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Shaoxing Cooking Wine Substitute

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Shaoxing wine is a rice wine that is widely used in Chinese cookery. That secret ingredient imparts a flavor comparable to that of a Chinese restaurant.

This wine, along with soy sauce, is a significant element in traditional cuisines. It is used by the gallon in everything from stir fry sauces to soup broths, marinades, and wontons in Chinese restaurants.

Notably, Shaoxing cooking wine, like other cooking wines, is used in the cooking process to give depth, color, and flavor to sauces, soups, and noodles.

However, if your recipe asks for Shaoxing cooking wine, you may want to investigate these Shaoxing cooking wine replacements.

What is Shaoxing Cooking Wine

Shaoxing Cooking Wine Substitute

Shaoxing (Shaohsing) wine is a yellow rice wine produced in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China. Wine is another popular beverage that may be served cold or hot (it is often prepared with dried plum, dried tangerine, rock sugar, and other ingredients).

Notably, brown glutinous rice is used to produce Shaoxing rice wine, which is often aged for 10 years or more. Shaoxing wine has a mild taste that is reminiscent of dry sherry. The alcohol content of this wine is between 17 and 18%.

Shaoxing wine is intended for cooking rather than drinking. When consumed on its alone, it is very alcoholic and somewhat salty, since most recipes incorporate salt. This Chinese cooking wine is a rice wine made specifically for cooking.

While it is still a culinary wine, its richness and depth set it apart. This wine is used in marinades, dumplings, sauce deglazing, and meat seasoning.

Shaoxing Cooking Wine Uses in Recipes

Among all the traditional Chinese cuisines familiar to Westerners, it would be difficult to locate a single dish on a Chinese restaurant menu that did not use Chinese cooking wine.

Check out these intriguing meals that use Shaoxing cooking wine:

  • Napa Cabbage Salad with Hot Oil Dressing
  • Chow Mein
  • Wonton Soup
  • Chinese Corn Soup
  • Wontons Fillings
  • Potstickers Dumplings
  • Kung Pao Chicken
  • Cashew Chicken
  • Mongolian Beef
  • Beef and Broccoli
  • Classic Chop Suey
  • Chicken Stir Fry
  • Noodles
  • Soup Broth
  • Pasta

Shaoxing Cooking Wine Substitutes

Shaoxing wine is a Chinese cooking wine that you’ve probably had in one of your favorite recipes. However, since this culinary wine is not widely available, it might be difficult to find at times.

See below for some outstanding Shaoxing cooking wine replacements that you may use instead when your recipe asks for it:


Mirin is a staple in Japanese cooking, and it’s used for seasoning and thickening in the same way as Shaoxing is.

Mirin is a great investment since you will surely need it in the future if you cook Japanese or other Asian dishes.

It tastes similar to Sake but has less alcohol and a softer body.

Mirin is a Japanese rice wine created by fermenting steamed glutinous rice and cultivated rice called koji in a little amount of shochu called hon mirin.

Because mirin is sweeter than Shaoxing, use the same amount in the recipe but reduce the other sweeteners.

Mirin is accessible in various grocery shops; however, in other cases, a liquor store or speciality store is better.


This Japanese wine is an excellent replacement for Shaoxing cooking wine, particularly if you can locate a lower-alcohol cooking sake. It is often used as a tenderizer, marinade, or umami enhancer in fish and meat dishes.

Cooking sake may be found at grocery shops, however it may be difficult to find; in that case, purchase normal Sake from a liquor store and lower the quantity or add more water.

Before you begin cooking, keep in mind that Sake is somewhat sweeter and thicker than Shaoxing. If you’re using ordinary Sake, only use around a cup for every one cup of Shaoxing. However, roughly the same quantity may be used for cooking sake.


Dry White Wine

A dry white wine may add smell and sweetness to the meal, but don’t use too much or the taste will alter.

Dry white wines are popular in Italian and Spanish cuisines, but they may also be used in this recipe provided you use a cup of wine for every cup of Shaoxing.

Dry white wines are primarily offered at liquor shops, although they may also be found in select supermarkets. I suggest tasting the wine first to make sure it’s not overly sweet, then adding as required. For more acidity, add a teaspoon of lime juice.

However, you should only consider this approach if all other options have been explored.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to skip the Shaoxing wine in my recipe?

You may exclude Shaoxing wine from a recipe if the quantity is less than one tablespoon.

Is rice wine and Shaoxing wine the same thing?

Yes, technically, since Shaoxing wine is a form of rice wine, it is one of China’s oldest varieties of rice wine, with records reaching back over 2000 years.

What flavor does Shaoxing wine add to a recipe?

The taste of Shaoxing wine is distinct: vinegary, peppery, and caramel-like. Shaoxing rice wine, which is fundamental in Chinese cooking, is often utilized. If you’re curious, Shaoxing rice wine does not smell like alcohol.


Shaoxing wine, along with soy sauce, is unquestionably one of the most important tastes and cooking liquids in Chinese cuisine. It adds depth and richness to sauces, broths, and other dishes, much as it does in most European and Western cuisine.

You may not always have Shaoxing wine on hand, but that does not mean you have to abandon your recipe. When your recipe asks for it, use any of the indicated Shaoxing cooking wine replacements.


What can I use to replace Shaoxing wine?

The following are some examples of Chinese cooking wine: Dry sherry – yes, regular cheap and cheery dry sherry; Mirin – a Japanese sweet cooking wine. Because Mirin is significantly sweeter than Chinese Cooking Wine, eliminate or decrease the sugar called for in the recipe if you use it.The greatest Shaoxing Wine replacements

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of Shaoxing wine?

White wine vinegar is an excellent substitute for rice wine. Apple cider vinegar is even better since it is gentler and has a little more sweetness. They’re both sour, with a sharp, powerful aftertaste; but, in little doses, they’ll suffice.

Are rice wine and Shaoxing wine the same?

The wine Shaoxing is a sort of rice wine. Mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine, and sake, a dry Japanese rice wine, are two more types of rice wine.

Is mirin a good substitute for Shaoxing wine?

Mirin. Some sources claim that mirin is an excellent Shaoxing wine alternative, and that it will suffice if you reduce the sugar in your recipe. Dry sherry (rather than cooked sherry) is a superior, closer option. Mirin has a sweeter flavor than Shaoxing wine, which has a deep, fragrant, and somewhat sweet taste.

Can I use normal wine instead of Chinese cooking wine?

While the taste isn’t the same, a dry white wine may be used in place of Chinese rice wine in marinades and is a good substitution when that’s all you have on hand.

Can I use white wine vinegar instead of Shaoxing wine?

Conclusion: Shaoxing wine substitute

Many vinegars, including red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, may be substituted for shaoxing wine in a number of dishes.

Can you replace Chinese rice wine with white wine vinegar?

Vinegar of white wine

White wine vinegar, particularly in salad dressings, may be a good alternative for rice vinegar. Because rice vinegar has a sweeter flavor, substituting a quarter teaspoon of sugar for each tablespoon of vinegar may work in certain recipes.

Can I use red wine vinegar instead of Chinese rice wine?

Red wine vinegar is a good alternative for rice vinegar, but it changes the color of the finished dish and requires a little more sugar to get the same amount of sweetness. Use at a 1 to 1 ratio.

What is the difference between Chinese cooking wine and rice wine vinegar?

What distinguishes them? Rice vinegar and rice wine are both manufactured from fermented rice, however the techniques are different. Rice wine is made by fermenting freshly cooked sticky rice. Wine dregs, or lees, on the other hand, are occasionally used to make rice vinegar.

What is an example of Shaoxing wine?

Shaoxing huadiao wine and Shaoxing cooking wine are the two types of Shaoxing wine accessible in the US market. Shaoxing Huadiao (), also known as Nuerhong (), is an aged Shaoxing Jiafan wine (a kind of Shaoxing wine made with an additional 10% rice during the fermenting process).

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