10 Best Mirin Substitutes You Can Try!

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Mirin is an important ingredient in many Japanese cuisines. If you are preparing a cuisine that needs a splash of mirin and you are out of it, think no more! Read our article and find a good mirin substitute and continue cooking.


Mirin can be added to soups and sauces. Not only that, it works well in marinades and dips. In short, it works very well in a lot of dishes. Everyone would love its rich sweet, umami flavor, but if you don’t have a bottle of mirin, try a mirin substitute!

Mirin is a subtly sweet-flavored Japanese wine. If you are a fan of Asian cuisines, you may have noticed the sweet, tangy, rich flavor many dishes carry. Mirin is one of the main reasons for bringing this taste.

Are you confused regarding what to use as a mirin substitute? Sake, dry sherry, dry white wine, Vermouth, rice vinegar, and white wine vinegar are some of the best mirin substitutes you can use.

If you are into making Japanese cuisine regularly, you might have used and tasted mirin. But if you are new to this ingredient, it’s important to know the mirin before finding a good substitute. Therefore, before knowing the mirin substitute, let’s learn about mirin!

Quick Peek: Mirin 


Many of you might have already used mirin. But I assume mirin might be new to some of you. In this section, let’s understand mirin. We will look into its flavor profile, uses, and health benefits. 

What Is Mirin?

Mirin is a Japanese rice wine. It is made by fermenting a mixture of rice in a distilled liquor. After a long period, the mixture gets fermented. It is a common ingredient in many Japanese cuisines. It adds a sweet umami flavor and elevates the dish’s taste.

Mirin has a long story to tell. It has been here since 1400. It is said that mirin arrived in Japanese cuisine from Chinese cuisine. Initially, it was only used among the elite class, and slowly due to its pronounced flavor profile, people of all classes started using it.

Mirin is often compared to that sake. However, unlike sake, the alcohol content of mirin is very low. Depending on the alcohol content, mirin is classified into three – hon mirin, shio mirin, and shin mirin. Out of all these, hon mirin has the highest alcohol content.

Describing Mirin: Flavor and Texture

Mirin being a rice wine, has a very distinct sweetness to it. The making process of mirin doesn’t involve any sugar; the sweetness comes from the fermented rice. Thus it is not too overpowering.

Mirin has a slight yellow-golden color and a slightly thicker consistency. It adds an umami flavor to the dish, along with a touch of sweetness. A splash of some mirin can bring a new flavor to your recipe.

Uses of Mirin

Mirin is often associated with teriyaki sauce. Mirin, owing to its flavor, is often used to add some flavor to the recipe. However, it can also be used to add a glaze to your chicken and fish dishes.

It brings in a sweetness and umami flavor, which is the highlight of many Asian cuisines. Also, if you are someone who loves fish without its stinky fishy smell, mirin is something that can help you. Add some mirin over your fish to get off that overpowering smell.

Since mirin is sweet and low in alcohol, it can be used to bring vibrancy to your otherwise regular fruit bowl or salads.

Mirin On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Even though mirin is a delicious ingredient, we only add them in very small quantities. Therefore the health benefits it provides will be very less. However, we cannot completely neglect some of the issues of mirin.

  • Helps to improve the digestive system: Mirin, as we all know, is rice wine. It helps to improve the digestion process as well as absorption. 
  • Helps to beat fatigue: Mirin contains many antioxidants that help boost our energy. Thus including mirin will help you beat any kind of tiredness.

It is also said to work in checking blood sugar and blood pressure. As you may already know, it contains zero fat and zero sugar, and therefore it is safe to be used by everyone.

Why Use A Substitute For Mirin

Just a few spoons of mirin could brighten up the whole flavor of your recipe. After reading so much about mirin, you might be rethinking the need to use a mirin substitute. However, some reasons have landed you in this mirin substitute article.

First and foremost is its availability. Good and original mirin are hard to find. Most mirin we get from the store isn’t original. Thus if you are living in some place where mirin isn’t available, go for a good mirin substitute.

Mirin is also a little costly. Thus if you aren’t planning to include it in your food regularly, do not waste money on mirin. Instead, get your hands on a mirin substitute and use it in your recipe. 

Running to a store in the middle of cooking isn’t a very fun thing to do. Thus knowing about a good mirin substitute will help you get through such situations. Some of the mirin substitutes given in this article could be in your pantry.

I believe I have provided you with sufficient information on mirin. Let me jump right to the crux of this article: the best mirin substitutes. Read on to learn everything there is to know about them!

10 Best Mirin Substitutes

Now that we have learned all about mirin, it’s time to get to know some of the best mirin substitutes available.

1. Aji – Mirin

Aji Mirin

Aji mirin literally translates to mirin-like condiment. It is slightly sweet and has a similar flavor profile as that of mirin. Therefore, when in need, aji mirin can be used as a mirin substitute.

Many people mistook aji mirin for real mirin due to its wide availability. Aji mirin doesn’t have the intensity of flavor that mirin. However, it is cheaper than mirin, making it a perfect everyday mirin substitute.

Aji mirin is made from corn syrup and some other ingredients and has more sweetness. Thus while adding to a recipe, start adding little by little.

2. Sake 


Sake is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. It is subtly sweet with an umami flavor. The light sweetness of sake is similar to that of mirin; thus, it works very well as a mirin substitute in many recipes.

However, sake has a higher alcoholic content than that mirin. Sake comes in both sweet and dry forms. If you use dry sake, add some sugar to your recipe to bring in the sweetness. While using sake as a mirin substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.

3. Dry Sherry

Dry Sherry

Dry sherry is a fortified wine particularly made in Spain. It has a crisp with a nutty, tangy flavor and works very well as a mirin substitute. Dry sherry is commonly used as a drink and as an ingredient and works just right as a mirin substitute.

Since dry sherry doesn’t have any sweetness of its own, you may be wondering how it will work in a mirin substitute. But trust me, use 1 tablespoon of dry sherry for 1 tablespoon of mirin and see how well dry sherry manages mirin’s absence!

4. Sweet Marsala Wine

Sweet Marsala Wine

Marsala is another fortified wine made in Sicily. It has a vibrant flavor profile like that of mirin. Marsala wine has varying levels of sweetness. Slightly sweet marsala wine is an apt mirin substitute.

Marsala wine has a flavor of brown sugar and dried fruits. With its nutty, sweet flavor, it enhances the taste of the dishes. While substituting mirin with sweet marsala, follow the 1:1 ratio.

5. Dry White Wine

White WIne

Dry white wine has an acidic flavor with a herbaceous aroma. When mixed with some sugar it works well as a mirin substitute. Even though sweeter versions of white wine are available, flavor intensity is missing the sweet version.

Thus while choosing a mirin substitute, prefer dry white wine over the sweetened version. It brings a tart flavor along with some scrumptious aroma. If you are choosing dry white wine, adjust the sweetness of your dish by adding some kind of sweetener.

6. Vermouth


Vermouth has a vivid flavor profile. It is tart, bitter, and extremely aromatic. You could smell the spices in the drink. When used in the right quantity, Vermouth works well as a mirin substitute.

Vermouth, as we all know, has a deep tart flavor. Therefore while using it as a mirin substitute, mix it with some sugar and then add it to your recipe. Just a dash of Vermouth is all you need to brighten up the flavor of your favorite dish!

7. Chinese Cooking Wine

Chinese Cooking Wine

Chinese cooking wine is one of the most widely used cooking wines worldwide. It is slightly sweet with a hint of tartness and bitterness and works very well as a mirin substitute.

Chinese cooking wine can be added in the same ratio as mirin. It brings the perfect sweetness and umami flavor to your recipe. However, add some sugar to your recipe and adjust the flavor if you like a little sweetness.

8. Rice Wine vinegar

Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is not the same as mirin. However, rice wine vinegar has a sweet, tart flavor similar to that of mirin and hence can be used as a mirin substitute in almost all dishes.

However, rice wine vinegar will have a more pronounced tart flavor. Therefore while using it as a mirin substitute, add some sugar to manage the tartness. When using rice wine vinegar as a mirin substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.

9. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has a rich flavor profile. It is sweet with a hint of some fruitiness and tartness. It is a widely popular cooking condiment and works well as a mirin substitute in most dishes.

Pure balsamic vinegar is made from grape juice and is generally expensive. The one available in the grocery store may be different from the purest form. However, both versions work very well as a mirin substitute.

Balsamic vinegar has a sweet taste to it. However, if you need more sweetness, adjust the flavor by adding some more sugar to the recipe.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is nothing but fermented apple juice. It has a sweet taste to it with a mild tartness. Most of us might have apple cider vinegar in our pantry, which will work great as a mirin substitute.

Like mirin, apple cider vinegar can be used as an ingredient to highlight the flavor of your favorite dish. It is also one of the easily available mirin substitutes we can find in the market. If you think the sweetness of apple cider vinegar won’t suffice, add some sugar!

Short Recap Of Best Mirin Substitutes

That must have been a long read on the best mirin substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Best Mirin Substitutes In Terms of Flavor

  1. Aji Mirin
  2. Dry Sherry

Best Mirin Substitutes That Are Non-Alcoholic

  1. Balsamic vinegar
  2. Apple cider vinegar

How To Use Mirin Substitutes In A Recipe


10 Best Mirin Substitutes You Can Try!

Mirin can be added to soups and sauces. Not only that, it works well in marinades and dips. In short, it works very well in a lot of dishes. Everyone would love its rich sweet, umami flavor, but if you don’t have a bottle of mirin, try some mirin substitutes.
5 from 1 vote


  • Aji – Mirin
  • Sake
  • Dry White Wine
  • Vermouth
  • Chinese Cooking Wine
  • Rice Wine vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dry Sherry
  • Sweet Marsala Wine


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Musings

That was everything significant about mirin, and the best mirin substitutes were lucidly presented to you. Finding the best substitute for mirin should now be a manageable task.

Try these substitutes based on your preferences, and let me know how they turned out. See you soon with another article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use to replace mirin?

Sake, dry sherry, dry white wine, Vermouth, rice vinegar, and white wine vinegar are some of the best mirin substitutes you can use.

Can I use normal vinegar instead of mirin?

Normal vinegar won’t be a good mirin substitute.

What can I use instead of mirin without alcohol?

Balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used as a mooring substitute without alcohol

What flavor does mirin add?

Mirin brings a sweet umami flavor to the recipe.

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