Can I use vinegar instead of mirin?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can I use vinegar instead of mirin?”. We will also discuss what Mirin is and what other substitutes are available instead of Mirin. 

Can I use Vinegar instead of Mirin?

Yes, you can use Vinegar instead of Mirin! Mirin can be replaced with rice vinegar. It is non-alcoholic and is also known as rice wine vinegar. To obtain this product, rice wine is fermented, resulting in the conversion of alcohol to acetic acid. 

It’s very good in dipping sauces and salads as a mirin alternative. Rice vinegar has a mild flavour with a hint of sweetness to it. Because it’s sour as vinegar, add half a teaspoon of sugar to every teaspoon of vinegar to balance it out.

What is Mirin?

Mirin is a clear liquid with a golden tint that is commonly used in Japanese cookery. It contains roughly 14% alcohol and gives many Japanese meals a slight sweetness and pleasant scent. The sweetness comes from the conversion of rice starch to sugar during the fermenting process.

Mirin is made by fermenting steamed glutinous rice (mochigome), cultivated rice (kome-koji), and distilled alcoholic beverage (shochu) for roughly two months.

What does Mirin taste like?

Mirin has a mild sweetness and a little tang on the palate, but it also has a hint of umami thanks to the fermenting process. The taste is powerful and the consistency is a little thick, almost like a sauce. It’s not necessary to use a lot of it. When in doubt, taste as you go, especially if an ingredient is unfamiliar to you.

What can Mirin be substituted with?

Mirin is no surprise to those whose taste senses have been forever charmed by the distinctive flavour of umami. Mirin is a distinctive Japanese rice wine that is flavorful, sticky, and sweet. 

It is commonly combined with soy sauce to create a unique sweet and salty flavour. It also has a syrupy texture that is ideal for glazes. Mirin and soy sauce are the foundation for many Asian stir-fries and teriyaki sauces, but they also work well with other foods.

If you can’t find mirin or yours is gone, here are a few things you can use in its place:

  • Sake
  • Chinese Rice Wine
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Dry Sherry
  • Vermouth 
  • Marsala Wine
  • White Wine
  • White Grape Juice


Sake is the mirin substitution that most closely resembles the genuine product. Sake should be sweetened with white sugar to achieve the same flavour. When substituting mirin with sake, keep in mind that mirin contains less alcohol. Sugar lowers the alcohol content of sake as well.

Sake eliminates smells from meat and fish and is best used in marinades. It’s frequently used before cooking to help get rid of some of the alcohol. Sake is an excellent tenderizer and umami flavour enhancer.

Chinese Rice Wine

Chinese Rice Wine, or ShaoXing Cooking Wine, is the Chinese equivalent of sake. Chinese cooking wine, when used in place of mirin, has the same effect as sake, hence it should be paired with sugar.

A rice wine produced exclusively for cooking is known as Chinese cooking wine. It has a salty, bitter alcohol flavour and isn’t meant to be consumed. It’s in everything from stir fry sauces to soup broths, marinades, and wontons in Chinese cuisine.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a vinegar made from cooked white grape skins, seeds, and stems. Because the moisture evaporates during the maturing process, it has a thick consistency. It’s dark in colour and has a robust flavour that’s rich and slightly sweet. 

Salad dressings, dipping sauces, gourmet marinades, and soup broth all contain balsamic vinegar. It can also be used as a mirin alternative due to its rich flavour. Because balsamic vinegar is not as sweet as mirin, a small amount of sugar is added to create a taste similar to mirin.

Dry Sherry

Dry sherry wine is a blend of wine and brandy that is used in cooking. It has a similar hard, acidic flavour to mirin, although it’s not as sweet. That’s why, depending on personal preference, both home and professional chefs recommend adding sugar to sherry. 

However, for every tablespoon of sherry, half a tablespoon of sugar is usually used (this is equal to a tablespoon of mirin). However, the alternative combination will be missing a key component of mirin: the umami flavour. So, depending on how much of that you want in your dish, use this or another replacement.


Vermouth is a flavoured wine fortified with brandy that tastes like dry sherry and can be used in place of mirin. Vermouth is a delicate flavouring agent that is sweetened and infused with herbs and spices. 

There are two types of vermouth: red and white. Vermouth that is sweet is Red and vermouth that is dry is White. Both can be used in the kitchen. Sugar should be added to recipes where vermouth is used instead of mirin since vermouth is less sweet than the Japanese rice wine. 

Marsala Wine

Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Sicily that has a rich caramel and nutty flavour that is ideal for sauces. Dry marsala and sweet marsala are the two types, with sweet marsala being the best substitute for mirin.

There is no need to add sugar when using sweet marsala wine as a mirin alternative because it is just as sweet as the original product. Marsala can be used in any of the traditional mirin dishes, as well as for sautéing vegetables and marinating meat and fowl. It’s a versatile, flavour-friendly component.

White Wine

Because mirin is a wine, white wine would be a good replacement. The outcomes will be comparable, but not identical, to those obtained by taking mirin. Experiment with white wine, preferably dry, to find new flavours, most likely fruitier. Alternatively, try a sweet white wine.

If you’re replacing mirin with white wine (dry or sweet), make sure to add sugar. For every tablespoon of white wine, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of sugar. A tablespoon of mirin is equal to this percentage. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc are all good choices.

White Grape Juice

Mirin can also be substituted with white grape juice. It’s alcohol-free, and because it’s prepared from peeled grapes, it’s naturally sweet. For optimum results, add a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of white grape juice to mimic the acidic flavour of mirin.

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

Why does vinegar remove stains?

Why does vinegar remove rust?

Why does vinegar clean pennies?

Why is vinegar used in food preservation?


In this article, we answered the question “Can I use vinegar instead of mirin?”. We also discussed what Mirin is and what other substitutes are available instead of Mirin. 

Hope this blog was informative. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. We will get back to you.