Vinegars have been used for centuries as cooking, cleaning, and medicinal agents (
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples and water, which produce acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar. In general, apple cider vinegars comprise around 5–6% acetic acid (
A limited number of studies suggest that acetic acid is responsible for many of vinegars’ associated health effects, such as lowering blood sugar levels, aiding weight loss, and reducing risk factors for heart disease (
Nevertheless, much of the research has been conducted on animals — not humans.
When shopping for apple cider vinegar, you may come across several types of products.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains a cloudy substance that’s known as “mother.” The “mother” is made up of strands of proteins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria, which are known as probiotics (
In addition to acetic acid, the “mother” is the other main component of apple cider vinegar that’s thought to be responsible for its purported health benefits. However, research has not substantiated its associated health claims.
In contrast, filtered apple cider vinegar has had its “mother” and other sediment removed, resulting in a clear, amber-colored product. As such, filtered apple cider vinegar is often perceived as having fewer health benefits.
When looking for the best apple cider vinegar brand, avoid products labeled as “apple flavored,” as this can indicate that the vinegar wasn’t made from apples or apple juice.
Choose products that are free of or low in added sugars, as well as free of artificial additives, such as food colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. If buying an apple cider vinegar supplement, look for ones that have been tested for quality and certified by a third party.
Here are the 9 best apple cider vinegar brands to buy in 2021.
Best for cooking
Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the more popular brands of apple cider vinegar on the market.
Made from organic apple cider vinegar and water, Bragg’s vinegar is USDA-certified organic, non-GMO certified, and contains “mother.”
In addition to its high quality, Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar comes in a variety of sizes, including 16-ounce (473-mL), 32-ounce (946-mL), and 128-ounce (3.8-liter) bottles.
As a result, if you’re planning on cooking with apple cider vinegar on a regular basis, buying the 128-ounce (3.8-liter) bottle is likely the most convenient and budget-friendly option.
One tablespoon (15 mL) contains 0 calories and 0 grams of carbs (15).
While reviewers mention that this vinegar has a stronger acidic smell and flavor than Fairchild Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, it’s still a great option for use in salad dressings, marinades, and other culinary applications.
If drinking it straight, be sure to dilute the vinegar with a little water to make it more palatable.
Best for drinking
Best budget pick
Best flavored apple cider vinegar tonics
Due to the proposed health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, flavored apple cider vinegar tonics have become more popular.
While some of these products are healthy, flavorful drink options, others may contain excessive amounts of added sugar. Research has shown that frequent intake of high sugar beverages is linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (
When shopping for these bottled drinks, look for products that are low in added sugars, free of artificial additives, and contain an overall short ingredient list.
Also, make sure to note the serving size, as some products may contain several servings per bottle.
Best apple cider gummies
While limited research suggests vinegars may have benefits for heart health and weight loss, it’s unknown whether taking apple cider vinegar supplements in the form of gummies or capsules has the same effects (
Nevertheless, if you’re interested in trying an apple cider vinegar supplement, Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are one of the best options.
Free of artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives, Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are manufactured in a facility that has been certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for following Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for quality and safety.
These gummy supplements are also USDA-certified organic, certified vegan, and free of major allergens. However, they are not third-party tested for quality and accuracy.
Each gummy contains 12 calories, 4 grams of carbs, 1 gram of sugar, and 500 mg of apple cider vinegar, as well as 50% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamins B12 and B9 (folic acid).
Best apple cider capsules
For those who prefer to consume apple cider vinegar in capsule form, Peak Purity 100% Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules are one of the best options.
Manufactured in the United States in an FDA-registered cGMP facility, these supplements are third-party tested and contain organic apple cider vinegar made from USDA-certified organic apples.
One capsule contains just 500 mg of apple cider vinegar and is free of artificial additives.
For best results, it’s recommended to take two capsules with water and a meal, one to two times per day. However, keep in mind that the potential benefits of using apple cider vinegar capsules have not been confirmed by research.
Best apple cider hair rinse
How to choose apple cider vinegar products
When buying an apple cider vinegar, you want to consider its intended purpose.
For example, if you intend on drinking it, you want to look for a product with a tolerable taste. You may also want to choose an organic unfiltered product, as it may offer a greater diversity of probiotics (
For both drinking and cooking, look for a product label that doesn’t mention the phrase “apple flavored,” as this may indicate that the product is more processed and not made from real apples or apple cider.
Additionally, steer clear of artificial additives, including flavorings, colorings, and preservatives. If buying a flavored tonic, look for products with minimal ingredients and added sugars.
While it’s unclear whether raw, unfiltered vinegars containing “mother” offer more health benefits than filtered ones, the flavor of unfiltered vinegars tends to be richer and more complex.
As most apple cider vinegars are unpasteurized, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant or immunocompromised, as unpasteurized products may contain potentially harmful bacteria.
In contrast, if using apple cider vinegar to make your own hair rinse or cleaning solution, both filtered and unfiltered products are fine to use.
Other factors to consider when buying apple cider vinegar include the price and quantity.
Furthermore, you can consume apple cider vinegar via capsules or gummies, although the effects of these forms are not supported by research.
As dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA in the same way as medications, look for products with high quality ingredients and that have been third-party tested by a company like NSF International, USP, or Labdoor.com.
The bottom line
Apple cider vinegar has been used for thousands of years due to its slightly sweet taste and numerous potential health benefits.
In addition to being used in cooking and health tonics, apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient in household cleaners and hair products.
When buying apple cider vinegar at the store, look for products made from high quality ingredients and without artificial additives.
While more research is needed, for optimal health benefits, an organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar may be the best choice.