Seasoned Rice Vinegar Vs. Rice Vinegar: 4 Main Differences

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Rice vinegar and soy sauce in clear bowl with a text "SEASONED RICE VINEGAR VS RICE VINEGAR"

In Asian cooking, both rice vinegar and seasoned rice vinegar are common ingredients to impart a sweet and tangy flavor. However, people often confuse the two and wonder if they can use them interchangeably.

The main difference between seasoned rice vinegar and rice vinegar is in their flavor profiles. Seasoned rice vinegar has a sweeter, less tangy taste because it contains salt and sugar, which are absent in plain rice vinegar. 

Comparison Table: Seasoned Rice Vinegar Vs. Rice Vinegar

Variations Seasoned Rice VinegarRice Vinegar
IngredientsFermented rice, water, sugar, salt, MSG (optional), Mirin (optional)Fermented rice, water
FlavorSweeter and less tangy than rice vinegarMild, slightly sweet, and tangy
Culinary UsesShouldn’t be used during the cooking process.
Used for dressings, salads, and marinades. 
Can be used during the cooking process.
Used for dressings, salads, and marinades. 
Nutrients and CaloriesContains more calories and sodium than regular rice vinegar.Contains fewer calories and sodium.

Differences Between Seasoned Rice Vinegar and Rice Vinegar

There are only four major differences between rice vinegar and seasoned rice vinegar as listed below. 

1. Ingredients

Rice and a wooden scooper.

Rice vinegar consists of only fermented rice (white or brown) and water

On the contrary, seasoned rice vinegar is a type of rice vinegar with additional ingredients, like sugar, salt, and sometimes even corn syrup, MSG, or mirin.

2. Flavor 

Rice vinegar is known to have a mild, slightly sweet, and tangy taste.  

However, as seasoned rice vinegar contains additional salt and sugar, it is sweeter than rice vinegar. It is also less acidic or tangy as salt balances out the acidity.

3. Culinary Uses

Traditional Japanese cuisine.

Both seasoned rice vinegar and rice vinegar are extensively used in the Asian cuisine. 

You can use rice vinegar for salad dressings, marinades, pickles, sushi rice, fried rice, and many more. Seasoned rice vinegar is also used for similar purposes. 

The major difference is that rice vinegar can be used while cooking dishes. 

On the other hand, seasoned rice vinegar shouldn’t be used while cooking, as it may sweeten the dish unnecessarily.

4. Nutrients and Calories 

As seasoned rice vinegar contains sugar and salt, its calorie and sodium content is also higher than rice vinegar

The table below compares the nutrients and calories between the two per tablespoon (15ml). 

NutrientRice VinegarSeasoned Rice Vinegar
Sodium10 mg11 mg
Sugar8 grams10 grams

Can You Use Rice Vinegar Instead of Seasoned Rice Vinegar?

If any recipes use seasoned rice vinegar, then you can substitute it with rice vinegar. 

Both rice vinegar and seasoned rice vinegar have plenty of similarities. The only major difference is in their flavors. 

Hence, if you plan to use rice vinegar instead of seasoned rice vinegar, just add more salt and sugar to the dish to achieve a similar taste.

You can also use other substitutes for seasoned rice vinegar such as:

  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Mirin (Rice Wine)
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Champagne Vinegar

For the above substitutes, just adjust the sugar and salt content as per your preferences.

How to Make Seasoned Rice Vinegar at Home?

Seasoned rice vinegar isn’t readily available in many places. But don’t worry! You can easily prepare it at home with regular rice vinegar by following the instructions below.


  • 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon of salt


1. First, take a bowl and add four tablespoons of rice vinegar.

Clear bowl with rice vinegar.

2. Next, add one tablespoon of sugar to the rice vinegar. If you want more sweetness, you can add an additional half a teaspoon of sugar. 

A tablespoon of sugar added to the rice vinegar.

3. Finally, add half a teaspoon of salt to the vinegar-sugar mixture. Be cautious not to add more, as vinegar is already quite sour, and excessive salt might negatively impact the taste.

A teaspoon with salt added to the rice vinegar.

4. Combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Then, microwave the mixture for about 10 seconds, or until the sugar and salt have fully dissolved into the vinegar. 

Alternatively, you can heat the mixture on the stove.

A mixture of rice vinegar.

5. Your seasoned rice vinegar is ready to use in any dish!

Final Thoughts 

Rice vinegar contains just fermented rice and water, while seasoned rice vinegar also contains sugar and salt, giving it a complex flavor. 

These differences affect how they’re used in cooking and what nutrients they provide!

Related Questions

What is a substitute for seasoned rice vinegar?

You can substitute one tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or plain rice vinegar. You can also use half a tablespoon of mirin as a substitute for one tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar.

Is seasoned rice vinegar the same as mirin?

Seasoned rice vinegar and mirin are different, as mirin is a type of sweet rice wine. Mirin is also sweeter and less tangy than rice vinegar.

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