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Substitutes For Mirin In Cooking

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Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that adds a mild acidity to meals. It is comparable to sake, but it contains less sugar and alcohol and a greater umami taste in savory dishes than sake. It’s a good thing to have on hand, particularly if you like Asian and fusion cooking.

However, like with any other culinary ingredient, it is possible that you may need mirin at some point in your recipe and will not have any on hand. There is no need to cancel the whole treatment in this case; just swap a substitute for mirin.

If your next major inquiry is, “What can I use instead of mirin in my recipes?” Then you’ve arrived to the correct location. We’ll also show you how to choose a decent replacement and how to integrate it into your recipes for the greatest outcomes.

What is Mirin?

Substitutes For Mirin In Cooking

Mirin is a rice wine that is often used in Japanese cooking. It’s comparable to sake, but with more sugar and less alcohol. Mirin has no added sugars; the sugar content is derived from a complex carbohydrate that arises naturally during the fermentation process. The alcohol concentration of the beverage is decreased even more when heated.

True mirin (also known as hon-mirin) is made by combining steamed glutinous rice, cultivated rice (also known as koji), and a distilled rice liquor. This real mirin combination might take anything from two months to many years to ferment. (The deeper the color develops as it matures, the greater the taste.) This mirin has a complex and deep taste with a lot of umami.

Mirin is often used to brighten and disguise the odor of grilled or broiled fish. Because of its powerful taste, mirin is regularly substituted for sugar and soy sauce in a variety of dishes, and it is also sometimes served with sushi. Mirin is not only used in recipes, but it is also used to make sauces such as teriyaki, kabayaki, and nikiri mirin sauce.

Uses of Mirin in Recipes

Substitutes For Mirin In Cooking

Mirin is a rice wine that is widely used to enhance the taste of Japanese food. Because of its high sugar level, it perfectly balances the salty character of soy sauce, another famous Japanese condiment. It is also a significant ingredient in Japanese glazes such as teriyaki sauce due to its syrupy viscosity.

Mirin is often used in a variety of recipes, some of which are as follows:

  • Salmon teriyaki
  • Kombu chicken soup
  • Korean braised short ribs
  • Stir-fried udon with pork
  • Tuna poke
  • Beef curry
  • Sesame Tempeh slaw
  • Soy-basted chicken kebabs
  • Spinach Ohitashi
  • Soboro beef
  • Steak and egg bibimbap
  • King trumpet Yakitori
  • Sesame Soba noodles
  • Spicy tofu crumbles
  • Gochujang-braised chicken
  • Teriyaki sauce

Substitutes for Mirin in Cooking

If you prepare a lot of Japanese dishes, mirin is a must-have in your pantry. Despite this, it has a high alcohol content of 14 percent, which may imply that mirin is not for everyone.

In a circumstance like this, or if you run out of mirin sauce in the midst of a meal or can’t locate any in your local grocery store, the next best thing is to experiment with accessible alternatives that can successfully take its place.

Mirin replacements available include the following:

Shin Mirin

Shin mirin is Japanese for “new mirin.” Mirin-fu chomiryo, or mirin-like seasoning, is another name for it. Shin mirin is distinguishable from authentic mirin by the fact that it contains just 1% alcohol while retaining the classic mirin’s taste. Because the percentage level is so low, it is preferable for those who avoid alcohol in their diet.

With this in mind, if you are worried about the alcohol level of mirin and want a less alcoholic alternative, shin mirin is a perfect option since the flavor is same.


Sake, like mirin, is a fermented rice beverage. As a result, the tastes should be equivalent. It’s worth noting that sake is significantly less sweet than mirin. Because this version has less sugar, you may need to sweeten it with sugar or fruit juice, depending on your recipe.

You may replace sake for mirin in any recipe that asks for mirin; but, due of its high alcohol level, sake is not an option if you are not using mirin. However, if the presence of alcohol does not disturb you, you may consume it.

If the recipe asks for one tablespoon of mirin, replace it with one tablespoon of sake. After that, since sake does not have the same sweet taste as sugar, you may need to sweeten it with white sugar. For every tablespoon of sake, add two teaspoons of sugar.

Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is another fantastic mirin substitute. It is made from rice wine, as the name suggests. It is critical to understand that rice vinegar is not the same as rice wine and should not be mistaken. While it tastes similar to rice wine, it is less sweet and much more acidic.

Rice wine vinegar tastes similar to white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. While it works well in place of mirin, you may need to add sugar to balance out the acidity of the vinegar. For every teaspoon of mirin called for in a recipe, we recommend substituting one teaspoon of rice wine vinegar and half a teaspoon of white sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is mirin the same as rice vinegar?

The fundamental difference between these two condiments is the acidity of rice vinegar vs the more neutral taste of mirin. Unlike mirin, rice vinegar is a sour rice wine condiment.

Is mirin the same as cooking sake?

Although both sake and mirin are alcoholic drinks, mirin is mostly used in cooking, whereas sake may be taken as a drink as well as cooked with. Sake has more alcohol and less sugar than mirin, which contains more sugar and less alcohol.

Can I substitute balsamic vinegar for mirin?

Balsamic vinegar may be found in salad dressings, dipping sauces, gourmet marinades, and soup stock. Because of its rich taste, it may also be used as a substitute to mirin. Because balsamic vinegar is not as sweet as mirin, a modest quantity of sugar is required to get a comparable flavor.


Mirin is a Japanese condiment that improves the taste of any Japanese meal and is a must-have for every Asian foodie. If the alcohol concentration is too high for you, or you don’t have any mirin to utilize in your recipes, there’s no need to worry.

Simply use one of our recommended mirin alternatives for the same umami impact in your Asian dishes. Also, bear in mind the proper replacement quantities and procedures to achieve the best outcomes.


What can I use if I don’t have mirin?

For every tablespoon, use 2 teaspoons of sugar. And what happens after that? Congratulations.You can always purchase mirin online, but if you’re in a hurry, a dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine would suffice. Dry white wine or rice vinegar can also work, however the sourness will need to be balanced with around a 1:3 ratio.

Can I use vinegar instead of mirin?

No worries. White wine vinegar or rice vinegar are the greatest mirin substitutes. Because 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 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 use honey instead of mirin?

In a pinch, a basic sugar and water mixture, honey, or agave syrup might substitute for mirin’s sweetness. To get the desired amount of sweetness, a 3:1 water-to-sugar ratio is a decent rule of thumb.

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.

Can you use sugar instead of mirin?

The closest equivalent is to add sugar to sake before drinking or cooking it. Given that mirin contains around 40% sugar, add 2 parts sake to 1 part sugar or honey. 2 tablespoons sake + 1 tablespoon sugar or honey, for example. Sugar will provide a more accurate flavor match.

What is the difference between mirin and vinegar?

Mirin, as previously said, is a culinary wine with an alcohol concentration ranging from 8% to 15%, and as such, it may be sipped on its own as a mild alcoholic beverage. Rice vinegar, on the other hand, has little to no alcohol remaining at the conclusion of the fermentation process and should not be consumed on its own.

Is vinegar and mirin the same thing?

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.

Can balsamic vinegar substitute for mirin?

Salad dressings, dipping sauces, gourmet marinades, and soup broth all include balsamic vinegar. It is also appropriate as a mirin alternative due to its rich taste. To get a flavor comparable to mirin, add a tiny amount of sugar since balsamic vinegar is not as sweet.

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.

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