15 Out Of The World Rice Wine Substitute for Cooking

Cooking with alcohol has a long history in various cuisines like French, Chinese, Japanese, and many more. Chefs and food experts use alcohol to enhance the flavor and aroma of a dish.

Rice wines unique and exciting flavors can definitely transform the quality of a dish. But what if its not available to you? Here are some alternatives you can consider.

  1. Dry Sherry
  2. White Wine
  3. Gin
  4. Apple Juice
  5. White Grape Juice
  6. Lemon (or Lime) Juice
  7. White Vinegar
  8. Rice Vinegar
  9. Balsamic Vinegar

If you are still unable to find the alternatives, read on to find out about the full comprehensive list of substitutes you can use for rice wine.

15 Best Substitute For Rice Wine

Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage with a long culinary history. It is produced by fermenting rice starch into sugars, which makes it taste sweet and a little acidic.

Lucky for you, there are so many alternatives to rice wine. This article enumerates the substitutes you might have in your pantry, including when and how to use them.

Dry Sherry

Dry sherry is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting grapes and then fortifying them with brandy. The extra fortification of the sherry imparts unique flavors into it while increasing the alcohol content.

Generally, dry sherry has a nutty flavor with a tinge of saltiness and sweetness blended into it.

This is one of the most recommended substitutes to rice wine because its taste is close to rice wine, but not as sweet. So, if your dish needs extra sweetness, you can add a spoonful of sugar for every tablespoon of dry sherry.

You need not worry about the volume because dry sherry is relatively mild. Adding as much as the rice wine will not harm the taste of your dish.

Dry sherry is best used as a rice wine alternative to sauces and marinades.

White Wine

This beverage has a characteristic pale yellow to yellow gold appearance because it is prepared by fermenting the non-colored pulp of the grapefruit.

White wine is regarded as one of the best substitutes for rice wine. One of the main reasons is its rich fruity flavors that are close to the profile of rice wine.

Like the rice wine, the white wine has balanced acidic and sweet flavors. But do not expect it to contribute so much to the sweetness department because it only contains 1% sugar.

Second, it has less alcohol concentration than rice wine. Hence, you can add the same amount as the rice wine in your recipe without worrying about the bitter taste.

Lastly, white wine is a good alternative because of its complex aromatic profile that makes the dish more appetizing.

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White wine is best used as a rice wine alternative in dishes with meat and seafood as main ingredients.


If you love freaky Fridays, then you are definitely familiar with gin. This alcoholic beverage is originally a medicinal tonic until it became a popular alcoholic drink.

Surprisingly, gin makes a good alternative to rice wine because of its flavor profile, appearance, and even alcoholic content.

The gin adds a citrusy flavor to a dish. You can also expect more sweetness from the alcohol than rice wine.

Moreover, gin can also add some bitterness to your dish, so be careful. But if you want to make your gin taste a lot like rice wine, you can always add some spices.

As for the alcohol content, gin has 40% alcohol content, which is perfect for tenderizing meat and seafood. Hence, gin makes a good alternative to rice wine in meat and seafood dishes.

Lastly, since gin and rice wine have similar colors, you need not worry about the color change of the dish. Depending on your preference, you can add the same volumes of gin as rice wine.

Apple Juice

Apple juice is one of the most widely used non-alcoholic alternatives to a spectrum of wines used in cooking. Red wine, white wine, and rice wine are among them.

Apple juice has a good balance of acidic and sweet flavors that enrich the overall taste of any dish. But take note that there is quite a noticeable difference between the flavor profiles of rice wine and apple juice.

Flavor-wise, you might need to add a little bit of vinegar to the juice to achieve the wines acidity. You should also anticipate some fruitiness.

On another note, apple juice is a good replacement in marinades, dressing, and stir-fry recipes. Depending on your preference, you can use the same volume of apple juice as rice wine.

White Grape Juice


White grapefruit juice is another non-alcoholic beverage that makes a good substitute for rice wine. Like rice wine, the juice has a good balance of sweetness and sourness into it.

But if your dish requires a little more tartness, you can add either rice or vinegar to achieve the acidity of rice wine.

Moreover, white grape juice can also improve the texture and mouthfeel of any dish. It can tenderize any meat, be it beef, pork, chicken, or fish. Not only that, but the juice can also help in enriching the flavors of vegetables in your dish.

Ideally, white grapefruit juice is a well-recommended substitute to stir-fried recipes, salad dressings, marinades, and stews.

Lemon (or Lime) Juice

If your options are short, check your fridge for some lemons or limes. Their juice may also be used in place of rice wine.

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Lemon juice (or lime juice) can give your dish tart and acidic flavors like rice wine. However, it does not have any sweetness in it. So, better that you add some sugar or honey to your dish to balance the lemons sourness.

Its best recommended to use only one-half cup of lemon juice for every cup of rice wine or even less. Make sure to taste every addition of the juice to avoid too much tartness.

White Vinegar


If your dish is looking for some tartness and acidity, white vinegar can be a quick fix in the absence of rice wine.

However, keep in mind that white vinegar has no sweetness to impart to your dish, unlike rice wine. So, better if you can use some sweeteners like sugar or honey to cut through its sharp acidity.

Because of this, it is highly recommended to only use half (or less) of the required volume of rice wine if using white vinegar in its place.

White vinegar is an excellent addition to soups, stews, and marinades.

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is a close relative (but not too close) of rice wine. It is very ubiquitous in Asian cuisines, especially in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines. This vinegar is produced by fermenting the rice using acid-producing bacteria.

Rice vinegar is among the mildest kinds of vinegar you can buy in the market. It is often considered as the middle ground between rice wine and white vinegar. It has savory, sweet, and mild acidic flavors that can complement any recipe.

In lieu of rice wine, a dash of rice vinegar works well with salads, soups, stews, sauces, dressings, and marinades.

Balsamic Vinegar


Balsamic vinegar is a special type of vinegar that is produced from aged grapes. This gives it a complex and rich blend of flavors.

Like rice wine, balsamic vinegar has a well-balanced sweetness and acidity in it. It can also add deep umami flavor into your dish without needing to add salt, sugar, and spices.

Balsamic vinegar is best used in salad dressings and marinades. Although, unlike rice wine, balsamic vinegar may not be as good as a deodorizer and meat tenderizer.

Apple Cider Vinegar


Like white vinegar, apple cider vinegar has more acetic acid than a rice wine. This gives it very acidic, tarty, and sour flavors.

In the absence of rice wine, apple cider vinegar can be a workable alternative. This is best recommended if the recipe asks for more acidity than sweetness. The cider also gives the dish a crisper and cleaner taste in the mouth.

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Be wary of using cider vinegar. Add little amounts and keep tasting the dish to avoid too much tartness. You can also mix it with some sweeteners like sugar, honey, or syrups.

Champagne Vinegar


Popular for its dandy taste, champagne vinegar also makes for a great substitute for rice wine. It gives your dish mild acidity, sweetness, and lush flavors.

Due to the mildness of champagne vinegar, you can add it to a dish in the same volume as the rice wine in your recipe. But make sure to taste the dish every time so as to prevent the champagne vinegar from overpowering other flavors in your recipe.

Vegetable Stock

In the absence of rice wine, you can always try traditional alternatives like vegetable stock. This is usually prepared by boiling together onions, carrots, celery stalks, garlic, herbs, and other spices.

The great thing about vegetable stock is that you can prepare it depending on your preferences. You can make it sweeter or mildly tarty.

Like rice wine, vegetable stock imparts rich and deeper flavors into the dish. But take note that there is a major difference in the flavor profiles of the rice wine and vegetable stock.

It is recommended to add vegetable stock at twice the volume of the required rice wine.

Chicken Stock


True enough, some find vegetable stock quite lacking in the flavor department. As a solution to this dilemma, you can always go back to another kitchen staple chicken stock.

Chicken stock is often prepared by bringing chicken bones (or meat) and some vegetables like celery, onion, garlic, carrot into a gentle boil. You can also add egg white, salt, and other spices to deepen the flavor of the stock.

Compared to vegetable stock, chicken stock tastes sweeter and richer, quite similar to rice wines flavor profile. However, do not expect any acidity from the chicken stock because it has none to very little tart flavors. So if your recipe asks for some acidity, you can add wine, vinegar, or fruit juice.

In soups and stews, chicken stock is an excellent substitute for rice wine.

Japanese Sake

Rice is born in water and must die in wine.


Japanese sake is synonymously referred to as rice wine. But they have differences in flavor and texture. So, in absence of your regular rice wine ingredient, you can always pick up Japanese sake as a good alternative.

Japanese sake, like rice wine, has a slightly sweet and tarty flavor. This gives the dish a crisp and smooth finish. You can use the sake in marinades and sauces in the same volumes as rice wine.


What can I use instead of rice wine for cooking?

Rice wine is great for cooking as well as drinking. The most popular varieties include huangjiu, mirin, and sake. If you’ve run out or are looking for an alternative, try swapping for equal amounts of dry sherry, white wine, dry vermouth, or white grape juice.

Can I leave out rice wine in a recipe?

A regular dry white wine for cooking is definitely not the same as a traditional Shaoxing wine, but it could add a nice subtle alcoholic flavor to a dish—it will work as a rice wine substitute in a pinch. Just be sure to use a dry white wine and not a sweet one.

What can I use instead of Korean rice wine for cooking?

pale dry sherry, Gin or dry white wine. If unavailable, a good quality pale dry sherry makes an acceptable substitute. Dry sherry is preferable to sake (the Japanese rice wine) which has a sweeter flavor than Korean rice wines.

What can I substitute for 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar?

Hands down, the best substitute for rice vinegar is apple cider vinegar: It’s mild, with a faint apple flavor that won’t overpower (though when used for pickling, the apple flavor will be much more pronounced). You can actually use it as a sub for most vinegars.

Can I use white vinegar instead of rice wine?

White wine vinegar may make a suitable substitute for rice vinegar, especially in salad dressings. Rice vinegar has a sweeter taste, so adding a quarter teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon of vinegar that someone is swapping out may suit some recipes.

Can you use white wine vinegar instead of Chinese rice wine?

Vinegar of White Wine

It also shares a similar flavor profile to rice vinegar, so you can easily swap it into most recipes in a pinch. However, because white wine vinegar is not quite as sweet as rice vinegar, you may want to add a bit of sugar to help match the flavor.

What is the purpose of rice wine in cooking?

Just like using wine in Western dishes, Chinese rice wine adds depth and flavor complexity to dishes. It’s used frequently in marinades and sauces, and to deglaze intensely hot woks during the stir-frying process.

Can I use lemon juice instead of rice wine?

As a last resort, you may also use lemon juice in certain recipes. Please note that because it’s much more acidic and tart than any type of rice wine, it’s not a good direct substitute. Nevertheless, lemon juice, with its acidic body, is still a suitable replacement especially if it’s mixed with sweeteners.

What is a substitute for Chinese cooking wine?

Chinese Cooking Wine are as follows: Dry sherry – that’s right, just every day cheap and cheerful dry sherry; Mirin – a Japanese sweet cooking wine. If you use this, omit or reduce sugar called for in the recipe because Mirin is much sweeter than Chinese Cooking Wine.The best substitutes for Shaoxing Wine

What is the closest vinegar to rice wine?

The closest match to rice vinegar’s sweet-to-sour ratio is apple cider vinegar. Both are more mild and share a subtle sweetness. Unsurprisingly, apple cider vinegar does have a hint of apple flavor, but it’s quite subtle and translates to some dishes more than others, like pickling recipes for example.

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