Rice Wine Vinegar

See also vinegar.

 Rice wine vinegar (also called “rice vinegar”) has many uses, but is most commonly an addition to Asian dishes. It provides a complementary balance to fish sauces, chile oils, and sweet flavorings such as honey.

Use this type of vinegar for its mildness, which is significant compared to those made from white or red wine.


Rice wine vinegar is available in red, black, and white, which can be clear or amber in color. The latter (white) is the most readily available. Black vinegar is popular with Chinese cooks for stir-frying.

All are made from fermented rice wine and are either seasoned (usually with a sweetener) or unseasoned. Seasoned flavorings include garlicred pepper flakes, basil, and oregano.

The Japanese use a much lighter version. Mirin is one type that is popular for sushi dishes.

Korean brands are the strongest in flavor.

Buying Tips

There is often confusion between rice wine and rice wine vinegar. The two should not be used interchangeably. Remember that vinegar is fermented and will spoil a recipe that requires wine.

Storage Tips

It will keep about one year unopened in the pantry. Once opened, use it within six months.

Usage Tips

  • With its light taste, you can add to salads or sprinkle across cooked vegetables.
  • Use it in thickening sauces for such dishes as Szechwan Beef and Pork Lo Mein.
  • Blend oil and rice wine vinegar for salad dressings.
  • Because of a low acid content, do not use for pickling.

Substitution Tips

Any light, white flavored vinegar can be interchanged, with the exception of regular distilled vinegar.

Try one of our favorite rice wine vinegar recipes:
Tiem Shuen Gee Yok (Sweet and Sour Pork)
Japanese Steakhouse style Zucchini and Onions
Marinated Tuna #1