar?
If you have little or no knowledge of Tarragon Vinegar, it is a culinary seasoning made by steeping the young shoots and leaves of Tarragon wine vinegar.
This chemistry always results in licorice or anise flavor. Take one sip, and you’ll be amazed at the unique flavor that the Tarragon adds!
Well, there are many recipes you can try them on, such as salad dressings (trust me, no one likes eating their salad dry), marinades, and sauces – just to mention a few.
Best Tarragon Vinegar Substitutes
1. Dried Tarragon Leaves
Tarragon vinegar is a condiment that delicious meal especially in Mediterranean salads with its subtle licorice finish. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive and challenging to find.
And supposedly, you’re trying to make do with what you have?
Well, searching for a nearly scarce and expensive ingredient like tarragon vinegar for one salad recipe may not sound like a reasonable choice; when you can quickly and affordably get chopped dried Tarragon for the meals.
This is the best alternative if you often cook with fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme, basil, rosemary, and more.
So when next you’re out of tarragon vinegar, Just grab some of those plain white vinegar, mix it with a tablespoon of dried Tarragon, and a few chopped shallots will do the trick.
Besides, Tarragon leaves are readily available in grocery stores.
For whatever reason, you can’t get hands-on some dried tarragon; just use freshly chopped tarragon leaves instead — better if you have the herb plant in your garden that you can always harvest whenever you run out.
The fresh herb sprigs still work wonderfully well, and they both flavor as usual.
You can add either to scrambled or fried eggs, use it as a garnish on roasted chicken, toss raw-it into sauces, such as pesto or aioli, or add to fish, mix it with olive oil and drizzle the mix on top of roasted vegetables.
But always have it at the back of your mind that fresh Tarragon has an intense anise-like aroma, and its shelf life is very limited.
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2. Champagne Vinegar
Champagne vinegar is a mild, floral vinegar made out of Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. This vinegar has been fermented and left to age to attract some acetic acid.
Unlike other vinegar that packs a spicy and flavorful punch, champagne vinegar tends to fall on the lighter side of the scale — and that’s the more reason it will substitute Tarragon vinegar just well.
It has this delicate fruity taste and floral with a slight hint of vanilla. More so, it will add some acidity to your food without overpowering the meal.
A tablespoon of champagne vinegar will substitute a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
And just like Tarragon, you can use them in making marinades, salads, salad Dressings (Homemade Vinaigrette), Sauteing Vegetables, sauces (Buerre Blanc, Hollandaise, Tomato/Marina, Bernaise), making a Confit, and Dipping Sauce (with olive oil for bread).
Just keep the list limited to heatless cooking.
3. White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar is a white wine that has been fermented and oxidized into acid with a lightly fruity flavor.
Succinctly put, it’s a vinegar made from any white wine.
If you ever fail to find tarragon vinegar in the liquor store, don’t search any further. Opt for white wine vinegar instead. They are an excellent tarragon vinegar substitute.
Although, they may lack that herbal flavor tarragon provides. But the taste of this vinegar is likewise mild that you can use it in any dish that calls for tarragon vinegar.
If anything, I’d unhesitatingly pick dry white wine vinegar. Dry white wine vinegar is less sweet.
Just a tablespoon of it will gladly substitute a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
For me, I love marinating it with any type of fish, as it takes out all the fishy smell from its meat.
And I’ll always use it instead of tarragon vinegar when cooking mushrooms and light-intensity meats, such as fish and poultry. It also works perfectly for pasta dishes and risotto too.
You can also use it to prepare sauces, dress salads, as well as vegetables.
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4. Fruit Vinegar
Fruit vinegar is another beneficial ingredient both health and flavor-wise, a substitute you can bank on whenever tarragon vinegar is not around.
Fruit Vinegar is made from fermenting the fruit into alcohol. The Acetic acid bacteria then convert the alcohol to vinegar in the second stage of fermentation — resulting in a sour liquid that can be used to pickle foods or add a unique flavor kick to just about any recipe.
You’d love the tart, little sweet flavor in marinades, pickles, salad dressings, and in some cocktails.
One to two tablespoons can substitute a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
5. Malt Vinegar
Malt vinegar is made from malted grains of barley, and it has a tart flavor that helps boost tarragon recipes.
They are ideal for pickling, topping, and salad dressing if you’re using a tablespoon of malt vinegar mixed with olive oil.
On the other hand, this type of vinegar is sweet and soft compared to Tarragon.
But if you’re sensitive to smells, either you avoid or endeavor to use it in smaller quantities, as it carries a stronger smell.
You can use two tbspns of malt vinegar to replace one tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
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6. Rice Vinegar
In Asia, Rice Vinegar is quite common and widely used for most cuisines due to the huge variety of rice being farmed all across Asia.
Therefore Rice vinegar is quite a Rockstar there but can be found in any nearby grocery store.
And since Rice vinegar is on the sweeter side and not too sour, it can be used as a sweetener in fries, sushi, marinades, sauces, and salad dressings.
Also, if you prefer a mild, slightly sweet flavor and can’t find the rice vinegar, add a pinch of sugar to easily replace and spike up that rice vinegar flavor. It’s going to be a perfect mixture of sweet and sour fusion.
Two tablespoons of rice vinegar will replace a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
Moreover, you can add herbs to the rice vinegar to make it stand out, making the dish more refreshing.
7. Balsamic Vinegar
This Intensely flavored vinegar is made wholly or partially from freshly crushed grape juice with all the skins, seeds, and stems.
Balsamic is quite concentrated and pretty thick. And It has a rich, complex sweetness that explodes in the mouth with notes of fig, cherry, molasses, chocolate, or prune.
Hence, consider using a little amount of it to avoid stories that touch the heart.
Precisely, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar can substitute a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar in marinades and salad dressings — salad dressings mixed with olive oil, salt, and chili pepper. It goes well with cheese and mayonnaise, too.
Aside from those, you can try them with meat, poultry, and fish, and spruce up vegetables.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
On this list, Apple Cider vinegar is by far the most famous and commonly used fruit vinegar, yet powerful and acidic in its making.
Made from fermented apple juice, it provides a fruity, mellow undertone ideal in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives, chutneys, and virtually any recipe you can use tarragon vinegar for.
Since Apple cider can be strong, a teaspoon of it can replace a tablespoon of tarragon vinegar.
And it performs well in baking too.
Vinegar, in general, is pretty easy to substitute since there’s a lot of close alternatives available out there.
Here is a secret:
“All kinds of vinegar are the same because of their sour flavor. The only difference is in aroma, color, and taste”.
But as long as it works, know that it could never go wrong!
So when you run out of Tarragon, never panic because you can always replace it with just any vinegar.
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Lastly, lemon juice is another pleasant substitute for tarragon vinegar whenever you’re running out of Tarragon.
While Tarragon vinegar and lemon juice may taste recognizably different, lemon juice will do just fine in dishes where tarragon vinegar is used for its acidity and not for its flavor.
In situations like this, you can also add some chopped tarragon to the dish to make up for the herbal flavor — at least I have tried it and have seen a lot of professional chefs do it as well.
But you ought to be careful and use a considerable amount of it, as dried/fresh Tarragon flavor is extremely attentive and may overpower other ingredients.
Lemon juice is just one of the many. Above there are several substitutes for tarragon vinegar that you can utilize.
And these substitutes are guaranteed to bring you closer to the same taste and flavor notes you’ll get from using tarragon vinegar in your cooking.
I dare you to be spontaneous and go out of your comfort zone to try something new today.