Apple cider’s complex, tangy flavor makes a great addition to so many recipes. Read on for ideas on how to incorporate this pantry staple into tasty weekday meals.

As a foodie, I always have a variety of condiments on hand to jazz up my meals. And that includes multiple types of vinegar, like balsamic vinegar, pickling vinegar, and apple cider vinegar (ACV).

ACV is often my go-to vinegar for weeknight recipes because it pairs well with so many dishes — sweet and savory — and has a complex flavor profile. It’s made from apple juice, so it has a subtle, crisp fruit taste.

Another reason to love ACV? It has potential health benefits, from blood sugar control to cholesterol management. While still in the very beginning stages, some researchers are also investigating the link between ACV and gut health.

Here are some ideas for incorporating ACV into your weekday meals, from breakfast to dinner.

This is probably my favorite way to use apple cider vinegar in my kitchen. Keeping a bunch of lemons on hand is not always convenient when you’re only cooking for two. And even when I’ve got a bounty of fresh lemons, ACV is sometimes a better option flavor-wise for the salad I’m putting together.

Substitute ACV for lemon in your go-to dressing recipe for a slight tang with apple notes. ACV dressings pair well with fall salads containing nuts and dark leafy greens.

Looking for a go-to dressing recipe? Check out the apple cider vinaigrette recipe in this article: 8 Simple and Healthy Salad Dressings.

Or try this Warm Kale and Pancetta Salad with a Fried Egg recipe.

When creating a tasty meal, balance is key. A one-note dish can tire out the palate, but pickles can help save the day. And I’m not talking storebought dill pickles. You can quick-pickle pretty much anything, from beets to onions to cauliflower.

ACV has a subtle sweetness compared to pickling vinegar, so it pairs well with many types of produce, including my favorite pickling vegetable: radish.

For some refrigerator pickle recipe inspiration, read 9 Unique and Healthy Pickle Recipes. You can substitute ACV in most quick pickle recipes.

Partner tip

Made from organically grown apples, Bragg® Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is formulated to provide a daily dose of wellness. You can add this raw, unfiltered ingredient to your favorite smoothies, drinks, dressings, or sauces.*


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No surprise here. ACV goes exceptionally well with apple, and this spreadable condiment is super easy to make at home. Get out your crock pot or pressure cooker and toss in the following to create the perfect breakfast toast accouterment:

  • apples (peeled, cored, and cut into slices)
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt
  • ACV
  • vanilla extract

Marinades serve two purposes: They help boost the flavor of ingredients and can help tenderize tough cuts of meat. Acidic ingredients like ACV help your flavorful marinade penetrate deeper but be careful not to let meat marinate too long in vinegar-based sauces — longer than 24 hours might leave your protein mushy.

Because fish is so delicate, vinegar is a poor choice for marinating fish you intend to bake or pan-sear, but ACV is a great option for making ceviche — just be sure to use high quality seafood to avoid food safety issues.

To make a great marinade, grab a blender or food processor and combine one or more of the following flavor-boosting ingredients with ACV, olive oil, and salt and pepper:

  • herbs like cilantro, parsley, chives, dill, and basil
  • lemon juice
  • lemon peel
  • garlic clove
  • shallots
  • seasonings like onion powder, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes

Vinegar is an essential ingredient in many baked goods recipes because, when paired with baking soda, it helps with the rising process — think elementary school volcano.

The bubbling reaction also works to keep your muffins light and airy instead of dense and heavy. You can substitute sweeter, fruitier ACV for neutral white vinegar in most baking recipes, but I think it works particularly well in apple oatmeal or spiced carrot muffins.

A good sauce should highlight a dish, and ACV’s sweet tartness can help balance out rich or meaty ingredients. If I’m making a pork tenderloin, chances are I’m grabbing some ACV from my pantry to make a quick pan sauce.

This apple-flavored vinegar also makes a great substitute for white vinegar in BBQ sauce. While it might be more tart than white vinegar, ACV’s fruity essence is a bit more well-rounded flavor-wise.

When I’m in the mood for a mocktail but don’t have fresh citrus on hand, I head to my pantry to grab ACV. Vinegar? In a drink? Sounds weird, but this sour ingredient really adds a layer of complexity to alcohol-free drinks. A few drops of honey or pure fruit juice help bring out ACV’s sweetness.

Top up your drink with your favorite brand of tonic water, and you’ll be surprised to find out you can barely detect any vinegar notes.

If you only have the pantry space to stock one vinegar, ACV is the perfect multitasking ingredient. It pairs well with sweet and savory dishes and has a depth of flavor that plain white vinegar can’t compete with. And like white vinegar, you can even use it to create your own DIY cleaning products.

Plus, it may even help regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol.