Rice Vinegar: Asian Cuisine

Rice vinegar is an exotic ingredient used in a variety of Asian Cuisine. Some recipe books suggest that we can substitute it with Distilled Vinegar or lemon juice. However they never taste the same. Today we are going to talk about making a simple traditional rice vinegar with things available in the kitchen.

clear rice sake wine after filtering

Rice Vinegar Steps

How to make different types of rice vinegar at home. It is low calorie, naturally fermented, and probiotic food ingredient. The meats marinaded in it are softer & juicy. The curries and noodles made with rice vinegar have this unique umami flavors that is very flavorful.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
fermentation 30 days
Course dinner
Cuisine asian, Chinese, indonasian, Japanese, thai
Servings 4 bottles
Calories 1 kcal


  • Steamer
  • Large Vessel (Fermenter)
  • Brew Bag (filter cloth/mesh)


  • 500 gm rice
  • 2 Liters water
  • 1 packet Rice Koji


Type of Vinegar

  • We are going to make clear yellow (straw color) vinegar today. For this you need Rice koji and white rice. It is easy fast and cheapest rice vinegar to make. Adding some Ragi and Soybean will make the color of vinegar a bit darker.
    rice wine leaven yeast
  • For back vinegar, you will need a mixture of Black Rice, some ragi and sorghum. Same rice koji needs to be paired. Please note that it should not be confused with soy sauce which is made of soya beans and is traditionally aged for 2 years (same process)
    black rice
  • Red Vinegar (very rare & delicate) is made from red rice yeast. It is acclaimed to reduce cholestrol. For this you need red rice yeast
    red rice for lowering blood pressure

Making Koji

  • Irrespective of which type of vinegar you make, the steps are the same. Take 500gm of rice.
    rice jar
  • Steam it (not boil it) so that it becomes hydrated and gain moisture. ~45% moisture because of steaming. We want it well hydrated, but not over boiled that it clumps together and the koji is not able to break down the starch.
  • Now allow the rice to cool to 30 degree Celsius. Remember the core of rice is hot and can take a long time to cool. Once it is cooled, sprinkle koji and cover it with a muslin cloth. This will spread the spores to each grain and make the fermentation faster. Keep it covered in a cool but humid place for 24-48 hours.
    steaming rice for sake

Making Rice Wine

  • Now put it in about 2 Liters of water. You can use a brew bag to ensure that the rice stays submerged and is not floating. A two-step process is happening.
    First the starch is broken down to simpler sugars (it becomes sweeter).
    These sugars are being fermented to ethanol (rice alcohol)
    milky white rice sake wine fermenting
  • The rice will continue to ferment for about 10 days (depending on weather). After this, the liquid starts clearing up and turning yellow. There will be heavy sediments also created by leftover rice. For sake, we take the sediment out, but for vinegar we allow it to ferment with the sediments. This will make it more sour and increase the umami flavors also. Remember to cover your vessel with a muslin cloth. No need to place an airlock.
    clear rice sake wine after filtering

Making Vinegar

  • After about a month you can remove the sticky leftover rice and filter the vinegar. This leftover rice can be used to make the next batch of vinegar or rice koji or yeast balls.
    Chinese yeast balls rice wine deposit
  • Rice vinegar is usually yellow. However, the color darkens as it ages. You can store it for multiple years as it does not go bad. Traditionally it was stored in ceramic bottles, but you can store it in any glass bottle with a screw cap. Adding some rock salt to it will make it more flavorful.
    Communicate with your wine... stand out from the crowd.. pack your wine


Buy Related Products

Distilled vinegar that cheap restaurants use has no flavors. It is plain simple diluted acetic acid.
Some people are substituting with balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar. However, these are more suitable for European/Continental dishes rather than Thai, Japanese, Chinese or Vietnamese cooking.


Homemade Rice vinegar
Keyword rice vinegar


  1. Naresh Garg

    How to resuse sidiment,,how to dry sidiment
    I dont want to parchage again and again yeast bals
    I m poor
    Pls guide me

    1. Naresh you can spread the yeast or koji sediment on a butter paper and dry it in a oven at low temperature. Or you can buy a fresh pack of koji for 100 bucks at https://www.arishtam.com/product/rice-wine-saki-koji-8gm/

  2. 5 stars
    this is wonderful we are trying at home now. how does it work reusing the leftover rice sediment for the next batch of vinegar? do we need to add fresh rice to this only? or do we have to make another koji and add to this?

    1. I prefer to add a fresh sachet of koji https://www.arishtam.com/product/rice-wine-saki-koji-8gm/ This way the results are consistent. But you can experiment with reusing the sediment and save 100/-

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