8 Best Substitutes for Rice Wine

For a long time, rice wine has been a popular ingredient in cooking and a fortified and unique drink at Asian parties. It contains a medium alcoholic content, ranging from 18 to 25%.

As its name indicated, rice wine is made by filtering and fermenting glutinous rice. Its tasty feature is why people use it in various cuisines such as marinated seafood or tender meat.

The most common type of rice wine may be the Shaoxing wine that comes from the Shaoxing city in China.

However, in some cases, you might have no rice wine left in your kitchen. That is when you should find out some alternatives. For example, they can be dry white wine, white grape juice, dry sherry, gin, sake, other rice wines, champagne vinegar, and apple juice.

Please scroll down to see their full details!

Substitutes For Rice Wine

8 Awesome Substitutes for Rice Wine – Good Foods For Health

Dry White Wine

Dry white wine can be an excellent substitute for traditional Shaoxing wine due to its nicely subtle alcoholic taste.

The white wine is often seen in the deglazed pan sauce for pork, chicken, mushrooms, or sauteed fish. Plus, suppose you want to add an extra acidic flavor for the risotto or a pot of shellfish; the wine is an excellent option.

However, remember that dry white wine and sweet white wine are two distinct wines. Hence, do not mistake between them.

White Grape Juice

The best benefit of using white grape juice to replace the rice wine might be their similar fresh fruit and acidic flavor. But, the alternative does not feature a depth of taste as the traditional wine.

To compensate for that, it is a non-alcoholic option.

Plus, grape juice has a few of health benefits. It contains minerals and vitamins with no fat or cholesterol, and low sodium.

That means the juice can prevent your body from getting diseases like cancer and heart attack. Also, it is well-known for aiding keep the blood pressure low and partly protecting you from urinary tract infections.

Add it to some dishes like soups, thickened stew, and sauteed meat.

Dry Sherry

Dry sherry can substitute the Asian wine well for the low sugar left in the fermentation process and high alcoholic content.

Dry sherry originates in southern Spain, then its usage as a fortified wine spreads globally.

Nevertheless, there are many types of dry sherry on the market, such as oxidative aging wine, biological aging wine, or a combination of both. Remember to pick up the right type and avoid the sweet cream sherry.


Another perfect rice wine substitute is a gin with a similar flavor.

Unlike some alternatives, gin has a lot of health benefits. For instance, the ingredient is proven to help diminish toxins in your body, improve digestive health, and lose weight.

Plus, it can make your skin healthier and bright, decrease the symptoms of arthritis, and enhance the protection of your body against illness. Using the gin regularly can help prolong lifespan alike.

When using it in cooking, a 1:2 ratio of the gin for the rice wine would give the best result.


As a big fan of Japanese alcoholic drinks, I highly suggest using sake to replace rice wine. The first reason comes from their similar color and taste. In some areas, they even call sake the rice wine, even though the sake is more like a beer in the brewing process.

It takes many steps to ferment sake. And it is often used in sauces and marinades.

Other Rice Wines

As I have just mentioned, there is not only the Chinese Shaoxing wine as a rice wine.

Instead, you can make use of others that produce the same result. For example, mirin, a Japanese rice wine, can be an option. Winemaker often ferments the steamed glutinous rice before adding a little rice liquor to produce mirin. The fermentation process lasts around two months.

Mirin contains a bit lower alcoholic percentage than sake. However, if you brew the wine for a longer time, its taste will be more solid.

Besides, when replacing the Shaoxing wine with mirin, remember to reduce the amount of sugar in your dish. Mirin is pretty sweet, as usual.

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is another sub with a distinct flavor. It comes from champagne, a sparkling wine containing specific grapes as the main ingredient. Fermenting champagne in a fixed period can create champagne vinegar.

Champagne’s taste mixes the mild bitterness, sweetness, and a velvety mouthfeel. The flavor is ultimately boosted through the fermentation process, which makes it even more similar to rice wine.

You can use champagne vinegar for dressing or adding into marinades, kinds of seafood, and dipping sauces.

A 1:1 ratio for the vinegar is suitable in those cases.

Apple Juice

When running out of rice wine, apple juice can also be a good sub for its advantage to our health.

For more details, apple includes a considerable amount of protein and nutrients such as potassium, manganese, fiber, and vitamins A, B1, E, C, K.

Plus, apple juice contains no alcoholic content and a medium acidity level, which is expected to make your stir-fry marinades tender.

Some benefits when using apple juice are to boost heart health, lose weight, protect you from getting diabetes or cancer, and from NSAIDS that can harm the stomach lining.

Besides, using apple juice every day helps strengthen your bones, increase positive gut bacteria, and prevent the lungs from getting oxidative damage with the antioxidants included. Over time, your immune system would regulate better coming with the decrease of inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Shaoxing Wine?

As its name indicated, Shaoxing wine is a kind of Chinese wine originating from Shaoxing city. You can pronounce it Shaohsing or Shao-Hsing wine. Due to its sweet and complex flavor, Shaoxing is one of the most common rice wines in Chinese cuisines.

The wine is made mainly by fermenting rice. However, it is only for cooking, not drinking, unlike other rice wines.

How Does Rice Wine Taste?

Rice wine is a mixture of spicy, vinegary, caramel-like with a bit of aroma. Moreover, although it contains alcoholic contents, its smell is not like alcohol.

Do Chinese Restaurants Use Shaoxing Wine?

Of course, most Chinese restaurants and houses use the famous Shaoxing rice wine for several dishes, ranging from Wonton soup, Kung Pao Chicken to Chop Suey and Mongolian Beef.

How Long Does It Take To Ferment Rice Wine?

It takes around 30 days to ferment rice wine. Before that, remember to put the cooked rice into a fermentation container made with enamel, plastic, or glass. Use an airlock to cover the container fully and put it into a dark place with temperatures from 20 to 28 degrees Celcius.

How to make rice wine, EASY!


In conclusion, above are the eight best rice wine substitutes. Suppose you want one with many health benefits; I suggest apple juice. It is also relatively easy to create.

Moreover, if you want a fantastic and distinct taste, champagne vinegar would be a great option. Plus, it is versatile enough to be added to many dishes.

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