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

Rice vinegar is a common ingredient in many homes – like apple cider vinegar, is it often used for cooking in dishes and sometimes in cleaning if you are out of all other types of vinegar. Rice vinegar is not something that goes bad even with improper storage.

Quick Answer

Rice vinegar can last indefinitely. Storing it is easy, but even if stored improperly, it won’t go bad for a long time. Rice vinegar in a pantry can be stored for at least two years at the best quality. It can be refrigerated for up to three years after being stored unopened for one year at its best quality. It can be frozen indefinitely.


No matter how you store it, rice vinegar cannot expire from just consumer error. There is, however, a proper way to store it, so let’s look at that.

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

There are different ways to store rice vinegar, despite the fact that it can last indefinitely no matter where or how you decide to store it.

How Long Does Rice Vinegar Last Outside?

Rice vinegar can last indefinitely anywhere, storing rice vinegar in a pantry for the recommended shelf life ensures the vinegar keeps the best quality.

Unopened rice vinegar stored in the pantry retains its best use and quality for two years unopened, and then one year after opening. If a pantry isn’t available, the area where vinegar is stored should be dark and not subject to extreme temperature changes.

Like any vinegar, rice vinegar is no exception to developing “the mother”-  It is perfectly safe and not a sign of rice vinegar being bad. It can simply be strained out with coffee filters, and then used as normal.

How Long Does Rice Vinegar Last in the Fridge?

Rice vinegar’s shelf life is not prolonged by refrigerating, although it is recommended after opening. Refrigerating vinegar should be based off of how much use you actually get out of a bottle of rice vinegar, as well as if you have the storage space for it to keep in your fridge long term.

If you do refrigerate your rice vinegar after opening, it will retain the best quality for one year after opening, but it won’t necessarily be bad. It just won’t possess the strength it did in the beginning.

Vinegars have a high acidity content, and therefore cannot grow bacteria so there’s not much use for fear of food borne illness from it, so refrigeration is a choice just depending mostly on storage space for yourself.

How Long Does Rice Vinegar Last in the Freezer?

Freezing does not hinder or extend the shelf life of rice vinegar. It’s biggest perk is that it will save storage space.

Vinegar freezes at 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Vinegar is something to be careful with when freezing it because of its acidic content.  Vinegar can melt ice and cause the freezer to not function properly or safely.

Vinegar should be frozen as quickly as possible because of it’s being highly acidic. The colder vinegar gets, and the more acidity is lost and the greater the acidity means the vinegar is freshest.


Rice vinegar can last indefinitely, even if stored improperly, it just may not retain the top quality. It can be stored anywhere, and the shelf life will not be effected.

How to Tell if Rice Vinegar Has Gone Bad/How to Tell if Rice Vinegar is Fresh

After you use rice vinegar, it can lose some of it’s freshness while not necessarily going bad. You can tell the freshness of rice vinegar by three things: the color, the smell, and the growth of the mother.

The color: Now, some people don’t use rice vinegar a lot except in cooking – so it is probably kept closer to the stove. When exposed to heat, it can lose it’s coloring. While rice vinegar has a natural pale color, it can be hard to tell if it loses color, and it may grow murky.

The smell and Taste: Rice vinegar is a sweet smelling vinegar, and tastes sweet – it is made from fermented rice so if it doesn’t smell sweet or taste as sweet, that may be a sign it has lost some of it’s freshness. This is one of the few times it is okay to taste something that may not be as fresh, seeing as vinegar has high acidity and can’t grow bacteria or mold.

The Mother: The mother grows inside of rice vinegar. It isn’t harmful, and it won’t hurt you or the shelf life of the rice vinegar.  It just shows that is has been opened, and potentially used. While it can be a bit time consuming to get rid of before being able to use the rice vinegar, the process of removing it is very simple. To use the rice vinegar, just use a strainer to remove the mother – pouring the vinegar into a separate container and then pouring the strained vinegar into the original container if desired.

How to Store Rice Vinegar?

After you open rice vinegar, a few ways to store it are in air-tight containers or freezer bags (if frozen).  Like anything, it is important to store rice vinegar away from high heat sources, and light – it stays best in cool, dark places.

Airtight Container: You can do two options with this: Keep the rice vinegar in its original container with the lid securely fashioned, or you can transfer it to something like a glass decanter. Keeping it in its original packaging is best for keeping quality.

Freezer Bags: This storage option is the best for the freezer (glass or plastic is not good for freezers nor is it safe.) This is also the best option when making vinegar into ice cubes because it’s a space safer. Place ice cubes a freezer safe bag and store indefinitely in the freezer or freeze entire portion of rice vinegar in a freezer safe container, and then thaw when needed.

Can You Freeze Rice Vinegar? How?

Yes, rice vinegar can be frozen – there are two ways to freeze it. Both are simple, however, making ice cubes out of vinegar will save the most space and time when thawing.

Transfer to Freezer Safe Container: When freezing rice vinegar, it should be done in a freezer safe container. This means avoiding glass. Liquids when frozen expand and glass has no way to expand safely and will just explode.

Apply Plastic Wrap and Lid: Apply a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the bottle, then secure the lid. The plastic wrap under the lid is to ensure an extra layer of safety if the bottle were to fall or break on top.


Pour Into Ice Cubes: Pour rice vinegar into ice cube trays, covering the tray with a layer of plastic wrap and place on a flat surface within the freezer.

Freeze Time: Freeze the full tray for six to twelve hours to ensure it is completely frozen before transferring to a freezer safe bag. Keep frozen until needing to thaw any out.

How to Store: Transfer frozen ice cubes to a freezer Ziploc bag, seal, and place in fridge until needed to thaw. Keep frozen, and in the bag until needing to thaw.

How to Thaw Rice Vinegar?

When thawing Rice vinegar, there are two ways you can do it. Each way is easy, and ensures you can still use the product.

Fridge: Thaw vinegar in the refrigerator overnight or longer, if not fully defrosted. A slow thaw ensures it will retain it’s best quality.

Room Temperature: Since rice vinegar can’t grow bacteria, thawing it at room temperature is perfectly safe and acceptable. It’s not quick, but it will thaw faster than in the fridge.

Microwave: You can put a few cubes in a microwave safe bowl, and thaw for intervals of fifteen to thirty seconds till completely melted. Allow the rice vinegar to cool completely before using. The microwave method is not recommended for thawing entire containers of rice vinegar as it will take too long, and the container may not be microwave safe and can be a safety issue.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rice Vinegar’s Shelf Life

 Can Old Rice Vinegar Make You Sick?

Rice vinegar does something called self-preserving due to high acidic content. It can grow something called the mother (which while not pleasant to see, and shouldn’t be consumed, it is not dangerous and cannot make you sick. Rice vinegar does not grow mold.  (the mother is not mold, although it may look it). So, no, old rice vinegar cannot make you sick.


Does Rice Vinegar Kill Mold And Bacteria?

Yes, rice vinegar, like any other vinegar can kill mold. It can kill lots of mold species, but it’s not recommended to use only rice vinegar as a cleaner, and to use a second option to completely rid of any bacteria or dirt before using rice vinegar. Rice vinegar isn’t seen as being able to kill bacteria however, at the rate it can remove mold species.

Wrap Up

Rice Vinegar is something that will keep forever, and is perfect to store any way you choose as it can’t go bad just from user error. The freezing process is easy, and answering questions about vinegar and if it can make you sick and if it can kill mold, as it is used most often as a cleaning agent.


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