rice wine vinegar substitute

Top 6 Rice Vinegar Substitutes That Are Great In Any Sauce or Dish

Rice vinegar is one of those ingredients that most people have at home, particularly if you like cooking Asian meals. Yet, there are cases when finding it seems impossible, or a trip to buy one ingredient sounds like a nightmare.

Whatever the reason, there are plenty of other foods and ingredients to use instead. Just take a look at the various choices that work well in plenty of dishes and recipes. 

What Is Rice Vinegar?

This is a type of vinegar made from fermented rice, and it has a slightly sweet flavor. It is acidic and is used often to add tartness to pickled vegetables, rice, marinades, or sautéed vegetables. You can find this rice vinegar in any grocery store, usually by the Asian condiments and foods. 

What Can I Replace Rice Vinegar With?

When you can’t find any or don’t want to use it, these are the best rice vinegar substitutes for all your dishes:

Best For Sushi, Pickling, and Marinades

#1. Apple Cider Vinegar

This vinegar is what is made after apples are fermented. It packs a light sweetness, similar to rice vinegar. It is a good alternative for making sushi, pickling vegetables, and making marinades.

You can find apple cider vinegar almost everywhere, particularly because it has become popular lately as it promotes digestion.

Try using the same amount of apple cider vinegar that the recipe indicates, but consider that this may lack a bit of sweetness, so you can include a dash of sugar too.

See More: Apple Cider Vinegar Shelf Life

#2. White Wine Vinegar

This vinegar is a result of the fermentation of white wine, and it is a common staple in many kitchens, so you may have some already. This option works well in marinades, pickling, and even in sushi sometimes, but consider that it is tarter and somewhat bitter. 

To use this choice instead, add about the same amount as you would rice vinegar, but add one teaspoon of sugar as well. This can help mimic the flavors better and makes the vinegar a bit sweeter.

See More: White Wine Vinegar Substitutes

#3. Sherry Vinegar

This vinegar comes from fermented sherry that turns acetic, and it is a somewhat common ingredient in certain foods.

Sherry vinegar is richer and slightly nutty, resembling more of the fortified wine. However, you can use this choice when cooking rice, making marinades, and in some pickled vegetables.

To add this choice, substitute it for a 1:1 ratio, but you may want to add a splash of lime for a more citrus flavor. Sherry vinegar is also a good choice for dark sauces and meat marinades, as it blends well with these. Try your local grocery store, otherwise, a specialty one will have it.

Best For Pad Thai, Teriyaki Sauce, and Sweet and Sour Sauce

#4. Champagne Vinegar

As the name suggests, this vinegar comes from fermented champagne, which adds a light and delicate flavor.

It is relatively subtle, so you can use it in cooking pad thai, and in making sauces, like teriyaki sauce, and sweet and sour. You can try the same amount of champagne vinegar as you would rice vinegar.

Although you may not have used it before, champagne vinegar shouldn’t be too hard to find, so you can try the local grocery store or organic market. You may want to add more sugar and a bit of lime given that the flavor is not as strong.

#5. Lime or Lemon Juice

This choice is kind of a last-minute choice, but you can use it in a pinch. Try using it in making slaw, marinades, sweet and sour sauce, and in pad thai, as it will blend well with the rest of the ingredients.

The flavor is much more citrus, which some people find weird, but it works if you like this aroma and taste.

You probably already have lemons or limes at home, but they are also very easy to find in any grocery, convenience store, or farmer’s market. Use twice the amount that the recipe calls for, but remember that lemons and limes add a distinct citrus aroma and flavor.

See More: Do Limes and Lemons Go Bad?

#6. Red Wine Vinegar

This is the last choice because it adds a bit of a bitter and harsh flavor. However, it can work if you don’t have any other options.

Use this choice when making dark sauces, like teriyaki, or pad thai, and in certain marinades. You can find red wine vinegar in any grocery store, and even in some convenience stores.

To substitute for rice vinegar use about half the amount or less, make sure to taste, and add as you go. This may be a very strong flavor in some dishes, so make sure you taste it and like the way it feels with the rest of the ingredients.

See More: Red Wine Vinegar Alternatives


Can I use normal vinegar instead of rice vinegar?

Normal vinegar is a bit too harsh to use instead of rice vinegar, so it is important to use less strong and sweeter options.

Some better alternatives are white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and sherry vinegar. You can even use white balsamic vinegar first before white vinegar itself.

Can I use malt vinegar instead of rice vinegar?

Yes, you can use malt vinegar instead of rice vinegar, but it will add a bit of a sweet and oaky flavor to your dish. This vinegar is a bit harsher too, so you may need to add a dash of sugar and lime.

Are rice vinegar and mirin the same thing?

Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine, and it has more sugar and lower alcohol than regular rice wine like sake. Rice vinegar, though, is only the product of fermenting rice, so it doesn’t contain any alcohol in it.

You can usually use rice vinegar instead of mirin, but the opposite may not work if you are trying to avoid alcohol.


Rice vinegar is a common ingredient in many dishes, particularly in Asian cuisines. But sometimes we run out of things right before cooking, and then all fall to pieces. Pick one of these 6 alternatives instead and make your dish equally tasty!

Related: The Best Rice Wine Substitutes

rice vinegar alternatives

*Photo by Luisecheverriurrea/depositphotos

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