mirin vS sake VS Cooking Sake for Cooking- Key Comparison

In the culinary world, many different ingredients and condiments can be used to enhance the flavors of dishes. Two ingredients often confused with each other are Mirin and Sake. 

Though both have unique flavors and purposes in cooking, there are some key differences between the two.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Mirin vs Sake vs Cooking sake, so you can be sure to use the right one in your recipes!

A Quick Table: Mirin VS Sake

Made fromFermented sweet riceFermented Sweet rice
Rice VariantsShort grain white riceSakamai- Sake rice
TasteSweetLess sweet like sharp
TypesHon Mirin, Shio, Shin mirinDrinking sake, Cooking sake
Low (14%)High (18-20%)
High compare to sakeLow compare to Mirin
UseSpecially for cooking- sushi,
Teriyaki sauce
Specially for Drinking but
cooking for sushi

Are Sake and Mirin the same?

Yes. Mirin and Sake are made of rice wine and are famous in Japanese cuisine. Both are alcoholic beverages. 

Mirin is highly used for cooking, but Sake has both use-cooking and taking a drink. While both have similarities also bear some differences that make them separate.

What’s the difference between Mirin, Sake, and Cooking Sake?

Knowing the difference between Sake and mirin and cooking sake can help you create delicious Japanese-inspired dishes at home.

What is Mirin? What does Mirin taste like?

Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine made from sweet rice. It has a syrupy consistency and a slightly sweet flavor. Mirin is used in foods like teriyaki chicken and sushi to enhance sweetness and depth of flavor.

Mirin has a higher sugar content and slightly acidic taste, similar to Sake. It is often used to add sweetness and depth of flavor to savory dishes such as teriyaki chicken and sushi. 

Mirin can also be utilized as a marinade or glaze for meats and vegetables. Mirin is the key ingredient in dishes like dashi soup, teriyaki sauce, unagi or eel sauce, sweet soy sauce, sushi sauce, etc.

Types of Mirin:

Mirin typically has three types depending on sugar and alcohol content.

Hon mirin is known as true Mirin. It contains around 14% alcohol. It is completely done after 50 to 60 days and the mashing process.

Shio mirin, which is known as Salt mirin. It contains less than 12% alcohol, 1.5% salt, and more sugar. 

Shin mirin, known as new Mirin, is used for sweetening dishes for its extra sugar and less alcohol( below 5%) content.

Mirin-fu chomiryo is marketed as mirin seasoning, which has less than 1% alcohol and a similar mirin-like flavor and is perfect for those who avoid alcohol.

Where to buy Mirin

[amazon bestseller= “mirin” items=”2″]

How to make Mirin


  • 1 cup (200ml) water
  • 1 cup (200ml) sake
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar


1. Combine the water, Sake, and sugar in a saucepan over medium flame.

2. Cook the blend until it comes to a boil, occasionally stirring to dissolve the sugar.

3. Allow the pan to cool completely after removing it from the heat.

4. Store the Mirin in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

To ensure your Mirin is authentic, look for a bottle with the following ingredients listed on the label: water, rice, alcohol, and salt. These are the simple four ingredients required to make Mirin!

Can You use Mirin instead of Sake? 

Yes. Mirin is the perfect substitute for the Sake of cooking without altering the flavor. If you want to drink an alternative, then prefer apple or white grape juice. 

Mirin and Sake have a similar flavor, but Mirin is sweeter and has less alcohol content than Sake.

What is Sake? What does Sake taste like?

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Sake content is about 18–20% alcohol by volume.

It is typically served in small cups or glasses and has a slightly sweet, wine-like flavor. Sake is usually consumed with sushi or other Japanese cuisines but can also be enjoyed on its own.

Sake is made by first steaming rice to convert the starches into sugars. The rice is then cooled and mixed with water and koji (a type of mold). This mixture is then fermented for several weeks before being distilled and bottled.

Sake can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature, or heated. Heating sake brings out different flavors and aromas, so be sure to experiment to find your perfect temperature.

Types of Sake:

There are two kinds of Sake: cooking sake and drinking sake. 

Drinking Sake

Drinking sake is a Japanese rice wine typically consumed in small quantities. It has a mild and delicate flavour and is prepared from fermented rice.

Drinking sake is best served chilled and should be drunk in small sips so the flavors can be thoroughly enjoyed. Drinking sake can be found in most Asian grocery stores.

What is cooking sake? What is cooking sake for?

Cooking sake is a Japanese rice wine explicitly brewed for cooking purposes. It has a lower alcohol content than drinking sake and is used for adding flavor to food.

Cooking sake is made from rice milled to a lower degree than drinking sake. This results in a less refined flavor, which is why it is typically only used for cooking. The alcohol content of cooking sake is also lower, typically around 10-15%. 

· This makes it safer to use in cooking, as the alcohol will evaporate more quickly.

It has a strong flavor that can be overpowering if not used correctly. Cooking sake can be found in most Asian grocery stores.

Note- Avoid using regular drinking sake in place of cooking sake, as the higher alcohol content can make food taste unpleasant.

Cooking sake is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes. It can be used to marinate meat, add flavor to stir-fries, or even as a base for soup. 

If you’re unsure how to use it, start substituting it for Mirin in your favorite recipes. You may be amazed at how much flavor it can add to your food!

Is cooking sake the same as Sake?- What’s the difference?

The main difference between cooking sake and regular Sake is the alcohol content. Regular Sake contains around 18-20% alcohol, while cooking sake only contains about 10-12% alcohol. This means that cooking sake will cook off faster and won’t impart as much flavor to your dish.

It’s a good choice for deglazing or use in marinades but not so great if you’re looking for a boozy kick in your meal.

Where to buy cooking sake? 

The best place to buy cooking sake may vary depending on your location and what type of Sake you are looking for. 

Yet, some general tips that may assist you in finding a good source for cooking sake include checking Japanese grocery stores or online retailers specializing in Japanese ingredients. 

Additionally, it is essential to make sure that you purchase a type of Sake specifically labeled as “cooking sake,” as regular drinking sake may not be suitable for cooking.

[amazon bestseller= “cooking sake” items=”2″]

Can you use cooking sake instead of Mirin?

Yes, Cooking sake can be used as a substitute for Mirin in most cases, but the flavor will not be precisely the same.

Sake is a rice wine brewed from rice, water, and koji (a special mold). It has a more mellow flavor than Mirin and is used to add flavor to dishes.

cooking sake can be used as a substitute for Mirin in most cases, but the flavor will not be precisely the same.

When substituting cooking sake for Mirin, it’s best to use an equal amount of each. This will help ensure that your dish’s flavor is not too altered. 

Sometimes, you may need to add more sugar to your recipe using cooking sake, as it is not as sweet as Mirin.

Sweet Sake vs Mirin

Japanese rice wine, or Sake, is essential to the country’s food and culture. Sweet Sake is a type of Sake that is made with added sugar or syrup. 

It is often served as a dessert wine or after-dinner drink. Sweet Sake is usually lower in alcohol content than regular Sake. Whereas Mirin is only used for cooking and has more alcohol content than sweet Sake.

There are many different types of sweet Sake, including fruit-flavored varieties. Some popular flavors include plum, cherry, and green tea. 

Sweet Sake can be served chilled, at room temperature, or heated. Heated sweet Sake is called nigorizake.

Sweet Sake is a popular gift to give during the holidays in Japan. It is also enjoyed during special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries. 

Taste: Mirin VS Sake Vs Cooking Sake

Cooking sake, also called rice wine, is an alcohol made from fermented rice. It has a high sugar content and is used mostly for cooking. However, it can also be consumed as an alcoholic beverage. 

Mirin is a sweet rice wine utilized in Japanese cuisine. It has a lower alcohol content than Sake and is used to add flavor and sweetness to dishes. 

Sake is a dryer, more traditional rice wine that is often served with sushi or sashimi. It contains more alcohol than Mirin or cooking sake and can range in flavor from sweet to dry.

Alcohol content: Cooking sake VS Mirin VS Sake

The three types of alcohol are all made from rice, but they differ in production methods and alcohol content. 

Let’s examine the three sorts of alcohol and their distinctions.

1. Cooking sake: has the lowest alcohol content than Mirin and Sake.

Cooking sake is also known as “food alcohol” or “rice wine.” It is mainly used for cooking rather than drinking. 

It has a fairly low alcohol content of around 10-14%, making it less strong than other types of Sake.

2. Mirin: has a sweeter taste with medium alcohol content comparatively Sake and cooking Sake.

Mirin is a sweet rice wine with an alcohol content of around 14%. It is usually utilized in Japanese cuisine to add sweetness and depth of flavor to dishes.

3. Sake: has the highest alcohol content, less sweet than cooking sake and Mirin.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine typically drunk rather than used in cooking. It has a higher alcohol content than cooking sake and Mirin, at around 18-20%. Sake is also known for its smooth, mellow taste.

Sugar Content: Sake VS Mirin VS Cooking Sake

Rice wine has been made in Asia for centuries, and its popularity has spread to other parts of the world in recent years. 

They are made from different types of rice and have different sugar contents. Mirin has the highest sugar content, Sake has the lowest sugar content, and cooking sake falls in the middle.

Use: Sake VS Cooking Sake VS Mirin

Sake is the most popular rice wine in Japan and is used in various dishes. It can be drunk straight or used as an ingredient in cooking. 

Mirin is also popular in Japanese cooking and is used to add sweetness and depth of flavor to dishes. Cooking sake is not meant to be consumed on its own but is used to flavor food while it cooks.

Rice Variants: Mirin VS Sake VS Cooking Sake

If you’ve ever tripped to an Asian grocery store or cooked Asian cuisine at home, you’ve probably noticed many different types of rice wine available. So what’s the difference between Mirin, Sake, and cooking sake?

More than 80 different types of sake rice are cultivated in japan to make Sake. Sakamai is the rice specially for making Sake. The grain is larger, stronger more polished than mirin rice. 

Mirin can be made from various rice, the most popular of which is short grain white rice.

Different types of rice, such as long grain rice or brown rice, can also be used, but they will give the Mirin a different flavor and texture. 

aji mirin vs Sake

Aji mirin is a Japanese condiment made from sweet rice, sugar, and salt. It’s used to flavour and sweeten meals, as well as to thicken sauces. Aji mirin is an essential ingredient in many Japanese dishes, such as teriyaki chicken and sushi.

Aji mirin has a sweet, syrupy taste and is often used in place of sugar or honey in recipes.

Both Sake and Aji mirin are used in cooking, but they have different flavors and purposes. Sake is dry and has a strong flavor, while aji mirin is sweet and has a milder flavor. Aji Mirin is also used as a condiment, while Sake is not. 

Hon mirin vs Sake vs cooking sake

When it comes to Japanese rice wine, there are three main types that you need to know about: hon mirin, Sake, and cooking sake. 

Here’s a brief guide to the critical differences between each type.

Hon mirin is a sweetened rice wine often used in Japanese cuisine for its flavor and ability to help tenderize meat.

It is created by fermenting rice with koji (fermented rice malt) and then adding alcohol and shochu (a distilled spirit). 

The final product has a syrupy consistency and a sweet, slightly acidic flavor.

On the other hand, Sake is a dryer variety of rice wine typically served chilled. It ferments rice with koji and water and then filters out the solids.

Sake has a clean, crisp flavor and is often used as an accompaniment to sushi or sashimi.

Cooking sake is a lower-grade variety of rice wine that is typically used for, you guessed it, cooking! It is made in a similar way to regular Sake. 

Still, the fermentation process is shorter, and the final product has a higher alcohol content.

Cooking sake imparts a subtle flavor to dishes, so it’s best used in sauces or marinades.

So, what’s the difference between hon mirin, Sake, and cooking sake? 

Hon mirin is a sweetened rice wine often used in Japanese cuisine for its flavor and ability to help tenderize meat. 

Sake is a dryer variety of rice wine typically served chilled and has a clean, crisp flavor. And the cooking sake is a lower-grade variety of rice wine typically used for cooking and imparts a subtle flavor to dishes.

When to Use: Cooking Sake VS Mirin VS Sake

When deciding which one to use, it depends on the dish you’re making and your personal preferences. 

In general, cooking sake is a better choice for boiled or simmered dishes because the alcohol content will evaporate during cooking and leave behind a lovely flavor. 

Mirin is better for dishes that don’t require cooking, like sauces and dressing, because the sweetness will remain intact.

On the other hand, Mirin is a good choice for those who want to add a little sweetness to their dishes without using sugar.

Sake is an excellent choice for serving its own because it has a slightly sweet taste and a strong aroma. 

Read More- mirin vs rice vinegar- Which is best for sushi @2022

Bottom Line: Mirin, Sake & Cooking Sake

Sake is Japanese alcohol produced from fermented rice. Mirin is a Japanese sweet wine used for cooking. Both Sake and Mirin contain alcohol, but Mirin has a higher sugar content than Sake. 

The difference in sugar content alters the taste and purpose of each drink. Sake is typically served as an alcoholic beverage, while Mirin is used as a condiment or ingredient in cooking. 

Sake and Mirin are made from fermented rice, and the fermentation process for each drink is different. 

The rice is first glossed to remove the bran layer to make a Sake. The rice is then mixed with water and koji, a type of mold that helps with fermentation. The mixture is left to ferment for 20-40 days. 

Mirin is made by fermenting rice with shochu, a distilled alcohol made from grain or sweet potatoes. The fermentation process for Mirin takes about six months.

The different fermentation processes give each drink a unique flavor profile. Sake is dry and has a slightly fruity taste, while Mirin is sweet and syrupy. 

Mirin is also less alcoholic than Sake, with an alcohol content of around 14%.

Sake is typically served cold or at room temperature, while Mirin is used as a cooking ingredient. It’s common to see Mirin used in teriyaki sauce or glazes for grilled fish. 

Sake can also be used in cooking, but it’s more commonly served as an alcoholic beverage.

So, what’s the difference between Sake and Mirin? Sake is dry Japanese alcohol made from fermented rice, while Mirin is a sweet Japanese wine used for cooking. 

The different fermentation processes give each drink a unique flavor profile. Sake is typically served cold or at room temperature, while Mirin is used as a cooking ingredient.


Q1. Does Mirin taste like Sake?

Yes. Some people may find that Mirin tastes very similar to Sake, but it has a sweeter or more mellow flavor. Finally, it is up to the person to choose whether or not they believe Mirin tastes like Sake.

Q2. Is sake rice wine, or is it Mirin?

Sake is considered a rice wine or Mirin. It is a kind of rice wine used in Japanese cuisine, while Sake is the national beverage of Japan. 

Both Sake and Mirin are made from rice, but Mirin has a lower alcohol content and is sweeter than Sake. Sake is also fermented for a longer time than Mirin. 

Because of these differences, some people consider Sake to be a type of rice wine. In contrast, others believe it is closer to Mirin. 

No matter what classification you choose, both Sake and Mirin are delicious beverages that are worth trying.

Q3. What does Sake do in cooking?

Sake is a Japanese fermented rice wine that is used in cooking to add depth of flavor. It can be used in marinades, sauces, and as a general flavoring agent. 

Sake has a very high alcohol content and a unique flavor.

It’s sometimes used in place of wine, as it can be added to sauces and glazes without making them too sweet. 

Sake also helps balance out dishes’ flavors and prevent them from becoming too salty or greasy.

If you’re interested in trying Sake, there are many different types available. Some of the most popular include daiginjo, ginjo, and junmai sake. 

Daiginjo is made from highly polished rice and has a very smooth flavor. 

Ginjo is made from polished rice but has a fruity aroma and a slightly sweet taste. Junmai sake has a more powerful flavor and is manufactured from pure rice.

Q4. Can I substitute cooking sake for Mirin?

Yes, in most recipes, you can substitute cooking sake for Mirin because it is already sweetened alcohol. 

Remember that Mirin is sweeter than Sake, so you’ll need to use less sugar in the recipe.

Simply swap out the Mirin for an equal amount of Sake, and your dish will still come out flavorful and delicious!

Q5. Is it mirin rice vinegar?

No, it’s not mirin rice vinegar. Mirin is actually rice wine. It’s a type of wine made from rice that has been fermented and distilled.

It has a strong, pungent flavor that can be used in place of other types of rice vinegar in many recipes.

Whereas rice vinegar is made from the fermentation of rice. It has a milder, sweeter flavor and is commonly used in Asian cooking.

So, while they are both made from fermented rice, the main difference is Mirin contains alcohol of around 14 to 16 %. In contrast, rice vinegar does not have any alcohol.

So both are interchangeable by flavor, and rice vinegar is an excellent non-alcoholic substitution for Mirin.

Q6. Is rice cooking wine the same as Sake?

Rice cooking wine and Sake are both Japanese alcoholic beverages made from fermented rice. Yet, there are some critical differences between the two. 

Sake is a purer form of alcohol, while rice cooking wine contains other ingredients such as salt and sugar. Sake is typically drunk straight, while rice cooking wine is often used in cooking.

Q7. Can I Substitute Sake & Mirin with Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a common ingredient in numerous Asian cuisines. It can be used as a substitute for Sake or Mirin. 

Rice vinegar has a similar flavor to Sake but is not as sweet. 

Mirin is a rice wine sweeter than Sake, so it can be used as a substitute for sugar in recipes. If you cannot find either of these ingredients, you can use white vinegar or cider vinegar as substitutes.

Leave a Comment