Is rice wine vinegar the same as rice wine?

Rice Vinegar Defined

Rice vinegar is made from fermenting the sugar into alcohol, and then into acid to remove the alcohol. This liquid is strong so it’s diluted and then cooked to decrease its acidity.

The rice vinegar is often used to make dishes sweeter and is popular in East Africa, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia.

What Is Seasoned Rice Vinegar?

Seasoned rice vinegar is a type of rice vinegar that has added sugars and salts. It has a sweet flavor and often contains more calories than rice wine vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar is typically used to flavor sushi rice or as part of a vinaigrette in salads, and it should not be used interchangeably with rice vinegar, which is much milder. You can make your own seasoned rice vinegar by adding salt and sugar to regular rice wine vinegar.


What Vinegars Can I Substitute For Rice Vinegar?

This is a common issue when dealing with Asian food. Since most of the recipes require some exotic ingredients that are sometimes pretty hard to find in ordinary grocery stores, people start wondering what they could use in food-making to replace the rare components in the recipes. 

The search for proper substitutes can be rather a time-consuming task that may end up with failure.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Since it is mostly regarding sauces when such trouble happens, we can help to find those ingredients that you could substitute initial components for.

So, no more need to search for the answer surfing the internet since it is right here!

  • Apple cider vinegar is the best of all vinegars that you can substitute for the rice one. It is the same mild, besides, its gentle apple flavor won’t ruin the general aroma of the food. Feel free to use it in any recipe that asks for rice vinegar, and you won’t regret it.
  • Balsamic vinegar can also be a fine substitute, especially for salads, chicken, pizza, and other recipes like that. It is mellow sweet and tangy, a perfect component for sauces.
  • White wine and red wine vinegar can substitute for the rice one perfectly when it comes to making sauces, stews, and other hot savory dishes recipes.  
Homemade Rice vinegarHomemade Rice vinegar

 Of course, a question may occur whether other vinegars (for instance, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar) could be ok for that purpose.

However, everything is not so simple since not all vinegars can replace rice vinegar the same well. What you must pay attention to is not the color of vinegars but their taste and odor.

For instance, white vinegar is not the best choice for food since it is too harsh and sour unlike the rice vinegar with its mild taste and sweetness. 

A frequent question that people often ask is “Can I use plain white wine instead of rice vinegar when cooking?”. Well, it’s up to you in fact. White wine is far less strong compared to its Japanese counterpart, and it is not so sweet. Quite many recipes exist that ask for white wine so if you don’t want (or have no time) to search for the rice wine vinegar, it’s ok to replace it with regular wine.

How to Make Vinegar Using Rice Wine, Vinegar &How to Make Vinegar Using Rice Wine, Vinegar & Berries : Preparing Healthy Foods

Different Types of Vinegar

Every kitchen should have vinegar in the cupboard, but did you know there are many different types of vinegar available?

  • Distilled white vinegar: This is the type used in most cooking and found in most homes. It has a harsh smell and a sharp, bitter taste. The vinegar is extracted from grain and is very crisp.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Usually added to Italian dishes, this vinegar is made by fermenting grapes. It adds a lovely zesty, sweet flavor. Its unique taste makes it a perfect addition to sweet or savory dishes.
  • Red wine vinegar: When added to dishes it gives them a sweet, less acidic taste which makes it ideal for reductions or vinaigrettes.
  • White wine vinegar: Made from white wine it has a light taste and is the perfect addition to soups or to make dressings for salad.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Many people use this vinegar for weight loss or as a toner for their skin, but it can also be used in salad dressings, chutneys, and marinades.
  • Champagne vinegar: known for its very mild flavor it’s an excellent addition to seafood dishes. It can also be added to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.
  • Lemon or lime: Although it isn’t technically vinegar, it can be added to rice vinegar to be used in salad dressings, and sauces. Double the amount of lemon that you add to rice vinegar to add extra acidity to your dish. This will give your dish a very distinctive flavor.
  • Seasoned rice vinegar: This is created by adding sugar and salt to regular rice vinegar. As this vinegar will be much sweeter, don’t forget to remove four tablespoons of sugar from the original recipe.

Watch this YouTube video to find out how to make rice white wine at home:

What is rice vinegar?

Some brands refer to rice vinegar as rice wine vinegar. There are two processes involved in the creation of rice vinegar.

You first have to ferment the rice to form alcohol, and after that, you let it turn to acid. Rice vinegar has less acid compared to white distilled vinegar. It also has a sweet flavor that You can feel from afar.

Rice vinegar is used in salad dressing and to marinate meat.

It comes in different shades. There is the clear o

It comes in different shades. There is the clear one and ones that come in different shades of red-brown. Depending on the color, expect different tastes.

Types of rice vinegar:

There are two ways you can classify rice vinegar. You can classify based on strength and based on whether it is seasoned or not.

White rice vinegar

This is the standard type of rice vinegar that you will find in most supermarkets and grocery shops. It is clear, clean, and with a mild flavor.

Brown rice vinegar

As the name suggests, it is brown. It has more nutrients compared to white rice vinegar. However, its flavor is equally as mild as white rice vinegar. This means, whenever a recipe asks for either white rice vinegar or brown rice vinegar, you can use them interchangeably.

Red rice vinegar

Red rice vinegar has a sweet and sour taste.  You might find its smell a little unpleasant. The rice used to make red wine vinegar is usually already fermented. They also add sorghum and barley to the fermented rice before the vinegar is made.

Similar t the other vinegar types, red rice vinegar has a lot of health benefits. It is an antioxidant, helps in weight loss, and stabilizes blood sugar.

Black rice vinegar

LIke red rice vinegar, this is also made using fermented rice, barley, and sorghum. It has a rich flavor, and you will find it being used as a dipping sauce too.

Seasoned rice vinegar

Seasoned rice vinegar has more flavor compared to unseasoned vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar is made from plain rice vinegar that has been flavored. Seasoned rice vinegar has added salts and sugar; therefore, it is sweeter. Sometimes it has corn syrup too. It has more calories; therefore, you should be careful with it if you check your weight.

Seasoned rice vinegar makes nice sushi rice and salads. It makes sushi rice delightful.

Plain rice vinegar

This is rice vinegar that has no additives like sugar, salt, or corn syrup.

Substitutes for rice vinegar

RIce vinegar has a distinct flavor that can hardly be replaced by anything else. However, if you get a recipe that requires you to use rice wine vinegar but does not have it in your kitchen, these substitutes would work wonderfully.

Apple cider vinegar

As the name suggests, it is made from apple cider. Apply cider is fermented to create this vinegar.

It has a mild taste and a subtle smell of apples. You can use Apple cider vinegar in any recipe that requires vinegar rice. However, if you want that sweetness in rice vinegar and absent in apple cider vinegar, add a quarter teaspoon of sugar to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

White wine vinegar

White wine is fermented to make white wine vinegar. White wine vinegar has a mild flavor that is somewhat acidic, just like rice vinegar. However, it is less sweet. Therefore in recipes that require rice vinegar, you can add sugar in the ratio of 1:1.

 You will use it in sauces and salad dressings.

Champagne vinegar

Champagne vinegar can also work as a substitute for rice wine vinegar. Like all vinegar, it is made from fermenting wine (champagne). It has a subtle and mild flavor, just like rice vinegar. You can use it in seafood, marinades, salad dressings, and sauces. Use it in the ratio 1:1.

Lemon juice

You can use lemon instead of rice vinegar in salads and sauces. You can use lime juice too. Lemons have high amounts of acid. This mimics the acidity found in vinegar. It brings about some liveliness to salads. However, you should note that using lemon or lime will bring a citrus flavor to your salad.

To have the perfect substitute for your rice vinegar, the amount of lemon juice you use should be twice the amount of vinegar you would have used.

Seasoned vinegar

When sherry wine is fermented, we get sherry vinegar. It has a rich flavor that is somewhat nutty and sweet. It has equal acidity levels as rice vinegar, and you can use it in marinades and sauces. Use it in the ratio of 1:1.

However, there are things you should never use as a substitute for rice vinegar.

What not to substitute with rice vinegar

It is key to note that as much as some types of vinegar work as substitutes for rice vinegar, not all kinds of vinegar do.

Some kinds of vinegar are a bit too acidic for use, while some are too sweet. It would help to taste the vinegar first before adding it to your food. This will help you know the degree of sweetness and acidity.

Herb vinegar

Some kinds of vinegar are flavored with herbs. Most of them cannot work instead of rice vinegar. This is because herbs have a distinct herbal smell that might not work for some dishes.

Fruit flavored vinegar

Just like herbal vinegar, the fruit-flavored kinds of vinegar have a strong fruity flavor too. It would be strange to use raspberry vinegar in a slaw dressing.  If you want to use fruit-flavored vinegar, then try to use citrus vinegar options.

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is dark and sweet, too sweet to be used as a rice wine vinegar substitute. It would not work for Asian dishes.

Can They Be Used Interchangeably?

While both rice wine vinegar and rice vinegar are made from rice, they are different products and therefore shouldn’t be used interchangeably. If you’re looking for a substitute,

  • apple cider makes a suitable replacement for rice vinegar, whereas,
  • dry white wine or pale dry sherry make good substitutes for rice wine vinegar.

Interesting fact: Alcohol content of rice wine vinegar is about 18-20% ABV.

What is Sake?

To make the distinction clear, let’s take a closer look at such a product as grain alcohol.

White grain beverage is an alcoholic liquid refreshment, and its alcohol content is surprisingly high compared to some Western beverages.


A bottle of this beverage contains between eighteen to twenty-five percent of alcohol (compare it with 3-9% in beer and 9-16% in alcoholic refreshments).

If anyone ever wondered “What is grain alcohol called?”, its real name is sake.


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!



Rice Wine Vinegar

Used in many Asian dishes, Chinese rice wine is easy to make at home. 

from votes

Print RateCourse: Dip/ Salad Dressing/ SauceCuisine: ChineseKeyword: Rice Wine Vinegar

Appliance: Strainer

Prep Time: 10 minutesFermentation Time: 28 days

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 17 ozAuthor: Paromita Datta [5] [6]


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