Japanese Hon Mirin the Cooking Wine

Japanese Hon mirin the cooking wine

Japanese Hon mirin the cooking wine.
What is the mirin substitute? 
Is there any mirin substitute?
What is the Hon mirin and Mirin-fu chomiryo?

Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine, consisting of 40 to 50 percent of sugar.  It is a rice wine similar to sake but with a lower alcohol content. 


There are three basic types which is Hon mirin, Shiro mirin, and Mirin-fu chomiryo meaning mirin like seasoning.  It is less alcohol contants but same flavour.  But I will tell you what is different.

Japanese-mirin contains alcohol so when you cook with fish or meat, it helps remove the fishy smell or meat smell.  It helps penetrate the taste into the ingredients, and helps ingredients not break into pieces while cooking.  Japanese-mirin contains sugar and it helps food taste sweeter (It is a different sweetness than sugar).  If you are cooking teriyaki foods, it makes food glossy looking.  Heat draws out the mirin and gives the ingredients a great aroma.
Hon-mirin’s sweetness is different than sugar because it contains d-glucose, oligosaccharide and other kinds of sugar.  If you use Japanese-mirin, food tastes softer and elegant.

Also Hon-mirin has a different kind of sugar so it makes food shiny and glossy looking.  Sake or other kind of sugars can not make same effect.  I usually use sake for substitute but it makes taste a little bit different.  If you can get Japanese-mirin, use it instead of sake.
I use both!

Hon mirin and sake contains 14% alcohol but Mirin-fu Chomiryo has only 1%.  Hon mirin contains zero sodium, Mirin-fu Chomiryo has 1% sodium, and Sake has 2%.  So both Japanese-mirin and sake has alcohol but it is a different ingredients.

Did you learn the difference?
Now, you are ready to cook!

About Yuri

I am Japanese woman, love cooking, love eating, love cats, love to introduce Japanese culture and cooking.


  1. Hello,
    I just wanted to know something else about the Mirin Japanese cooking wine…. I know it has alcohol in it about 14% , but wanted to know if I cook it with chicken will the alcohol vapor out of it ?
    The reason it that I don’t drink alcohol and its like a sin if I do…So if I cook it with food will there still be alcohol in it or it will disappear from it while cooking it with food?

  2. Hi Issrra. I belive if you use mirin with my recipe here won’t make you drunk. Just like you said mirin’s alcohol will vapor out of it with heat. If you make something not heat up at all, alcohol may not disappear from it. however, my recipe (ordinary Japanese recipe) won’t use mirin a lot. Probably , inbetween 1 to 3 TBS of mirin for each cooking. Compare to the food amount you are cooking, it is very small amount. So you are safe to use mirin for your Japanese cooking and it is very good and important ingredient for Japanese cooking. You will enjoy your result when you cook Japanese food!

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