Whether stir-fries, sauces, or marinades, Shaoxing wine is an excellent part of Chinese and Asian cooking. What if you are making some delicious soup and find that there is no Shaoxing wine left to add to the recipe? Here are some ingredients you can use instead.
Some of the best Shaoxing wine substitutes are dry sherry, mirin, gin, and cooking sake. You can also choose non-alcoholic options like apple juice, rice vinegar, and grape juice.
Shaoxing wine is a type of Chinese rice wine that is made by fermenting and distilling rice. The flavor of Shaoxing wine is strong, with some hints of sweetness. The presence of alcohol gives a crisp texture and makes it an ideal ingredient to add to Chinese and Asian cuisines.
Thus, we shall look for ingredients that replicate these factors. So without any further ado, let’s start discussing all the possible Shaoxing wine substitutes and see what resembles the most.
20 Best Shaoxing Wine Substitutes
Now, let’s see the list of best Shaoxing wine substitutes that you may or may not already have with you.
1. Dry sherry
Dry sherry is one of the cheapest and most readily available Shaoxing wine substitutes. You can simply use dry sherry like Shaoxing wine in recipes.
Dry’s nutty, sweet, and cheerful flavour is the best thing about dry sherry. One downside is that if not carefully used, dry sherry can overpower the dish’s overall taste, which you may not entertain.
As per a comment by a Reddit user, dry sherry is mainly seen as a Shaoxing wine substitute.
Readily available and sweeter than Shaoxing wine can be used in half the starter amount and then gradually adjust the flavor as you like.
Mirin is another great Shaoxing wine substitute that can be easily found in your kitchen or definitely at your nearest convenience store. Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine that is so popular in Asian cuisines.
The great thing about mirin is that the taste is similar to Shaoxing wine because of its sweet flavor. Best to make sweet sauces for some savory dishes and work with dishes that call for extra sugar or honey.
As mirin also possesses a savory note, this will enhance the dish’s flavor.
The only thing that mirin misses is the nutty flavour but other than that; everything is so perfect about mirin when it comes to Shaoxing wine substitutes.
You can go for an equal amount of mirin in place of Shaoxing wine. So if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine, add one tablespoon of mirin instead.
Sake is a Japanese rice wine that can be an excellent Shaoxing wine substitute. Sake is widely popular in Japan and in Japanese cuisines. The best thing about this wine is that it’s mild and sweet.
Sake has a versatile flavor. You can get a hint of spicy aromas and fruity and herbal flavors. Great for dishes that use Shaoxing wine to add a sweet flavor.
As mentioned, sake is sweeter in flavor, so go for half the amount of Shaoxing wine and then gradually add more if you wish.
4. Cooking Sake
If sake is too sweet for you, find cooking sake, as you may find many brands that sell sake that is majorly for cooking purposes.
As we know, regular sake is also used to drink because of its sweet flavor; cooking sake is more diluted and doesn’t have as much sugar as regular sake.
Other than sweetness, cooking sake has all the qualities of regular sake. You can simply use the same quantity of cooking sake as you would have for Shaoxing wine.
CheongJu is a rice wine that has been popular on Korea’s border for centuries. CheongJu has a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness, making it a beautiful Shaoxing wine substitute.
One downfall of CheongJu is that it is harder to find, but the crisper texture of this rice wine is worth a try. So if you get any chance to buy CheongJU, grab the opportunity and use it in your recipes that call for Shaoxing wine.
Start with smaller quantities and gradually increase the quantity. You will not need more than half the amount of Shaoxing wine.
6. Dry White Wine
Looking for something close to Shaoxing wine? Dry white wine is probably sitting in your pantry and giving you hints. The sweet and crispy flavor of dry white wine is just right for Shaoxing wine substitutes.
Dry white wine’s tangy and fruit notes will go great with dishes that want Shaoxing wine for the same flavors. If you want more sourness, like Shaoxing wine, add a few drops of lemon juice and let the magic happen.
For starters, go for ⅓ cup of dry white wine with ½ teaspoon of lemon juice instead of 1 cup of Shaoxing wine.
What’s better than using stock when it is readily available and costs nothing? Yeah, I knew you would agree with this.
After cooking vegetables, noodles, or meat with a vibrant flavor, the stock is only residual water. The best thing about using stock is that it is non-alcoholic, and you can turn the flavor as you like.
Go for an equal amount, and then you can pour some more because the flavor may get better.
8. Light Soy Sauce
We all are fans of light soy sauce, so one can use it instead of Shaoxing wine. I personally love the color and flavor light soy sauce brings in. A handy tip is to add some sugar lemon juice to get a closer flavor, like light soy sauce.
Start with a little quantity, as light soy sauce can be more bitter than Shaoxing wine, and then add more as you like.
Gin is one of those drinks which everyone loves to have now and then. The best thing is that it is readily available and the taste is likable.
You may not find the perfect wine flavors, but gin has a good amount of alcohol that is perfect if you are using it as a Shaoxing wine substitute. Also, the sweet aroma of gin is excellent, as Shaoxing wine also has some sweet notes.
Due to its citrusy, bitter, and robust flavor, gin makes a great pair with recipes like fish and meat. Gin also possesses a juniper flavor that can be a great flavor enhancement. That is why starting with a small amount is suggested and gradually adding more quantity.
Another great Shaoxing substitute is mijiu. It is basically made from fermented glutinous rice. The sweet and mellow flavor of mijiu resembles the flavor of sake, which is why it can be used in place of Shaoxing wine.
One can also say that the flavor of mijiu is somewhat similar to CheongJu. As mijiu is a Chinese rice wine, it is mainly used in Chinese and Asian cuisines.
You can start with a smaller amount of mijiu and increase the amount gradually. If you are ok with sweetness, then you can add a little extra, as mijiu does not have much alcohol content in it.
11. Fujian Cooking Wine
As the name suggests, it is a cooking wine; Fujian cooking wine is again a Chinese rice wine that can be easily used as a Shaoxing substitute.
Fujian cooking wine is made by fermenting glutinous rice with red rice yeast and a white yeast of over 60 Chinese medicinal herbs. The flavor of Fujian cooking wine is mildly sweet with herbal and fruity notes.
The alcohol content is below 15%, but it is excellent to cover the fishy smell and all the greasiness from the meats and enhance the overall aroma of the dish.
Go for equal amounts as Shaoxing wine and adjust the quantity as you like.
12. White Wine Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar
These two items are probably sitting casually in your pantry, and now it’s time to take them out and use them well.
If you mix white wine vinegar with apple cider, you will get sweet, crispy, and sour flavors that can be a great option for Shaoxing wine substitutes.
Both types of vinegar have the same acidic level, and when mixed together, they bring a great taste and smell to the dish.
Mix equal amounts of white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar and substitute for equal amounts of Shaoxing wine.
13. Rice Vinegar
Rice vinegar is another type of vinegar that is quite often used in the kitchen. Many will not suggest using rice vinegar in a recipe that calls for Shaoxing wine as they both have distinct flavors.
Now my take on rice vinegar is a bit different. Maybe you cannot use it directly instead of Shaoxing wine, but rice vinegar has great flavors.
So in case, you are out of Shaoxing wine, you can think of using rice vinegar. Disclaimer: The final taste will change and not be the same as the original recipe.
Rice vinegar is great to add to sauces, salads, and marinades. Simply add a few tablespoons of rice vinegar and adjust the desired flavor.
14. Champagne Vinegar
With a floral and aromatic flavor, champagne vinegar makes a great Shaoxing wine substitute. Champagne vinegar is basically made from Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes.
Now when we talk about substituting Shaoxing wine with champagne vinegar, go for half the amount for the starters.
Champagne vinegar has sweet yet bitter notes that are a great replacement. One great thing about champagne vinegar is that it has a very delicate flavor. Start with a small amount so there is no major impact on the final taste.
15. Apple Juice
You may laugh when I say to use apple juice instead of Shaoxing wine, but just hear me out! Trust me; apple juice is one of the best options if you are looking for any non-alcoholic Shaoxing wine substitute.
The acidic and sweet flavor will bring the same flavor as Shaoxing wine and enhance your dish’s flavor.
If you are asked to add Shaoxing wine to salads and veggies but are looking for a non-alcoholic substitute, go for apple juice.
Go for equal amounts as Shaoxing wine and gradually increase the amount as apple juice can never go wrong. Kids love the fruity flavor, so they go for it whenever they are making something for the little ones.
16. Lemon Juice
Another great Shaoxing wine substitute can be lemon juice. We all love lemon for its citrus and acidic flavor, and when you are looking for something that can give your dish the same sour notes as Shaoxing wine, lemon juice is your pal.
Remember that lemon juice adds sourness, so if you want little sweet notes, maybe add some sugar. Go for 1-2 tablespoons of lemon, and make sure not to add too much, as your dish will also have a little bitter flavor.
17. Grape Juice
Grape juice is great if you are looking for another non-alcoholic Shaoxing wine substitute. With sweet, sour, and fruity flavors, grape juice works fine like apple juice in place of Shaoxing wine.
I suggest using white grape juice, which resembles similar flavors to Shaoxing wine. You may miss the crisp texture of Shaoxing wine, but there is no alcohol, so it is worthwhile.
Start with a few tablespoons and then add more as per your taste. Ensure not to add too much, or your dish will have a major fruity note. It misses the citrus note but will work fine if you are out of Shaoxing wine.
18. White Grape Juice + Rice Vinegar
White grape juice is not enough to replace shaping the wine, then try adding rice vinegar. As both liquids do not have alcohol, they are great options to add.
We already know that white grape juice and rice vinegar are substitutes for Shaoxing wine. When you add both items, you can taste Shaoxing wine closely.
The fruity and sweet grape juice flavors will mix well with rice vinegar’s sour and citrus flavors. Add ½ cup of white grape juice with one tablespoon of rice vinegar and substitute it with 1 cup of Shaoxing wine in your recipe.
19. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar, which resembles mirin, has many flavors to offer. Balsamic vinegar is sweet, tangy, sour, and aromatic and has an umami flavor that all Chinese and Japanese cuisines call for.
You can use balsamic vinegar in place of Shaoxing wine and vice versa. Use the rich, deep, and crisp flavors in your dish. Go for the half amount of balsamic vinegar as of Shaoxing wine for the starters, and you are good to go.
20. Non-alcoholic White Wine or Beer
As the market is filled with so many options with the same flavor as a wine or beer without any alcohol content, why not choose them?
Go for it whenever you want to add a fruity and crisp flavor without any alcohol content. You can read the instructions and add them as per the steps. I am sure using non-alcoholic white wine or beer will work as Shaoxing wine.
Short Recap Of The Best Substitutes For Shaoxing Wine
Below is a short recap of the best substitute options for shaoxing Wine.
Best Shaoxing Wine Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor –
- Dry Shirin
- Balsamic vinegar
Best Shaoxing Wine Substitutes That Are Easily Available-
- White Wine Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar
Shaoxing Wine Substitutes That Should Be Least Considered-
- Lemon Juice
How To Use Shaoxing Wine Substitutes
20 Best Shaoxing Wine Substitutes To Try!
- Dry Sherry
- Cooking Sake
- Dry White Wine
- Light Soy Sauce
- Fujian Cooking Wine
- White Wine Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rice Vinegar
- Champagne Vinegar
- Apple Juice
- Lemon Juice
- Grape Juice
- White Grape Juice + Rice Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Non-Alcoholic White Wine or Beer
- 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 make the dish according to the recipe.
As we are at the end of such a fruity conversion, I am sure you have many options to try in place of Shaoxing wine. Whatever you choose, it will have its own flavor that will definitely enhance the dish’s overall flavor.
I would suggest going with readily available substitutes like gin and mirin. When looking for non-alcoholic options, you have a long list. So experiment occasionally; maybe you will find something that matches your taste buds.
The only handy tip is to add a small quantity at the start so that you don’t let the substitutes overpower the dish.
If you try some substitute options, let me know in the comments. I will be back soon. Until then, pour that wine and have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use rice vinegar in place of Shaoxing wine?
Yes, you can add rice vinegar to the recipe that calls for Shaoxing wine. A handy tip is adding some grape juice to resemble the same taste as Shaoxing wine.
Is Shaoxing wine alcoholic?
Yes, like most Chinese rice wine, Shaoxing wine has around 20% of alcohol content present.
Are there any non-alcoholic Shaoxing wine substitutes?
Yes, you can go for apple juice, grape juice, rice vinegar, and even lemon juice if looking for a non-alcoholic Shaoxing wine substitute.