Rice vinegar vs. apple cider: What is the difference? (Explained)

Rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar are the two most widely used vinegar in cooking and baking; they give a tangy taste to dishes.

The main difference between rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar is the base ingredients; apple ciders are produced by fermenting apples, while rice vinegar is made from fermented rice. Additionally, apple cider vinegar is much more potent than rice vinegar.

This article explains everything you need to know about rice vinegar and apple ciders, their unique features, and their health benefits. 

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple ciders are made from apples, sugar, and yeast by a process known as fermentation, and this occurs in two stages; alcoholic fermentation and acid fermentation. 

apple cider vinegar

The former begins when apples are crushed and mixed with sugar and yeast to produce alcohol. Afterward, bacteria is added to the alcohol to produce a liquid known as vinegar.

What is rice vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a type of vinegar made from rice.

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rice vinegar

It undergoes the same fermentation process as apple cider vinegar, but in this case, sugars and yeast are not required to produce alcohol (rice wine) before undergoing the second fermentation process. 

What is the difference between rice vinegar and apple cider?

While rice vinegar and apple vinegar are made through natural fermentation, they have slight dissimilarities. 

To help you understand these differences, we’ll examine this subject based on the following specific parameters.

Appearance

ACV (short form of apple cider vinegar) has a typical brownish color, ranging from pale amber to a slightly darker tea color which may appear clear or cloudy. Rice vinegar, on the other hand, has a yellow tinge. 

Taste

Apple cider vinegar is more potent and tart than rice vinegar in terms of flavor. Rice vinegar has a mild and slightly sweet flavor, one you wouldn’t expect from a condiment like vinegar. 

Uses

Although both liquids are helpful in cooking, they are most suitable for specific recipes due to their unique characteristics.

Rice vinegar is a popular choice in the kitchen, especially for marinades and salads, and your sushi rice isn’t complete without them. You can also use it as an alcoholic beverage. 

On the other hand, Apple cider vinegar has a broader application than rice vinegar. It is used in most recipes where vinegar is required and for salad dressings and vegetable seasoning. Moreso, it is commonly used as a tonic and in smoothies.

Health benefits of apple cider vinegar

Rich in vitamin B and C, apple cider vinegar is known for its antioxidative and antimicrobial properties. Below are some benefits of apple cider vinegar:

  • It may help in treating acne and dandruff
  • It may help lower blood pressure
  • May assist in weight loss
  • It helps regulate blood sugar
  • Lower cholesterol levels in the body
  • Soothes inflammatory and itching
  • It may help alleviate sore throat

Benefits of rice vinegar

  • Promotes digestion
  • It may help detoxify the body
  • Improves heart health
  • Can help improve immunity
  • Boost energy levels

Can I use apple cider instead of rice vinegar?

Yes, apple cider vinegar is an excellent substitute for rice vinegar, and you can use as much apple cider as you would for rice vinegar, that is, substitute with a ratio of 1:1.

Other alternatives to rice vinegar

The following vinegar condiments can make up for rice vinegar:

White wine vinegar

This liquid is made from fermented white wine (a wine produced from the grapes). It has a slightly fruity taste, and you can use it in equal proportions as rice vinegar.

Lemon juice 

Rich in calories and carbohydrates, lemon juice has a sour taste similar to rice vinegar. It makes a perfect substitute for rice vinegar in recipes like marinades and salad dressings. However, it may not produce desired results in meals like sushi.

Champagne vinegar

Champagne vinegar is made from fermented champagne, and it has a mild flavor and acidity and works best for salad dressings and sauces. Substitute using the same ratio as apple vinegar.

Can I use rice vinegar instead of apple cider?

Yes, unseasoned rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, and white wine vinegar all substitute nicely for apple cider, especially in salad dressings. To do this, substitute with an equal amount of rice vinegar and add 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) of sugar per 1 tablespoon of vinegar to sweeten the mixture.

How to make rice vinegar at home

Vinegar is one of the easiest cooking condiments to make. 

Use the following steps for homemade rice vinegar.

  • Put some cooked rice in an airtight glass or jar and submerge it with clean or filtered water.
  • Cover the container with a cheesecloth to prevent dust and insects from getting into it. Then, place the mixture on a pantry shelf or any warm, dark corner of your house.
  • Leave the mixture for about three weeks. After this period, it is now fermented and has become vinegar. 
  • Next, strain the mixture through a cloth, leaving only the rice water to sit. You can filter the vinegar again for a clearer liquid.
  • Now your rice vinegar is ready! Refrigerate the mixture to cool it down.

How to make apple cider vinegar at home

  • Put some apple pieces or cubes into a clean glass jar and fill the container with water.
  • Add one teaspoon of sugar to the mixture and stir till it dissolves.
  • Next, cover the jar with a thin cloth with a rubber band around the jar top to hold the cloth in place.
  • Leave the mixture in a dark area for 3 – 4 weeks, stirring once or twice a day for the first two weeks.
  • Next, strain the apples from the cider and leave the liquid to rest for another 3-4 weeks.
  • Your apple cider is now ready to use!

FAQs

What is the main difference between rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar?

The difference is in the food source; rice vinegar is made from rice, while apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apples.

Can rice vinegar and apple vinegar be used interchangeably?

Yes, rice vinegar can be substituted at equal proportions with apple ciders and vice versa.

Seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar, which should I buy?

It is best to purchase seasoned rice vinegar for salad dressings and sushi rice.

Conclusion

Rice vinegar and apple vinegar are excellent food condiments, and both have similar uses; the difference between the two sauces is their base constituent.