What is Mirin?

In this brief guide, we will answer your question “What is Mirin?”, what does it taste like and how can you use Mirin.

What is Mirin?

Mirin is a rice wine from Japan. Mirin is made by fermenting a mixture of steamed glutinous rice and cultured rice called koji in a bit of shochu, which is a distilled rice liquor, in its purest form (called “hon mirin;” more on that later). 

The deep umami-rich, yet somehow sweet, flavour emerges after sitting for a time ranging from two months to a few years to liven up all kinds of foods. Mirin is great in marinades, glazes, and broths when combined with saltier sauces like soy or tamari. 

Mirin is a clear liquid with a golden tint that is commonly used in Japanese cookery. It contains about 14 per cent alcohol and lends a gentle sweetness and excellent perfume to many Japanese meals. 

The sweetness comes from the conversion of rice starch to sugar during the fermenting process. The use of mirin is thought to have grown common during the Age of Civil War (1467 to 1603). (1467 to 1603). It was once a high-end liquor made from a blend of sweet rice wine and sweet sticky rice. 

What does Mirin taste like?

Mirin has a mild sweetness and a little tang on the palette, but it also has a hint of umami thanks to the fermenting process. The taste is strong and the consistency is thick, almost like a sauce. It is not necessary to use a lot of it while cooking. When in doubt, taste as you go.

Mirin is responsible for the sweetness, lustre, and visual appeal of Japanese cuisine. When it comes to mirin’s flavour profile, sweetness is only the beginning. This thick creamy rice wine has been best described as strong and deep, with an acidic and sweet flavour combination. 

How to use Mirin in cooking?

Mirin is a versatile condiment that goes well with a variety of foods, including meat, fish, vegetables and tofu. Miring works well in stir-fries and marinades, and because of its sugar level, it also works well as a glaze on vegetables, meat, and fish. 

Mirin is frequently used to balance out foods with a strong fishy or gamey flavour. Keep in mind that mirin has a strong, distinct flavour, so use it sparingly. It however is true that a little goes a long way.

Mirin is a versatile pantry ingredient that may be used in a variety of dishes, especially broths and sauces. Incorporate mirin into a meal whenever you want the perfect combination of umami and sweetness. 

Because of its high sugar content, mirin is perfect for glazes and sauces. Mirin is also used as a condiment in Japanese izakaya, which is comparable to Spanish tapas in that they serve tiny plates and nibbles.

What are some creative ways to use Mirin?

Among the many culinary applications of mirin are stir-fries, sauces or marinades. However, mirin can also be used in various ways in the kitchen to enhance and flavour a variety of cuisines and dishes. Its most common uses are as follows: 

  • Steam Food with Mirin
  • Fusion Meatballs with Mirin
  • Create Umami with a new dipping sauce for Sushi
  • Grill Fish with Mirin Boshi
  • Topping your steaks 

Steam Food with Mirin

Shellfish, such as shrimp and crab, and a variety of different fish are frequently steamed with water and, on sometimes, white cooking wine. Instead, try steaming some of your favourite dishes with mirin. 

For a mild flavour of the sweet cooking wine, add some mirin to some fish stock, or complement it with other seasonings like lime, ginger, or soy sauce. 

You may also use mirin to steam veggies, and then reduce the steaming liquid into a tasty sauce once the food has been cooked. Using a bamboo steamer to cook the dishes can truly elevate the dish.

Fusion Meatballs with Mirin 

Combine 12 cups mirin, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, minced garlic, and dried ginger in a mixing bowl. 

Work it into the chopped meat well before making meatballs, and you’ll be in for a wonderful treat. For a creative Japanese fusion spin on spaghetti and meatballs, serve the meatballs with soba noodles.

Create Umami with a new dipping sauce for Sushi

Do you want to go beyond soy sauce and ponzu sauce for your sushi dipping sauces? 

Mix mirin with a variety of additional ingredients, such as soy sauce, ginger, wasabi, sesame oil, chilli pepper flakes, and pretty much anything else you can think of that could go well together. 

Also, don’t be hesitant to combine flavours you wouldn’t expect to go together, such as mirin and cinnamon. Play around with your cupboard goods to come up with some fantastic mirin sauce combos.

Grill Fish with Mirin Boshi

Grilled mackerel with a special marinade called mirin boshi is a traditional Japanese fish dish. It’s created with mirin, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and salt, of course. 

It’s also delicious on any form of grilled fish, adding a delicate sweetness that doesn’t overshadow the seafood. 

Topping your Steaks

Garlic butter is frequently used on tenderloins and other excellent cuts of meat. Without this highly fragrant sake-mirin butter shimmering on the surface, a steak would never taste as nice again. 

Simply sauté some minced garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil over low heat, then stir in 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. 

2 tablespoons sake and 1 tablespoon mirin, once the butter has melted Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, then drizzle over your steaks! 

Other FAQs about Rice Wine that you may be interested in.

Is Mirin a sake? 

What are the other substitutions for rice wine?

Does Mirin Go Bad


In this brief guide, we answered your question “What is Mirin?”, what does it taste like and how can you use Mirin.

Hope this blog was insightful. If you have any questions, comment below.