Is mirin gluten-free? If you buy the real one, yes
Mirin is a rice wine used as a cooking wine in Japanese cuisine. It provides a sweet and tangy flavor while also bringing out the flavors of other ingredients in a recipe.
It is often used as an ingredient in seafood and sushi because it takes away fishy smells.
This article discusses mirin and whether or not it is gluten-free and lists other Japanese cooking ingredients that are gluten-free.
So, is mirin gluten-free?
Yes, mirin is gluten-free. Mirin is made from fermented rice, so it does not contain gluten.
However, use caution if you are gluten sensitive or allergic to gluten. Some mirin that you buy at the store (aji mirin) is not real mirin and contains other additives that may contain gluten.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Where can I buy gluten-free mirin?
- 2 Common Japanese cooking ingredients to watch out for
Where can I buy gluten-free mirin?
Since pure mirin is gluten-free, you can buy it at any Asian grocery store or online.
Avoid buying mirin at your local grocery store, as it may not be real mirin. Most American grocery stores sell aji mirin, a synthetic condiment made to taste like mirin.
To be sure you are purchasing pure mirin, make sure it says “hon mirin”. This ensures that you are not buying aji mirin. Aji mirin may contain added ingredients that contain gluten.
Ohsawa makes a great hon mirin that only has four ingredients: organic sweet rice, organic distilled rice wine, organic rice koji and sea salt.
Should I consume mirin if I’m allergic to gluten?
You can consume mirin if you are allergic to gluten or are sensitive to gluten because it is gluten-free. Hon mirin is pure mirin and is safe to consume because there are no ingredients that contain gluten.
However, aji mirin is a condiment that is made to taste like mirin, and it may contain gluten.
Common Japanese cooking ingredients to watch out for
Besides mirin, you might be wondering about some other common Japanese cooking ingredients and if they are gluten-free.
What other Japanese cooking ingredients are gluten-free?
Common cooking ingredients in Japanese cuisine that are gluten-free are:
If you are allergic to gluten, you should always check the ingredient list.
Some of the above ingredients could have other additives like hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein contains gluten.
Is sake gluten-free?
Yes, sake is gluten-free. Sake is also made from fermented rice, so it doesn’t contain gluten. To be safe, always check the ingredients listed on the bottle in case there is an added ingredient that contains gluten.
What Japanese cooking ingredients contain gluten?
Some Japanese cooking ingredients that contain gluten are:
- miso (fermented beans and grains)
- Japanese mayonnaise
- rice vinegar
- sushi (sometimes)
- sushi rice
- imitation crab
- fish stock powder
If you are allergic to gluten or are sensitive to gluten, you should avoid eating the ingredients listed above.
Not all of these ingredients contain gluten all the time. Different brands make their food with different ingredients. To be safe, avoid consuming food with the above ingredients.
What Japanese sauces contain gluten?
Some Japanese sauces that contain gluten are:
- fish sauce
- hontsuyu sauce
- oyster sauce
- plum sauce
- soy sauce
- chili sauce
- hoisin sauce
- black bean sauce
- ponzu sauce
- teriyaki sauce
Do not consume any of the above sauces if you are allergic to gluten.
What if I can’t find gluten-free Japanese ingredients?
If you are unable to find the ingredients you need that are gluten-free, you can substitute ingredients in your recipe.
For example, if a recipe calls for soy sauce and you can’t find any gluten-free soy sauce, you can replace it with gluten-free tamari.
Mirin is a great ingredient to use if you want to try authentic Japanese cuisine. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor to recipes that give it that Japanese touch.
Pure mirin is gluten-free. Aji mirin (translated to “tastes like mirin”) may or may not be gluten-free. Use caution with this ingredient if you are allergic to gluten.
Fan of onigiri? Find out if onigiri is gluten-free here
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.