Find Authentic Asian Flavors With These Household Staples!

What are the Top Alternatives to Mirin for Cooking?

At Public Market, we’re been passionate about great-tasting and healthy food. For mere mortals, our pantries don’t always resemble a professional chef’s – meaning we’re often short on tools and ingredients that we need for recipes we want to try.

The way we see it, that’s just an opportunity to get creative.

When it comes to Asian cuisine, one of the most commonly used ingredients is Mirin – a sweet Japanese rice wine commonly used in cooking. But if you had to run to your pantry now, we know that Mirin is probably not there. Not to fear. In this article, our team will share some of the best Mirin substitutes that will get you cooking authentically in no time.

What is Mirin, Anyway?

Best Mirin Substitutes

Mirin, also known as sweet rice wine, is a condiment that comes from Japan. It is made by fermenting rice with koji, a type of mold that also helps in the fermentation of sake. Mirin has a high sugar content and a low alcohol content, usually ranging from 14% to 20%. It is commonly used in Japanese cooking as a marinade or as a sweetener in dressings and sauces, soups and stews, but especially in dishes like teriyaki.

If you’re trying to make any popular Asian-inspired dish at home, and don’t have Mirin on hand, here’s some of the best recommendations for Mirin substitutes from our team of Public Market chefs:

  • Rice vinegar is a good alternative as it has the same tangy flavor with a similar level of acidity. Sweeten it up with a tablespoon of sugar, and even the biggest Mirin connoisseur won’t know the difference. 
  • White wine can also be used as a substitute for Mirin but has a higher alcohol content, so it should be used sparingly.
  • Cooking sake is another option that can be found in the grocery store, which is a type of rice wine specifically made for cooking.
  • Non-alcoholic options include, apple juice, grape juice, or a mix of the two can be used as Mirin substitutes. 
  • Balsamic vinegar or marsala wine can be used for a more robust flavor, especially in dishes like udon or miso soup.
  • Sherry or vermouth can also be pretty sweet and used in place of Mirin, especially with dressings and side dishes.

So fear not. Whether you are a home cook or a professional chef, not having Mirin ready to go as a pantry staple doesn’t have to be the end of your culinary adventures. You’ve got a lot of leeway in creating umami flavor for Asian dishes.

Now, about those favorite dishes that you can try, Mirin ingredient substitutes can be found in the next section.

What is Mirin

Our Favorite Recipes to Try the Best Mirin Substitutes with Today!

Tips for Using Alternatives to Mirin in Cooking

Tips for Using Alternatives to Mirin in Cooking

Using the best Mirin substitutes will streamline your cooking experience and help add a bit of personalization to the flavor profile of any Asian dish. There are a few additional insights that we want you to keep in mind beyond the ingredients:

Not all Mirin is created equal. Shin Mirin – or “new mirin” is made of Rice wine, sugar, and seasonings. This type of Mirin can be found in Teriyaki sauce or mixed with soy sauce. Not to be confused with Hon Mirin – an alcohol-free version! A third type, Shio Mirin, is another excellent alternative if you’re looking for a low-sugar option. It contains the same koji rice fermentation process as Mirin but has a lower sweetness level. Other commonly used mirin substitutes include apple cider vinegar, vermouth, grape juice, and apple juice. Lastly, Kikkoman, a well-known Japanese condiment brand, produces its own Mirin, specially formulated for dressings, marinades, and side dishes.

But all that aside, we want to know about your unique dish. If you’ve been inspired by this article to make your own Mirin substitute, we want to know how it went.

Drop us a line to let us know how things went and see your dish featured here amongst one of the best Mirin substitutes.

new mirin is made of Rice wine, sugar, and seasonings
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