Substitute for Mirin and Sake-8 Great Options!

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Substitute for Mirin and Sake

Mirin and sake are for people with buds that are enchanted by rich and unique flavors. Mirin gives your food a mildly acidic flavor. It is a sweet rice wine from Japan and a common ingredient in most Asian recipes. Sake is a product of polished wine.

This Japanese wine is created from rice without the bran, and it’s therefore as clear as water. It is used in the kitchen to enhance food flavors and also as a marinade. It can be used to tenderize seafood and other meats.

Some of the greatest substitutes for mirin and sake include dry sherry, Shao Xing Wine, Kikkoman, Aji-Mirin, Rice vinegar, Balsamic vinegar, white wine

Shao Xing Wine

Shao Xing wine is a rice wine and is sometimes made from millet. It is brownish yellow and not as clear as sake. But it brings in the rich taste desired by those who love adding mirin and sake in their food.

It works perfectly like sake and mirin but requires to be combined with sugar for some recipes. This wine is intended for cooking only and cannot be taken like regular wines. It is salty with a harsh alcohol taste. It is perfect for marinades, wontons, sauces and soup broths.

Dry sherry

Dry sherry is a wine made using gapes. It has a high level of alcohol and almost the same as sake. However, wines made from rice are more robust than those made from grapes. It has a dark color. If your recipe requires sugar, use sweet sherry and reduce sweetening ingredients.

Dry Vermouth

If you have dry vermouth in your home’s liquor cabinet, you can use it instead of mirin and sake. It is aromatized with natural flavors.

However, it may be too much for some people, and you should try it out before making a meal for your guests. Avoid it if your recipe requires sugar.

White Wine

White wine is readily available and the best option when looking for a mirin or sake replacement.

It is not as sweet as fortified wine. It tends to match with most recipes though not identical with mirin and sake.

You end up discovering more flavors and fruitier flavor. When using it as a mirin substitute, you may have to add sugar to get excellent results.


Aji-Mirin means tastes like mirin, but it is not the real thing. This product is readily available in most markets in Japan and across the world.

The original mirin is quite expensive, so most stores sell Aji-Mirin, and it gives your Japanese cuisine an authentic taste when used to cook.

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar works like mirin and is also referred to as rice wine vinegar and non-alcoholic. The rice is fermented to produce this rice wine.

It is used for dressing salads and making dipping sauces. The best thing is that rice vinegar is a bit sweet though you may add some sugar if you really want a lot of sweetness.

Balsamic Vinegar

This vinegar is Italian and made from boiled white grapes. The stem, seeds and skin are included but must mature in wood kegs for about 12 years to qualify as balsamic vinegar. The best balsamic is over 18 years, with some as old as 100 years.

The older the vinegar, the more expensive and the better it is. The thickness of balsamic vinegar is consistent as most water evaporates during the maturing process. It becomes dark in color and gets a strong flavor with an excellent sweet taste.

The balsamic vinegar comes handy for dipping sauces, soup broth, gourmet marinades and salad dressings. For a perfect flavor, add a little amount of sugar because it’s not sweet and may therefore not be ideal for sweet recipes.


Kombucha is acidic but doesn’t contain any alcohol. You can make it at home or buy it from your local store. It works perfectly as an alternative for mirin and sake. However, when buying a commercial kombucha, avoid those with flavors if your recipe doesn’t need one.

If you want to explore Japanese cooking, you definitely have heard of mirin and sake. Unfortunately, these two ingredients may not be at hand sometimes when you want to use them.

Fortunately, you will find many alternatives that are likely to be in your house. However, remember these are replacements and may not come with the original properties of mirin and sake.

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