Malt Vinegar vs White Vinegar vs Normal Vinegar – Know Your Vinegars!

Published Categorized as Ingredients Tagged

If you want to know the difference between malt vinegar vs white vinegar vs normal vinegar, you’ve come to the right post. In this article, we’ll be breaking down the differences between these vinegars– and discover if they differ at all! We’ll also discuss the best ways you can use each one.

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Malt Vinegar Vs White Vinegar Vs Normal Vinegar – Know Your Vinegars!

Table of Contents

Is There a Difference Between Malt Vinegar and White Vinegar?

There is, and there isn’t a difference between white vinegar and malt vinegar. After all, they’re both vinegar, right? 

Yes, in the sense that both distilled malt vinegar and white vinegar are “vinegar,” meaning the alcohol in them both has been fermented long enough to achieve that tart, vinegary taste we all know and love. But malt vinegar, white vinegar, and other vinegars (such as white wine vinegar or rice vinegar) are definitely not the same thing!

Malt vinegar is also usually dark amber, while white vinegar is completely clear. This can help you differentiate between the two just by sight without having to taste them to tell the difference. 

Is White Vinegar the Same as Distilled Malt Vinegar?

While the main difference between white vinegar and malt vinegar is color, it’s different when it comes to distilled malt. And since white vinegar and distilled malt vinegar look the same, you may wonder if they’re the same thing. The quick answer is they’re not.

To get more specific, malt vinegar is made from fermented barley. This produces a slightly bready taste with an oh-so-delicious tang that works well with several foods. For example, this is the most commonly used vinegar when paired with fish and chips and similar dishes. It has a bold and robust flavor but is mild enough when it hits your tongue not to make you uncomfortable with too sharp of an aftertaste.

White vinegar, on the other hand, is made of only two ingredients: acid and water. It is also referred to as “normal” vinegar. This often distilled “normal” white vinegar is purified and is used for things like cleaning. And yes, even cooking and baking. There are also other types, including white wine vinegar.

However, you won’t (and shouldn’t) consume white vinegar the same way you would malt vinegar. White vinegar has an overpowering, strong taste that wouldn’t make for the best vinegar sprinkled over food. Also, white vinegar is more acidic. When consumed, it should always be diluted, as drinking it straight may actually cause burns to your esophagus, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Can I Use Malt Vinegar Instead of White Vinegar?

You can use distilled malt vinegar instead of white vinegar in some cases, but we really don’t recommend it too often.

In instances where you may be cooking or making something that calls for a splash or two of either type of vinegar, you aren’t likely to notice much of a difference.

However, if you are planning to dip fries or fish in vinegar, white vinegar is definitely NOT the way to go. Not only will it taste incredibly strong, but it may even burn your mouth. Thus, malt vinegar is the preferred vinegar for dipping.

As previously noted, we also don’t recommend you use malt vinegar instead white vinegar for cleaning. Not only will the smell be much more noticeable, but you also risk staining your surfaces. Moreover, distilled malt vinegar won’t clean nearly as well as it won’t cut through scum and dirt the way that white vinegar or distilled white vinegar does, according to the National Sanitation Foundation.

Malt Vinegar Vs White Vinegar Vs Normal Vinegar – Know Your Vinegars!

Will Malt Vinegar Work the Same as White Vinegar?

Whether or not malt vinegar will work the same as white vinegar will depend on what it’s being used for. White distilled vinegar is ideal for baking and cleaning, while malt vinegar is primarily used for sprinkling over foods and dipping. Remember that white distilled vinegar is also more acidic, so using it as a dipping condiment is likely to bring you more pain than pleasure.

What’s the Difference Between White Vinegar and Malt Vinegar for Cleaning?

You may be wondering if you can substitute white vinegar for malt vinegar when cleaning. The answer? We wouldn’t recommend it. 

Remember that one big difference between white vinegar and malt vinegar is color. Unfortunately, the beautifully enticing deep brown hue of malt vinegar is also a characteristic that can make it unsuitable for cleaning.

Many have reported malt vinegar to discolor the surfaces they are polishing. Not to mention, malt vinegar has a very strong, distinct odor. For these reasons, we recommend skipping malt vinegar for cleaning. 

White distilled vinegar, on the other hand, is a different story. White vinegar is known to result in impeccably clean surfaces while also killing odors and bacteria. Thus, vinegar has been touted as a very popular and non-toxic option for getting even the dirtiest spot in your home remarkably clean. It’s even handy for laundry! 

Note: Though white purified vinegar can be used for cleaning purposes, remember that this kind of vinegar still yields a very distinct “stinky” odor. Though not as robust of an odor as malt vinegar, some may still find it offensive. If that’s you, you can mask the smell of the vinegar by adding a few drops of essential oil to it before using it or forgo it completely. 

Another odorless and natural way to clean surfaces is hydrogen peroxide – but we’ll leave those decisions up to you!

Malt Vinegar Vs White Vinegar Vs Normal Vinegar – Know Your Vinegars!

Is Malt Vinegar More Powerful Than White Vinegar?

In terms of cleaning power, malt vinegar is NOT more powerful than white vinegar. White vinegar is by far your best bet when it comes to cutting through dirt and grime. Thus, we recommend sprinkling malt vinegar over fries before sprinkling it over your toilet bowl.

Just saying!

Malt Vinegar vs White Vinegar vs Normal Vinegar: There Are Similarities and Differences!

Knowing the difference between malt vinegar, white vinegar, and normal vinegar can save you from making major mistakes when using each.

Remember that malt vinegar is known for dipping and for sprinkling over fish and fries. White vinegar is used for cooking, baking, and cleaning. “Normal” vinegar is the same thing as distilled white vinegar or plain white vinegar. Thus, each of these vinegars is useful for something. And though they can be interchanged, you should always use caution when doing so.

We hope this helps!


Can I substitute malt vinegar with white vinegar?

In some cases, malt vinegar can be substituted with white vinegar, but not always. For example, if you plan on using white vinegar to sprinkle over fish and chips, we strongly recommend you avoid it. Doing so will be too tart and acidic to enjoy.

What is the difference between white vinegar and normal vinegar?

White vinegar and “normal” vinegar generally reference the same thing. 

Can you use malt vinegar instead of white vinegar for cleaning?

No, we don’t recommend it. The smell is too strong, it won’t clean as well, and it may stain your surfaces. White vinegar is more acidic as well, which means it cleans better.

Is cooking with malt vinegar the same as cooking with white vinegar?

Yes, in some cases. Know that malt vinegar and white vinegar taste and function completely differently. However, if you are using only a small quantity, such as a teaspoon or so in baking, then you may be able to get away with it. 

Can I use white vinegar instead of malt vinegar? 

That depends on what you are using the vinegar for. As mentioned before, we wouldn’t recommend white vinegar for dipping. However, it may work for baked goods or braising meats; just be careful. After all, white vinegar is more acidic, and you might not achieve the results you want.

Is distilled vinegar the same as white vinegar?

No, actually. Distilled vinegar is less acidic than white vinegar. White vinegar is better for tackling tough cleaning jobs due to its acidity. Distilled vinegar can also be called purified vinegar.

What’s the difference between wine vinegar and malt vinegar?

Wine vinegar is vinegar made from wine. Malt vinegar is made from malted barley (ale/beer). Both are considered strong vinegars.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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