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Mirin is a white rice extract that is often used in Japanese cooking. It is comparable to sake but has less alcohol.

It has a high sugar content and is created spontaneously during the fermentation process, implying that no sugars were added. When this liquid is heated, the alcohol concentration is reduced even more. But what if you run out of mirin during cooking or just want to try something different?

You may use sherry, white wine, sake, vermouth, rice vinegar, aji-mirin, shaoxing wine, balsamic vinegar, marsala wine, and white grape juice for mirin.

What Is Mirin?

Mirin is a popular component in Japanese cuisine. They are mostly made with rice, koji, and alcohol. Mirin is frequently cooked briefly in Kansai cooking to eliminate the alcohol.

This method of cooking is known as nigiri mirin. While comparable to sake, mirin is sweeter. Mirin’s inherent sweetness is derived from the brewing process.

There are three varieties of mirin that are widely available: hon mirin, shio mirin, and shin mirin. Hon-mirin contains around 14% alcohol and is mashed for 40-60 days; shio mirin is also known as salt mirin. It contains 1.5% salt and shin mirin, which is a mirin-fu choir with less than 1% alcohol.

Best Mirin Substitutes

For your Japanese white rice demands, you may always utilize the sweetened substitutions mirin alternatives listed below.

1. Sake

Sake is a great alternative for mirin, and since it’s already a rice wine, it’s already halfway there. Several sakes, particularly unfiltered sakes, may be used as a straight alternative for mirin without any additional sweetening.

But, in the case of drier sakes, a dash of apple or white grape juice might compensate for the flavor. Even a pinch of sugar will suffice.

2. Sherry

Even the drier sherries tend to be quite sweet. It has a delicate and subtle taste with white wine’s depth and acidity.

It has a distinct harsh and powerful taste. Continue to add a teaspoon of cherry until you get the desired level of richness.

3. White Wine

You may replace any white wine for mirin, however it is recommended that you avoid highly sweet ones like ice wine since they might be too sugar-forward when used in a dish.

To simulate the sweetness of mirin, consider dissolving a little sugar in a medium dry white wine before adding it to the recipe.

4. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar, like rice wine, has a strong fermented taste. Add a sprinkle of sugar or a splash of light-colored beverage, such as white wine. It may be used to sweeten sushi rice in Asian dishes.

5. Vermouth

In this scenario, the same regulation that applies to white wine and rice vinegar applies. To offset the acidity of dry vermouth, add a little juice or sugar, but if you’re using sweet, fresh vermouth, leave it alone.

6. Aji-mirin

While aji-mirin tastes and sounds like mirin, it is not, which makes it an excellent replacement.

Outside of Japan, you can purchase it in most stores, but the authentic, traditional aji-mirin is very uncommon and costly. It has extremely little or no alcohol content and a high sugar content.

While it is not the real mirin used in Japanese cuisine, you may use it in your everyday cooking to provide that rich, umami taste.

7. Shaoxing Wine

Shaoxing might be considered the Chinese counterpart of sake. It functions similarly to sake in cooking and should be coupled with sugar.

It has a salty and unpleasant taste and is not meant to be consumed. It is mostly utilized in Chinese cuisine, ranging from stir fry sauces to soup broths and marinades.

8. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is an Italian vinegar produced from cooked grapes, including the grape skin and seeds. Balsamic vinegar of the highest grade is aged between 18 and 100 years. The longer this vinegar sits, the nicer it becomes, and the more costly it becomes.

When the moisture evaporates throughout the maturing process, it thickens; it has a black hue and a reasonably powerful flavor with a rich, tangy, and somewhat sweet taste.

9. Marsala Wine

This Sicilian fortified wine complements recipes with rich caramel and a nutty flavor. There are two varieties of masala: dry masala and sweet masala.

Sweet marsala is regarded to be the ideal mirin substitute since it may be used without any added sugar.

If using dry marsala, add a sprinkle of sugar to restore the little sweet flavor that you may have lost. Marsala is often used in sautéing recipes, marinading meats and poultry, and baking. It is very versatile, multifunctional, and flavorful.

10. White Grape Juice

Another alcohol-free and sweetened mirin replacement is white grape juice. To acquire the tangy flavor of mirin in white grapes, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of white grapefruit until you get the desired effect.

Using white grape juice to your recipe adds a fruity flavor and a diversified taste, as well as umami flavor to your foods.

Can You Make Your Own Homemade Mirin?

You may, indeed, produce your own mirin at home. All you’ll need for your mirin recipe is a cup of granulated sugar, a cup of water, and a cup of sake wine.

To create your own mirin, combine sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat. Let for roughly 2-3 minutes of boiling before removing from heat.

You may now carefully drip in your sake until you achieve the appropriate degree of sweetness. Let aside to cool fully after stirring in the mixture. Then, before placing it in the fridge, put it in a jar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Mirin Taste Like?

Mirin tastes similar to sake, only it has a lower alcohol concentration and a sweeter flavor; don’t worry, the alcohol burns out after boiling.

What Is Mirin Used For?

Mirin is used in the preparation of sauces such as kabayaki sauce (made from mirin, soy sauce, and fishbones), nikiri mirin sauce (made from soy sauce, dashi, mirin, and sake), and teriyaki sauce. Sushi rice vinaigrette is a variation on this theme.

Can I Mix Sake and Mirin in A Recipe?

Indeed, mirin and sake may be used to make a steaming sukiyaki hot pot. In dishes where one must be replaced for the other, it may be used in a 1:1 ratio (sake: mirin), or for a comparable and sweeter taste, use a 1:2 blend of sake and water.


What can I replace mirin with?

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 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 balsamic vinegar instead of mirin?

Vinegar of Balsamic Origin

It’s a decent alternative for mirin because of the sweet undertones, but it’s also sour since it’s vinegar. To balance out the sour tones, add a dash of sugar to the balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, is best used as a condiment rather than a culinary element.

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.

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.

Is mirin just rice vinegar?

Mirin is a rice wine with a significantly sweeter flavor than rice vinegar. Because of the natural sugar that occurs in mirin during the fermentation process, rice vinegar is more bitter. Second, the constituents are distinct.

How do you make rice vinegar taste like mirin?

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 you make mirin at home?

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.

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 I use lemon instead of mirin?

As a result, a splash of lemon juice will help to balance out the sweetness. Even with the lemon juice, this is a naturally sweeter alternative. It works well in dishes that are meant to be on the sweeter side. To substitute 1 tablespoon of mirin, add 12 teaspoon lemon juice to 1 tablespoon grape juice.

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