Top 10 Rice Wine Vinegar Substitutes

Rice wine vinegar is a trendy cooking option for Asian cuisine and is something that you’ll see in just about every Asian restaurant. It provides a unique taste for rice-based dishes, particularly sushi, and creates that punch that you get from classic Asian meals.

However, some people may not enjoy this ingredient or could even be allergic to it in some way.

What can you do in this situation?

Do you have to go without the delicious taste of rice wine vinegar in your life? No, thankfully!

You can instead utilize various replacement options that may work just as well.

Each of the options outlined below will provide different tastes and textures that mimic rice wine vinegar and produce a tasty alternative that you may enjoy eating.

Different vinegar bottles lined up on a white background

Using Substitutes for Rice Wine Vinegar: A Brief How to

When choosing any of the rice wine vinegar substitutes outlined in the following sections, you need to carefully decide which option works the best for your needs.

There are many factors that you must consider when examining each of these ingredients, including:

  • Your Taste: Do you like how the replacement options taste? If so, then you might enjoy them in your meals, though the overall taste and texture may end up a little different.
  • Availability: You might be in the middle of cooking an Asian dish and discover you’re out of rice wine vinegar. It would help if you always chose an option that is readily available for your needs.
  • Budget: How much money can you afford on these replacement items? None of them should be costly. For example, you can get away with low-budget options when buying wine for cooking.
  • Adaptability: How well do these various ingredients adapt to your meal? Do you think they would blend adequately, or would they overwhelm the taste? Again, be very careful when deciding here.

When reading through each of these items, we strongly suggest that you pay attention to each element and follow the included instructions to improve your cooking process.

In this way, you should get the best results possible and avoid complicating severe issues with your cooking.

Rice Wine Vinegar Substitutes

The following list will break down 10 of the most popular rice wine vinegar substitutes on the market today.

We’ll not only include a breakdown of each option but also explain how you can best use it.

Though each section may be pretty short, you should get a complete idea of what you need to do and will likely have little difficulty creating unique dishes.

So without any further delay, let’s get going!

Chicken Broth: A Surprising Replacement

Chicken broth in a bowl on a wodden table
Chicken broth can be a suitable replacement for rice wine vinegar. Just follow the instructions below to achieve approximately the same taste.

You might not immediately think of chicken broth when you think of rice wine vinegar.

However, it’s surprisingly common for people to replace various cooking ingredients, particularly white wine, with chicken broth.

It is an excellent step if you are cooking rice with various chicken dishes or bringing out the taste of beef and broccoli with a bit more bite.

Thankfully, you can easily use chicken broth by following these steps:

  • Mix your chicken broth with white vinegar and a dash of citrus. Try to use a little less than you’d typically use in a recipe.
  • Carefully mix all of your ingredients before cooking. Let them seep for a while to soak up the chicken broth mixture.
  • Follow all the usual cooking steps you would with your other recipe. In this way, you should have no difficulty producing great food.

Rice Wine

Rice wine being poured into a saucepan
Rice wine and rice wine vinegar are not the same thing.

It might seem pretty obvious on the surface but may be so precise that some people don’t think of it: rice wine works very well as a replacement for rice wine vinegar.

First, however, it is essential to emphasize that they’re not the same thing and don’t have the same overall texture or flavor.

That said, it is close enough to this ingredient that it isn’t too hard to get good results by performing a few simple steps. We outlined these steps below to make this cooking process more accessible.

Make sure that you:

  • Blend your rice wine and white vinegar on a 1:1 basis. Doing so helps add a bit of rice wine vinegar taste and texture.
  • Always use a dry rice wine with minimal alcohol volume. Too much alcohol may cause the food to have a slightly bitter taste.
  • Try to use a little less of this mix than you would rice wine vinegar. It will be a little more robust and could overwhelm your food’s taste otherwise.

Related: Replacements for Shaoxing rice wine.

White Wine

White wine glass sitting on a table off-focus background
A classic for cooking, white wine. Follow the instructions below to achieve a similar taste to rice wine vinegar.

White wine is one of the more popular cooking wines because it’s relatively dry, has a pleasant and earthy taste, and can create a surprising array of flavor changes.

We recommend you should pick a Sauvignon Blanc when replacing rice wine vinegar because it has a similar texture and kick.

However, it is essential to tweak and prepare your white wine before cooking.

As with all other ingredients on this list, a few fundamental changes will help improve its taste and make it more suitable for your cooking.

These steps include:

  • Adding just a little citric juice to the wine to help add to its acidity level. You can use lemon or lime juice and choose the amount based on your taste.
  • When preparing your recipes, use a 1:1 ratio between rice wine vinegar and white wine. They’re similar enough that you can get away with it.

White Wine Vinegar

Well, we’ve already covered white wine, so naturally, we’ll move on to white wine vinegar next!

It is surprisingly close to rice wine vinegar in acidic content and has a mild range of tastes that should make it suitable for your specific cooking needs.

That said, white wine vinegar will lack that sweetness you get from rice wine vinegar.

As a result, you can make a few minor changes to improve your cooking.

These simple steps include:

  • Adding one-quarter tablespoon of sugar to each tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Feel free to change that amount based on your personal preference.
  • Cooking at a 1:1 ratio with your rice wine vinegar recipes. Thankfully, most ingredients on this list should be cooked at this level.
  • If you don’t want to add sugar, try to cut back a little on how much white wine vinegar you use. Otherwise, you may overwhelm your food’s taste and create a bitter kick.

For any of our Muslim readers, you may be wondering if white wine vinegar is halal?.

Readers may also be interested in our guide on the health benefits of red wine vinegar.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is harsh and acidic. Frankly, this option isn’t always a wise choice because it may overwhelm your food and leave behind a reasonably harsh taste.

That said, it is always possible for a clever chef to get around such issues.

For example, you may find that you only have white vinegar in the house, and your food is already cooking.

Well, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you don’t end up with food that you struggle to eat.

Follow these tips, and you should have a better overall experience:

  • Find a sherry or white wine and blend them in a 1:1 ratio with your white vinegar. If you have any, you may also use rice wine, as this will produce a similar texture.
  • Pour in a bit of chicken or vegetable broth (at a 1:1 ratio) to help minimize the harsher taste of white vinegar. Feel free to add a little more than 1:1 if your taste demands it.
  • Consider adding a little sugar to the white vinegar (do one-half teaspoon at a time) and taste test until you get a good blend. The taste will be close enough to rice wine vinegar to work.

Champagne Vinegar

While not always a popular vinegar in many households, there may be a chance that you have champagne vinegar lurking around your home.

If you do, you’re in luck because it uses the same fermented grapes used for many wines and has a surprisingly mild taste close to rice wine vinegar.

That said, this type of vinegar is very mild and is one of the sweeter options on the market.

It won’t be as bitter as ordinary vinegar and slightly less potent than even rice wine vinegar.

As a result, you may need to take a few steps to add a little kick to your champagne vinegar:

  • Use a little more champagne vinegar than your recipe calls for because its flavors are usually milder than rice wine vinegar. Taste-test until you get the appropriate flavors.
  • Mix what rice wine vinegar you have in your almost empty bottle (if any) in a 1:2 ratio with your champagne vinegar. Some people use this approach to get more life from their wine vinegar.
  • Use your champagne vinegar mostly in seafood recipes or as a salad dressing or marinade. It typically isn’t suitable with richer meats, as it is often too mild to blend appropriately.

Sherry Vinegar

If you’ve ever tried sherry vinegar, you know that it has a surprising blend of fairly sweet and nutty flavors.

It’s a bit too complex for some rice wine vinegar dishes and may seem slightly off when you mix it with the wrong meals or foods.

That said, sherry vinegar is still tasty enough that you can use it as a rice wine vinegar replacement if needed. As you’d expect, there are a few things you need to consider when using this substitute option.

Just a few of these steps include:

  • Use your sherry vinegar on a 1:1 basis compared to your initial recipe. The overall taste is similar enough to rice wine vinegar that you can get away with it.
  • Try to integrate this ingredient as a marinade, sauce, salad dressings, or pickled vegetables and meat. These foods won’t be too overwhelmed by this unique ingredient.
  • Consider using less sherry vinegar in milder dishes or on items like seafood or chicken. Mixing those foods with this vinegar may be a bit too overpowering.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Bragg Apple cider vinegar with the 'Mother' bottle on a white background
Apple cider vinegar can be a suitable replacement for rice wine vinegar. Just follow the instructions below to achieve approximately the same taste and feel.

If you’re like me, you probably already have a bottle or two of apple cider vinegar lurking in your home.

It is one of the most popular vinegar options on the market because of its fruity flavor and unique health benefits. Thankfully, it can be used in most Asian dishes in place of rice wine vinegar.

That said, it will lack the sweetness you might want from your rice wine vinegar and may taste too bitter for some people.

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can improve its taste and avoid this problem.

Follow these steps to get the best results with this vinegar:

  • Mix 15-20 milliliters of apple cider vinegar with one-quarter teaspoon of sugar. You may also use a sugar substitute if you feel that your vinegar will be too sweet.
  • Always cook with this (adjusted) recipe at a 1:1 ratio compared to your original recipe. Doing so should help create the best results: taste test as you cook to get the right combination.
  • When using this ingredient, you may want to focus on hardier dishes, such as beef or pork. The blended taste should be close enough to rice wine vinegar but may leave behind a different aftertaste.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar in a glass boat with tomatos and bread
Balsamic vinegar is quite intense. But, some clever changes can make it a suitable replacement for rice wine vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar isn’t the best option for replacing rice wine vinegar because it’s way too intense.

However, if it is the only thing you have in the house and you don’t have time to shop, it will do in a pinch if you follow these steps:

  • Add water to the vinegar and heat it up on the stove to create a fluid-like consistency. This step may take several minutes.
  • Mix in a sweetener (honey works very well) to help tame the balsamic flavor a little. Always add just a little at first before moving on to more.
  • Typically, you use balsamic vinegar on recipes without cooking. For example, it may work well as a marinade, a stir-fry topper, or as a salad dressing.

Try to minimize how much balsamic vinegar you use when replacing rice wine vinegar in your recipes.

You definitely don’t mix at 1:1: a splash or a light covering is probably enough.

Juices from Citrus

Fresh limes being hand-juiced into a bowl
Lemon or lime juice can get you to a similar taste as rice wine vinegar. However, you may need to add water to dilute the citrus’ acidity.

Lemon and lime juices may work in a pinch for many Asian recipes that call for rice wine vinegar.

While the overall taste won’t be the same, you can follow these tips to get it as close as possible:

  • Mix just a bit of lemon and lime juice as you cook to ensure it doesn’t overpower your food. Start with just a few teaspoons.
  • Add water if you find the lemon juice is getting too overpowering. Water will help balance this potent power and minimize discomfort.
  • Mix at a 2:1 ratio if you want to get the kind of acidity you’d typically get with rice wine vinegar. If not, just mix to your personal preference.
Emma Miller