Rice cooking wine vs. mirin | Can I substitute one for the other?

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 25, 2021

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Rice cooking wine is a common ingredient added to Asian dishes. One popular type of rice cooking wine is mirin. Mirin is a sweet and tangy condiment that is usually added to marinades and sauces.

Rice cooking wine vs. mirin | Can I substitute one for the other?

Shaoxing cooking wine is a good substitute for mirin, however, if you can, it is best to use mirin itself. Other rice wines mixed with a little sugar are better substitutes for mirin.

This article describes rice cooking wine and mirin as ingredients in Asian cuisine.

Rice cooking wine

Rice wine is commonly used in Asian cuisine to add sweetness to marinades, tenderize meat, and add more flavor to dishes.

Rice wine is made from fermented glutinous rice. The sugars turn into alcohol naturally through the fermentation process, similar to the way beer is made.

Mirin is a type of cooking rice wine that is popular in Japanese culture.

What are different types of rice cooking wine?

There are many different types of rice cooking wine.

Both sake and mirin are used in sauces, marinades, and broths.

What are good substitutes for rice wine?

Pale dry sherry makes a good substitute for rice wine. If you are looking for a clear substitute for rice wine, gin can work well.

If you need a rice wine substitute for a marinade, dry white wine is a good option.

What is mirin?

Mirin is a type of rice cooking wine that adds a sweet and tangy flavor to Japanese dishes.

Mirin is often used to cover up fishy or other peculiar smells.

How is mirin different from rice cooking wine?

Mirin is a type of rice wine that is sweeter than other rice wines used for cooking. Rice wines are found in most Asian countries, while mirin is mainly found in Japan or Japanese cuisine.

What is Shaoxing wine?

Shaoxing wine is a popular Chinese cooking rice wine. It is similar to mirin, a Japanese rice cooking wine. Both are used to reduce fishy smells.

Shaoxing cooking wine is not sweet and has a slightly spicy taste. It is mainly used for cooking meat and seafood. It is great for tenderizing meat, so it is a good addition to dishes that need to be cooked for a long time.

Shaoxing cooking wine and mirin rice wine should not be substituted for each other. They have different effects on food and function in different ways.

Can I substitute rice wine for mirin?

Yes, you can substitute rice wine for mirin. While it won’t taste the exact same, you can get a similar taste by adding sugar to rice wine.

Suitable substitutes for mirin include: dry sherry (or other dry white wine), sweet marsala wine, and sake mixed with a little sugar.

Can I substitute mirin for rice wine?

Yes, you can substitute mirin for rice wine. Since mirin is sweeter and has a stronger flavor, you don’t want to add as much mirin as you would other rice wines.

Also read: why is mirin so expensive? Let’s find out

What else can I substitute for rice wine?

If a recipe calls for rice wine and you do not have any, there are substitutions you can use in its place that will provide the same purpose in your dish.

A good substitute will give the dish the same flavor and texture as the original ingredient.

Some common rice wine substitutes include:

Cooking wines and rice wine vinegar are not suitable substitutes for rice wine. They can add an entirely different flavor than you intended.

If you can’t get your hands on rice wine and don’t want to substitute it, you can make your own rice wine at home.

Favorite Asian Recipes x
Favorite Asian Recipes

Rice wine is used as a cooking wine in Asian culture. It differs from the cooking wines used in America.

Mirin is a type of rice wine used in Japanese culture that adds a sweet and tangy flavor. Be careful when you substitute rice wine. An inadequate substitute may change the taste and consistency of your dish.

Also read: Drinkable vs cooking sake vs mirin (how to know which to use)

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

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.