In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much apple cider vinegar?”. We will elaborate on different ways that will help you counteract too much apple cider vinegar in a recipe.
How to counteract too much apple cider vinegar?
Vinegar is defined as a product of the alcoholic and acetous fermentation of a sugar-containing solution, and cider vinegar is defined as a vinegar made from the alcoholic fermentation of the juice of apples followed by acetous fermentation (1).
Apple cider vinegar has a sour taste and smell and adding too much of it can cause your dish to become extra bitter. It is mostly used in cooking, baking, and salad dressings as well as a preservative.
If you have accidentally added too much apple cider vinegar to a recipe, and are desperately searching for ways to counteract it, do not worry, here we have prepared a long list of ways to help you counteract too much apple cider vinegar in a recipe, and to make the dish suitable to serve.
- Add alkaline ingredients
- Add more ingredients
- Add oil
- Add a little amount of salt
- Add some sugar
Add alkaline ingredients
If you have used too much apple cider vinegar in a ceviche, you will find that it will bring a very strong flavor to the dish that makes the whole dish bitter. To offset the vinegar’s strong flavor in this situation, you would need something very alkaline to counterbalance the acidity.
The major component of cider vinegar apart from water is self-evidently acetic acid. Major volatile constituents of cider vinegars other than acetic acid were acetaldehyde, ethyl formate, ethyl acetate, ethanol, isobutanol, 2-methylbutanol, isopentanol, and 2-phenyl ethanol. Bitterness comes from tannins and phenolic compounds, especially procyanidins of apple (1).
Among the alkaline ingredients, you can add a sprinkle of baking soda or baking powder, which can really help to save the dish. If this still has not done the trick, adding neutral flavors, like sour cream or yogurt, can also help balance out the flavors.
Baking soda is a powerful base, or alkaline, ingredient and will transform some of the apple cider vinegar to carbon dioxide. The bubbles indicate the visible impact of the baking soda. Taste the dish after mixing in each pinch of baking soda and repeat until the flavors are well-blended. The reaction which takes place is:
C2 H4O2(aq) + NaHCO3 (aq) → NaC2 H3O2 (aq) + H2 CO3 (aq), where the aqueous carbonic acid, H2 CO3 (aq), readily dissociates into H2O(ℓ) + CO2 (g) (2).
Tip: Always work carefully when trying to counteract something in a dish. Add small portions of the balancing ingredients and stir well before tasting.
Add more ingredients
If the suggestions above did not really work for you, another alternative approach is to counteract too much apple cider vinegar in a recipe is to increase the portion size of the recipe by adding more of what you are cooking.
Make a fresh batch of your dish, double the ingredients without adding the apple cider vinegar this time. Making an extra amount of the dish will balance the intensity of the apple cider vinegar.
For example, if you are cooking spaghetti sauce and the recipe directs 2 tins of tomato paste, add 2 more tins of tomato paste but skip apple cider vinegar this time.
You may have to add other flavorings and herbs, but by increasing the quantity of tomato paste, you have directly divided the amount of apple cider vinegar in the recipe. This means it will taste halfway bitter. You may then reserve the extra sauce for a new dish or store it for later use.
Similarly, if you want to counteract too much apple cider vinegar in a soup or stew, you can add more vegetables including onions, carrots and beans. These will help to even out the flavor profile of the dish.
Similarly, if you used too much apple cider vinegar in a salad dressing, you can try adding more oil to neutralize the mixture. You can also try adding sweet ingredients, for instance, aged balsamic vinegar. By adding oil to vinegar, an esterification reaction can occur between the acetic acid and the mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids present in the oil (3).
Add a little amount of salt
You can also add a little quantity of salt to counteract the acidic flavor of apple cider vinegar. Salty and sour flavors are interpreted by the same part of the brain, and adding one undermines the brain’s capability to recognise the other. Salt can also be combined with sugar to further increase the effect.
Add some sugar
Sprinkling a teaspoon of sugar or any other sweetener to counterbalance the acidity of the apple cider vinegar is also a good choice, especially if your dish already has sweet ingredients like carrots or pumpkin. Sugar can effectively counteract the bitter flavors giving a well-balanced flavor profile. Sugar can buffer the stimulation of acetic acid and improve the taste and flavor of vinegar (4).
Just add sugar gradually, tasting after every addition to make sure that your dish does not get extra sweet.
Other than sugar, you can try adding honey or any other sweetener that best suits your recipe. Then serve your dish as if nothing happened.
We hope these methods will benefit you. Still, if nothing works for you, don’t be sad. Learn from your mistakes and you can start again.
Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much apple cider vinegar?”. We have elaborated on different ways that will help you counteract too much apple cider vinegar in a recipe.
- Lea, Andrew GH. Cider vinegar. Processed apple products. Springer, New York, NY, 1989. 279-301.
- Claycomb, James R., Christopher Zachary, and Quoc Tran. Baking soda and vinegar rockets. The Phys Teach, 2009, 47, 88-92.
- De Leonardis, A., Macciola, V., Iftikhar, A. et al. Antioxidant effect of traditional and new vinegars on functional oil/vinegar dressing-based formulations. Eur Food Res Technol, 2022.
- Zhang, Bo, et al. Effects of organic acids, amino acids and phenolic compounds on antioxidant characteristic of Zhenjiang aromatic vinegar. Molecules, 2019, 24, 3799.