Can You Use Rice Vinegar Instead of White Vinegar

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Has this ever happened to you?  You have all the ingredients prepped to make a new recipe and open the cabinet to grab the bottle of white vinegar, only to find that it is empty.  You don’t have time to run to the store before you need to start cooking, so you start to panic.  Behind the empty bottle of white vinegar, you see some rice vinegar.  Is this your saving grace?  Can you use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar?  This is exactly the question I’m going to answer today, so keep reading! 

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Empty Glass Bottle

Rice Vinegar vs White Vinegar

What is the difference between rice vinegar and vinegar?  Let’s start by answering this question first, then we can discuss whether rice vinegar is a good substitute for white vinegar.

Just as there are some key white vinegar vs white wine vinegar differences, there are also some important distinctions between white vinegar and rice vinegar.

Let’s start by taking a look at rice vinegar.  Rice vinegar is a bit sweet with a little acidity to it.  Rice vinegar is also called rice wine vinegar.  So, what is rice vinegar used for most often?  Many Asian stir-fry dishes use rice vinegar.  The sweet flavor, which is similar to that of apple cider vinegar, adds a nice touch to these dishes.

As for white vinegar, its taste is much stronger than rice vinegar.  In fact, white vinegar is rarely used for cooking due to how overpowering the flavor can be.  You may see white vinegar used for picking or in a few Vietnamese or Thai recipes where it is called for to marinade different ingredients.  However, aside from these uses, you’re unlikely to find many recipes that call for white vinegar.  

One of the primary uses for white vinegar is as a cleaner.  The higher acidity of white vinegar coupled with the fact that it is colorless can make white vinegar a powerful tool to add to your cleaning arsenal.

Homemade citrus peel & vinegar multi-purpose cleaner

Is rice vinegar the same as white vinegar for cooking?

Can you use rice vinegar as regular vinegar for cooking?  Yes, you can substitute rice vinegar for white vinegar without any detrimental effects to your recipe.  However, just be aware that rice vinegar is sweeter than white vinegar.  This means that your dish may taste a little different than it would have when cooked with white vinegar.  Alternatively, you may also consider substituting apple cider vinegar for white vinegar in a recipe.

As we shared above, there aren’t too many recipes that call for white vinegar.  What if your recipe calls for rice vinegar and you only have white vinegar?  Could you substitute the white vinegar for the rice vinegar?

While the answer is technically yes, you may not want to make this substitution.  Remember that white vinegar is very strong and acidic.  It also doesn’t have the sweeter notes that rice vinegar has.  Making this substitution may have a negative impact on the way your dish tastes.

What can be substituted for white vinegar?

Can you use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar for pickling?

Yes, you can use rice vinegar for pickling if you don’t have white vinegar available.

Can I use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar for buttermilk?

Yes, you can use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar to make buttermilk.  While white vinegar is best, other vinegars (or even lemon juice) that have a comparable level of acidity to white vinegar will work.

Can you use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar in deviled eggs?

While most deviled egg recipes call for either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, you may only have rice vinegar on hand.  So, can you use rice vinegar for deviled eggs?  Yes, you can replace the vinegar in the recipe with rice vinegar.  However, remember that rice vinegar is sweeter and not as tangy as white vinegar, so it may slightly alter the taste of the eggs.

In fact, you could even make deviled eggs without any vinegar.  If you omit the vinegar, the eggs may not be as tangy as you’re used to.  Adding some additional mustard or even a little lemon juice can help bump up the flavor when vinegar isn’t available.

devilled eggs

Can you use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar for cleaning?

Like we mentioned above, one of the main uses of white vinegar is for cleaning.  So, can you use rice vinegar for cleaning instead?  You can use rice vinegar to clean, but it won’t perform as well as white vinegar.

Rice vinegar isn’t as acidic as white vinegar and may leave behind a bit of a residue.  So, while you could reach for the rice vinegar in a pinch, it would be best to grab a new bottle of white vinegar the next time you’re at the grocery store.

What can I use instead of white vinegar?

What can be substituted for white vinegar?  Really, you can use pretty much any other vinegar in place of the white vinegar that a recipe calls for.  Just bear in mind that each type of vinegar has its own distinct flavor.  This means that the taste of your recipe could change a lot or a little, depending on your choice.  

If you don’t have white vinegar for a recipe, here are a few substitutions you can try:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Malt vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • White wine

Final Word:  Rice Vinegar vs White Vinegar

With so many different types of vinegar, one is bound to have questions.  Does white wine vinegar have alcohol?  How is vinegar made?  And, of course, the question we addressed today:  can you use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar? 

As a quick recap, you can substitute rice vinegar for white vinegar, as long as you’re OK with the dish tasting a bit sweeter or milder.  What you probably don’t want to do is substitute white vinegar for rice vinegar, as it may overpower your dish and have a negative impact on the taste.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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