Rice vinegar is a common ingredient in your favorite Asian dishes from rice to sushi. While most people that have the skill to cook these foods will almost always have rice vinegar on hand. For some, there may be issues with limited availability in local stores that may need a quick and simple substitute for rice vinegar.

rice vinegar

What is rice vinegar?

Rice vinegar is made of fermented rice. Other forms of vinegar are made of vegetables, apples, and other plant-based ingredients. Rice vinegar is traditionally used in Chinese recipes and can be found in the ethnic food section of your local grocery store or the specialty Asian foods grocery stores found in many communities with a large Asian population. The products sold at the specialty stores are almost always much better quality than what you can find at a chain grocery store.

What can you use as a substitution for rice vinegar?

If you do not have rice vinegar available to you there are several substitutes you can use to make the most of your recipes no matter what you have on hand. Here are some substitutes you can use for rice vinegar.

White wine vinegar

White wine vinegar makes a great substation for rice vinegar. This is made by fermenting white wine and out of your options has the closest flavor to rice vinegar. Use this in a 1 to 1 ratio but consider adding a bit of sugar to help make up for the fact white wine vinegar is not as sweet as rice vinegar.

Red wine vinegar

Red wine vinegar is often sold next to rice vinegar but the two are very different. Red wine vinegar comes from fermenting red wine down further while rice vinegar is made by fermenting rice down. Red wine vinegar is a great substitute for rice vinegar but tends to alter the color of your final dish and needs a bit of sugar added to get the same level of sweetness. Use this in a 1 to 1 ratio.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most common vinegar to find in the home. Apple cider vinegar has many great benefits and can even be made at home by fermenting apple scraps. You can use apple cider vinegar in a 1 to 1 ratio adding up to 1/4 teaspoon of sugar per teaspoon of apple cider vinegar if you wish to replace the sweetness that rice vinegar is so well known for. The similar flavor notice makes this one of the most convenient substitutes for rice vinegar.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a strong acid that makes the perfect substitute for rice vinegar in sauces and marinades. The acid in lemon juice has the same tenderizing effects to help give your meats a tender texture and enhance the overall flavor. For sauces, you may need to add a bit of sugar when substituting lemon juice for rice vinegar. If the recipe already calls for lemon juice as well, reduce the amount of juice to avoid giving your dish an overly strong lemon flavor.

I hope these ideas help if you need a substitute for rice vinegar. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below!