Japanese rice wine(sake) vs mirin


Written by aki

Japanese rice wine vs mirin

In Japan, most people cook at home.

I, AKI, also cook a lot at home!


The other day, a foreign friend of mine asked me, “What’s the difference between rice cooking wine and mirin?” .

In this article, I’d like to introduce the difference between “rice cooking wine” and “mirin,” an essential seasoning for Japanese cooking!


What is “rice cooking wine”?

One of Japan’s specialties is an alcoholic beverage called SAKE (rice wine).

It is an alcoholic beverage made from rice, also known as “rice wine“.


Some sake is drunk for dinner, some is used to season food!

We call it “Ryourishu“, which translates to rice cooking wine(or cooking sake) in English.

rice cooking wine(cooking sake)


It is used in a variety of dishes, both Japanese and Western.

It has an alcohol content of around 13% and should be used in cooking that requires heating.


(1) Alcohol ingredients soften the ingredients.

When used to season meat or fish, it softens the ingredients and allows other seasonings to penetrate more easily.


(2)The umami of the rice will add richness to your dishes.

It contains organic acids and amino acids, so using rice cooking wine makes it taste better!


(3)To remove the smell of meat and fish.

The organic acid will mask the odor substances.


What is the use of “rice cooking wine” in cooking?

I’ve heard of white wine being used for cooking in Europe, and you can use rice cooking wine in the same way!



japanese aquapazza

A local Italian dish.
Seafood and vegetables are stewed with alcohol.

In the real world, white wine is used, but you can use rice cooking wine for a lighter finish.


Steamed asari clams with sake

steamed asari clams with sake

A simple dish of steamed asari clam, green onions and ginger with sake.

Popular with Japanese alcoholic beverage snackers.



What is “mirin”?

Mirin is a liquor seasoning made from glutinous rice.

what is mirin

It has a gentle sweetness to its taste.

During the production process, the starch and protein of the rice are broken down to produce sugars and amino acids.



It’s more yellow in color than rice cooking wine!

The alcohol content is about 14%.


(1) Makes food shiny and glossy.

Sugars made from rice-derived products give it a luster.


(2) Will not lose its shape even when food is cooked.

In Japan, we often cook stewed food.

The “mirin” is often used to keep the food from losing its shape even after it has been slowly cooked.


(3)Add a hint of sweetness.

It has a gentle sweetness that is different from sugar.



What is the use of “mirin” in cooking?

It is mainly used in Japanese food.


Nikujaga(meat and potato stew)


A Japanese home-style dish consisting of beef, potatoes, carrots, and other ingredients simmered in a sweet and salty broth.

By using mirin, the potatoes will not fall apart even if they are cooked for a long time.


Buri no teriyaki(Grilled yellowtail with teriyaki sauce)

Buri no teriyaki

It is the iron plate of Japanese food.

Using a seasoning that contains alcohol will take away the smell of the fish!

Plus, the mirin makes it more illuminating!



Yes, I used “mirin” when I used to go fishing and cook with the fish I caught.


Try it on all sorts of dishes!

Neither seasoning is that strong in taste.

If anything, this seasoning will make the other seasonings taste even better!


I’ll be back next time to share some recipes on my blog that use these seasonings!

If you have ever used Japanese seasonings, I would love to hear about it.
If there are people from overseas who have used Japanese seasonings, I would be very happy to hear their recipes and photos of their dishes.


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Hello! I live in a place called Shiga, Japan. I'm not very good at English, but I'm writing this blog in the hope that I can convey some of Japan's beautiful places and delicious food to people overseas.