What can I substitute for rice vinegar?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for rice vinegar?” and discuss the possible substitutes for rice vinegar.  

What can I substitute for rice vinegar?

In case of a shortfall of rice vinegar, rice vinegar can be best substituted for apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, distilled white vinegar and white balsamic vinegar.

The vinegar market in the European Union amounted to $871million in 2018, picking up by 3.4% against the previous year. The countries with the highest volumes of vinegar consumption in 2018 were Germany (232 million litres), France (183 million litres) and Italy (119 million litres), together accounting for 49% of total consumption. These countries were followed by Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Austria, which together accounted for a further 41% (2).

Rice vinegar 

Rice vinegar is made up of fermented rice. Vinegar is produced by fermenting rice into alcohol and then into acetic acid. Rice vinegar is used to make sushi, pickled vegetables, and salad dressings.

Rice vinegar is used to add flavour to the dishes. It has many health benefits. It boosts our immunity. It also helps in the prevention of inflammation and hypertension. Rice vinegar is produced by saccharification of rice starch by a koji mold, Aspergillus oryzae; alcohol fermentation by a sake yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae; and oxidation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria to yield acetic acid (1).

Substitutes for rice vinegar

If there is a shortfall of rice vinegar in your kitchen or nearby stores, no need to worry, you can use its substitutes. Here we have elaborated on the list of substitutes for rice vinegar. These substitutes give nearly equal flavour and taste to the dish. 

Apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar can be a substitute for rice vinegar. It is merely sweet in flavour. It also gives a fruity flavour. There are beneficial phenolic compounds and bacteria which are antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant. 

Apple cider vinegar contains many organic acids, such as acetic, citric, formic, lactic, malic and succinic acids and antioxidant compounds, such as gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and p-coumaric acid (5).

Benefits of apple cider vinegar (3,4,5,6):

  1. It helps in improving digestion.
  2. It helps in lowering blood sugar levels.
  3. It improves insulin sensitivity.
  4. It helps in losing weight.
  5. It is beneficial for reducing belly fat
  6. It helps in lowering cholesterol.
  7. It also helps in improving heart health.

Champagne vinegar:

It can be used as a substitute for rice vinegar. It adds flavour. It can be used in salad dressings. But it costs more than rice vinegar. It has many healthy kinds of vinegar.

Champagne vinegar is a typical food product of France (5).

Benefits of using champagne vinegar:

  1. It helps in improving digestion.
  2. It helps in improving blood pressure.
  3. It improves immunity.

White wine vinegar:

It is the substitute for rice vinegar that is most used in salad dressings. It gives a sweet taste. White wine vinegar is used for vegetable dressings. It has many health benefits.

Whit wine vinegar contains many antioxidant compounds, including gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, syringic acid, and ferulic acid. However, studies show that the antioxidant activity value of persimmon vinegar was higher than white and red wine vinegars (5).

Benefits of using white wine vinegar:

  1. It helps in improving weight loss.
  2. It helps regulating lipid metabolism 
  3. It helps in preventing blood clots, thus it can inhibit platelet aggregation, expand blood vessels, and promote blood circulation.
  4. It increases calcium absorption and retention.

Lemon juice:

Lemon juice can be a substitute for rice vinegar. It may bring a slight change in the flavour. It can be used in salad vegetables and as a quick salad dressing. For males, the intake of 90 mg of vitamin C is recommended daily, and for females, 70 mg of vitamin C  is recommended daily. Lemon juice contains about 33 mg of vitamin C per 100 mL, according to studies (10).

Benefits of lemon juice (9):

  1. It helps in fighting cancer.
  2. It helps in clearing skin.
  3. It helps in easy digestion.
  4. It also helps in preventing kidney stones.

Distilled white vinegar:

A colourless solution of acetic acid and water is produced through distilled vinegar. It can be used as a substitute for rice vinegar. It may bring some change in the flavour but still it is somehow used as a substitute. 

It can also be used for household cleaning.

White distilled vinegars are generally 4% to 7% acetic acid whereas cider and wine vinegars are 5% to 6% acetic acid. Acetic acid, the volatile organic acid that identifies the product as vinegar, is responsible for the tart flavor and pungent, biting odor of vinegars. Other constituents of vinegar include vitamins, mineral salts, amino acids, polyphenolic compounds (eg, gallic acid, catechin, caffeic acid, ferulic acid), and nonvolatile organic acids (eg, tartaric, citric, malic, lactic) (7).

Benefits of distilled white vinegar:

  1. It helps lower blood sugar
  2. It helps in improving cholesterol level
  3. It may help in losing weight
  4. It has antitumor and antioxidant effects
  5. It helps in killing bacteria

White balsamic vinegar:

White balsamic vinegar can be used as a replacement for rice vinegar. It gives light colour and flavour to the dish. The reason that makes it the best substitute for rice vinegar is the cleaner taste. It is used in salad dressing.

It is high in polyphenols and organic acids. It is a good source of antioxidants. 

Balsamic vinegars are usually produced from the juice of white grapes (e.g., Lambrusco, Trebbiano and Spergola) that are cooked to concentrate by 50% before placing them in the series of wooden casks called “batteria” where they undergo both alcoholic and acetic fermentation. The resulting vinegar is then matured in a smaller wooden barrel for many years (10–25 years) to achieve the expected viscosity, sweetness, intensity, flavor and aroma profile (8).

Benefits of white balsamic vinegar:

  1. It helps in improving skin health.
  2. It contains antimicrobial compounds, acetic acid, and antioxidants.
  3. It helps reduce blood sugar.
  4. It lowers cholesterol
  5. It treats wounds
  6. It reduces hypertension
  7. It relieves congestion
  8. It helps in healthy digestion

Lime juice:

Lime juice can be a substitute for rice vinegar. It works the same as lemon juice. It is also a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. If you have an allergy after consuming lime, then you should skip this substitute.

Benefits of lime juice, due to the vitamin C (11):

  1. It helps in improving immunity 
  2. It helps in reducing heart diseases 
  3. It  helps in the cholesterol metabolism
  4. It is helpful in the absorption of iron
  5. It promotes healthy skin.

You can consume lime juice daily because it strengthens the immune system and keeps your body healthy. It helps in shortening the duration of an illness.

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

Can you leave apple cider vinegar on your face overnight?

How to counteract too much vinegar in the potato salad?

Can you be allergic to vinegar?


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for rice vinegar?” and discussed the possible substitutes for rice vinegar.  


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  3. Ali, Zeshan, et al. Potential uses of vinegar as a medicine and related in vivo mechanisms. Int J Vit Nutr Res, 2016, 86, 127-151.
  4. Noh, Young-Hee, et al. In Vitro Inhibitory Effects of Organic Acids Identified in Commercial Vinegars on α-Amylase and α-Glucosidase. Prev Nutr Food Sci, 2020, 25, 319. 
  5. Budak, Nilgün H., et al. Functional properties of vinegar. J food sci, 2014, 79, R757-R764.
  6. Kausar, Sofia, et al. Effect of apple cider vinegar on glycemic control, hyperlipidemia and control on body weight in type 2 diabetes patients. Health Sci, 2019, 8, 59-74.
  7. Johnston, Carol S., and Cindy A. Gaas. Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. Medscape Gen Med, 2006, 8, 61.  
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  9. Jana, Paramita, Pradhan Avinash Sureshrao, and Rojina Swayamsiddha Sahu. Medicinal and Health Benefits of Lemon. J Sci Technol, 2020, 6, 16-20.  
  10. Manuha, D. M., P. A. Paranagama, and B. M. Nageeb. Quantitative analysis of Vitamin C in Lime and Lemon in vitro: Verification of vitamin C on the impairment of obesity. IJASRE, 2019, 5, 157-161.
  11. Naidu, K. Akhilender. Vitamin C in human health and disease is still a mystery? An overview. Nutr j, 2003, 2, 1-10.