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Mirin is the essential ingredient used in almost all Japanese cuisine. In this article, we are explaining all the relevant facts regarding What is Mirin and how to substitute it in cooking. I have also mentioned in detail which is the best mirin and where you can buy mirin from. Let’s discuss below: 

What Is Mirin?

Mirin is a rice wine that is used in Japanese cooking to add flavor to the food. Mirin has a high sugar content which leads to a sweetness that helps to dilute the salty flavor. It has lower alcohol around 10-14% in classic Mirin Wine. Mirin is made from fermented rice and you can use Mirin in different food items. It is beneficial for cooking because it adds flavor to the food. The older wine has a darker color and the flavor will be strong. Mirin has different types of Mirin- mirin seasoning, fermented-mirin seasoning, and hon-mirin or real mirin. This sweet wine is the main ingredient in traditional teriyaki sauce. I am hoping that you have understood what is mirin and after reading this article. You will be able to understand how to substitute it in cooking. 

Types Of Mirin

There are three types of mirin such as:

  • Mirin Seasoning
  • Fermented-Mirin Seasoning
  • Hon-Mirin

Which Is The Best Mirin?

The best mirin is hon-mirin and it is more expensive than mirin seasoning and fermented-mirin seasoning. It has the full 14% alcohol content and it is also the true mirin. Hon-mirin provides the exact flavor which is needed in Japanese recipes. 

Where To Buy Mirin?

You can buy Mirin from grocery stores in the United States, in case you don’t get it, then you can go online. Classic pure mirin is costlier and it is not available easily. It is only available in Asian grocery stores and some gourmet markets. There is also fake mirin which has lower than 1% alcohol and it mixes with water or rice. So, before buying mirin, check it carefully is the true mirin or not. You should know what is mirin and how to substitute it in cooking, to differentiate it from the fake mirins.

Mirin Sauce Substitutes

Mirin What It Is, And How To Substitute It In

We have already mentioned that mirin has an alcohol content. So, people who want to avoid alcohol in their food or do not prefer it in their cooking. They can go for the mirin sauce substitutes such as sake, rice wine vinegar, sherry, white wine, marsala wine, sweet vermouth, etc. for cooking Japanese dishes. There are many substitutes which I have explained below. I am hoping that now you know what is mirin and in the below paragraphs I am going to explain how to substitute it in cooking.


Sake is also a Japanese rice wine like mirin. It is closely related to mirin. The flavor of sake is quite similar to mirin and sake will be the best substitute for the mirin. But, there is one difference from mirin is that there is less sugar in Sake. So, you have to add a little sugar to get sweetness in your food. 

Rice wine vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is made from fermented rice, as you can guess from its name. It can be a good substitute for mirin. Rice vinegar is different from rice wine vinegar. Mirin and sake both are used to make rice wine vinegar. It does not contain alcohol content and is not included in the alcoholic beverage.  


Sherry is a sweet, dry wine and has lower alcohol content. It will be delicious for cooking and in light yellow color. Japanese dishes are always focused on the natural taste of fresh ingredients. Therefore, it will be a great alternative to mirin. 

White Wine

White wine has a light yellow color and has a fruity flavor and is slightly acidic in nature. You can use this white wine in appetizers such as salads, and it will be a great combination with seafood dishes. White wine will definitely be an excellent mirin sauce substitute

Marsala Wine

Marsala wine is a fortified wine and it is the famous wine of Italy. It is made up of grapes, so its taste depends on the grapes. Therefore, the taste of marsala wine is not as sweet as mirin. So, you can add more sugar to the recipe. But otherwise, it will be a good substitute for mirin. You can use it in various recipes and at least give it a try once. 

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth is also known as red vermouth because of its color and it is from Italy. It is a fortified wine and is used in the cocktail as the main ingredient for blending cocktails. You can use this wine in your dishes, it will add an amazing sweet taste to your recipes. It makes your dishes perfect and helps in adding flavor to the recipes. 

Also Read: Beverages for Summer


We have explained what is mirin and how to substitute it in cooking. From my point of view, Sake is the best substitute for mirin. We are hoping that you have understood all the relevant facts about mirin sauce substitutes.

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