Adding vinegar to salads

The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads

Elsie Goycoolea
By Elsie Goycoolea. Updated: August 3, 2020
The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads

Salads are a quick and easy way to prepare a nutritious and light meal that can be made with fresh ingredients and no cooking. To make salads tasty and delicious it is important to serve them along with a dressing or vinaigrette. Oil and vinegar along some salt and pepper can make up for a simple yet bright salad dressing depending on the type of vinegar that is used. Vinegars add acidity, sweetness and character to otherwise bland salads.

In this OneHowTo article we share several recommendations on the best type of vinegar for salads.

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  1. Balsamic Vinegar
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. White Wine Vinegar
  4. Lemon Juice

Balsamic Vinegar

One of the most popular salad vinegars is balsamic vinegar. It is highly distinctive for being thicker and denser in texture as well as darker in color. It is considered the king of all vinegars and one that is only officially produced in Italy.

It’s complex fermentation process that can take up to 12 years gives it a sweet, aromatic and nutty flavor that is best enjoyed in its uncooked form. Many Italian dishes are usually served with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar along with some extra virgin olive oil.

If you are cooking some of your proteins to add to your salad, refrain from adding some balsamic vinegar until after the cooking process is done and the proteins have lightly cooled down. Cooking with this vinegar will affect the final taste.

The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads - Balsamic Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Over the past few years, apple cider vinegar has become one of the most versatile vinegars appraised for its numerous health benefits to the body. It is said to be helpful for regulating digestion, for battling some mild diseases and to get a quick energy boost.

This vinegar is made from crushing apples before allowing them to ferment with the help of bacteria and yeast. Unpasteurized varieties that remain cloudy and amber color are recommended.

This vinegar is ideal for dressing slaws, making light dressings with egg bases and for sweet vinaigrettes made with added honey. Since it is made from fermented apples, it tends to blend well in salads that have a fruit or a nut component.

The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads - Apple Cider Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

If you find it hard to buy some of the gourmet vinegars or just don’t want vinegar to overpower your salads, white wine vinegar is your best choice. When you only want to add a nice acidic touch to your meals you can go by with this neutral fermented white grape wine vinegar.

Nonetheless, since this vinegar doesn’t tend to convey strong aromas and it doesn't carry strong flavors, it is an excellent choice to pair up with other more pronounced dressing ingredients. For instance, you can add some crushed garlic, red pepper flakes or mustard seeds to your dressing or vinaigrette.

The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads - White Wine Vinegar

Lemon Juice

Our final recommendation is to use lemon juice as a natural alternative. Lemon is one of the most acidic fruits and thus often brings a high level of acidity to many dishes. Squeezing half a lemon juice on top of your salad along with some high quality oil and some herbs can make up for an equally delicious and satisfying salad dressing.

The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads - Lemon Juice

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anthony creevey
hi i am learning to make my salards tasty , which most times there bland i am a 83 year old pensioner experimenting with salards for a healthy way of life,i am finding it hard to find a oil that can make it tast interesting your help would be welcomed yours fraternally a j creevey
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Anthony,

While flavor preference is somewhat subjective, it's hard to go wrong with a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is full of healthy cholesterol. Although it is very flavorful in its own right, you can also add flavors to boost their profile. Chile (for those who are something of a heat seeker), lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and much more. Just stay away from too much salt, sugar, etc.
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The Best Type of Vinegar for Salads