What is Mirin and Mirin Substitutes
Mirin (味醂 or みりん in Japanese) is a Japanese cooking rice wine with subtle sweet accents that make many dishes such as teriyaki chicken, ramen and udon. It’s a common ingredient in Japanese cooking and works very well when mixed with soy sauce.
This quick 3-ingredient homemade mirin works perfectly as a substitute for teriyaki and other recipes calling for mirin. All you need is sake, sugar and water to make it.
What does Mirin taste like
Mirin tastes a little like sake, but it’s sweeter and has a lower alcohol content (about 14%), a bit like dessert wine but more subtle. Don’t worry about the alcohol, as it burns off during cooking.
Mirin can transform bland sauces into something very flavorful. For example, the classic teriyaki sauce is essentially made with mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar.
There are a number of brands of mirin available in the U.S., although authentic Japanese hon-mirin is difficult to track down. Here are some of the most commonly available brands:
|Brand||Ingredients||Sugar per tbsp|
|Kikkoman||Glucose syrup, water, alcohol, rice, corn syrup, salt||7-8 grams|
|Sushi Chef||Fructose, water, rice, distilled sake, and rice koji (enzyme modified).||5 grams|
|Eden||Water, organic rice, koji (aspergillus oryzae), sea salt||4 grams|
Kikkoman is probably the most the common mirin brand, with both its original Aji-Mirin and its newer Kotteri Mirin. The flavor is delicious, although it’s also the sweetest at 7-8 grams of sugar per tablespoon. It also contains corn syrup, which some people dislike.
Eden Mirin is the only major brand of mirin with no refined sugar added, and it’s made with organic rice too. Eden Mirin is likely the best option for diabetic or sugar-reduced diets.
Where to buy mirin
You can find it in many grocery stores and supermarkets, usually in the Asian sauces section. If that doesn’t work try ordering it online.
It costs about $5-10 per bottle depending on the brand, and it will quickly become a staple in your kitchen.
What are substitutes for mirin
Dry white wine or rice vinegar mixed with some sugar make an easy mirin substitute. For every tablespoon of wine or rice vinegar, you’ll need to add a half teaspoon of sugar.
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup sake wine
- Add sugar and water to a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, and allow to boil gently for 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat.
- Dribble in the sake slowly until you reach the desired level of sweetness.
- Stir to mix and set aside to cool completely. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.
Looking for recipes using mirin?
Editor note: Published Nov. 30, 2017 and updated June 15, 2018
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