While mirin is a common culinary ingredient in Japanese cuisine, it may be difficult to locate in American stores. Fortunately, you may replace various wines or vinegars with mirin to create rich, savory recipes.
Mirin may be found in a broad range of cuisines, from sweet teriyaki meals to classic stir fry. Many home cooks who experiment with Japanese cuisine find themselves wondering, “What is mirin?”
Mirin is a rice wine that has been fermented. True mirin is often made using glutinous rice, cultivated koji rice, and distilled rice liquor.
The combination is left to ferment for months or years at a time. The deeper the color and the more complex the tastes of mirin, the longer it is matured.
When substituting for mirin, consider the taste, texture, and availability of the alternative. We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 tried-and-true mirin alternatives for your next Japanese-inspired cuisine.
- 5 Recommended Mirin Substitutes
- What is the substitute ratio for mirin?
- How do you recreate mirin?
- How do you make rice vinegar taste like mirin?
- Can I substitute apple cider vinegar for mirin?
- What is the closest substitute to mirin?
- How much apple cider vinegar to substitute mirin?
- What are the main ingredients in mirin?
- Does mirin taste like vinegar?
- Can I use lemon juice instead of mirin?
- Which vinegar tastes most like rice vinegar?
5 Recommended Mirin Substitutes
If you can’t get your hands on some genuine mirin, there are lots of replacements you may try instead. Any of the mirin substitutes listed below will provide a wonderful outcome with a taste that is comparable to the original.
Sake is chemically similar to mirin, making it a popular replacement among home cooks. Both wines are produced by fermenting rice ingredients to produce a sweet, dry wine.
While sake may be used for both cooking and drinking, mirin is predominantly used for cooking and baking.
Despite their similarities, mirin has a far greater sugar content than sake. When substituting sake for mirin in a 1:1 ratio, the resultant product is often more sour or bitter than planned.
Sake also has more alcohol than mirin. When cooking at high temperatures, the alcohol burns off and evaporates faster, possibly impacting the final taste and texture.
If you want to use sake instead of mirin, you need add around two teaspoons of sugar for every one teaspoon of sake in the recipe. This ensures that you don’t lose any of the sweetness required to balance your meal.
When preparing and eating, the extra sugar will also assist you deal with the greater alcohol level of sake. Sugar may reduce the absorption of alcohol into the system, making it safer to consume foods in which the alcoholic component of sake is not completely cooked out.
Sake is frequently simpler to obtain than mirin, however it is seldom seen in the culinary and baking aisles. Instead, sake may be found alongside wine and beer in the alcohol department of most supermarkets.
There are several sake brands to suit a broad range of preferences and budgets.
The polishing rate is the greatest technique to identify a decent sake as a general rule of thumb. This ratio indicates how much of a rice’s hull is removed before processing, which has a significant influence on the flavor.
For the sweetest, mildest sake variations, look for a high rice-polishing ratio.
Sake may be used in lieu of mirin in both cooking and baking. As long as you choose a mild type and add sugar as required, your meal should have the desired flavor and texture.
If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitute for mirin, rice vinegar offers a similar taste profile but none of the alcohol content. This item, sometimes known as rice wine vinegar, is normally found in the International department of most supermarkets.
To get rice vinegar, you may need to go to a speciality Japanese or Asian grocery.
Rice vinegar is made by fermenting rice starches with a particular kind of bacterium known as Mother of Vinegar and rice wine. This process will convert carbohydrates and alcohol into acid over time, producing a characteristic vinegar taste.
Rice vinegar is available in both seasoned and unseasoned varieties. While unseasoned rice vinegar is pure, seasoned rice vinegar has added sugar.
As a result, seasoned rice vinegar is typically the finest mirin alternative. Most recipes may be substituted in a 1:1 ratio.
However, even seasoned vinegar is somewhat sourer than genuine mirin. It’s a good idea to use half a teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. This may assist to reduce the acidity of the vinegar while also adding sweetness to the meal.
Rice vinegar works well with savory meals, especially ones that need a little of acidity. Rice vinegar works nicely as a mirin substitute in salad dressings and sauces.
Always use seasoned rice vinegar blended with more sugar for sweeter meals and sweets.
Sherries are a sweet, dry, fortified wine that is popular in both American and European cuisine. While sherry may be drunk, most people choose to use it in cooking and baking. Sherry has a subtle, sweet taste that is akin to mirin.
In most recipes, sherry may be used in instead of mirin in a 1:1 ratio. Because the taste profiles are comparable enough, you’ll get an authentic-tasting outcome in Japanese meals.
Sherry is somewhat more dry than mirin, therefore you may need to add additional sugar when using it as a substitute. For the greatest results, use around one teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon of sherry.
Sherry, like sake, is somewhat more alcoholic than mirin. Adding sugar not only increases the taste, but it also guarantees that the alcohol in sherry is digested slowly and securely while you eat.
Sherry is widely available in supermarkets and liquor shops. However, not all sherries are made equal. There are seven major types, some of which are more suited to serving as a sweet mirin substitute than others:
- Manzanilla: This sherry is only produced in the port town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. It’s dry and refreshing, with salted beach overtones. This sherry works well as a substitute in savory meals.
- Fino: This acidic sherry pairs nicely with European meals, but it’s too dry to be an acceptable mirin alternative.
- Amontillado: This sherry is dry and acidic, with a dark amber hue. It may be used as a replacement for mirin in certain savory recipes, but it lacks the sweetness required for a genuine taste.
- Oloroso: A dark, nutty sherry with a rich taste that may overpower meals with mirin.
- Palo cortado: The sweet, fragrant flavor of this sherry makes it an excellent mirin substitute. It contains much more alcohol than mirin and most other sherries, which may impact cooking times and temperatures.
- Cream sherry is smooth and sweet, and it is often used as a substitute for mirin in cooking and baking.
- Pedro Ximnez: While this dessert sherry is delicious, its sugar concentration of 40% to 50% makes it difficult to employ in cooking. Sugars may become more concentrated, making meals sweeter than planned. As a mirin replacement, a drier sherry is preferable.
White wine is an item that most cooks have on hand, and it works well as a replacement for mirin in a hurry. Keep in mind that choosing your wine with care will result in the most genuine final taste.
While it may seem logical to use the sweetest wine available, dessert wines such as Moscato or ice wine may enhance sugars and ruin the taste profile of foods. Instead, choose a medium-dry wine and add some sugar separately.
For each tablespoon of white wine in your dish, add about two tablespoons of sugar. Depending on the wine, you may need to modify the sugar amount.
A sweet riesling, for example, may need less sugar than a dry chardonnay to get the same outcomes.
White wine is a poor alternative for mirin in sweet foods since it is more sour than other possibilities. Even with a little more sugar, you can wind up with a meal that is more sour or acidic than you anticipated.
If you don’t have any white wine on hand, you can easily find it at practically any grocery shop or liquor store. Corner shops and petrol stations may even have a wine variety. There are also alcohol-free variants designed for cooking.
White grape juice is a fantastic replacement for mirin that is both kid-friendly and cost-effective. Furthermore, it is commonly accessible in supermarkets and superstores.
White grape juice has a sweet and somewhat acidic flavor that is comparable to mirin. Because it contains no alcohol, you may want to add grape juice in a little less than a 1:1 ratio to allow for the alcohol in mirin cooking off in your recipe.
Because of the inherent sweetness of grapes and the addition of sugars, grape juice is often sweeter than mirin. To effectively emulate the zesty flavor of mirin in your dish, you may need to add a little more acidity.
It’s a good idea to add around a tablespoon of lemon juice for every cup of grape juice in your meal. You’ll achieve the same complicated effect as mirin, but for a fraction of the expense.