7 good Ume Plum Vinegar substitutes (Craving Alert)

If you’re like me, then you love experimenting with new ingredients and savors in the kitchen. Recently, I came across ume plum vinegar and was intrigued by its unique tart, sour with fruity flavor. 

I started to wonder if there was a replacement for Ume plum vinegar if I ever needed to create a recipe that required it but couldn’t locate it in stores.

Do you know Ume vinegar is the source of umami, which has a savory taste that is difficult to replicate!

So I researched and realized that, after all, there are a few ume plum vinegar substitutes! I was overjoyed and thought, why not share it with you?

Keep reading to learn what it is & which one is my favorite.

What is Ume Plum Vinegar?

For those who don’t know about Plum vinegar- “Ume vinegar is made of pickled “umeboshi” (Japanese salt plums).”

The pickled salt plums are incredibly sour. To make ume vinegar, rice bran, or sake kasu (the sediment leftover from making sake) is used to dilute the sourness of the pickles. 

Ume vinegar is an indispensable seasoning for Japanese dishes. Along with soy sauce and sake, it’s one of the three main condiments in Japan.

What does ume plum vinegar taste like?

“Ume vinegar has a slightly tart-sweet flavor with a fruity aftertaste.”

It tastes sour at first but has a unique salty-sweetness toward the end.

7 Best Ume Plum Vinegar Substitute

1. RED WINE VINEGAR- Closest Substitute for Ume Plum Vinegar

Red Wine Vinegar is the nearest substitute for ume plum vinegar. It is readily available at most supermarkets and has a sour, fruity taste. 

red wine vinegar is a closest substitute for ume plum vinegar.

To make a substitute for ume plum vinegar, combine 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, and a pinch of salt.

Red wine vinegar has a stronger, more acidic flavor than ume vinegar, so start with a small amount and add more if needed.

2. WHITE WINE VINEGAR- Almost Similar Replacement of Umeboshi Vinegar

White wine vinegar has a sour and acidic flavor similar to ume vinegar, though not as salty.

One way to substitute white wine vinegar for ume vinegar in a recipe is to add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar for every 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar called for.

If the recipe requires more than 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, then add an additional 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar for each tablespoon needed. 

Another substitution option.- is to mix together 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar with 1 teaspoon of water, add a little salt for saltiness. 

This combination may stand for every 1 tablespoon of ume vinegar needed in a recipe.

3. Simple BROWN RICE VINEGAR Can Use as Ume Plum Vinegar Substitution

Try regular brown rice vinegar instead of it when you need ume vinegar in a recipe but don’t have it.

Brown rice vinegar is a good choice because it has a mild flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes.

I highly recommend making one yourself, but this method below can save you time and trouble in a pinch!


  • · 1 part brown rice vinegar
  • · 3 parts water
  • · 1/2 to 1 teaspoon umeboshi paste


Mix all ingredients in a smallish saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring, until boiling. 

Decrease the flame to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

If desired, strain out the umeboshi paste. Refrigerate in an airtight jar for up to two weeks.

4. Try FRUIT WINE VINEGAR instead of Ume Vinegar.

Fruit wine vinegar is a suitable replacement for ume vinegar. It gives the same flavor but is slightly sourer than the ume vinegar. 

To get rid of the acidity, I suggest using cider (like in shio koji). If you don’t like to use cider or sake lees, you can use sugar to adjust the sweetness.

5. MIRIN- A Good Plum Vinegar

Mirin is a rice-based alcoholic beverage that is a unique Japanese condiment. It has a unique flavor and deep amber color with a syrupy consistency.

There are two types of Mirin: Hon-mirin and the other is called Shio-mirin.

mirin is a popular alternative for plum vinegar.

Hon-mirin is made from glutinous rice, while Shio-mirin is made from non-glutinous rice and salt. 

The main ingredients of mirin are rice, water, and Koji. Mirin has a sweetness and aroma like honey. 

It is used for seasoning and marinating meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and tofu.

So you can use Mirin in the place of Umeboshi vinegar. If you want to try Non-alcoholic Mirin(check here), also count the same savor.

simple mixture of sugar, water, and mirin can go as an alternate for plum vinegar. 

Recipe: 1 cup sugar + ½ cup water + 3 Tbsp Mirin (hon mirin). Mix them in a saucepan and heat them until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Mirin brings out the flavors of food. You can utilize it as a condiment for rice, noodles, and other Japanese dishes or a dipping sauce for sashimi or various meats. Mirin can also enhance the flavor of dressings, sauces, and marinades.

Store in the refrigerator for up to six months, but store it in the freezer if you want to keep it longer.

6. Give a Distinct Ume Flavor with FISH SAUCE

Fish sauce is a savory condiment created from fermented fish and salt. It is reddish-brown in color and has a strong, pungent smell. 

Fish sauce is famous in Southeast Asian cuisine and is used as a flavor enhancer.

The fish sauce contains several types of amino acids that give it its distinct flavor. These amino acids are also responsible for the umami taste, which is characteristic of fish sauce. 

Fish sauce is a great way to add umami to a stir fry. Add fish sauce to soups or dipping sauces when used as a condiment. 

Fish sauce is an inexpensive way to add flavor to your meals while enjoying the health benefits of fermented foods.

Ume plum vinegar recipe ( Homemade Umeboshi Vinegar)

Ume Plum Vinegar recipe is easy to make. Follow the instruction below:


  • · 1 cup ume plum vinegar
  • · 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • · 1 tablespoon sugar
  • · 1 teaspoon sesame oil


Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in a small mixing bowl. Fill a jar or bottle halfway with the mixture. Refrigerate after preparing.

Your ume plum vinegar is ready! It will stay for about 3 months in the fridge. You can use this vinegar to make a lot of Japanese foods, including cucumber salad, salmon skin roll, Japanese omelet, sesame dressing, etc.

How to use ume plum vinegar?

There are many ways to use ume plum vinegar. You can add it to your cooking or drink it as a health drink. 

Here are some recipes for using ume plum vinegar:

1. Ume Plum Vinegar Salad Dressing:

Combine 1 tablespoon of ume plum vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce in a small bowl. Stir well and pour over your salad.

2. Ume Plum Vinegar Dipping Sauce: 

Combine 1 tablespoon of ume plum vinegar, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of honey in a small bowl. Stir well and serve with your favorite dipping foods.

3. Ume Plum Vinegar Drink: 

Combine 2 tablespoons of ume plum vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass. Mix well and add ice cubes to chill the drink. An excellent cure for nausea!

What can I substitute for umeboshi?

  • · Dried Apricot
  • · Grapefruit
  • · vinegar, 
  • · Tamari ( Tamari Alternatives)
  • · Seaweed ( Seaweed alternative)

Check for more Substitution for Umeboshi paste.

Wrap Up On Substitute for Umeboshi Vinegar 

There are several alternatives to umeboshi vinegar that use in recipes. These include red wine vinegar, brown rice vinegar, fruit wine vinegar. (My favorite red wine vinegar, fruit wine vinegar)

Each kind of vinegar has its own unique flavor and is suitable for umeboshi vinegar in recipes.

FAQs Related to Ume Vinegar & Its Alternatives

Q1. Is plum vinegar sweet?

Yes. Of course, plum vinegar is sweet at the same time- sour and salty.

The fruit used in its production is plums, which are dried and then combined with rice vinegar to make the sweet-and-sour condiment.

The flavor of plum vinegar is due to the addition of the plums, which give it a unique sweetness that other vinegars don’t have. 

This makes plum vinegar is a popular choice for salad dressings, as it can add a bit of flavor to bland greens. It’s also a delicious dipping sauce for sushi or other Japanese dishes.

Q2. Does ume plum vinegar need refrigeration?

Ume plum vinegar is a kind of vinegar made from ume plums, a Japanese plum. It is typically used as a condiment or seasoning in Japanese cuisine. 

Ume plum vinegar is also popular in other East Asian countries, such as China and South Korea.

It doesn’t need to be frozen, but it will keep for a very long time if you put it in the fridge. 

The vinegar may get cloudy when cold; this is normal. If you warm up the bottle by leaving it in hot water, the consistency will change back to its original state. 

If refrigerated, it can last up to about a year.

Q3. What can you do with ume plum?

Ume plums can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be eaten fresh, cooked, or fermented into umeboshi.

Ume plums can be used in many different recipes. You can add them to salads, stir-fries, or even desserts. 

They are an excellent accent to any recipe that requires a slight tartness.

It is very easy to do if you want to try fermenting your own umeboshi. All you need is some ume plum paste, salt, and water. 

Just mix the ingredients together and let them sit for about two weeks. You will then have delicious and healthy umeboshi pickles to enjoy!

Q4. Does plum vinegar go bad?

Yes, plum vinegar can go bad. The vinegar will start to ferment and produce a sour smell. 

If left untreated, the vinegar will eventually spoil and become unusable. It is essential to discard any spoiled vinegar to avoid food poisoning.

This is how to tell if plum vinegar has gone bad:

– If the color of the liquid has changed and become darker.
– If there are signs of mold on top or at the bottom of the bottle.
– If it smells differently than usual (although it should smell like plums).
-If you notice any change in taste, it’s probably best to discard plum vinegar.

Plum vinegar will typically last for about two years before going bad. However, this will depend on how you store the vinegar. 

If stored improperly, the shelf-life of plum vinegar may be significantly less than two years.

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