Rice Wine Substitutes to Use

Published Categorized as Ingredients, Journal Tagged

Rice wine is a fantastic ingredient in many Asian recipes. Even though rice wine is featured more in Asian cooking, it is commonly used across lots of different cuisines. This is because rice wine is a unique ingredient that can provide a rich taste. If you don’t have rice wine on hand, but still want to make a recipe that calls for it, finding the right substitute for your dish may take a few trial and error attempts. 

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To find the perfect rice wine substitute, you will need to find an ingredient that has the same level of acidity, with a similar clean fresh flavor and sweetness. 

Fortunately, there are several ingredients that you can use to replace rice wine. You can use many alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes. The substitute you choose really depends on your preference. In this article, we will explore the rice wine substitute options. We’ll also share more information about which substitute is best for different types of recipes.

bottle of rice wine with two cups

Table of Contents

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Rice Wine Vinegar or Rice Wine?

If you don’t have rice wine, and want to make a recipe that calls for it, don’t panic. There are plenty of substitutes that you can use to replace rice wine vinegar. You may even have many of these substitutes in your pantry or refrigerator right now. Some of the substitutes do have an alcohol content, and some substitutes are non-alcoholic substitutes. 

Here is a list of substitutes you can use to replace rice wine vinegar:

White Wine

This substitute does contain a high alcohol content. If you do not want alcohol in your meal, then you should avoid it.

In our opinion, white wine is the best substitute for rice wine. White wine has the same color and similar flavor as rice wine. This means that you can use it in the same ratio as you would have used rice wine. This makes cooking your recipes super simple and there is no added time on your recipe to make measurement conversions.

However, white wine has a higher alcohol content than rice wine, which can impact the overall dish.

white wine

Apple Juice

This alternative is a non-alcoholic substitute, making it a good option for those cooking for children or anyone who does not want to consume alcohol.

Apple juice is a great replacement for all kinds of different types of rice wine. It has an acidic taste while also being overall sweet. These can help your food have a rich overall flavor. If you decide to use apple juice as a replacement for rice wine, keep the same ratio as you would use the wine.

Mott's 100 percent Original Apple Juice, 64 fl oz bottles (Pack of 8)
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Pale Dry Sherry

This substitute does contain a high alcohol content, so it may not be the best option for everyone.

Using pale dry sherry will provide your meal with a unique flavor that is similar to rice wine. Dry pale sherry is suitable for both hot dishes and cold dishes. The only difference you may notice between using pale dry sherry and rice wine is that pale dry sherry is not as sweet as rice wine.

To work around this, you can add sugar to your pale dry sherry to sweeten up the overall dish. If you would like to replace rice wine with pale dry sherry in your dish, then you can use the same amount of pale dry sherry as you would use rice wine. We would recommend that for every teaspoon of pale dry sherry you add, you can add half a teaspoon of sugar or honey.

Rice Wine Substitutes To Use

Gin

Gin is another substitute for rice wine that has a higher alcohol content.

Gin’s taste is similar to that of rice wine. This means you may not even be able to tell that substitutions were made to your recipe. Gin can be an ideal substitute for rice wine when making sauces, dressings, or cooking fish or beef recipes.

When substituting gin for rice wine, use the same amount of gin based on how much rice wine the recipe calls for.

Gin

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a non-alcoholic substitute and therefore safe to consume for anyone that would like to.

White vinegar is similar to rice wine as it has the same color as rice wine. Even though white vinegar can make a great substitute for rice wine, it does have a higher level of acidity. Therefore, it can taste quite sharp.

If you do want to replace rice wine with white vinegar, we would recommend using less white vinegar than you would have used rice wine. Start with about half of what the recipe calls for. Using less white vinegar can save your dish from becoming overly acidic. White vinegar is also not sweet like rice wine. Be sure to add a little sugar or another sweetener to help balance the flavors.

Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar, 5% Acidity, 16 Fl Ounce (1 Pint)
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Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another non-alcoholic substitute for rice wine that you may want to try.

Like rice wine, lemon juice is acidic. However, lemon juice is not sweet like rice wine, so it may make your dish taste tarter than you’d like. To counteract the tartness, be sure to add in some sugar, honey, or another sweetener. You will also want to use less lemon juice than the recipe calls for – about half as much.

Lucy’s Family Owned - Lemon Juice, 32 oz. Bottle (Pack of 2)
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Grape Juice

If you’re looking for more non-alcoholic rice wine substitutes, grape juice is another option to consider.

Grape juice – particularly white grape juice – is a great replacement for rice wine as it is both fruity and sweet. It does have a lower level of acidity compared to rice wine but nevertheless can taste very similar to rice wine. Grape juice is a suitable substitute for a variety of dishes, including marinates, stews, chicken, fish, and vegetable entrées.

Ocean Spray, Unsweetened 100% Pure White Grapefruit Juice, 32 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 8)
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Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock, another non-alcoholic option, may also work as a rice wine substitute.

Despite being very different from rice wine in terms of texture, acidity and color, it is a suitable substitute for soup or stew recipes that call for rice wine.

Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Stock, 32 fl oz (Pack of 12)
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Chicken Stock

Like vegetable stock, chicken stock’s texture, acidity, and color are also quite different from rice wine. However, it can also make a good substitute for rice wine when you’re making soups, stews, and marinades.

You may want to add a little sweetener if you substitute chicken stock for rice wine.

Kitchen Basics UnSalted Stock, Chicken, 32 Ounce (Pack of 12)
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What Can I Use Instead Of Rice Wine Or Mirin?

Japanese mirin is a version of rice wine. It is a sweet version of Japanese sake and has a lower alcohol percentage. Even though mirin has a lower alcohol content, it also has a higher sugar content, making it a very sweet rice wine. 

Using dry sherry or a sweet white wine would be a great replacement for mirin regarding flavor, even though they have higher alcohol content compared to mirin. If neither dry sherry nor sweet white wine are available, consider trying one of the other rice wine substitutes shared above. You may just want to add a little sweetener to the dish to replicate the sweeter taste of mirin.

mirin

Can I Use White Vinegar Instead Of Rice Wine?

The quick answer is yes! White vinegar is a suitable substitute for rice wine, and it is non-alcoholic too.

Many rice wine substitutes involve ingredients that have high amounts of alcohol but you can achieve the same taste with white vinegar. White vinegar also has the same color as rice wine, meaning it will give your food the same look once it has been cooked.

There are a few differences that white vinegar will impart on your dish if you use it instead of rice wine. These can be avoided or worked around.

White vinegar has a higher level of acidity than rice wine. Therefore, you will want to use less of the white vinegar to make sure that your food does not taste too acidic.

White vinegar is also not as sweet as rice wine. This can easily be fixed by adding either a sweetener or a type of natural sugar to make sure that you balance the flavors.

Is Rice Wine The Same As Vinegar?

No, there is a difference between rice wine and rice vinegar. Both rice wine and rice vinegar are made from the same ingredient, which is fermented rice. Although they are made from the same ingredient, when making rice vinegar (sometimes called rice wine vinegar) additional processing takes place to remove the alcohol and make acetic acid.

This additional processing means that rice wine and rice wine vinegar are very different. They have distinct flavors and offer different applications when cooking.

While you can drink rice wine or use it when cooking a variety of dishes, the same is not true for rice vinegar. Rice vinegar is best suited for marinades, dressings, sauces, and sushi. 

On occasion, rice vinegar is referred to as rice wine vinegar. However, this does not mean that rice wine vinegar is wine, it is still vinegar but just described in a different way. Rice wine and rice wine vinegar should not be used interchangeably or as a substitute for one another.

korean rice wine

Can You Replace Rice Wine Vinegar With Balsamic?

Yes, balsamic vinegar is a great replacement for rice wine vinegar.

If you choose to substitute rice wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar, then we would recommend that you choose to use white balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar has a lighter color and also a lighter flavor than darker types of balsamic vinegar.

The reason that the color and flavor of white balsamic vinegar is lighter is that the grape sugars do not caramelize in the production process. White balsamic vinegar is a great substitute for rice wine vinegar as it has a clean taste and works well with all kinds of dishes such as salads and sides.

Colavita White Balsamic Vinegar, 2 Count
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There Are Plenty Of Rice Wine Substitutes You Can Use – Alcoholic Or Non-Alcoholic

In our opinion, the best rice wine substitute to use is white wine. White wine has the same color and a similar taste to rice wine. You can use it in the same ratio as you would have used rice wine. If you do not have white wine on hand, or are looking for a non-alcoholic substitute, then apple juice would be our second suggestion.

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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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