The 8 Best Sushi Vinegar Substitutes

What Is Sushi Vinegar?

Sushi vinegar is literally vinegar that is used when making vinegar rice for sushi. Usually sushi vinegar is made by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Sometimes it contains dashi stock of kombu (kelp). Several manufacturers have made the powdered sushi vinegar or liquid type of sushi vinegar in Japan, and it’s going to make your sushi cooking much easier.

Although it’s mainly used for making sushi, you can also use this sushi vinegar when making pickled dish and salad.

Good Substitutes for Sushi Vinegar

It must be very easy to make vinegar rice if you have the sushi vinegar as a product. However, not everyone can buy this product at stores, I think.
Here, I will introduce the best 8 substitutes for sushi vinegar for you!

1. Normal Rice Vinegar

Some of you may already have rice vinegar at your home. You can actually make sushi vinegar using it so easy! All you need to do is mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar.
The ingredients you need is as follows.

・0.4 cup (100ml) of Rice vinegar

・3 Tablespoons of Sugar
・2 Teaspoons of Salt

If you are worried about the roughness of sugar and salt after stirring them, please heat it in the microwave just a little bit.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a slight apple flavor, easy to drink, and contains great nutrients!
This could be good substitute for sushi vinegar too with a little extra work.
The ingredients you need is as follows.

・0.4 cup (100ml) of Apple cider vinegar
・6 Tablespoons of Sugar
・2.5 Teaspoons of Salt
・A pinch of Kombu tea [If you have one.]

Heat the mixture of all of ingredients in a pan to dissolve the sugar well, then take the rough heat.
Sushi vinegar made from apple cider vinegar gives you fruity flavor and moderate acidity. So, please try it once!

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is very useful material that you can use from typical dishes to dessert, right? You can actually substitute both the juice squeezed from raw lemon and commercially available lemon juice for sushi vinegar by adding a little extra work.
The ingredients you need is as follows.

・5 Tablespoons of Lemon juice
・2 Tablespoons of Honey
・1-2 Teaspoons of Salt

Stir all of ingredients very well, and add more honey or salt if you need.

4. Mirin

Mirin is very common seasoning among Japanese, and it’s very useful for creating slight sweetness and giving gloss to the dish.
Mirin could be good substitute for sushi vinegar too. When you use mirin to make rice for sushi, you should probably add rice vinegar because there is not enough sourness if it’s only mirin.

The amount of rice vinegar should be the same amount of mirin, or even less if you want mild sourness on rice. It depends on your taste, so please adjust the amount of rice vinegar to your liking.

5. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is commonly used vinegar in Italian dishes, I think. This is a type of fruit vinegar, and its raw material is grapes.
Surprisingly, you can substitute this balsamic vinegar for sushi vinegar. Just like the other substitutes above, you need to add sugar and salt.

・0.4 cup (100ml) of Balsamic vinegar
・1.5 Teaspoons of Sugar
・0.5 Teaspoon of Salt

Important notice for here is that, as you know, balsamic vinegar makes the sushi rice gets colored.

6. French Vinaigrette Dressing

It’s called just “French dressing” in Japan, and made from oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, and tomato. French dressing sold in the U.S. is maybe the red in color and has sweeter taste. I think “French vinaigrette dressing” in the U.S. has similar taste to the one in Japan.

Vinegar contained in French vinaigrette dressing gives you great refreshing flavor. Also, the sweetness in the dressing makes the rice even more delicious.

So, please try to mix it with rice when making sushi at home! You must experience totally new taste of sushi with this dressing.

7. Pickled Ginger in Sweet Vinegar

Pickled ginger in sweet vinegar is called “Gari” in Japanese, and often eaten as a side dish for sushi. Sourness and sweetness in the pickles are well-balanced, and has great flavor of ginger.

Sometimes people like to cut and mix it with scattered sushi (mixed sushi rice). You can also add the juice of this pickles to the rice, and use it as substitute for sushi vinegar.
You don’t have to add any sugar or salt because the pickles juice is already completed with perfect taste!

For your reference, you need about 1 tablespoon of ginger pickles juice for one cup of rice in a bowl.

8. Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu sauce is often used in Japan when eating shabu-shabu, sashimi, gyoza, and other various dishes. It’s made from soy sauce, citrus juice, sugar, and salt. The sourness from the citrus is savory and very tasty.

Although ponzu sauce makes the rice slightly brown color, the rice mixed with ponzu sauce tastes amazing. Its sourness, saltiness, and sweetness are well-balanced.
Refreshing citrus flavor can bring you to the new world of sushi!

Extra seasoning is not really needed, but add sugar or mirin if you need after tasting it.

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