Mirin vs. Rice Wine: What Is the Difference? (Explained)

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Those who are unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine often have the wrong idea about what mirin and rice wine are and how they should be used. Hence, if you are interested in gaining knowledge about these topics, one of the queries that you may have is what the difference is between Mirin and rice wine. If you are curious about the distinction between mirin and rice wine, there are numerous instances in which the two products are interchangeable.

The following fact is the most useful lens through which to examine mirin and rice wine: In its most basic form, mirin is a kind of rice wine. Rice wine may come in a dry variety, known as sake, which is often consumed straight from the bottle. Mirin, on the other hand, is a sweet rice wine that may be used in cooking and is available for purchase.

When you have a firm grasp of the distinctions between mirin and rice wine, you’ll have a better notion of how to evaluate the two ingredients each time you include them into a recipe. Both of these topics may be quite fascinating to learn about, particularly if you are a fan of Japanese food.

In this piece, we’ll introduce you to some of the fundamentals of rice wine and Mirin, two Japanese cooking ingredients. In this approach, you will be able to get an understanding of both, as well as their distinctions. It will be beneficial to your cooking process and will assist you in using both in the most effective manner possible.

Let’s get down to business without further ado, shall we?

Are rice wine and Mirin interchangeable?

Rice wine and Mirin are the same thing since Mirin is a form of rice wine. Rice wine and Mirin are synonymous with one another. In general, mirin is a kind of sweet rice wine that is most often used in the preparation of Japanese food.

Sake and Mirin are the two most common varieties of rice wine that can be found in Japan. Sake is the older of the two. Sake is a dry rice wine that may be used both while cooking and drinking, whereas mirin is a sweet rice wine that is utilized mostly in culinary applications.

Hence, you may refer to rice wine when you’re talking about Mirin, but when you speak about rice wine in general, you could mean a variety of other things.

To summarize, rice wine used in cooking is most often Mirin, whilst rice wine consumed as a beverage is typically referred to as Sake.

What’s the difference between Mirin and rice wine?

Rice wine and mirin are essentially the same thing since mirin is just rice wine. Yet, if you compare it with Sake (a sort of rice wine), it’s a lot sweeter and has fewer alcohol content.

The fermenting process that mirin goes through results in a natural sweetness that is now present in the product. So, despite the fact that Mirin has a sweet taste when finished, there is no additional sugar throughout the production process.

In comparison to Sake, the rice wine known as Mirin has a more pronounced sweetness, making it an ideal ingredient for culinary applications. The first option is preferable for consumption, however it is equally applicable in the kitchen.

Can Mirin be substituted for rice wine?

You may use Mirin in place of rice wine, that is not a problem. If your recipe calls for rice wine, you may practically get the identical results by substituting mirin for the rice wine. Mirin is a specific kind of rice wine.

Sake and Mirin are the same rice wine, despite the fact that they differ in terms of both their level of sweetness and their alcohol content. As a consequence of this, you are free to swap out any one for the other, but your recipe may need some modifications.

The sole difference is that mirin has a more pleasantly sweet taste. As a result, you may anticipate a touch of sweetness in your meal, which is not the case when Sake is used in your recipe.

Can rice wine be used in place of Mirin?

You may use rice wine in place of Mirin, that is not a problem. If you can get your hands on some other kinds of rice wine, you may discover that they make the ideal substitutes for mirin. Now, if you speak about rice wine and refer to Sake at the same time, you are referring to the same thing.

The rice wine known as Sake and the rice wine known as Mirin are the same thing, despite the fact that Sake is sweeter and has a higher alcohol percentage. So, you may substitute one for the other, but the results may vary slightly from recipe to dish.

In general, there are several varieties of Sake that, due to their naturally occurring sweetness, provide a great alternative for mirin. Sadly, the majority of them are the ones that have not been screened.

Now, if you have a rice wine or Sake that is on the drier side, you may want to add a splash of fruit juice or a little bit of sugar to it. That will be plenty to receive the delicate sweetness of the mirin.

Cooking rice wine vs. mirin

The preparation of rice wine and Mirin for cooking is quite similar. The rice wine used for cooking in Japan is called mirin, and the reason for this is because it has a sweet flavor and a glaze-like consistency.

Mirin is a kind of Japanese rice wine that is often used to add sweetness to a wide range of traditional Japanese dishes. Mirin is not made in the same way as Sake or other rice wines, despite the fact that this beverage is usually referred to as “rice wine.”

Traditional mirin is produced by combining glutinous rice, distilled liquor, and rice farmed with koji, which is a starch-eating fungus that is also used to generate alcoholic beverages, fermented soy products, and vinegar. Dishes may be given a savory-sweet and umami flavor with the addition of mirin.

In Japanese cuisine, mirin is used in a variety of different ways. You might think of it as your one-stop shop for sweetening everything tasty. The use of a high-quality bottle of mirin may help tone down the saltiness of soy sauce while also highlighting the sweetness of umami-packed dashi fish stock. Mirin is a sweet rice wine.

Chinese rice wine vs. Mirin

Rice wine known as mirin comes from Japan. In light of this, if you were to compare it to Chinese rice wine, you would find that it had a greater degree of sweetness. On the other hand, Sake, which may be used in place of Mirin and has a different flavor profile, is less sweet. In comparison to Chinese rice wine, the taste of this beverage may be more subtle.

You are free to use Chinese rice wine in place of Mirin at this point; however, you should be aware that the finished product will have a more sugary taste. As a result, you are able to rectify that situation by adding a touch of salty to your food.

Expect it to have a milder sweetness if you use Chinese rice wine for the Mirin called for in the recipe. If you wish to correct it, you may add some sugar to compensate for the lack of sweetness in the Chinese rice wine.

Shaoxing rice wine vs. Mirin

Rice wine from China is often referred to as shaoxing. It has a taste that is comparable to that of mirin, despite the fact that its sweetness level is lower.

If you don’t have any mirin on hand, you may use Shaoxing rice wine as a suitable alternative. So, if you can get your hands on some Mirin, you should try using it in your cooking. But, there are other options available to you besides Shaoxing rice wine to choose from.

When you use a different kind of rice wine in lieu of Mirin, you should always ensure that a tiny amount of sugar is added to compensate for the sweetness of Mirin.

Korean rice wine vs. Mirin

The equivalent of the Japanese cooking rice wine known as mirin may be found in the Korean market under the name mirim. The flavor and taste of any of these cooking rice wines is the same as the other. As a result, you are free to utilize any one of them.

You may use both Mirin and Korean rice wine to add some sparkle to your food. Additionally, it may help eliminate the fishy scent.

In place of the sugar that you plan on using in your meal, a dash of Mirin or any other kind of Asian rice wine is a wonderful substitute.


In a nutshell, the primary distinction between Mirin and rice wine is negligible due to the fact that the former is the latter. Mirin is a kind of rice wine that is often used in culinary applications. On the other side, rice wine is a generic word that may refer to either the culinary ingredient mirin or the alcoholic beverage sake.

It is possible to use mirin in place of a number of other rice wines, including shaoxing (which is a Chinese rice wine) and mirim. Mirin is a Japanese condiment (Korean rice wine).

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Can I substitute rice wine with mirin?

In lieu of Chinese rice wine, you might also use mirin, which is a kind of rice wine produced in Japan. Since it has such a powerful taste, you should begin by using a quantity that is far lower than what the recipe asks for.

Is Japanese cooking rice wine the same as mirin?

A sweet Japanese rice wine, mirin is a syrupy liquid that is used as a flavoring and glazing ingredient. It is also known by its other name, sweet Japanese rice wine. It is a kind of rice wine that is comparable to sake, but it has a lower alcohol percentage and a greater concentration of sugar. In most cases, the alcohol concentration falls around between 1% and about 14%.

Is rice wine sake or mirin?

According to Kikkoman, mirin is a rice wine that may be used as a flavoring or drunk as a beverage in Japanese cooking. Mirin can also be found in several Japanese beverages. It is a kind of sweet liquor that has an alcohol percentage of approximately 14% and a sugar content of between 40% and 50%. Sake, on the other hand, typically contains between 15 and 16% alcohol by volume.

What is the best substitute for rice wine?

Rice wine is versatile enough to be used in both drinking and cooking. Among of the most well-known types include huangjiu, mirin, and sake. If you’ve used up all of your supply or are seeking for an alternative, you may replace it with the same volume of dry sherry, dry vermouth, white wine, or white grape juice.

What is best substitute for mirin?

2 teaspoons of sugar should be used for every single tablespoon. There is always the option to purchase mirin online, but if you’re in a true need, you may use a dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine instead. You may also use rice vinegar or dry white wine, but keep in mind that you’ll need to add roughly 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance off the sourness.

Do I need to refrigerate mirin?

A Guide to Storing Mirin As a result of the higher alcohol content, hon mirin may be kept for up to three months in a location that is both dark and cold. Sugar may form crystals if it is kept in a cold environment like a refrigerator. A condiment that is similar to mirin has less alcohol; as a result, it must be stored in the refrigerator and used within three months.

Is Korean rice wine mirin?

The Lotte Method of Korean Cooking Rice Wine, also known as Mirin, is a rice wine that has a hint of sweetness to it and a low alcohol concentration, making it an excellent cooking wine.

Is mirin used in sushi rice?

🥘 Ingredients

400ml tap water (for cooking rice) 2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar. 2 tbsp Mirin rice wine.

Why is sake called rice wine?

Sake is the Japanese word for alcohol and traditionally referred to a rice wine that is brewed using nothing more than water (about 80% of the total), rice, koji (a beneficial mold that converts the starch to fermentable sugar and helps in the fermentation), and Sake yeast. Sake is the common Japanese word for alcohol.

What is the difference between Japanese cooking sake and mirin?

Sake is often used in cooking because it has the ability to tenderize meat, poultry, and shellfish, reduce offensive odors, and bring out the inherent aromas of the foods it is cooked with. Mirin has the ability to lend a touch of sweetness and gloss, particularly to glazes and sauces like teriyaki sauce, in addition to firming up meats and shellfish.