Does Rice Vinegar Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 4th, 2022

Is it possible for rice vinegar to go bad? Many of you may be surprised by the response. Here’s the definitive guide, as well as some storage advice.

Rice vinegar, a mainstay in Asian cuisine, imparts a pleasantly sweet and sour flavor to meals. It is commonly used in salad dressings, sushi rice, and as a sweetener in recipes.

Vinegar from the white rice

Though rice vinegar is not as prevalent as other varieties of vinegar, it may be a terrific addition to your kitchen for more creative foods that require a bit of a flavor boost.

Maybe you bought a bottle of rice vinegar for specific recipe months or years ago and have just now discovered it at the back of your cabinet. You may be wondering if it is still safe to use or if it should be discarded.

The basic conclusion is that rice vinegar has an extremely long shelf life and may be stored correctly for years. It can, however, the decline in quality, so be sure there are no big alterations to the product before using it.

What Exactly Is Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a fermented beverage created from rice. Fermentation happens when rice sugar is transformed into alcohol and eventually into vinegar.

Rice vinegar is less acidic and sweeter than regular distilled white vinegar. As a result, it adds a more delicate flavor to foods, sauces, and marinades.

What Is the Composition of Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar, like other vinegar, is created via a magical process known as fermentation. Vinegar is created in this case by fermenting rice wine.

Sake is the more popular name for rice wine. Rice vinegar can also be created without the rice wine using fermentation starters and brown or red rice.

This is typically determined by the country where rice vinegar is produced. Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and China are the traditional producers of rice vinegar. The flavor differs per nation, so let’s have a look at the differences:

  • Japan: The taste is moderate and mellow White to light yellow. Produced from rice or sake lees.
  • China: Deeper and smokier in flavor than Japanese rice vinegar. Colors include red, brown, and black. Red yeast rice or sorghum, peas, barley, bran, and chaff are used to make this product (usually black rice vinegar)
  • Vietnam: Tastes spicy and sour, mostly colorless. Produced from brown rice
  • Korea: White or brown rice is used to make this dish. Fermentation starters or rice lees are used to make this dish. The color is pale yellow.

The Advantages of Rice Vinegar

  1. Many investigations on acetic acid, the major component of vinegar, conducted on rats and people, discovered that it is useful in lowering hypertension.
  2. The research found that consuming 750 mg of acetic acid daily (about 15 mL of vinegar) decreases systolic blood pressure in persons with prehypertension and hypertension.
  3. Rice vinegar contains essential amino acids and other active elements that can assist your body battle weariness and increase your metabolism when needed.
  4. Big Chinese population research discovered decreased esophageal cancer incidences in those who regularly used rice vinegar.
  5. Rice vinegar has been used as a liver tonic in Japan for millennia. It is thought to boost the detoxifying actions of this organ and keep it functioning regularly.

How Long Does Rice Vinegar Last

Like other varieties of vinegar, rice vinegar has no shelf life. Of course, many manufacturers include a best-by date on the packaging because customers are more likely to trust food with a date on the label.

That date, however, is merely a general estimate of how long the condiment will remain fresh.

Even though rice vinegar (also known as rice wine vinegar) is less acidic and slightly sweeter than other kinds, it should last for years after the expiration date.

This kind does not hold its flavor as well as the others since it is not as acidic as the others.

That implies that after, say, 5 years of storage, you may detect some flavor changes. If you plan to keep it for more than 5 years, it’s better to keep it in the fridge. Alternatively, get a smaller bottle.

Rice vinegar (unopened or opened)5+ years10+ years

How Long Does Rice Vinegar Last in the Open Air?

Although rice vinegar may be stored indefinitely, keeping it in a pantry for the designated shelf life ensures that the vinegar retains its finest quality.

Unopened rice vinegar in the pantry keeps its optimal usage and quality for two years before being opened and then for one year after being opened. If a pantry is not accessible, the vinegar should be stored in a dark place that is not prone to excessive temperature changes.

Like any other vinegar, rice vinegar develops “the mother”—it is harmless and not a hint that rice vinegar is harmful. It may easily be strained out using coffee filters and utilized as usual.

How Long Does Rice Vinegar Keep in the Refrigerator?

Refrigerating rice vinegar does not extend its shelf life, albeit it is suggested after opening. Refrigerating vinegar should depend on how much usage you get out of a bottle of rice vinegar, as well as if you have the storage capacity to store it in your fridge for an extended period.

If you refrigerate your rice vinegar after opening, it will keep its optimum quality for one year, but it will not necessarily be awful. It just won’t be as powerful as it was in the beginning.

Vinegar has a high acidity level and hence cannot develop bacteria, so there aren’t many reasons for fear of food-borne disease. Thus refrigeration is an option based on storage space for yourself.

How Long Can You Keep Rice Vinegar in the Freezer?

Freezing does not affect the shelf life of rice vinegar. Its main advantage is that it saves storage space.

At 28 degrees Fahrenheit, vinegar freezes. Because of its acidic composition, vinegar should be handled cautiously during freezing. Vinegar can cause ice to melt and the freezer to stop working correctly or safely.

Because vinegar is very acidic, it should be frozen as soon as possible. The colder the vinegar becomes, the more acidity is lost, and the higher the acidity, the fresher the vinegar.

How to tell when rice vinegar has gone bad

Again, the “best by” date on the box is frequently a suggestion. It is okay to use rice vinegar beyond this date. However, to guarantee that you are using excellent quality rice vinegar, several symptoms may no longer be safe to consume.

Examine the rice vinegar for any changes in color or appearance. If the look looks wrong, the vinegar’s quality may have degraded.

Rice vinegar has a strong aroma, to begin with, but if the fragrance changes much, you may not want to risk it.

You can sample a tiny taste if the scent and look are okay. If it has become bitter or no longer tastes pleasant, you should discard it. Rice vinegar will lose its flavor over time.

Rice Vinegar Storage Methods

Rice vinegar should be kept carefully to maintain long shelf life.

Rice vinegar should be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature. It should be stored away from direct sunshine or heat, which might cause rice vinegar to spoil faster.

When used, rice vinegar should be firmly sealed after each usage. It will deteriorate faster if exposed to air regularly.

If you don’t believe you’ll be able to utilize a bottle of rice vinegar within five years, or if the “use by” date has passed, it can be refrigerated. This will increase its shelf life.

Check the package of all items for any special storage recommendations. Some rice vinegar should be refrigerated rather than consumed at room temperature.

Is It Possible to Freeze Rice Vinegar?

Although rice vinegar may be frozen, it is not necessary to do so. Once defrosted, freezing may dilute the flavor of the vinegar. Also, the acidity of the vinegar will be diminished when frozen and thawed. If you need to freeze the rice vinegar, use a freezer-safe container. At cold temperatures, glass bottles will break!

How Do You Freeze Rice Vinegar?

  • Transfer to a Freezer Safe Container: Rice vinegar should be frozen in a freezer safe container. This includes avoiding glass. When liquids freeze, they expand, and glass has no mechanism of expanding securely and will explode.
  • Apply Plastic Wrap and Lid: Wrap the top of the bottle with plastic wrap, then fasten the lid. The plastic wrap behind the cap adds an extra layer of protection in case the bottle falls or breaks on top.
  • Pour Rice Vinegar Into Ice Cube Trays: Pour rice vinegar into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and set on a level surface in the freezer.
  • Freeze Time: Place the entire tray in the freezer for six to twelve hours to ensure it is thoroughly frozen before transferring it to a freezer-proof bag. Keep frozen until you need to thaw it out.
  • Transfer ice cubes to a freezer Ziploc bag, seal and keep in the fridge until required to defrost. Keep frozen and in the bag until you need to defrost it.

How Should You Thaw Rice Vinegar?

There are two methods for thawing frozen rice vinegar. Each method is simple and assures that you can continue to utilize the product.

  • Refrigerator: Thaw vinegar in the refrigerator overnight or longer if it is not completely defrosted. A gentle thaw ensures that it keeps its greatest quality.
  • Room Temperature: Because rice vinegar does not support the growth of germs, thawing it at room temperature is entirely safe and appropriate. It won’t take long, but it will defrost faster than in the fridge.
  • Microwave: Place a few cubes in a microwave-safe bowl and defrost for fifteen to thirty seconds until thoroughly melted. Allow the rice vinegar to cool before using it completely. The microwave approach is not suggested for complete thawing containers of rice vinegar since it takes too long and the container may not be microwave safe, which can be dangerous.


  • Rice vinegar is one of the less commonly used vinegar, yet it adds a lot of flavor to recipes.
  • Rice vinegar should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It should always be securely closed.
  • Rice vinegar can be chilled to extend its shelf life.
  • Rice vinegar may be stored correctly for up to 5 years at room temperature or up to 10 years when refrigerated.
  • Rice vinegar’s quality may deteriorate, but it is still likely safe to ingest.

So, if you’ve been worried about that bottle of rice vinegar at the back of your cabinet for years, don’t be. While it may have lost some of its quality or flavor, it is likely still entirely safe to eat.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!