What can I substitute for rice wine? (Top 7 alternatives)

In this article, we will answer what can be substituted for rice wine and what are the different types of rice wines.

What can I substitute for rice wine?

White wine vinegar

White wine is brewed to make white wine vinegar that has a slight acidic hint to it. It can be used in the brining to preserve vegetables by pickling or to make the vinaigrette, salads, marinades to braise chicken, etc.

Apple cider vinegar

Slightly acidic with a mild apple flavor can be used as an alternative to rice wine to make sashimi and marinades.

Citrus juice

To substitute the acidity of rice wine, add lemon juice or lime juice to your dips, sauces, or salad dressings.

Champagne vinegar

Brewing champagne results in the formation of champagne vinegar with a delicate flavor. It is a perfect substitute for rice wine to make seafood, the Vinaigrette, Hollandaise, marinades, and salad dressings.

Seasoned rice vinegar

As the name suggests, it is made by seasoning rice vinegar with salt and sugar. 

Other alternatives

You can also use chicken broth, apple juice, and water. Use lemon to neutralize the sweetness of the apple.

Sherry vinegar

It is a wine vinegar made from dry sherry. It makes for a perfect substitute for sauces, dips, and marinades and imparts a sweet and nut-like flavor.

Other FAQs about Rice which you may be interested in.

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What is rice wine?

Rice wine is a fermented beverage with an alcohol level of 18-20% ABV( Alcohol By Volume) almost the same as wine, hence called ‘Rice Wine’ in the western world. During fermentation, bacterial cultures are used to convert rice starch into sugars and alcohol. Rice wine is a well known alcoholic beverage across entire East Asia.

Rice wine is called ‘Nihonshu’ in japan and is a part of Japanese tradition. It is made by fermenting polished rice with koji. In Korea, rice wine takes the name of cheongju or yakju and has a clear and refined appearance. In China, rice wine is popular by the name of mijiu and is made by brewing glutinous rice and tastes sweet. The alcohol content is somewhere between 15-20%. 

What are the different types of rice wine?

Apart from Korea, Japan, and china, rice wine is a very admired drink in Southeast Asia and parts of India. It is called apo/apong in India, Tapuy in the Philippines, Ssombai in Cambodia, and Ara in Bhutan where is also made by fermenting millet and corn. Some other rice wines that are native to Asian countries are discussed below:

Tapai of Indonesia

Also called brem, this rice wine can also be eaten with the rice and is often made by fermenting tapioca and pineapple with cinnamon and tobacco flavors.

Lao-Lao of Laos

Lao-Lao is a popular rice wine of Laos and tastes fermented with a hint of sweetness.

Rượu cần of Vietnam

Also called tube wine because it is drunk with the help of a bamboo stick. This high alcohol rice wine takes a month to brew and is served in earthenware as a part of the tradition.

How to make rice wine at home?

  • Steam cook 2 cups of rice. It is recommended to use glutinous rice as it adds more flavor to the wine.
  • Spread the rice in a pan to let it cool to about 29 degrees celsius.
  • Press your yeast into a fine powder with the help of pestle and mortar or put it in the plastic bag and beat it lightly until crushed.
  • Sprinkle and mix the yeast powder into the steamed rice.
  • Put the rice in a sterilized mason jar or an airtight container. Keep at 37.7 degrees celsius for a month at least to avoid a murky wine.
  • Rice wine starts settling at the bottom of the container. Strain your rice to get the clear juice.
  • Refrigerate your rice wine and enjoy.

What does rice wine go with?

  • Add rice wine to steam-cooked or stir-fried chicken. Add your favorite herbs, spices, and sauces. Serve with noodles or rice.
  • Make brownies by substituting oil and flour for rice wine.
  • Use it to make cucumber and tomato pickle. Add vinegar for acidity and spices and herbs according to your preference.
  • Add it along with soya sauce to your soft boiled eggs.
  • Add it to your noodle soup or cook your prawns in rice wine.
  • Boil your rice in rice wine and serve with vegetables or kimchi.
  • Add it to your curries or sauces.
  • Cook arborio rice in broth and wine to make a creamy risotto. Serve with stir-fried shallots and finish off by topping it with parmesan cheese.
  • Use rice wine as a marinade for shrimp to make Chau Fan.


In this article, we answered what can be substituted for rice wine and what are the different types of rice wines.