How are Rice Wine and Rice Vinegar different?

Similarities in Rice Wine Vinegar and Rice Vinegar

Both rice wine vinegar and rice vinegar are made through fermentation. However, there are completely different processes employed. Not to mention they also have a few disparities when it comes to how they are used too.

5. Lemon juice (or lime juice)

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Lemon and lime juice pack plenty of acidity, and that acidity is a major component in the flavor you want from your rice wine vinegar, thus these citrus juices can stand in for the vinegar in a pinch. According to Stonesoup, while they’re very different from the rice wine vinegar that may be called for in a recipe, these juices can really highlight the flavors in your dish like vinegar can.

However make sure to only add citrus juice to a dish a little at a time, as they do have a comparable but different flavor than rice wine vinegar and can quickly become overpowering. If you need more physical fluid with less potent flavor, cut the lemon or lime juice with some water.


Rice Wine Vinegar vs. Mirin

Rice vinegar is also sometimes confused with a popular ingredient from Japan, mirin, which is the most common cooking wine (also made from rice) and is not to be confused with sake, the most common drinking wine.

Mirin is a relatively sweet, comparatively low alcohol-content (14 percent) wine that happens to be one of the ingredients in teriyaki sauce. Kikkoman, maker of soy sauce, produces the most ubiquitous version of mirin available in North America, which is used in making all kinds of soups (including ramen), marinades, and glazes; it is helpful in tenderizing meat. It pairs especially well with fish, and works in buta no kanuni, Japanese braised pork belly.

Different Types of Vinegar

Every kitchen should have vinegar in the cupboard, but did you know there are many different types of vinegar available?

  • Distilled white vinegar: This is the type used in most cooking and found in most homes. It has a harsh smell and a sharp, bitter taste. The vinegar is extracted from grain and is very crisp.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Usually added to Italian dishes, this vinegar is made by fermenting grapes. It adds a lovely zesty, sweet flavor. Its unique taste makes it a perfect addition to sweet or savory dishes.
  • Red wine vinegar: When added to dishes it gives them a sweet, less acidic taste which makes it ideal for reductions or vinaigrettes.
  • White wine vinegar: Made from white wine it has a light taste and is the perfect addition to soups or to make dressings for salad.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Many people use this vinegar for weight loss or as a toner for their skin, but it can also be used in salad dressings, chutneys, and marinades.
  • Champagne vinegar: known for its very mild flavor it’s an excellent addition to seafood dishes. It can also be added to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.
  • Lemon or lime: Although it isn’t technically vinegar, it can be added to rice vinegar to be used in salad dressings, and sauces. Double the amount of lemon that you add to rice vinegar to add extra acidity to your dish. This will give your dish a very distinctive flavor.
  • Seasoned rice vinegar: This is created by adding sugar and salt to regular rice vinegar. As this vinegar will be much sweeter, don’t forget to remove four tablespoons of sugar from the original recipe.

Watch this YouTube video to find out how to make rice white wine at home:

What is Rice Wine Vinegar Specifically Useful For?

  • Sushi Rice-

Rice wine vinegar is an essential ingredient for preparing sushi rice.

  • Pickling-

When you’re planning to eat a sandwich for a snack, you can use rice wine vinegar to pickle the cucumbers and vegetables you are going to use in the sandwich.

  • Marinades-

Rice wine vinegar compliments Asian flavor profiles in marinade recipes.

  • Cocktails-

Adding rice wine vinegar to cocktails is a great way of giving them a lift of brightness and a refreshing sense of flavor.

  • French Fries-

Rice wine vinegar can be used to flavor French fries when you want a less punchy flavor.

  • Dipping Sauces-

Rice wine combined with soy sauce creates a delicious dipping sauce for sushi, pot sticker, egg rolls, and chicken.

  • Salad Dressings-

If you want to tone down the acidity of vinaigrettes, rice wine vinegar is the perfect ally.

  • As a Cleaner-

Rice wine vinegar coupled with a few drops of lemon essential oil can be used as a detergent to help clean your whites.

Similarities between rice wine and rice vinegar

Asian origin

Both rice wine and rice vinegar originated from Asia. They have been used in Asian cooking for many centuries.

It is made from rice

As their names suggest, it is evident that they are both made from rice. The rice is fermented, albeit in different ways.

Buying Storing

You should be able to find many brands in your Asian grocery store. You may even be able to find it at your local supermarket, as it has become quite common. If not, check online.

These different brands below are from Japan, China, and Taiwan. Here in the Northeast, we also have a brand called Wan Ja Shan, which is based in New York State. 

You’ll also see that most brands make both a

You’ll also see that most brands make both a plain version and a “seasoned” version.

The plain version is generally made only from glut

The plain version is generally made only from glutinous rice and water, while the seasoned version has added sugar and/or salt. We usually buy plain, though the two can be used mostly interchangeably.

We usually buy Kong Yen brand, originating in Taiw

We usually buy Kong Yen brand, originating in Taiwan, but give different brands a try and see what you like best. Store in a cool, dry place, like your pantry. It can be stored for up to 2 years.

9. Chicken broth

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Chicken broth is commonly used interchangeably with white wine in cooking, especially for broths and soups. To replace rice wine vinegar with chicken broth means you need a decidedly potent broth, given the intensity of rice vinegar compared to white wine. To achieve this concentration of flavor, you can create your broth using half the amount of water called for when prepping the broth with bouillon, or you can simmer a pre-made (or homemade) broth for a while to cool off excess water and let the flavors grow more focused.

As with other options on our list, adding a dash of citrus or white vinegar to the broth can accentuate the acidity, and you can use it in a 1:1 swap.

Is Rice Wine Vinegar Good for Your Health?

There is a current movement, everyone is trying to go green and eat healthier. Instead of snacking on chips and dip. People are snacking on zucchini fries and using healthy dip alternatives. Dips or sauces made with rice wine vinegar, not only taste amazing, they are surprisingly healthy.

Other benefits include:

  • Less acidity: Acidity in food can wreak havoc with your stomach and digestive system and have a very strong taste. Rice wine vinegar contains a lot less acid, the acetic acid it contains is excellent for your digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients more easily.
  • Stunning Skincare: Using it on your skin will make you appear more radiant, reduce inflammation. Make you look less puffy and tired and does wonders on those bags under your eyes
  • Fight’s bacteria: It can be used as a natural medicine for its antiseptic properties
  • Improved immune system: As it contains amino acids it’s great at boosting your immune system. If you feel a cold coming on add it to your food for an instant pick me up. It will give you a great boost of energy, reduce feelings of fatigue and improves overall health
  • Detoxifies your liver: Consuming rice wine vinegar detoxifies your liver and acts as a liver tonic
  • Aids in weight loss: Consuming just a small amount will help you lose weight and keep it off

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What Vinegars Can I Substitute For Rice Vinegar?

This is a common issue when dealing with Asian food. Since most of the recipes require some exotic ingredients that are sometimes pretty hard to find in ordinary grocery stores, people start wondering what they could use in food-making to replace the rare components in the recipes. 

The search for proper substitutes can be rather a time-consuming task that may end up with failure.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Since it is mostly regarding sauces when such trouble happens, we can help to find those ingredients that you could substitute initial components for.

So, no more need to search for the answer surfing the internet since it is right here!

  • Apple cider vinegar is the best of all vinegars that you can substitute for the rice one. It is the same mild, besides, its gentle apple flavor won’t ruin the general aroma of the food. Feel free to use it in any recipe that asks for rice vinegar, and you won’t regret it.
  • Balsamic vinegar can also be a fine substitute, especially for salads, chicken, pizza, and other recipes like that. It is mellow sweet and tangy, a perfect component for sauces.
  • White wine and red wine vinegar can substitute for the rice one perfectly when it comes to making sauces, stews, and other hot savory dishes recipes.  
Homemade Rice vinegarHomemade Rice vinegar

 Of course, a question may occur whether other vinegars (for instance, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar) could be ok for that purpose.

However, everything is not so simple since not all vinegars can replace rice vinegar the same well. What you must pay attention to is not the color of vinegars but their taste and odor.

For instance, white vinegar is not the best choice for food since it is too harsh and sour unlike the rice vinegar with its mild taste and sweetness. 

A frequent question that people often ask is “Can I use plain white wine instead of rice vinegar when cooking?”. Well, it’s up to you in fact. White wine is far less strong compared to its Japanese counterpart, and it is not so sweet. Quite many recipes exist that ask for white wine so if you don’t want (or have no time) to search for the rice wine vinegar, it’s ok to replace it with regular wine.

How to Make Vinegar Using Rice Wine, Vinegar &How to Make Vinegar Using Rice Wine, Vinegar & Berries : Preparing Healthy Foods

What is Sake?

To make the distinction clear, let’s take a closer look at such a product as grain alcohol.

White grain beverage is an alcoholic liquid refreshment, and its alcohol content is surprisingly high compared to some Western beverages.


A bottle of this beverage contains between eighteen to twenty-five percent of alcohol (compare it with 3-9% in beer and 9-16% in alcoholic refreshments).

If anyone ever wondered “What is grain alcohol called?”, its real name is sake.

What Is Seasoned Rice Vinegar?

Seasoned rice vinegar is a type of rice vinegar that has added sugars and salts. It has a sweet flavor and often contains more calories than rice wine vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar is typically used to flavor sushi rice or as part of a vinaigrette in salads, and it should not be used interchangeably with rice vinegar, which is much milder. You can make your own seasoned rice vinegar by adding salt and sugar to regular rice wine vinegar.

What Is Rice Wine?

Rice wine goes through a fermentation process as well. It is made from glutinous rice that has been freshly steamed to make the best rice wine. This is a wine with a low alcohol content, compared to other kinds of wines, like those made from barley hops. It’s also low in alcohol content compared to most beers. A common kind of rice wine you may have heard of is sake, which is very popular throughout Japan and other Asian countries.

Mirin is a common rice wine as well, and comparing rice wine vinegar vs mirin, the difference is in the vinegar content. They both contain alcohol, but you use them for different purposes. You can use the words mirin and rice wine interchangeably, as mirin is simply a kind of rice wine.

Rice wine is used to make dishes sweeter, and it may be added to stir fry, veggies, and soups. Sherry is used as a substitute in many western parts of the world, as it is more readily available and more popular. It is very similar to rice wine as well. If you are comparing mirin vs rice wine vinegar, you will find that they are very different in their flavours. The rice wine vinegar will heighten the flavour of a dish, whereas the mirin or rice wine will sweeten it. These cannot be used interchangeably since they both alter the profile of a dish considerably and in different ways.

Rice Wine Vinegar

Used in many Asian dishes, Chinese rice wine is easy to make at home. 

from votes

Print RateCourse: Dip/ Salad Dressing/ SauceCuisine: ChineseKeyword: Rice Wine Vinegar

Appliance: Strainer

Prep Time: 10 minutesFermentation Time: 28 days

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 17 ozAuthor: Paromita Datta [5] [6]


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