9 Best Substitutes for Rice Vinegar

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are times when you’ll need a substitute for rice vinegar to complete a recipe, but fortunately, there are plenty of viable options, many of which should already be in your kitchen.

Substitute for Rice Vinegar

The best substitute for rice vinegar is apple cider vinegar, which has a mild apple flavor. White balsamic vinegar and white wine are tangy and less sweet substitutes of rice vinegar. Other substitutes include champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar, herb vinegar or sherry vinegar, among others.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The purpose of any vinegar is to add a bit of zest to a recipe, and while apple cider vinegar has a note of apple sweetness in it, the effects on a dish are much the same as rice vinegar. You can substitute an equal amount of apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Also, apple cider vinegar has a number of impressive health effects and can help optimize your digestive system.

Balsamic Vinegar

This substitute for rice vinegar is a bit less sweet and has more of a tang. It isn’t ideal as a replacement in every meal, but in salad dressings and marinades, it can be a good alternative.

Champagne Vinegar

If you want to use a wine-based vinegar as a substitute, champagne vinegar can work in many applications, but you will want an older, subtler variety to cut down on how sharp it is in the recipe. Use this type of vinegar more sparingly than rice vinegar.

Red Wine Vinegar

Depending on the quality of the red wine vinegar, it can be a good replacement for rice vinegar. The flavor of this vinegar will be full-bodied and quite fruity, so if you are making a subtle salad dressing, this might not be the best choice. For savory meat dishes, however, this should definitely suffice.

White Wine Vinegar

Slightly less potent than red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar is more acidic than rice vinegar but has a similar color and consistency. You will want to use less white wine vinegar than the recipe calls for, and possibly even cut the zing with something sweet, such as raw honey or Stevia extract.

White Vinegar

Also known as virgin vinegar, this flavorless variety of vinegar can be used in a pinch as a substitute for rice vinegar, but it is primarily good for pickling and other less culinary applications.

Malt Vinegar

Known for its nutty and toasty flavor, this is an ideal vinegar replacement if you are using the rice vinegar in savory or meat-based dishes, or in sauces and marinades.

Sherry Vinegar

This is a bit less common but shares a lot of characteristics with red and white wine vinegar. Be sure to use this in moderation, as it is more potent than other vinegar types, meaning it should be diluted or cut with something sweeter.

Herb Vinegar

If you make your own vinegar that is infused with herbs, it can be used as a replacement for rice vinegar, but be aware that it can change the flavor of the given dish, depending on what types of herbs you used to prepare at-home vinegar.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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