Best Rice Vinegar Substitutes – 7 Effective Swaps

Rice vinegar, made from fermented rice, is popular in East Asia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. This vinegar is incredibly sweet and delicate, unlike white, sour, and harsh vinegar.

Some East Asian dishes have it as a staple ingredient. Rice vinegar is commonly used for pickling vegetables, vinaigrettes, salad dressings, sushi rice, slaws, and marinades.

Suppose you don’t have rice vinegar and are in a pinch. Then you can easily replace it with a suitable substitute.

If you want a good rice vinegar substitute, continue reading this article.

The best substitute for rice vinegar

I’ve explored almost all varieties of vinegar. Hands down, the best substitute for rice vinegar I have found is apple cider vinegar.

ACV is tart, with some suggestions for apples. It tastes rather pleasant and has many health benefits.

ACV has only a mild apple flavor and usually won’t overwhelm the original flavor of your recipe. But the ACV can become more pronounced in certain recipes, like pickling.

Perhaps, it is a good substitute for just about any type of vinegar. According to my findings, using ACV instead of rice vinegar in recipes such as marinades and sushi rice is rather easy.

Substitute apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar in an equal amount. If you wish to have the extra sweetness of rice vinegar, add ¼ teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

What are the other substitutes you can use?

You might find a wide variety of vinegar on the supermarket shelves. Is it possible to substitute any of those for rice vinegar? Not all of them.

All vinegar is quite the same in its chemical composition but different in its flavor profile.

I’ve sorted out a list of vinegar and other ingredients you can use as a replacement for rice vinegar. Let us now look at those viable substitutes.

White wine vinegar

Today, most white vinegar is made from the fermentation of grain alcohol or white wine.

White vinegar is mild and somewhat acidic in taste. It’s a good addition to give an extra zing of flavor to marinades, salads, and sauces.

Advantageously, it has a nearly identical flavor profile to rice vinegar. Thus, swapping it into recipes with rice vinegar is useful.

Please note white vinegar doesn’t taste sweet. So while using it instead of rice vinegar, you may want to add a little sugar if your recipe needs sweetness.

Use white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio to substitute rice vinegar.

Champagne vinegar

Champagne vinegar is a mild, floral vinegar typically made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Fermenting champagne is the easiest way to make it.

It’s mild and less acidic than most commonly used vinegar, making it a perfect match. You can use it confidently in recipes requiring RV because it won’t dominate the final product.

Chefs say champagne vinegar is a delicious addition to marinades, dressings, dipping sauces, and seafood recipes.

Replacing rice vinegar is not a problem if you have champagne vinegar. Use it in a 1:1 ratio in any recipe that calls for rice vinegar..

Lemon or lime juice

Both lemons and limes are highly acidic citrus juices. They can be a reliable substitute for any type of vinegar in an emergency.

Undoubtedly, rice vinegar adds a fantastic zing to your slaws, sauces, and salad dressing. Using lemon or lime juice instead of rice vinegar can recreate that flavor.

Of course, lemon or lime adds a distinct citrus taste to your dishes, and they don’t have the sweetness of rice vinegar. That shouldn’t discourage you from using either of them.

How much lemon juice to use as a substitute for rice vinegar depends on the level of citrus flavor you desire for the dish.

Sherry vinegar

Sherry vinegar is gourmet wine vinegar made from sherry.

The blended and aged sherry vinegar is rich and nutty but only slightly sweet. The acidic properties of this vinegar do not overpower the recipes.

No rice vinegar! Don’t bother at all; sherry vinegar makes a fantastic substitute. The acidity and mild sweetness of sherry vinegar are very close to those of rice vinegar.

Without a doubt, use sherry vinegar in place of rice vinegar in marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes. It’s equally delicious and flavorful when added to vegetable pickles and dishes.

Using it right makes a good 1:1 substitution for rice vinegar.

Seasoned rice vinegar

Seasoned rice vinegar is plain rice vinegar flavored with small amounts of sugar and salt.

You can very well substitute rice vinegar with seasoned rice vinegar by making a few changes to your recipe. Just take care of the sweetness and saltiness of your recipe.

This seasoned vinegar works best in recipes that demand extra sugar and salt.

In recipes requiring regular rice vinegar, simply substitute it with an equal amount of seasoned rice vinegar.

Importantly, every ¾ cup of seasoned rice vinegar contains about 4 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Reduce that much salt and sugar from the original recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I substitute rice vinegar for rice wine?

No, it would help if you did not substitute rice vinegar for wine. The two have very different flavors and purposes, and substituting one for the other can significantly alter the outcome of your dish. Rice wine is not vinegar. It is typically used in larger quantities in Asian cuisine. It adds a sweet and slightly alcoholic flavor.

Can I substitute rice vinegar for Shaoxing wine?

In some recipes, you can substitute rice vinegar for Shaoxing wine, but it is not a perfect substitute. Rice vinegar is much more acidic than Shaoxing wine and does not have the same flavor profile. When using them interchangeably, use 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar for every tablespoon of Shaoxing wine called for in the recipe.

Can you substitute rice vinegar for white vinegar?

Yes, you can use them interchangeably in a pinch. However, these two kinds of vinegar have different flavors and properties.

White vinegar is made from fermented grain alcohol, is more acidic, and has a spicy flavor.

Here are some tips for substituting rice vinegar for white vinegar:

  • Use half as much rice vinegar as white vinegar.
  • Balance the acidity of the vinegar by adding sugar or oil, or by cooking for a longer time, depending on the recipe.

Can you substitute rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar? 

It’s possible to substitute rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar in a pinch. But note that the two kinds of vinegar have different flavors and properties. Apple cider vinegar has a more tart and fruity flavor, but the former is more acidic and sweet. When substituting, use more rice vinegar to get the same level of acidity. Use half as much rice vinegar as apple cider vinegar.

Can I substitute mirin for rice vinegar?

Yes, you can substitute mirin for rice vinegar, adding significant sweetness to your dish. When substituting, leave out any additional sweeteners called for in your recipe. Use a 1:1 ratio of mirin to rice vinegar.

Can I substitute red wine vinegar for rice vinegar? 

Yes, you can use them interchangeably in some recipes. However, red wine vinegar is more acidic than the latter, so you may need to use less. Start with a 1:2 ratio of red wine vinegar to rice vinegar and adjust to taste.

Final Thought

Rice wine vinegar is a commonly used ingredient in some recipes across the globe.

If rice vinegar runs out, you can use other suitable vinegar. In addition, lemon or lime juice can add enough acidity and citrus flavor to your dish like rice vinegar.

You can reduce the acidity of vinegar by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar for every tablespoon of vinegar.

Lastly, I would recommend apple cider vinegar as a great substitute for rice wine vinegar. Others are not less, either.

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