Does Rice Vinegar go Bad? Info and Tips

Rice vinegar is extracted from fermented rice. It originates from East Asia. Rice vinegar does not go bad but will deteriorate over time!

Rice vinegar is the most prominent ingredient to cook many meat-based items. It adds a rich and enriching texture to the dishes. It is often added in pickles, vegetables, sushi rice, salads, and slaws to prolong its life. It deteriorates over time but mostly does not get spoiled if stored properly.

You must have brought a bottle because the dish called for it, but now you might be confused on how to store it and how to use it for a long time? Well, let’s dive right into the topic and figure out if vinegar goes bad over time and what’s the correct way to store it.

What is Rice Vinegar and Its Types

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Vinegar is basically a liquid solution of acetic acid and the key component. Usually, the acetic acid is extracted from fermented ethanol or sugars. Vinegar is used for flavor, cooking ingredients, or in pickles. There are many types of vinegar, and one such famous vinegar is rice vinegar.

The rice vinegar is less acidic and is very sweet compared to other kinds of vinegar, which is why it’s used as a sweetener in many dishes. In addition, chefs experiment with different variants of rice vinegar to bring out the rich flavor of dishes and enhance their texture.

Can rice vinegar go bad?

Like many vinegar substances, there is no exact shelf life for rice vinegar, nor is there a time span to use. So you may ask why there is an expiry date tag on the bottles? It is often assumed that customers believe in products with a precise timeline for them to consume. But when it comes to vinegar, the accurate time frame is till the vinegar is fresh and has a rich flavor.

If the label says five years of storage, you can notice the significant color, flavor, and essence changes after five years. You might have to use more flavors, but watch out, as sometimes the vinegar can turn bitter and ruin the dish.

What are the types of rice vinegar available

 Among many varieties, here are the five best  kinds of rice vinegar for you to know about:

  1. White rice vinegar
  2. Seasoned rice vinegar
  3. Brown rice vinegar
  4. Black rice vinegar
  • White rice vinegar

This rice vinegar is the basic vinegar you get in any supermarket. It is widespread and has the longest shelf life. However, it does not have a rich flavor or acidic nature; hence, it does not make much difference even after the labeled expiry date. 

You can use it for years before you notice any change. Once the color changes, please discard it.

  • Seasoned rice vinegar

This rice vinegar is made from white rice, herbs, and sugars or MSG for strong flavors. Seasoned rice vinegar does not go bad, but it will start deteriorating over time. The rice vinegar will start losing taste and flavor, but it is still edible.

So, if you buy seasoned rice vinegar, buy a small bottle and use it as soon as possible.

  • Brown rice vinegar

Brown rice vinegar is a new trend and has a higher nutritional value. It is extracted from brown rice, and it is sweeter than other rice vinegar.

  • Black rice vinegar

This rice vinegar has high gluten content as it is made up of black glutinous rice, wheat, sorghum, and other grains. However, even though you store it in a dark place, it might lose its flavor over a short period of time. So buy black rice vinegar for instant use only.

  • Red rice vinegar

Red rice vinegar is extracted from red yeast rice and has a unique taste from the red mold. It tastes sweet, sour, and spicy altogether. It makes a perfect dipping sauce for any sushi and meat items. Strictly store red rice vinegar in a glass bottle for better shelf life and retain flavor and texture.

How to store it for longer shelf life?

Does rice vinegar go bad

Remember, rice vinegar can hasten its shelf life on exposure to sunlight. Therefore always keep the bottle in a cool and dark place, far from any source of heat and light. The pantry would be a great store, but a corner cupboard will also do the job.

Sealing the bottle plays a key role in storing the vinegar. Once you break the seal, make sure to close it after use tightly. If the vinegar has a higher alcohol concentration, it can evaporate quickly if not tightly sealed.

Once the seal is broken, many chefs recommended changing the bottles and storing the rice vinegar. When you change the bottle, make sure to shift it into a glass bottle. Do not use metal or plastic bottles at any cost.

Check the manufacturer’s label to store the rice vinegar. Some brands have a stable shelf life even at room temperature, while some brands require refrigeration.

How long can rice vinegar last?

Rice vinegar can last up to 5 years without any change in texture, flavor, and content. So even though many brands mention the last date on their label, you can prolong the shelf life by preserving it in the right way.

The best way to prolong the life of the rice vinegar is always to store it in the fridge at the same temperature. Never put it in the freezer. Storing it in the refrigerator will double its shelf life. Another parameter that needs to be considered before storing, the type of rice vinegar you are storing.

How to identify if the vinegar has gone bad?

Rice vinegar comes in different colors and different flavors. This is because they contain various components like spices, herbs, wheat, and other additives. As a result, they change the color of the rice vinegar, but mostly, the basic rice vinegar comes in shades of red and brown.

The color change is the first sign of deterioration. It means that the flavor is degrading slowly and the first thing you need to do is change the bottle. Transforming it into a clean glass bottle will prolong the shelf life and retain the remaining flavor.

Rarely, rice vinegar would ever go bad when stored in the right place. But it’s better to be cautious and taste it before you use it. 

Sometimes, rice vinegar loses its thickness and becomes thin and runny. That happens when the bacteria start acting and multiply at a faster rate and ferment. Black rice vinegar and red rice vinegar often have this problem. So, store it at a colder temperature to prevent bacteria mutation.


Rice vinegar does not go bad if you know how to store it carefully from heat and light sources. It also depends on the type of rice vinegar you are using.

White and brown rice vinegar is the basic and standard vinegar available in the market. They have indefinite shelf life past the labeled date. Well, now you know how to store the rice vinegar for a longer shelf life!

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  • Updated December 7, 2021

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