What Do I Substitute for Mirin?
Salad dressings, marinades, and many Asian sauces call for this essential condiment. Here, a bit about what mirin is and how you can substitute if you don't have any.
Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that lends mild acidity to a dish. It is similar to sake, but is lower in sugar and alcohol, and provides a more umami flavor to savory dishes. It’s a handy ingredient to have in your pantry because many Asian and fusion recipes call for it. But if you don’t have it in your cupboard, no worries: Simple subs and hacks can easily mimic mirin’s sweet-tangy flavor. Dry sherry, sweet marsala wine, dry white wine, and rice vinegar will do the trick, for instance, if you mix in about 1/2 teaspoon sugar per tablespoon.
If you’re ready to try mirin (or one of its sweet substitutes), check out these recipes:
- Soy Dipping Sauce
- Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
- Ginger-Chile Bok Choy
- Bitter Green Salad with Spiced Mirin Dressing
- Mirin-Braised Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms
- Buttery Mirin Mushrooms
If you can't find mirin in the vinegar aisle, check your Asian grocery store or the Asian section in your traditional grocery store. If that fails, head to online retailers. You may more commonly find it in grocery stores as "aji-mirin," which is essentially mirin with extra sweeteners, but we recommend going the extra mile to buy the real thing. Mirin is shelf stable for several months to more than a year, so one bottle will last you a while.