Vinegar Acidity Chart: Acidity and pH Level Explained!

Published Categorized as Journal

The acidity of the vinegar is a feature that prevents food from spoiling. There are many varieties of vinegar, each with its allocated level of acidity, some less than others. And if you’re wondering which of these is appropriate to use in your daily cooking, and cleaning, then stick around to find out the answer! We’ve included a handy vinegar acidity chart for commonly available vinegars as your guide.

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Vinegar Acidity Chart: Acidity And Ph Level Explained!

Table of Contents

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is an acid based liquid, manufactured through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. It is often used in cooking and contributes to the flavor and qualities of the dish.

Vinegar Ingredients

Vinegar is a combination of acetic acid and water, made by a two-step fermentation process, which produces a tongue-tingling product that can be used in a variety of ways, depending on its level of acidity.

What is Acidity?

Acidity calculates the amount of acid in a solution, i.e. the amount of acetic acid in vinegar. This is often revealed as a percentage.

For instance, white spirit vinegar at 5% acidity has 5ml of acid for every 100ml of vinegar.

This is the standard acidity range for most vinegars, and is commonly used in cooking, and pickling.

Acidity vs PH

Acidity is not to be confused with pH. Two types of vinegar with equal levels of acidity can also have different pH values.

pH is the measure of hydrogen ion concentration and can be measured with a pH meter or pH strips. The pH value runs on a scale of 1 to 14, with 7 being a neutral value. Anything above 7 is alkaline, and any value below 7 is acidic.

On the other hand, acidity is a little difficult to measure, as it requires special equipment. The acidity plays an important role in preserving food, to prevent it from spoiling.

You can also read about this in our post: pH of Olive Oil.

Is Vinegar an Acid?

Essentially, the word vinegar comes from the French, and translates to a “sour wine.” It can be made from almost anything that contains sugar. This includes fruits, vegetables and grains. Natural yeasts ferment sugar into alcohol, which transforms into acetic acid by bacteria.

The acetic acid is what makes vinegar mildly acidic, with a pH of 2-3.

Vinegar Acidity Chart

Take a look at the acidity and pH levels of each type of vinegar below. Wwe can infer that the level of acidity has little to no correlation with the pH of each type of vinegar.

VinegarAciditypH
Apple cider vinegar4-5%2-3
Balsamic vinegar4-6%2-3
Sherry vinegar7-8%4
Malt vinegar4-5%2.5-2.7
Rice vinegar4-7%2-3
White vinegar 5-7%2.5
Distilled vinegar6-7%2.5

Types of Vinegar and Level of Acidity

It’s important to understand the level of acidity in the types of vinegar you’re familiar with so that you get what you pay for!

Although vinegar is an essential ingredient in most households, some of us are unsure of its acidity, simply because the label doesn’t provide us with this information.

The list below can help enlighten you:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an ideal component in salads, with its brilliantly sour flavors followed by a hint of sweetness. This vinegar is commonly used to add a dash of tartness to sweeter dishes.

As well as this, apple cider vinegar also happens to harbor a bunch of health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels and aiding in digestion. This is down to the healthy bacteria such as prebiotics that take care of your gut.

Apple cider vinegar measures around 4-5% acidity, which is the most common level of acidity of vinegar. This level of acidity is perfect for canning and preserving foods.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is an expensive type of vinegar, made from unfermented grape juice and then aged in wooden casks. The aging process is what makes this vinegar so pricey, with the overall quality of the vinegar relying on the condition, and type of wood used in the process of vinegar aging.

The best types of vinegar are those that have aged for at least 10 years, with the most desired aging time extending for decades.

Balsamic vinegar measures 6-7% acidity, making it the perfect candidate for salads, as a marinade, or eaten with fresh homemade bread.

Wine Vinegar

Wine vinegar is divided into two bases of its wine counterparts: red and white.

Manufactured in exactly the same way, the only difference between them is the type of grapes used to differentiate between the color and variations between them.

Both white and red wine vinegar provide a deep sourness that is pretty hard to find in any other variety. It’s best used in marinades and salad dressings with a 6-7% level of acidity.

Sherry Vinegar

Similar to wine vinegar, sherry vinegar is matured in heavy casks that absorb the unique flavor of the tannins in the wood.

This helps produce a balanced rich flavored, deep hued vinegar. Typically, sherry vinegar will have a 7-8% level of acidity.

Malt Vinegar

Caramel hued malt vinegar is extremely overpowering and rarely used in salads, though some prefer to go the extra mile, and drown thick chips in malt vinegar followed by a sprinkling of salt for the full experience.

Malt vinegar’s darker variety is much sweeter; with brown malt vinegar often used in chutneys, and pickling, at a level of 4-5% acidity.

Rice Wine Vinegar

Often used in South East Asian cuisine, rice wine vinegar is made from fermented rice wines, and imparts a combination of sweet and sour flavors.

Rice vinegar is typically packaged and loaded with a variety of spices, herbs and sauces and can range in levels of acidity, from 4-7%.

White Wine Vinegar

White vinegar is extremely strong, and often used in household cleaning , although it can be used to pickle your favorite fruits as well.

Though acidic, it is almost completely flavorless, which is why it must be accompanied with lemon, salt, lime, and pepper if ever used in salad dressings.

White vinegar plays an excellent role in binding ingredients together and strengthening a glaze when baking. Its acidity level of 5-7% makes it great for lowering swelling from irritating bugs and insects.

White distilled Vinegar

The common ingredient used in pickles, brines, ketchup and salad dressings is distilled vinegar. Made from distilled and fermented alcohol, this kind of vinegar when kept and used in its purest form, emanates a distinct smell that is quite unpleasant.

Its acidity levels range from 6-7%.

Vinegar Acidity Chart: Acidity And Ph Level Explained!

Typical Acidity Levels and Uses

Before we go ahead and purchase any type of vinegar, it’s important to understand the different levels of acidity. This way, we are aware of those that are necessary for cooking and cleaning, and those that are harmful for us to handle in close proximity.

<4% Acidity

This is the weakest level of acidity in vinegar, and is not legal to be sold or purchased in most countries.

Avoid any type of vinegar that is less than 4% acidity, as this is extremely weak, and only right for vinegar in fermentation to measure at such a low level of acidity.

4% Acidity

This is the minimum legal acidity level for vinegar, with most discount vinegar brands measuring at 4% acidity.

At this level of acidity, vinegar should only be limited to basic cooking and salad dressing. Weak vinegar is ineffective at cleaning as well.

5% Acidity

This is the standard acidity range for majority of vinegars. Mostly effective in canning, cooking, and cleaning. Though it is too weak to use as a weed killer.

6-7% Acidity

The majority of wine and balsamic vinegar stumble under this range of acidity.

Balsamic vinegar can be in any type of cooking to canning, although a little too expensive for cleaning.

10% Acidity

Any type of vinegar that is at 10% acidity is extremely acidic and will most likely cause burns, and irritate the skin.

It’s important to wear latex gloves, and eye protection when handling vinegar at this level of acidity.

15% Acidity

At this level, the vinegar is pretty corrosive, and should only be used for cleaning and weed killing.

Latex gloves and eye protection must be used when handling this type of vinegar. If it were to touch your skin you should rinse it off immediately.

20-25% Acidity

This is rarely found in local supermarkets, unless it’s in the form of a weed killer. This should be handled only when fully protected.

Avoid spraying into the wind, and anything metal to prevent corroding.

30% Acidity

This is the highest acidity and has no general use except as a weed killer.

If you ever find yourself using this type of vinegar, you must ensure you have maximum eye and hand protection.

Vinegar Acidity Chart: Acidity And Ph Level Explained!

Benefits of Vinegar

Vinegar is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, which is why many feel compelled to use this special ingredient in most of their recipes. Some of these health benefits include:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Appetite suppressant

Lower blood sugar

Vinegar can affect your insulin levels. This means that if you were to consume vinegar in small amounts, you may be able to prevent and control your blood sugar levels.

Normally, blood sugar spikes after consuming carbs, and vinegar helps prevent this from happening. Who knew adding a dribble of this magical liquid could potentially save your life!

Appetite suppressant

For those struggling with remaining satiated after a meal, a spoonful of vinegar can keep the hunger pangs at bay.

Adding one to two tablespoons of vinegar to your meals can help keep you fuller for longer.

Vinegar Recipes

Vinegar is a tongue-tingling liquid, often used in cooking for flavoring and preserving. There are many varieties of vinegar that impart distinct flavors, with some being stronger than others. Here are some recipes that require a splash of vinegar to elevate the meal:

  • Keto-friendly tuna poke bowl
  • Rice salad
  • Toffee apples

Tuna Poke Bowl

A vibrant refreshing bowl of tuna salad, loaded with the crunchiest veggies, featuring chunks of tuna, and complete with a splash of apple cider vinegar, to tie the ingredients together.

Here’s how to make it:

  • To make the dressing pour lemon juice, tamari sauce, green chili and apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine then set aside.
  • Place a pan over high heat and add a dribble of olive oil, then add the tuna steak into the hot oil, and cook for a couple minutes per side.
  • Remove the pan and allow the tuna chunks to cool, before dicing.
  • In a large bowl combine finely chopped red onions, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, mashed avocados, grated beetroot, and 2 spring onions.
  • Pour the salad dressing over this, and toss to coat.
Vinegar Acidity Chart: Acidity And Ph Level Explained!

Rice Salad

This cold rice salad, is a wonderful contrast to plain boiled rice. It features soft shrimps, and happens to make the perfect side dish for BBQ meals.

For this simple recipe:

  • You’ll need to add rice, peas, green onion, sweet bell peppers, shrimps and nuts . Toss to combine.
  • In a separate bowl whisk oil, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar.
  • Pour this over the rice mixture, and gently toss to incorporate.
  • Refrigerate the rice salad for 30 minutes, to ensure the flavors have infused beautifully.

Toffee apples

Nothing beats the delectable crunch of a sticky sweet toffee apple.

  • Simply place your apples in a bowl and cover with boiling water. This should remove the waxy coating from the skins of the apples.
  • Dry the apples, and push a wooden skewer or bamboo stick into the end of each apple.
  • Place your apples over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tip caster sugar into a saucepan followed by 100ml of water, and set this over medium heat.
  • Cook until the sugar dissolves, then add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of golden syrup.
  • Boil this mixture to 150degrees C, or until the toffee mixture begins to toughen.
  • Dip and twist each apple into the hot sticky toffee, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Allow this to cool before eating.
Vinegar Acidity Chart: Acidity And Ph Level Explained!

Easy Vinegar Acidity Chart Guide – The Bottom Line

Vinegar has a variety of benefits that make it an essential ingredient in every household.

Before making a purchase it’s important to know the level of acidity and pH of the vinegar so that the intended purpose doesn’t become lethal!

Vinegar Acidity Chart – FAQs

What Type of Vinegar is Most Acidic?

White vinegar has 7% acetic acid, which is a higher level of acidity compared to other vinegars.

What is the Strongest Type of Vinegar?

Spirit vinegar is the strongest type of vinegar and is mostly used for pickling, though it differs from distilled vinegar, in the sense that it contains a small amount of alcohol.

What is the Normal Acidity of Vinegar?

A pH level of 2-3 is the normal level of acidity for vinegar. The acetic acid makes the vinegar more acidic.

Which Vinegar Has the Least Acidity?

Often used in Asian cuisine, rice vinegar is the mildest type of vinegar, with least acidity compared to other types of vinegars.

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Categorized as Journal

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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