What is mirin? Here’s what to know and substitutes to use if needed

Mirin can be used to add sweetness and savoriness in many Japanese dishes such as noodle soup bases and sauces and marinades.


Japanese cuisine is full of flavor, including the fifth taste “umami.” The term translates “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese, with the taste providing a mouthwatering sensation and lasting longer than the other basic tastes, according to Ajinomoto. 

From ramen to teriyaki, Japanese foods contain umami flavors which is quite often the result of mirin. You probably have had mirin without even knowing it. 

Mirin brings a tang and sweetness to the dishes it is in. But what exactly is mirin? Here’s what you need to know about the common ingredient used in Japanese cooking. 

What is okonomiyaki? Get to know the Japanese food 

Just Curious: We’re here to answer your everyday questions.

What is mirin? 

According to Kikkoman, mirin is a rice wine used as a seasoning or consumed as a beverage in Japanese cuisine. It is a sweet liquor containing about 14% alcohol content and 40 to 50% sugar content. In comparison, sake has roughly 15 to 16% alcohol by volume



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