5 Mirin Substitutes That Live in Your Pantry (or Bar)



A sweetened Japanese rice wine called mirin is frequently included in marinades, sauces, dressings, and other simmered foods like soups and stews. A bottle won’t last forever, but a little goes a long way. Here are our top mirin substitutions so you can get that Japanese-style roast chicken on the table right away if you run out of this aromatic, umami-rich ingredient but still want to add the flavor and depth that comes with cooking with wine.

1. Sake

Because sake is already a rice wine, it gets you halfway there in place of mirin. Many types of sake, especially unfiltered varieties, are sweet enough to replace mirin naturally. A splash of apple or white grape juice, together w ith a dash of sugar, can compensate for the sake that is drier than usual.


2. Sherry

Sake can be used in place of mirin because it is already a rice wine. Many varieties of sake, especially unfiltered ones, are sweet enough to organically replace mirin. Sake that is drier than usual can be fixed with a dash of sugar and a splash of apple or white grape juice.

3. Rice Vinegar

Rice wine and rice vinegar both have a strong fermented flavor (seeing as it used to be rice wine). Like with white wine, rice vinegar’s sharpness can be subdued with sugar, a dash of light-colored juice, or the sweetened rice vinegar found in the Asian food aisle of your grocery.

4. White Wine

The majority of white wines can also be used to replace mirin, but it is typically better to avoid those that are very sugary, such as iced wine or Moscato (as they can be too sugar-forward for cooking). To simulate the sweetness mirin would impart, dissolve some sugar in a medium-dry to dry white wine before using it in the recipe.


5. Vermouth

When looking for mirin alternatives, you could realize that you’ll be raiding the spirits cabinet more frequently than the larder. The same concept applies here: To ensure the acid is balanced, use sweet vermouth or dilute dry vermouth with a little juice or sugar.

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