9 Best Substitutes for Rice Vinegar

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There are times when you will need a substitute for rice vinegar to complete a recipe. Fortunately, there are plenty of viable options, many of which may already be in your pantry.

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 for rice vinegar 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. 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 several health benefits and can help optimize your digestive system.

A cup of rice vinegar on top of scattered rice

Rice vinegar Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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. [1]

Champagne Vinegar

If you want to use a wine-based vinegar as a substitute, champagne vinegar can work in many recipes. 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. [2]

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 suffice. [3]

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. [4]

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 vinaigrettes.

Four bottles consisting of different types of vinegar

If you cannot find rice vinegar, you can use these instead. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Malt Vinegar

Known for its nutty flavor, this is an ideal vinegar replacement if you are using the rice vinegar in savory or meat-based dishes or sauces and marinades. [5]

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is similar to red wine vinegar. You can use it as a substitute for rice vinegar in the 1:1 ratio in sauces and marinades. It also works well in salad dressings.

Herb Vinegar

You can make a simple herb vinegar at home by marinating herbs of your choice in vinegar. However, be aware that it can change the flavor of the given dish, depending on what types of herbs you used to prepare vinegar.

Citrus Juice

Some recipes that you make can taste better with citrus juice as well. For eg. in salad dressings, you can easily use lime or lemon juice and enjoy the tanginess.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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