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Can I Use Rice Vinegar Instead of White Vinegar?

In our household, white vinegar tends to run out much faster than other types. Sometimes I start to cook a dish and realize all I have is rice vinegar. So, is it okay to substitute rice vinegar for white?

Rice vinegar can be substituted for white vinegar in most cooking applications. It should be noted that rice vinegar is sweeter than white vinegar and has a mellower acidity, so your dish’s flavor will be altered somewhat.

As a cleaning product, rice vinegar is almost as effective as white vinegar. Due to its higher acidity, white vinegar is still the go-to vinegar of choice for cleaning purposes. Here is the brand that I recommend, found on Amazon.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the differences and explore potential alternative substitutes.

What Is the Difference Between Rice Vinegar and White Vinegar?

White and Rice Vinegar Side By Side

Rice vinegar, also known as rice wine vinegar, has a pleasing sweetness with a mellow kick of acidity. It is often used in Asian dishes and is very complementary to stir-fried vegetables and savory flavors. It’s an ingredient worth learning how to use to liven up your cooking and tantalize the taste buds.

In sharp contrast, white vinegar has a noticeably more jarring flavor profile than any other vinegar. It’s harsh and abrasive and is only ever used in the culinary realm sparingly. Some Vietnamese and Thai dishes call for white vinegar as a marinading agent. It can also be a suitable pickling agent, but due to its overwhelming flavor, it’s rarely used for cooking.

You can use a small splash of white vinegar to add an acidic punch to a dish, but most of the time, a more aesthetically pleasing vinegar is called for. As such, white vinegar is primarily used as a cleaning agent, where it has a plethora of practical household uses.

What Can I Substitute for White Vinegar?

For cooking purposes, any other vinegar can be replaced with white vinegar, but each will have a drastically different flavor profile with an equally corresponding effect on your dish.

White vinegar on its own has little flavor beyond its intense sour acidity. Substituting vinegar with red wine vinegar will add a fruity sweetness to your dish. If you’re marinating a fish, this might be welcome, but you might not enjoy the added flavor if you are making coleslaw.

Here is a brief list of substitutes for white vinegar used for cooking that can be swapped at a ratio of 1:1 :

  1. Lemon Juice
  2. Lime Juice
  3. Malt Vinegar
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Is Rice Vinegar the Same as White Vinegar for Cleaning?

A Hand Holding a Rice Vinegar Bottle

Rice vinegar is a suitable cleaning agent in a similar way that white vinegar is. Just keep in mind that white distilled vinegar is the reigning king of cleaning vinegar. It has a higher acidity, which results in it being more equipped to cut through dirt and grime. It also excels as a cleaning product because it leaves behind zero residues.

If you are looking for a substitute for white vinegar as a cleaning agent, it’s essential to stick to light-colored vinegar. Dark vinegar like balsamic and red wine vinegar will leave behind a sticky residue and could even stain porous or wood surfaces.

Rice vinegar, cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar can all be substituted for cleaning. Add equal parts vinegar to water in a spray bottle, and you are good to go.

That being said, rice vinegar also has tremendous cleaning potential. It does contain a slight bit of sugary sweetness, so there is the potential for it to leave behind a very slight residue. This unwanted effect can be minimized by diluting the rice vinegar in water before it’s used.

Which Vinegar Is Best for Cleaning?

As I mentioned a bit ago, distilled white vinegar is the best vinegar for cleaning purposes. It has the highest acidity of any other vinegar and doesn’t contain a coloring agent, sugars, or any other extra ingredients that will leave behind a residue. It is the purest form of vinegar.

White vinegar contains the highest concentration of acetic acid, which is the chemical that cuts through grease and soap scum and will leave your kitchen or bathroom sparkling like brand new. It evaporates clean and is relatively safe to use on most surfaces.

Is Rice Vinegar the Same as Rice Wine Vinegar?

Rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are the same exact product. As they are synonyms, they are both made by fermenting the sugars in rice into alcohol and then further fermenting this alcohol into vinegar, which is acetic acid. If you see either listed on an ingredient list or recipe, just know that they are one and the same.

Final Thoughts

If you have experimented with trying different types of vinegar in your dishes, let me know how they turned out in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, check out What Is a Substitute for Vinegar? | Choosing an Alternative.