5 Best Sake Substitutes You Should Try

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

Are you here looking for the best sake substitutes? If you are, you are in the right place. Just like you, I’m a huge sake fan. Sake is an alcoholic Japanese drink that can be used as a beverage as well as in cooking.


If you love to experiment with Japanese cooking, you must have come across sake a couple of times. However, even if we needed it, we wouldn’t always have it. What to do in such situations? Use a sake substitute!

Can not think of a good sake substitute? Dry sherry, dry vermouth, white vine, kombucha, rice wine vinegar, and water are the best sake substitutes you can try!

If you are new to Japanese cooking and dishes, sake might be new to you. In that case, let’s have a deeper look into sake before learning about its substitutes.

Quick Peek: Sake


Sake is a versatile ingredient with multiple benefits. This section helps you with its flavor, texture, uses, and nutritional information. (The primary motive of this article is to make you buy sake next time you go shopping!)

What Is Sake?

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. It has a high alcoholic content, almost between 14 – 20%. It is often used as a drink and an ingredient in many cuisines.

Polished rice is commonly used to make sake. That is, the rice’s bran is removed before it is made into sake. As a result, sake does not have a dark hue and is practically transparent like water, unlike other rice wines.

Sake has been a staple in Japanese culture for a long time. The technique for creating sake, on the other hand, has evolved over time. However, till now, sake’s role in Japanese cuisine has not been superseded by another element. This, alone, demonstrates its versatility.

Describing Sake: Flavor and Texture

Just like wine, sake has a complex flavor. We can say sake has a dry, soft, fruity taste. When it is served hot, its flavor is enhanced. As we have already discussed, sake has a water-like transparent consistency.

Sake is often taken as a pleasant drink. However, sake tasting is taken as a very serious event in Japan, known as kikizake. Such events happen at a professional level and are often organized by government organizations in Japan.

Uses Of Sake

Sake has multiple uses. It can be used as a beverage as well as a flavoring agent. Just like many other drinks, sake is also available in different qualities. Usually, high-quality sake is used for beverages, while low-quality sake is used for cooking.

More than just a drink, sake is a great culinary ingredient. Sake is often used as a marinade to remove the smell of meat and fish. Moreover, it softens the meat as well.

Sake is often added to soups, sauces, and stocks. It adds a sweet and umami flavor to these dishes. It also adds a great taste to grilled chicken and fish. It only adds flavor but also enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

Sake On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Since sake is fermented rice water, it contains many health benefits. Therefore, we can say that sake is also healthy, along with being an amazing drink and a culinary ingredient.

Sake contains nutrients like amino acids. Amino acids are important nutrients for our body and are obtained through food. Amino acids help in protein synthesis and provide energy for our bodies.

Other than that, sake also contains adenosine. Adenosine dilates blood vessels and helps with better blood flow. This will help maintain good blood pressure and, thereby, help with a good cardiovascular system.

But excess of anything is bad for your health. You’ll only enjoy all these health benefits if you take sake in moderate quantities. We shouldn’t forget that sake is alcoholic, and too much of it can disrupt normal body functions.

Why Use A Substitute For Sake?

I’m sure you’ve thought about it by now. While there are numerous reasons to use sake, there are a few reasons to use a substitute. The following are a few of these causes.

To begin with, sake is not as widely available as other forms of alcohol. It might be extremely difficult to locate in some areas. In this instance, a stand-in will be really useful.

Furthermore, because sake is a form of rice alcohol manufactured from fortified rice, it may not be suitable for everyone. Again, choosing an alcohol-free replacement can be beneficial in this situation.

Finally, if you don’t have any of the above problems but are just out of sake, there’s no need to rush to the shop! Most of the substitutes are likely already in your pantry and will work just as well.

I believe I’ve told you everything there is to know about sake. I’ll give you a quick rundown of the best sake substitutes.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

5 Best Sake Substitutes

This section contains all of the best sake substitutes. You’ll also learn how to replace sake with each of the substitutes. So, let’s look into the alternatives!

1. Dry Sherry

Dry Sherry

Dry sherry is made from the complete fermentation of grapefruit. It has a dry finish with the smell of apple cider vinegar and is one of the best sake substitutes for cooking.

Sherry, like sake, has multiple uses. Just like sake, it can also be used as a beverage and in cooking. When compared to sake, dry sherry is bolder with higher alcohol content.

That being said, dry sherry’s flavor profile is almost similar to sake. When used in dishes, one cannot even differentiate between the two. When used as a replacement, one can follow the standard 1:1 ratio.

2. Dry Vermouth

Dry Vermouth

Vermouth, like sherry, is fortified grape wine. Dry vermouth has a fruity and floral feel with a dry finish. Thus, it works as a great sake substitute.

Vermouth is a fortified wine and is of two types. Dry vermouth and red vermouth While dry vermouth has a more fruity aroma and a dry taste; red vermouth is sweeter. 

When it comes to sake substitutes, dry vermouth is the best. Just like sake, dry vermouth has a pale or yellow color and is not too sweet. It can be used for cooking as well as for preparing martinis.

When replacing, follow the 1:1 ratio.

3. Dry White Wine

White Wine

Dry white wine is one of the easiest and most accessible sake substitutes. It will have a fruity undertone and pair very well with multiple dishes.

However, there are different types of dry white wine, and which one we should choose will entirely depend on your taste buds.

When used as a sake substitute, one should not use a sweet white wine as it will change the dish’s overall flavor. While using white wine as a sake substitute, one can follow the standard 1:1 ratio.

4. Kombucha


Kombucha is a famous fermented and sweetened black or green tea. It will mostly have a fizzy nature. Therefore, it can be called one of the healthiest sake substitutes.

Kombucha is a non-alcoholic drink. However, it is widely used in Japan for its health benefits. Moreover, it almost has a flavor similar to that of sake when used in dishes.

However, most of the kombucha that we get from the market is either flavored or too sweetened. In that case, we recommend you use homemade kombucha as a sake substitute.

5. Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice Wine

Rice vinegar has a less acidic nature and delicately sweet flavor, so it can be used as a sake substitute. However, rice white vinegar is not preferred as a beverage.

You can make rice wine vinegar by fermenting the sugar in the rice into alcohol, and then it is converted to vinegar. It has a very intense flavor when compared to sake.

Therefore, when used as a sake substitute, one needs to dilute it thoroughly. When used as a sake substitute, mix one-third of rice wine vinegar with one glass of water to match the sake’s flavor profile.

Short Recap For Best Sake Substitutes

I am sure that by now, you must have gone through all the best substitutes for the sake. Are you, however, still undecided about which option would be best for you?

There’s no need to be concerned in that instance. For your convenience, I’ve divided it into three categories. Take a peek around!

Best suited: Dry sherry is the ideal sake substitute.

Easily accessible: The most readily available sake alternative is a dry white wine.

Best Flavor Profile: Dry vermouth has the best flavor profile when used as a sake substitute.

How To Substitute Sake In Recipes


Sake Substitutes

If you love to experiment with Japanese cooking, you must have come across sake a couple of times. However, sometimes we won't have it. In such situations try using a sake substitute.
5 from 2 votes


  • Dry Sherry
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Dry WhiteWine
  • Kombucha
  • Rice Wine vinegar


  • Read about all the substitutes mentioned above.
  • Choose the substitutes that suits the best.
  • Replace fresh ginger with this substitute in the recipe and make sure you use the substitute in required amount.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of sake and its alternatives. Sake is a very versatile component. You may certainly use it in a variety of Japanese dishes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use it in any dish.

Sake’s versatility extends beyond its use in curries and as a beverage. It can even be used to enhance the flavor of salad dressings. So, the next time you’re in the mood to try something new in the kitchen, think about using sake!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What tastes similar to sake?

 Dry sherry, dry vermouth, white vine, kombucha, rice wine vinegar, and water are the best sake substitutes.

Can white wine replace sake?

Yes, sake can be substituted with white wine.

 Can rice wine vinegar replace sake?

Yes, rice wine can be used as a good sake substitute. However, rice wine vinegar has a stronger flavor when compared to sake. Therefore, when used as a sake substitute, it should be mixed with water to match the flavor profile.

Is sake the same as rice wine?

No. However, both sake and rice wine are made from fermented rice. Both of them have different processing methods and flavor profiles.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating