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Mirin Sauce may be substituted.

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Have you ever wondered what mirin is? while reviewing the ingredient list for any recipe? Even if you’ve never bought or used it, chances are you’ve come across it in some form or another. Several Japanese dishes, from teriyaki to ramen, have a distinct umami taste. There’s sweetness, but there’s also a delicate acidity and an elusive richness.

Yes! Mirin sauce, a somewhat sweet Japanese rice wine, is typically used to underpin that taste. Hence, if you want to experience Japanese food, you need learn more about mirin sauce. You may consider yourself a brave and resourceful home chef who isn’t scared to explore new cuisines and experiment with other options. Continue reading to learn about mirin sauce, how to use it, and appropriate substitutions if you can’t find it in time for your exciting dishes.

What is Mirin Sauce

Mirin sauce is a Japanese rice wine with a taste profile similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol concentration of roughly 10% to 14% alcohol by volume. The alcohol evaporates after it has been thoroughly heated. Mirin sauce is a prominent ingredient in Asian sauces and marinades, such as teriyaki sauce, due to its strong umami taste. Mirin’s sugar concentration also imparts a lustrous gloss to sauces, glazes, and dressings.

Mirin Sauce Uses in Recipe

Mirin sauce is a rice wine that adds a distinct taste to Japanese food. Because of its high sugar content, it is the ideal complement to the salty taste of soy sauce, another famous Japanese condiment. Because of its syrupy viscosity, mirin sauce is also an important component in Japanese glazes such as teriyaki sauce. Let’s look at some fascinating dishes that employ mirin sauce well:

  • Udon stir-fried with pork and scallions.
  • Poke of tuna.
  • Chicken fried.
  • Curried beef.
  • Summertime rolls.
  • Slaw with sesame tempeh.
  • Chicken kebabs.
  • Ohitashi, spinach.
  • Beef from Soboro.
  • Bibimpap with steak and eggs from Parachutes.
  • Simple sesame soba noodles.
  • Salmon with a glaze.
  • Crispy rice with gochujang-braised chicken.
  • Teriyaki sauce is a Japanese condiment.
  • Soup with kombu chicken.
  • Salmon poached in mirin served with a spring salad.
  • Fried rice sauce.
  • Stir-fry chicken.
  • Salad with beef noodle.

Mirin Sauce Substitute

You should be well-versed in taste and mirin sauce utilization by this point. Nevertheless, there are various recipes that call for mirin sauce, and none are accessible at your local grocery. Thus, although it is true that internet buying is quick, it is not always the case. Owing to these conditions, we must consider certain solutions for your convenience.

Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar, often known as rice wine vinegar, is a great replacement for mirin. It has no alcohol. Rice wine is fermented to produce this product, which converts alcohol to acetic acid. As an alternative to mirin sauce, rice vinegar works well in dipping sauces and salad dressings. It does, however, have a light taste with a bit of sweetness to it. Rice vinegar’s acidity may be mitigated with sugar and a dab of light-colored juice. Nevertheless, rice vinegar cannot be used in lieu of mirin on its own. As a consequence, add a half teaspoon of sugar to each tablespoon of rice vinegar to get the desired outcome.


Vermouth is a flavored wine fortified with brandy that may be substituted for mirin sauce. It’s a delicate flavoring ingredient that’s been sweetened and flavored with spices and herbs. Vermouth comes in two varieties: red and white. White vermouth is dry, but red vermouth is sweet. Yet, both might be used in your cookery.

As a supplement, two tablespoons of sugar and two cups of vermouth are advised. Yet, it is a question of personal choice. This alternative works well in glazes, salads, and dipping sauces. Nevertheless, since vermouth is less sweet than Japanese rice wine, sugar should be used instead of mirin in vermouth recipes. For every one



Sake is a mirin sauce substitute that is almost identical. To attain the same taste, sake should be sweetened with white sugar. When replacing mirin sauce for sake, take in mind that mirin sauce contains less alcohol. As a result, you may use sugar to reduce the alcohol concentration of sake as well.

In a dish that asks for 1 tablespoon of mirin sauce, you may substitute 1 teaspoon of sake and two tablespoons of sugar for 1 tablespoon of mirin sauce. Importantly, sake absorbs smells from meat and fish, making it ideal for marinades. It is also often used before to boiling to help remove some of the alcohol. Also, sake is a great tenderizer and umami taste enhancer.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is an Italian vinegar made from the skins, seeds, and stems of roasted white grapes. Notably, the best balsamic vinegar is aged for 18 to 100 years; the longer it is kept, the better it is, and the more costly it is. It has a thick consistency because moisture evaporates throughout the maturation process. It has a black appearance and a powerful taste that is rich and somewhat sweet. Salad dressings, dipping sauces, gourmet marinades, and soup broth may all benefit from balsamic vinegar in the kitchen. Because of its rich taste, it may also be used as a mirin substitute. Balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, is not as sweet as mirin sauce. As a result, a tiny quantity of sugar should be added to get the flavor of mirin sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use sugar instead of mirin?

There are a few mirin substitutes that are almost as good. In a pinch, a simple sugar and water combination, honey, might be used to replace the sweetness of mirin. A 3:1 water-to-sugar ratio is a good choice for achieving the desired amount of sweetness.

What are the ingredients in mirin?

Steamed glutinous rice, cultivated rice, and distilled rice liquor are combined to make true mirin. This combination may take anything from two months to many years to ferment. As it matures, the deeper the color grows, the stronger the taste.

Are rice vinegar and mirin the same thing?

Rice wine vinegar is a byproduct of the secondary fermentation of rice wine, while mirin is a sweetened rice wine similar to sake. Both provide a unique, sweet and savory taste to foods. Mirin and rice wine vinegar are two similar condiments that are often used interchangeably, despite their significant variations in taste and function.


The truth is that your local grocer may not have mirin sauce in its purest form. Of course, you can always get mirin sauce online, but sake or vermouth will suffice if you’re in a hurry. Balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar may also be used. To balance out the sour flavor, add a tiny quantity of sugar to each spoonful. So, what happens once you’ve successfully incorporated any of the mirin sauce alternatives into your cooking? That implies you’ve discovered a plethora of dipping sauces, broths, marinades, and glazes to use into your dishes. Cheers!


Can I use white vinegar instead of mirin?

No worries. White wine vinegar or rice vinegar are the greatest mirin substitutes. Since both are quite acidic, you must account for the sweetness of the mirin by adding 12 teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon of vinegar.

Can I use honey instead of mirin?

Honey is an excellent choice, but ordinary sugar may also be used. This is an excellent option for recipes that call for a higher level of sweetness (like teriyaki sauce). 1 tablespoon sake, 12 teaspoon honey (or sugar). Use as a 1:1 substitute for 1 tablespoon mirin.

Can you use apple cider vinegar instead of mirin?

Any vinegar, including white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, may be used as a replacement for mirin. When substituting vinegar for mirin, add a tiny quantity of sugar or fruit juice to balance the tastes.

Can I substitute mirin for soy sauce?

Mirin tastes like sake but has a lower alcohol concentration and a lighter, syrupy mouthfeel. Its sweet, tangy flavor complements the salty, umami flavors of other popular Asian condiments like soy sauce or tamari.

Can I make my own mirin?

It’s simple to make: simply combine koji, cooked rice, and a neutral-tasting spirit. After that, keep it at room temperature for 2 to 3 months. 300ml vodka, 100g koji, and 100g cooled, cooked rice were combined. After three months, the mirin becomes a deep golden color.

Is mirin just rice vinegar?

A. Mirin is a sweet rice wine used in Japanese cookery that is commonly mistaken with rice wine vinegar. It does more than merely flavor meals. The sweetness also adds shine to sauces and glazes and may aid in their adhesion to food.

What does mirin do in a recipe?

Mirin is a kind of Japanese cooking wine that is often used in stir-fries, sauces, and marinades. Yet, the versatile component has numerous more applications that you may not have considered. Because of its high sugar content, the sweet wine may be used to tenderize meats and produce delectable glazes for fish, poultry, and cattle.

What does mirin taste like?

Mirin has a particular sweet flavor, as opposed to other Asian condiments such as soy sauce, which are noted for their umami properties. It is created from rice yeast and alcohol, and there are many types with differing alcohol concentration.

Can you substitute maple syrup for mirin?

If you have Sake (Rice Wine), add 1 tablespoon (15ml). Alternatively, water may be required. *Note: Depending on the meal, replace Brown Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, or other sweetening components.

Can I use lemon juice instead of mirin?

To best recreate the acidic flavor of mirin, add a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of white grape juice. Although using white grape juice instead of mirin means foregoing some umami taste, it also adds a fruity flavor to your foods, diversifying them.

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