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Rice Vinegar vs. White Vinegar: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 20, 2024
Rice vinegar, made from fermented rice, is mild and sweet, while white vinegar, made from grain-based ethanol, is stronger and more acidic.

Key Differences

Rice vinegar is made from fermented rice and is a staple in Asian cuisine. White vinegar, also known as distilled vinegar, is produced from grain-based ethanol or acetic acid diluted with water.
Rice vinegar has a mild, slightly sweet taste, making it suitable for delicate dishes. White vinegar is more acidic and has a sharper, stronger taste, often used for pickling and cleaning.
Rice vinegar is commonly used in sushi, salad dressings, and marinades in Asian cooking. White vinegar is versatile, used in a variety of cuisines for pickling, baking, and as a natural cleaning agent.
The acidity of rice vinegar is lower compared to white vinegar, which makes it less harsh. White vinegar typically has a higher level of acidity, contributing to its strong flavor and cleaning efficacy.
Rice vinegar is integral to many traditional Asian dishes and culinary practices. White vinegar, being more generic, is widely used globally in both culinary and non-culinary contexts.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredient

Fermented rice
Grain-based ethanol or acetic acid


Mild, slightly sweet
Sharp, strong, and acidic

Common Uses

Sushi, salad dressings, marinades
Pickling, baking, cleaning


Lower acidity
Higher acidity

Cultural Relevance

Prominent in Asian cuisine
Used globally in various applications

Rice Vinegar and White Vinegar Definitions

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is often used in marinades, pickles, and salad dressings.
A splash of rice vinegar in the marinade tenderized the chicken while adding flavor.

White Vinegar

It's a staple ingredient in many Western cuisines and household cleaning.
A mixture of white vinegar and water made an effective natural window cleaner.

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is a mild vinegar made from fermented rice.
She used rice vinegar to enhance the flavor of her homemade sushi rolls.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is often used in baking, salad dressings, and as a meat tenderizer.
A dash of white vinegar in the cake batter helped to make it light and fluffy.

Rice Vinegar

It's known for its subtle sweetness and low acidity.
Rice vinegar added a delicate balance to the Asian-inspired salad dressing.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is commonly used for pickling vegetables due to its high acidity.
For crisp pickles, she always relied on white vinegar for its preserving qualities.

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is essential in many Asian dishes, especially Japanese cuisine.
Rice vinegar is used to season sushi rice, giving it its characteristic taste.

White Vinegar

It's known for its strong flavor and versatility in cooking and cleaning.
White vinegar was her go-to for removing tough stains in the kitchen.

Rice Vinegar

This vinegar comes in various types, including white, red, and black rice vinegar.
For the stir-fry sauce, she preferred using black rice vinegar for its depth of flavor.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a clear, highly acidic vinegar made from grain-based ethanol.
He used white vinegar to create a quick and easy homemade pickle.


What is white vinegar?

White vinegar is a clear, strong, and highly acidic vinegar made from grain-based ethanol or acetic acid.

Is rice vinegar sweeter than white vinegar?

Yes, rice vinegar is generally sweeter and milder compared to the sharp taste of white vinegar.

What is rice vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a mild, slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice, often used in Asian cuisine.

What types of rice vinegar are there?

There are several types of rice vinegar, including white, red, and black, each with its unique flavor.

How is rice vinegar used in cooking?

Rice vinegar is used in sushi, salad dressings, marinades, and various Asian dishes for its mild flavor.

Can white vinegar be used for cleaning?

Yes, white vinegar is a popular natural cleaning agent due to its high acidity.

Is white vinegar good for pickling?

Yes, white vinegar's high acidity makes it ideal for pickling vegetables.

What is the acidity level of white vinegar?

White vinegar typically has an acidity level of about 5-7%.

What are the main uses of white vinegar?

White vinegar is used for pickling, cleaning, baking, and in various culinary applications.

Can rice vinegar replace white vinegar in recipes?

Rice vinegar can replace white vinegar in some recipes, but the flavor profile will be milder and sweeter.

What cuisine is rice vinegar most associated with?

Rice vinegar is most commonly associated with Asian, particularly Japanese, cuisine.

Can I clean with rice vinegar?

While possible, rice vinegar is less effective for cleaning compared to the stronger white vinegar.

Can white vinegar be used as a meat tenderizer?

Yes, the acidity of white vinegar makes it effective for tenderizing meat.

How is rice vinegar made?

Rice vinegar is made by fermenting rice or rice wine into vinegar.

Can rice vinegar help in sushi rice preparation?

Yes, rice vinegar is essential in preparing sushi rice, giving it the characteristic flavor.

What's the difference in health benefits between rice and white vinegar?

Rice vinegar is known for its mildness and is a healthier option for those sensitive to strong acids, while white vinegar is beneficial for its antimicrobial properties.

Is white vinegar used in baking?

Yes, white vinegar is often used in baking to react with baking soda for leavening.

Is rice vinegar suitable for salad dressings?

Yes, rice vinegar is excellent for salad dressings due to its mild and slightly sweet flavor.

How long does rice vinegar last?

Rice vinegar, if stored properly, can last for several years.

Is white vinegar vegan?

Yes, white vinegar is vegan as it is made from grain-based ethanol.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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