5 Best Mirin Substitutes (+ Homemade Mirin Recipe)

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If you’re making a dish that calls for mirin and don’t have any on hand, this article includes 5 of the best Mirin Substitutes as well as some information about this popular condiment. We’ve also included a recipe, so you can make your own homemade mirin!

Mirin is a type of rice wine that’s often used to make teriyaki sauce. It is similar to sake but has a lower alcohol content and a higher amount of sugar. It is a staple in Japanese cooking. 

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What is Mirin?

The word mirin translates to sweet rice wine. It is a type of rice wine that has a tangy flavor, and is often used to make teriyaki sauce. If you’ve ever had sake, mirin has a similar flavor but is both sweeter and lower in alcohol. 

What’s Mirin Made of?

Authentic mirin, also known as hon mirin, is made of fermented glutinous rice, koji rice, and shochu, a distilled rice liquor. Some of the mirin sold in stores is labeled as aji-mirin, which translates to tastes like mirin. This type of mirin is typically sweeter than authentic mirin. 


Types of Mirin

1. Hon mirin

This type of mirin has an alcohol content of 14% and is known as true mirin. It can be difficult to find in local stores and is more expensive than other types of mirin. Some online retailers carry hon mirin. 

2. Shio mirin

Also known as salt mirin, shio mirin has 1.5% salt added to it. It is not suitable for drinking. 

3. Shin mirin (aji-mirin)

This type of mirin has much less alcohol compared to others. 

Best Mirin Substitutes

1. Sake


Similar in taste to mirin, sake can be used as a substitute. Note that because it is not as sweet as mirin, you may need to add a sweetener to your recipe.  If you’re looking for a substitute that doesn’t have alcohol, a wine vinegar would be a better choice.

2. Cooking Sherry

Cooking Sherry

Dry sherry will add a depth of flavor to your dish that’s similar to mirin. It is also light enough to complement the dish instead of overpowering it.

3. White Wine

White Wine

White wine is an easy to source replacement for mirin. Choose a dry wine instead of one that’s sweet. You may want to add a touch of sweetener to balance the flavors of the dish.  

4. Rice Wine Vinegar

Red Wine Vinegar

This is a good option if you’re looking for an alcohol-free substitute. Mix the vinegar with granulated sugar at a ratio of 1 part vinegar to .5 part sugar. 

5. White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar

White wine vinegar has a slightly acidic flavor and is a good substitute for mirin. Because of its tangy flavor, you may want to balance it with the addition of a sweetener. 

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How to Make Homemade Mirin

By: Izzy
Homemade mirin is quite easy to make and takes just 10 minutes!
Servings: 1 cup


  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sake wine, or use one of the alternatives in the notes section below


  • Heat the water in a saucepan set at medium-high heat. Slowly add the sugar while stirring constantly.
  • When the sugar is completely dissolved boil for 3 minutes and remove from the heat.
  • Slowly add the sake.
  • Let the mixture cool to room temperature before using. You can place it in the fridge to cool it faster
  • Stored in an airtight container the mirin will last for a few weeks.
  • Instead of sake, you can use rice wine vinegar, regular vinegar, or dry white wine. If using dry white wine, use less sugar as there is some sugar in the wine.

Nutrition information provided is an estimate only and will vary based on ingredient brands and cooking methods used.

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About Izzy

I'm Izzy, a food lover and photographer. Here you’ll find a collection of simple recipes that are perfect for busy people. My blog aims to help you make and enjoy delicious and healthy food at home.

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