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Rice Vinegar Substitutes

Rice Vinegar Substitutes

Discover rice vinegar substitutes for your favorite dishes. Whether you’re out of rice vinegar or looking for alternatives to enhance your recipes, we’ve got you covered.

We go into details about how to use each rice vinegar substitute below and when you should use each one, but here’s a quick snapshot of our best rice vinegar substitutes. 

Key: c = cup; T = tablespoon; t = teaspoon

1 T of Rice Vinegar =
1 T White Wine Vinegar + 1/2 t Sugar
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T Champagne Vinegar
2 – 2 1/2 t Lemon Juice 
3/4 T White Vinegar + 1/4 TWater
3/4 T Sherry Vinegar + 1/4 T Water
1/3 – 1/2 T Balsamic Vinegar
1 T Coconut Vinegar
1/2 T Red Wine Vinegar + 1/2 T Water
3/4 T Mirin + 1/4 T Water
Best estimates and ratios based on recent kitchen testing by us.

Rice Vinegar Substitutes

White Wine Vinegar + Sugar

White wine vinegar is produced through the fermentation of white wine, yielding a tangy and slightly floral taste. While it is a bit stronger than rice vinegar, it can serve as a substitute in recipes such as dressings and marinades. However, it’s important to note its more pronounced flavor. You may consider diluting it with some water, using a slightly smaller amount, or adding some sugar to replicate the sweet flavor of rice vinegar.

Combine 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to replace a tablespoon of rice vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar makes a good replacement for rice vinegar, but keep in mind that it’s fruitier and a bit bolder than the original ingredient. They have similar consistencies, and you can use apple cider vinegar in dressings, marinades, and pickling, but expect a slightly bolder apple flavor. Make sure to adjust the quantity as needed, depending on the specific dish.

Begin with a 1:1 ratio and adjust if needed. 

Tip:  If the apple flavor seems overpowering or the acidity too strong, dilute it slightly with water or add a pinch of sugar to balance it out. 

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar, made from the same grapes as the bubbly drink itself, offers a delicate and light flavor that’s subtly fruity and slightly acidic. While its milder taste doesn’t make it a direct match for rice vinegar, it can be a suitable substitute in salad dressings and marinades. Both share a similar consistency, but it’s their nuanced flavors that require consideration when swapping them in recipes.

Substitute champagne vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. 

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice offers a bright, tangy citrus note that’s more pronounced and lacks the subtly sweet taste of rice vinegar. While they’re not exact substitutes, in some recipes, like dressings, where the primary goal is to introduce acidity, lemon juice can stand in for rice vinegar. But, this substitution will change the flavor, so adjust amounts and expect a different taste outcome.

Substitute 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice for every tablespoon of rice vinegar. 

White Vinegar + Water

White vinegar is sharper than the mild and sweet rice vinegar. If you’re considering using it as a substitute, understand that its potent acidity can sometimes dominate a dish. To mitigate this, dilute it with water. While white vinegar can work for pickling and marinades, or when its flavor isn’t the main focus, always adjust according to your palate.

Combine 3/4 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1/4 tablespoon of water for every tablespoon of rice vinegar. 

Sherry Vinegar + Sugar

Sherry vinegar is another potential replacement for rice vinegar, but it’s different from the mildly sweet taste of the original ingredient. This swap might be more suitable for dishes like salad dressings, marinades, or stir-fries, but in specific Asian dishes like sushi rice or pickled vegetables, the unique taste of rice vinegar is crucial, and the substitution could notably alter the intended flavor.

Mix 3/4 tablespoons of sherry vinegar and 1/4 tablespoon of sugar for every tablespoon of rice vinegar. 

Balsamic Vinegar

It’s possible to substitute balsamic vinegar for rice vinegar in certain recipes, but there are important considerations due to their distinct flavors and colors. Balsamic vinegar is darker, sweeter, and richer compared to the milder, pale yellow rice vinegar, so if you choose this substitution, use it sparingly because of its potent flavor. When using it in dishes like sushi rice or pickling, be mindful that balsamic’s unique flavor could potentially overpower the dish.

Use 1/3 to 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for every tablespoon of rice vinegar. 

Coconut Vinegar

Coconut vinegar has a mild coconut flavor along with some acidity, while rice vinegar offers a more neutral, slightly sweet taste. Depending on the recipe, the coconut flavor may or may not be desirable, so consider whether it complements the other ingredients. Using coconut vinegar as a substitute is effective in dishes that benefit from its overall taste. It’s frequently featured in Southeast Asian and Filipino cuisine, especially in sauces, marinades, and dressings. 

Substitute coconut vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.  

Red Wine Vinegar + Water

Red wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for rice vinegar, but it might alter the flavor of your dish as it tends to be stronger and more acidic. To replicate the milder acidity of rice vinegar, you can dilute red wine vinegar with a bit of water. It’s important to note that red wine vinegar is red or purple in color, which could impact your dish’s appearance, so keep this in mind when making the substitution. Red wine vinegar is a suitable choice for salad dressings, marinades, and certain sauces.

Mix 1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon of water for every tablespoon of rice vinegar. 

Mirin + Water

You can replace rice vinegar with mirin, but it will impart a sweet flavor to your dish because mirin is a sweet rice wine, while rice vinegar is sour. So, you may need to adjust the amounts of sugar and salt in your recipes to achieve the desired flavor balance. This substitution is most suitable for recipes where a hint of sweet taste won’t significantly affect the overall taste, like marinades, glazes, and dressings. However, for dishes requiring a tangier profile, it’s not the ideal choice.

Use 3/4 tablespoon of mirin mixed with 1/4 tablespoon of water for every tablespoon of rice vinegar. 

The bottom line

When looking for rice vinegar alternatives, you have many options to choose from. While rice vinegar has a unique flavor, substitutes like champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar can add their own distinct taste to your dishes. It’s essential to pick a substitute that complements your cuisine and experiment to find the best fit. When in doubt, you can always opt for either of the two and replace your rice vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

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