What Is Malt Vinegar?

What Is Malt Vinegar?

What Do You Use Malt Vinegar For?

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When you’re perusing the condiments aisle of the grocery store, chances are you’ll pass an array of vinegars. Examples include rice, apple cider, red wine, and others.

You may have also come across something called malt and asked yourself – what is malt vinegar?

When it comes to all vinegars, have you ever wondered…

What are they?

Are they all similar?

What are their differences?

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At a basic level, vinegar is simply a fermented solution that contains acetic acid – the acid that gives vinegar its distinctive taste – and can be made from a variety of base ingredients (apple cider, red wine, etc.).

In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on:

  • What is malt vinegar?
  • What malt vinegar is made from.
  • Uses for malt vinegar.
  • How you can incorporate malt vinegar into your own cooking.

So, What is Malt Vinegar? First, How Malt Vinegar is Made

Malt vinegar is first made by malting barley; in this process, the barley grain is germinated – or malted – by getting immersed in water.

Once the grain starts to sprout, the barley is dried, and the germination process is stopped.

The malting process is important because it causes the starch in the barley to turn to sugar, which is needed for the next step in making malt vinegar – brewing.

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Once the barley has been malted, it gets brewed into an ale by fermenting it with yeast.

Throughout the fermentation process, the malt’s sugars are converted into alcohol.

After the fermentation process is complete and ale is made, the ale actually gets fermented a second time, which creates acetic acid and turns the ale into malt vinegar.

How to Use Malt Vinegar

Any vinegar is a great ingredient for adding flavor to dishes – particularly when it comes to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

We’re partial towards our own Flower City Flavor Company Traditional Dark Balsamic Vinegar.

But just like the ingredients they’re made from, different vinegars tend to complement different ingredients.

For example, champagne vinegar is light and subtle and pairs well with lighter proteins such as chicken and fish.

In comparison, balsamic vinegar is on the sweeter side and can stand up to ingredients like steak and grilled vegetables.

Unlike other vinegars, malt vinegar has a distinctive flavor of malt and tastes slightly lemony and sweet.

You’ve probably seen it most often served with the traditional English dish of Fish & Chips (which is absolutely delicious), but malt vinegar can also be used to add flavor to a variety of other dishes.

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For example, malt vinegar makes a terrific pickling agent.

Its relatively bold flavor stands up to more strongly flavored produce, such as garlic and onions.

You may be asking what is malt vinegar also commonly used in?

Chutneys. Chutneys are relish-like sauces made from a combination of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.

As a result, the tart flavor of malt vinegar balances well with the fruit in the chutney.

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From malt vinegar pickles and chutneys to chicken wings and homemade bread, we’ve included a few of our top malt vinegar recipe suggestions below.

Traditional Malt Vinegar Recipe Ideas

When you walk into a traditional English pub, it’s not uncommon to be served English Pickled Onions.

Think of it as the equivalent of being served roasted peanuts at a bar in the United States.

But unlike peanuts, these English Pickled Onions are sweet and tangy in flavor.

In the UK, English Pickled Onions are served on sandwiches, in salads or as a relish. Sometimes, even eaten straight out of the jar.

Try your hand (and taste buds) at English Pickled Onions with this English Pub Style Pickled Onions recipe, and create your own English Pub experience right at home.

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Sticking with the onion theme, our next recipe suggestion is Caramelised Onion Chutney.

Similarly to English Pickled Onions, this Caramelised Onion Chutney has both sweet and tangy flavors; more prominent though is the distinctive savory and sweet flavor you can only get from caramelization.

Serve this flavorful condiment with toast points or crackers.

On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for something heartier, try using the Caramelised Onion Chutney with malt vinegar as a topping on a burger.

Unique Malt Vinegar Recipe Ideas

We’ve gone through some more traditional ways to use malt vinegar, so why not push the limits a bit?

We hope you’ll enjoy this roundup of creative recipes!

Since malt vinegar goes so well with french fries, it only makes sense that it is the star ingredient in this recipe for Salt and Vinegar Potatoes.

These potatoes are smashed into patties, brushed with malt vinegar, and roasted.

As a result, they come out crispy on the inside and soft and tender on the inside, with a deliciously salty bite.

When you order chicken wings at a restaurant, you’ll typically get a choice of flavors.

Buffalo, barbecue, garlic parmesan, etc. Less common but equally as delicious is salt and vinegar.

For example, this recipe for Salt and Vinegar Chicken Wings uses malt vinegar as both a marinade for the chicken wings and as a sauce, which results in a bold, zesty flavor.

What is malt vinegar used in besides cooking you may be asking.

Well, it is also used in some baking recipes.

When vinegar is used in baking, it reacts with baking soda, which helps dough rise as it bakes.

In these recipes for Malt Vinegar Rye Bread and Homemade English Muffins, malt vinegar is used to help the breads rise, and it also provides a slight taste of malt throughout.

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Feeling brave enough to try malt vinegar in a dessert?

You’ll be pleasantly surprised with these recipes for Chocolate Malted Milk Cake and Chocolate-Stout Vinegar Cake with Raspberry Coulis.

Malt Vinegar Uses in the Culinary World

Renowned chefs from all over the country are also using malt vinegar in interesting and innovative ways.

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Firstly, Chef Paola Velez recently hosted a pop-up in Washington, D.C. called Doña Dona, at which she served a “Dulcey” de Leche donut with white chocolate, coconut, and malt vinegar.


Secondly, Cadence, an American BYOB restaurant in South Kensington, Philadelphia serves up a cheese plate with malt vinegar nuts and creamed honey.

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Thirdly, in Tennessee, Chef Kristin Beringson of Ellington’s Mid Way Bar & Grill serves a bone-in pork chop with malt vinegar grilled napa cabbage and braised peaches.


So, what is malt vinegar? In short, versatile. Unique. Delicious!

Hopefully in conclusion, we’ve opened your eyes to the “malt”-itude of ways you can use malt vinegar in your kitchen. What recipe will you be trying first?

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