How are Rice Wine and Rice Vinegar different?

What is Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar, as the name implies, is made from rice that has been fermented. Rice vinegar is the same as rice wine vinegar. Rice vinegar is known as a vinegar that is not as acidic as western vinegars. It is sweeter and milder in taste. You have to remember that, when it comes to the world of cookery, rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are used as synonyms. There are different types of rice vinegar as white rice vinegar, black rice vinegar, and red rice vinegar. These are used to add taste to different types of food. White rice vinegar is what you should use if your recipe just says rice vinegar. Red rice vinegar is used in sweet as well as sour dishes. Also, it is used with seafood dishes. Black rice vinegar is used in dipping sauces and stir-fry dishes.


Tips and Tricks

  • Rice wine vinegar is known for its light taste. This makes it perfect to use in salads or to season vegetables
  • Use it to thicken sauces or to add to dishes such as Szechwan beef or Pork Lo Mein
  • To make a simple salad dressing in only a few minutes, blend oil and rice wine vinegar. You will be amazed at how it elevates the taste of the salad
  • Once the bottle has been opened, you must use it within 6 months
  • Use as a simple marinade for chicken wings

What is the Difference?

Manufacturers make most types of vinegar out of fermented fruit. On the other hand, fermented rice is used to make rice wine. Additionally, rice wine vinegar is also made from fermented rice but a different process is used to create it.

Using glutinous rice is best for making rice wine. While rice wine vinegar is made from the dregs or lees once all the alcohol has evaporated.

Rice wine is sweet and mild while rice wine vinegar tastes similar to apple cider vinegar and has a strong flavor profile. These are not interchangeable and using the incorrect type will change the taste of your dish. You can add rice wine vinegar to marinade, salad dressings or pickle vegetables. It comes in a range of colors from completely clear to different shades of red.

The nutritional value between each type is also different, rice wine vinegar is high in calories and carbohydrates and it doesn’t contain salts or sugars. Rice vinegar contains salts and sugar but doesn’t contain many calories or carbohydrates.

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Differences between rice wine and rice vinegar

Although rice wine and rice vinegar are made from rice, it is wise to know that these two have several differences.


Rice wine is used for cooking and as a beverage. The beverage variety is called sake, which is a ja[anese rice wine. It is dry and is sometimes served hot or chilled. Rice wine is added to food almost at the end of the cooking process.

Rice vinegar is solely used for cooking. It has a zesty taste, but it is still somehow sweet. The vinegar is added at the earlier periods in the cooking process.


Rice wine comes in many varieties. The three most common varieties are Huangjiu, sake,  and mirin. Rice wines are mostly sweet except for dry sake. Sake has an alcohol volume of between 15% to 20%, with some high-quality Sake has an alcohol volume of over 20%. Mirin is like sake but sweeter. It has less alcohol too of 14%.

Some rice wines have different flavors. This all depends on the fruits, herbs, and spices used during fermentation.

Rice vinegar has an acidic taste. It is also sweet. However, when using rice vinegar, use it in small quantities. Most recipes require just a few tablespoons. Rice wine is used in more quantities.

Since rice wine and rice vinegar have different flavors, you should never substitute one for another.

The processing process

The processing of rice wine and rice vinegar are different. When rice wine is made, the rice is fermented using yeast, lactic acid bacteria, fungi, and water. The fermentation process takes a couple of months to even years. The longer the fermentation process, the better the wine yielded.

Rice vinegar is manufactured from fermented rice wine. The high-quality rice is fermented to create rice wine. The rice wine is then fermented together with rice, acetic acid bacteria, sorghum, and barley to produce rice vinegar.

Nutritional value

The nutritional value provided by both rice wine and rice vinegar are a little. Considering we use them in different quantities, it will be hard to tell the nutritional levels provided in each. However, judging by the usage per meal, 150ml of rice wine has about 202 calories, no sugars and salt, and 7.5 grams of starch.

A tablespoon of rice vinegar has no calories. The calorie content in seasoned rice vinegar is 30, 8g sugar, 8g  of carbs, and 710mg salt.

The Product’s Areas Of Use

When speaking of exotic and rare products, we naturally become curious about where they are used.

As for the rice vinegar, its area of application includes cooking mostly. 

In the countries of origin, it serves as an ingredient in dressings, for making sushi to add more taste to them, and also, due to its sweetness, some fries include it, too.

It is also perfect for marinades since the condiment mitigates the strong odors of certain meat and fish products and foods.

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash
Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

If you’re not knowledgeable about the specifics of Asian cuisine, it may be complicated to figure out where to make use of this comparatively seldom used liquid.

However, we can give you several handy suggestions!

Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
  • Try it for doing quick pickling.  
  • Add it to rice when making sushi at home like a true chef.
  • Be brave and mix it to marinade since they say it fits meat and poultry perfectly.
  • Bored with all-the-same cocktails? Give them a touch of exotic by adding some rice vinegar! Make your drinks subtle and refreshing!
  • It is said to be mixed greatly with french fries.
  • Salad dressings and dips will also win from having this product as an ingredient.

As for more unusual areas of use, why not try it as a washer for whites or as a face toner? Yep, people claim that this condiment may avail itself even like this!

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash
Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Types of Rice Vinegar

1. Japanese Rice Vinegar-

The Japanese rice vinegar has a delicate, mild flavor that you can swap into your favorite recipes, salad dressings fruit salads and quick pickles.

2. Seasoned Rice Vinegar-

Seasoned rice vinegar is flavored vinegar that can spice up cooked seafood, steamed vegetables, and chicken.

3. Chinese Rice Vinegar-

Popularly known for its mellow taste, Chinese rice vinegar served alongside crab and shrimp or splashed onto soup to add a little flavor. There are three main types of Chinese rice vinegar. These include:

  • White Chinese Rice Vinegar- It is a light type of vinegar that gives the soup its sour taste.
  • Red Chinese Rice Vinegar- It has a mild acidic taste with a touch of sweetness. It is used as a sauce for dumplings and seafood.
  • Black Chinese Rice Vinegar- This has to be the mellowest in the bunch. It is aged for much longer until it attains a deep, smoky flavor. It’s perfect to go to vinegar for just about any meal you are thinking shrimp and crab legs, soup, dumplings or chopped chives.

Rice Wine vs. Rice Vinegar

Perhaps the easiest way to remember the difference is that rice wine is something you could potentially drink, because it's sweet; rice vinegar would make the sides of your mouth curl in if you drank it straight, as it is too acidic. Use rice wine in dishes where you want to lend sweetness and depth of flavor. Use rice vinegar when you want to add some acidity and a touch of mild sweetness, as in salad dressings and marinades.


Rice wine and rice vinegar are essential in Asian cooking. Both rice wine and rice vinegar have been used for centuries in Asian cooking. However, you should know that they cannot be used interchangeably.

Rice wine used for cooking is sweeter than rice vinegar. Therefore, if you use rice wine instead of rice vinegar in your salad dressing, you will have a sweet-tasting salad that will not taste good. If you used rice vinegar instead of rice wine in your food, you would have a sour-tasting dish, yet that was not what you were going for.

Instead of rice vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar. You can also either use lemon juice, champagne cider, and white wine vinegar.

There are non-alcoholic substitutes for rice wine. They include white grape juice, apple juice, and lemon juice. White grape juice or apple juice would work best since they act as tenderizers (similar to rice wine). However, they do not have the same flavor as rice wine.

If you want to recreate mirin or something with a similar flavor, you should mix white grape juice with lemon juice. You can also find products that mimic sour-tasting mirin in grocery shops.

To finish up, get that rice vinegar and rice wine and get cooking your favorite Asian dish!



What Recipe Can I Use Rice Wine Vinegar For?

Since all of us know that this product is widely used in Asian cooking tradition, we stumble when in need of making some food ourselves. 

Do you also think that only Asian foods can use this vinegar? Then we will show you far more that one recipe that requires this ingredient!

Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash
Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash
  • Feel free to add it to any dressing recipe, no matter what cuisine it refers to
  • Another way to make use of this product is to include it to the recipe of any cooked sauce you like
  • If you want, you could try it for making pickles!
  • If you ever made homemade chips, next time try to prepare them using Japanese vinegar
  • This vinegar is especially good for any meat recipe either chicken/poultry or red meat
  • It will perfectly fit soups 
  • If you have ever tried to make sushi yourself, add this vinegar to the recipe next time

What is the difference between Rice Vinegar and Rice Wine Vinegar?

One thing to remember when you hear rice wine vinegar is to treat it as a vinegar made from rice only rather than made from rice wine, which is an alcoholic beverage in China. Both rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are considered to be the same.

• Fermentation:

There is not much difference in rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar.

• Rice vinegar makes use of bacteria for the fermentation of rice.

• Rice wine vinegar makes use of dreg or lees of wine to make it.

• Taste:

• Both rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar have a milder, sweeter taste than Western vinegars. They are also less acidic in nature.


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