Types Of Japanese Vinegar | 9 Best Japanese Vinegars 2024

Apr 18, 2024Shopify API

Looking for the best Japanese vinegar? Check out a curated list of the best Japanese vinegar which are of different types like rice, seasoned, organic, etc. Read further to know more

Embark on a culinary journey with our selection of the best Japanese vinegars, an essential ingredient in the art of Japanese cuisine.

From the subtle tang of rice vinegar to the depth of seasoned blends, these vinegars are celebrated for their ability to enhance flavors and add a touch of umami to dishes.

Which is the best Japanese vinegar?

I've used many vinegar for cooking but I found Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Vinegar to be the best Japanese vinegar for its uses, quality and taste.

Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Vinegar is made from rice, water, sugar, and salt. It is perfect for marinating fish and chicken dishes. This vinegar improves the taste of the dishes and creates a perfect balance between sweet and salty. It is available on Amazon for sale.

Best Japanese Vinegar: Summary

Best Japanese Vinegar Key Feature View on Amazon
Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Vinegar balance of sweet and salty    View on Amazon
Kikkoman Seasoned Vinegar Balances the acidity level View on Amazon
Tamanoi Sushinoko Seasoning Vinegar Powder based vinegar View on Amazon
Nishiki Natural Sushi Vinegar Seasoned with sea salt and sugar View on Amazon
Sushi Chef Vinegar Affordable price View on Amazon
Mizkan Jungenmaisu Unpolished Vinegar Made with natural brown rice View on Amazon
Soukensha Echizenn Organic Vinegar Organic rice vinegar View on Amazon
Marukan Genuine Brewed Rice Vinegar Vegan and gluten free View on Amazon

Best Japanese Vinegar

Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Vinegar

best rice vinegar for sushi

Looking for rice vinegar to compliment your sushi dish? Have a look at this rice vinegar from Marukan which is seasoned decently to provide perfect taste to your dish. Marukan is the best japanese rice vinegar brand.

This rice vinegar from japan has bagged itself several positive comments because it gives perfect consistency to the rice and gets spread evenly. 

You can call it a perfect balance of sweet and salty. This vinegar can be used to balance the taste as well as marinate the meat, chicken, fish, or any other thing you wish to cook. 

In this bottle, you get a decent amount of product which lasts you for quite a long time. It’s one of the best Japanese vinegar that is seasoned.

Key Features:

  • Seasoned rice vinegar
  • Improves the taste of your dish
  • Can be used to marinate the meats
  • Perfect balance of sweet and salty   

Kikkoman Seasoned Vinegar

vinegar japanese

Here is a good quality rice vinegar from the Kikkoman store which is a very well-known brand in Japan. 

Vinegar from this store is not flavored heavily but very mildly to keep the original flavor of the dish intact. 

They are not salty and also not too sweet. With different types of foods getting prepared, this vinegar can control and beautifully balance the acidity level which mainly is great for Asiana and other regions.

 You can freely try this rice vinegar in your recipes and even salads to give a touch of Japanese taste to them. Kikkoman is the best Japanese rice vinegar for daily use.

Key Features:

  • Mildly seasoned vinegar
  • Can be used daily
  • Suitable for heavy and light dishes
  • Balances the acidity level appropriately 

Tamanoi Sushinoko Seasoning Vinegar 

what is the best rice vinegar for sushi

Let’s move forward with an alternate option of using vinegar while preparing sushi. Get this mess-free and easy-to-use powdered vinegar for your next sushi preparation. 

One of the best advantages to having this powder vinegar for beginners is the quantity check. In terms of liquid, many times we put either more or less, which definitely affects the taste. 

But, in this case, the vinegar comes in a fixed amount that is generally required in making sushi. This gourmet rice vinegar is mess free and is also the best Japanese vinegar that is in powder form.

Not only just sushi, but this can also be consumed while sprinkling on different other food items to build up the taste.

Key Features:

  • Powder-based vinegar
  • Mess-free
  • Improvises the taste of every dish
  • Comes in a pouch to not confuse the said amount

Nishiki Natural Sushi Vinegar

rice vinegar japanese

You might also like this natural rice vinegar from Japan of the Nishiki brand. It’s the best Japanese vinegar for all types of food.

This one is another great option to have as it is lightly seasoned with sea salt and sugar which helps in bringing out the flavors. 

You can use this vinegar to eliminate the odor of meats and fishes. Altogether, this is one of the oldest and traditional ways of marinating sushi and different meats and vegetables. 

If you just want to enhance the taste of your dish then you can just top up it with this vinegar and make your bland food full of taste at once.

Key Features:

  • Seasoned with sea salt and sugar
  • Great for all types of food and dishes
  • The traditional way of marinating meats and vegetables
  • Enhances the taste

Sushi Chef Vinegar

japanese vinegar rice

This one is another vinegar that you can get anywhere in a local supermarket. This is a go-to option for dressing your dishes or salads. 

This vinegar is highly refreshing and with a splash of olive oil, your dish is going to rock. This best Japanese vinegar is great for its price.

Since this vinegar is diluted with water and is seasoned with sugar and salt, it balances the acidity and is a good option for acidic food. There are several rice vinegar uses like marinating, sauces, dressings etc. 

Key Features:

  • Easily available vinegar
  • Affordable price
  • Balances the acidity level when mixed with acidic food
  • Diluted vinegar with a perfect amount of sugar and salt

Mizkan Jungenmaisu Unpolished Vinegar

Here is another highly recommended option in terms of rice vinegar that you must give a try. 

This rice vinegar from Mizkan is made with natural and polished brown rice which also contains many other ingredients to have perfectly blended vinegar. 

This product is suitable to be used while cooking meats, vegetables, and other dishes to bring out the best of taste. Mizkan rice vinegar is the best Japanese vinegar that adds a very different flavor to the food.

If you want a vinegar bottle just to have a vinegar drink, then you can have it in your bag right away. All you have to do is mix one tablespoon of vinegar in one glass of water and enjoy it. 

Since in the making process of this vinegar, good quality brown rice was used, it is safe to consume for all.

Key Features:

  • Made with natural brown rice
  • Can be used for cooking and drinking
  • Safe to consume
  • Made with other umami ingredients

Related: best Japanese rice brands

Soukensha Echizenn Organic Vinegar

japanese vinegar for pickling

If you want to go for all-natural and organic products then this best Japanese vinegar is the right purchase for you. 

This one is an organic pure rice vinegar that has been made by using traditional brewing methods to bring out the flavors from within. 

Since the traditional ways of working took time, in the very same way, this vinegar got ready in 6 months as the process included static fermentation. 

You must get this rice vinegar to enjoy the perfect taste and aroma in your recipes. Also, the water used in the making of this rice vinegar is one of the famous waters of Echizen, Kyoto.

Key Features:

  • Organic rice vinegar
  • Made with old and traditional brewing methods
  • Made with one of 100 famous waters
  • Gives absolutely original and perfect taste   

Marukan Genuine Brewed Rice Vinegar

mizkan sushi vinegar

This one is Marukan's genuine brewed rice vinegar that can make any of your dishes flavourful which is why people often regard it as the best Japanese vinegar.

The acidity level in this vinegar is basic and something that mingles up with the recipe and blends perfectly. It is gluten-free, vegan which makes it a good option for all vegan friends. 

Rice used in vinegar is brown rice which produces a very subtle and delicate flavor with an aromatic smell. 

Although this vinegar is mild, it gives a rich touch to the recipe and you can add this to salads, pasta, and different dishes.

Key Features:

  • Vinegar that gives a rich taste to the recipe
  • Absolutely vegan and gluten-free
  • Made with good quality brown rice 
  • Brings out a very delicate flavor and decent aroma  

Nakano Organic Natural Rice Vinegar

rice Japanese vinegar

Nakano is one of the most famous Japanese rice vinegar brands that have been in the business for about 2 centuries now. Their vinegar has a modern twist of flavours which is why they’re widely loved. 

Nakano vinegar has a slightly sweet taste with rich and savoury flavour of roasted garlic. It’s slowly brewed in the traditional manner which is why the flavours are so good. This organic rice vinegar has a mild flavour that’s perfect as salad dressing, or for marinades. 

Key features:

  • Brewed in traditional style
  • Sweet and savoury mild flavour
  • Organic ingredients 
  • Affordable

How to choose the best Japanese vinegar?

To choose the best Japanese vinegar, follow these guidelines:

  1. Type

Determine the specific type of vinegar you need based on your intended use. Consider options like rice vinegar, sushi vinegar, black vinegar, or Ume plum vinegar, depending on the flavor profile and purpose of the vinegar.

  1. Quality

Look for reputable brands known for producing high-quality Japanese vinegar. Read reviews, check for certifications, and consider the brand's reputation for consistency and flavor.

  1. Flavor Profile

Consider the taste profile you desire. Rice vinegar is mild and slightly sweet, while Ume plum vinegar offers a tangy and fruity flavor. Ensure the vinegar's flavor matches your intended use and personal preference.

  1. Ingredients

Check the ingredient list to ensure there are no additives or artificial flavors if you prefer a more authentic and natural product. Opt for vinegars made from traditional ingredients, such as fermented rice or plums.

  1. Availability and Authenticity

Look for vinegars that are imported from Japan or made by Japanese manufacturers. Check specialty stores, Asian markets, or online platforms that offer a wide range of Japanese food products.

  1. Price

Consider your budget and find a balance between quality and cost. Higher-priced options might offer better quality, but there are also affordable alternatives that provide satisfactory results.

By considering the type, quality, flavor profile, ingredients, authenticity, availability, and price, you can select the best Japanese vinegar that meets your specific needs and enhances the flavor of your dishes.

Types Of Japanese Vinegar

Grain Vinegar

This is the most popular type of vinegar in Japan that is usually made from rice or corn. This type of vinegar can be used in a wide range of dishes.

Rice Vinegar

Yet another popular variety of vinegar is rice vinegar, which as the name suggests, is made from rice. It has a soft sweetness to it that comes from rice. It goes with most typical Japanese dishes. You can also use it in your salad dressings.

Sushi Vinegar

I have always wondered what makes sushi rice so much better than normal rice, and then I found out the secret to it. It’s because it has vinegar in it. The secret is to add vinegar to the rice right after the switch on your rice cooker has clicked. 

Black Vinegar

This type of vinegar is made from matured rice and it is quite high in amino acids. You can use it in most dishes, and it is believed that this rice can help cure fatigue.

Malt Vinegar 

Malt Vinegar is made using malted barley. The smell of this vinegar is pretty pungent. It is widely used for picking as well as a dip in fish and chips. Its flavour is strong and overpowering which is why it’s not widely used in dishes with mild flavours. 

White Vinegar

White Vinegar is extremely common and the most affordable option in the market. It’s widely used for making sauces, marinades as well as pickling. It can be strong and overpowering at times so keep in mind with the dishes you’re going to use it with. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is extremely popular for its reaping health benefits and is also widely popular these days. Apple Cider Vinegar is fruity and is made with fermented apples that are confused to avoid diseases like obesity, cardiovascular risks, cancer, diabetes, etc. It’s mild in flavour that’s great for stews, chutneys, and marinades. Most people also use it as cleansers.

Which is the best Japanese rice vinegar for sushi? 

We tasted over 10+ Japanese rice vinegars for sushi and found that Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Vinegar is the best Japanese rice vinegar for sushi. And here’s why: 

Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Vinegar has a light tangy taste that enhances the flavor of your sushi. The rice vinegar is light but has a rich and complex flavor. This Japanese rice vinegar for sushi is also certified organic and gluten free.

Benefits of Using Japanese Vinegar

Japanese Vinegar Is Good For Your Liver and Heart

According to a study, kurozu vinegar, a certain type of Japanese rice vinegar, benefits the human liver. The study showed that consuming Japanese rice vinegar can help avoid liver tumors. 

According to another study, Japanese rice vinegar is good for the heart as it slows down the build-up of cholesterol by blocking fatty peroxide to form in our bodies. 

Just by including a teaspoon or two of Japanese rice vinegar when cooking your heart and liver can benefit greatly!

Japanese Vinegar May Boost Digestion and overall Immunity 

The acetic acid present in Japanese rice vinegar helps improve digestive health as well as absorbs all the nutrients from the foods. Since rice vinegar also contains tons of amino acids, it reverses the damaging effects of free radicals - which ultimately improves overall immunity. 

Japanese Vinegar Can Reduce Bacteria Growth 

Japanese brown rice vinegar is not only used in cooking but also in the field of medicine, especially antiseptic medicine. Brown rice vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties and can kill bacteria. Adding some brown rice vinegar when cooking can help you fight bacteria in your body. 

When and how to use Japanese vinegar in cooking?

Here are some ways you can add Japanese vinegar to your dish to enhance its flavors: 

You Can Use Japanese Vinegar For Sushi Rice:

If you make sushi then you should probably already know this but if you’re just getting started with Japanese cuisine then you’ll soon learn that making sushi rice requires sushi vinegar. 

Sushi vinegar is made by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. 

You can use Japanese rice vinegar To Tenderize Meat

Use Japanese rice vinegar when you’re braising meat. This makes the meat super soft and will literally melt in your mouth! There’s a misconception that the meat will taste too acidic but that’s not true. There's a slight vinegar flavor but it’s not too strong. 

You can add Japanese vinegar As dressing

If you want to add some Asian flavors to any salad then simply add a few tbsp of Japanese rice vinegar to salad dressing. You can combine it with different dressings like sesame oil. 

You can combine Japanese vinegar with dipping sauce

By adding Japanese vinegar in dipping sauce like chili oil or soy sauce, it enhances the flavors of the food. 

You can use Japanese vinegar for pickling

If you like vinegar pickled vegetables then this is a great option for you. Since Japanese rice vinegar is subtle, it gives the pickled vegetables a more salty flavor than sour. All you need to do is mix vinegar with salt and water (you can also mix in sugar) - and let the vegetables you want to pickle sink in this mixture.

What is the Difference Between Japanese Rice Vinegar vs Mirin 

Mirin is made from rice malt, glutinous rice, shochu, and sugar. It’s fermented for about two months. Whereas, to make rice vinegar - rice is fermented in water which results in alcohol. After which, acetic acid is used to ferment the rice alcohol. 

Other than how it’s made, there several other differences between Japanese rice vinegar and mirin: 

  • Difference in taste: Rice vinegar is bitter whereas rice wine is much sweeter. This is because in rice wine, during the fermentation process, natural sugars are formed that make it sweet.
  • Difference in Ingredients: The difference between mirin and rice vinegar in terms of ingredients is the addition of shochu or brewed alcohol in mirin. 
  • Difference in color and fragrance: Japanese rice vinegar is pale yellow or colorless whereas mirin is light brown. When it comes to the scent, Mirin has an alcoholic scent as it does contain 14% alcohol content.  

Best Japanese Vinegar: FAQs

Where can I find rice vinegar?

You can find rice vinegar in grocery stores with Asian products. Otherwise, you can find normal vinegar or apple cider vinegar quite often.

How do you use Japanese vinegar?

Japanese vinegar can be used in various ways like salad dresses, sauces, marinades, stews, sushi-making etc. It’s also a great pickling agent and is used in seafood to eliminate the odour it and make them more tender.

What kind of vinegar is used in Japanese cooking?

Rice vinegar, known as "komezu" in Japanese, is a staple in Japanese cuisine. It is made from fermented rice and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It is used in various dishes, such as sushi rice, marinades, dressings, and pickles.

Is Japanese Vinegar the Same as Rice Vinegar?

Most of the Japanese vinegars are rice-based vinegars. Japanese grain vinegars, though not identified as rice vinegars, still use rice in its production. Grain vinegars are slightly milder in taste when compared to Japanese rice vinegar. 

Ready to bring a change to your dishes?

Now that you know the different types of Japanese vinegar and how you can use them, you can become a pro in the kitchen. Cook flavored and delicious dishes with the best Japanese vinegar. 

Hope this article- Best Japanese Vinegar helped you pick the best one for your dishes!

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