Rice Vinegar Vs Mirin: What is The Difference?

Rice Vinegar Vs Mirin

Rice vinegar vs. mirin, what’s the difference? The main difference is that mirin has a sweet taste, while rice vinegar has a more tangy flavor. Although they are made of the same ingredients, they are not the same thing.

Both rice vinegar and mirin are made of salt, water, and fermented rice, but their flavors are different, and they are used in different recipes. There are several other differences, so keep reading to learn more!

Rice Vinegar Vs. Mirin

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between mirin and rice vinegar:


The most noticeable difference between mirin and rice vinegar is in their taste. Mirin has a much sweeter flavor, while rice vinegar has an acidic, salty flavor.

Rice vinegar is less acidic than traditional vinegar, and it has a milder flavor. Mirin contains salt, but it is still much sweeter than rice vinegar.

Added Sugars

Speaking of salts and sugars, rice vinegar contains added sugar, while mirin doesn’t. Sounds illogical due to their flavor differences, but mirin contains natural sugars glucose and fructose, causing it to be so sweet.

Alcohol Content

Another surprising fact but rice vinegar contains no alcohol, while true mirin has an alcohol content of a whopping 14%. However, this alcohol disappears during the cooking process.

In theory, you could get drunk from drinking mirin, and some Japanese households are drinking mirin as an alcoholic beverage.


Is rice vinegar gluten-free? Rest assured when using rice vinegar in your recipes, as it is gluten-free and safe for consumption even if you have a gluten intolerance.

Natural mirin is also gluten-free, but some companies are producing synthetic mirin because it is much cheaper, and this mirin can contain gluten. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, make sure to use only the natural mirin.


Maybe the biggest differences between mirin and rice vinegar lie in the way they are used for cooking. Rice vinegar can only be used as an ingredient in cooking, and it is rarely used as a standalone ingredient.

Some of the ways to use rice vinegar:

  1. In salad dressings.
  2. For seasoning sushi rice.
  3. Seasoned rice vinegar for testing the white rice.
  4. With noodles.
  5. In sushi rice.
  6. As an ingredient in an egg roll or dumpling sauce.

Meanwhile, mirin is one of the most popular dipping sauces in Japanese cuisine, and it can be consumed on its own. Some of the ways to use mirin include:

  1. Making teriyaki sauce by mixing mirin and soy sauce.
  2. As a condiment for sushi rolls.
  3. In curry.
  4. As a marinade for various meats.
  5. In soups and stews.
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Different Types Of Mirin And Rice Vinegar

It is worth mentioning that there are different types of both mirin and rice vinegar.

Rice vinegar:

  1. White rice vinegar – The most common rice vinegar, white rice vinegar has the mildest flavor of all rice vinegar products.
  2. Black rice vinegar – With a slightly fruity flavor and a touch of umami, black rice vinegar is sometimes used as a dipping sauce.
  3. Red rice vinegar – Slightly tartier than black rice vinegar, red rice vinegar is a perfect combination of sweet and sour, and it often contains other grains, such as sorghum.
  4. Brown rice vinegar – Rice vinegar with most nutrients; brown rice vinegar has a similar taste to apple cider vinegar.


  1. Shio mirin – The most valued type of mirin, shio mirin is also called true mirin and it has the richest flavor.
  2. Aji mirin – This mirin variety is the most affordable among other types of mirin, and it has a syrupy consistency and umami flavor. Aji mirin is also called shin mirin.
  3. Hon mirin – Hon mirin tastes similar as sake, but it has much lower alcohol content of 14%.

Can You Substitute Rice Vinegar With Mirin?

The two ingredients are quite different, so it’s not advisable to substitute one for the other. Mirin is a type of rice wine that has a very sweet taste, while rice vinegar is more acidic.

However, if you don’t have any other option, you can substitute rice vinegar with mirin. But, it would be better if you used sweet Marsala wine, dry sherry, or dry white wine for this purpose.

Is Rice Vinegar The Same As Mirin?

No, rice wine vinegar is not the same as mirin, although they might seem like the same thing to those that aren’t familiar with Asian cuisine.

What Can I Substitute For Rice Vinegar?

If you can’t find rice vinegar, there are a few possible substitutes. White vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar can be used in most recipes that call for rice vinegar. If you’re looking for something with a similar sweetness to mirin, try using honey or agave nectar.

How Do You Make Rice Vinegar Taste Like Mirin?

Rice vinegar is more tart than mirin, while mirin is sweeter and has a syrupy consistency. Because of this, you can’t simply swap one for the other in recipes. However, there are ways to make rice vinegar taste more like mirin.

One way to do this is to add a sweetener to the rice vinegar. This could be sugar, honey, or even fruit juice. Another way to mimic the sweetness of mirin is to add a pinch of salt. This will help to balance out the acidity of the vinegar.

If you’re looking for a more authentic flavor, you can try using sushi vinegar. This is a type of rice vinegar that has been flavored with mirin, sugar, and salt. It’s widely available in Asian markets and online.

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Rice vinegar vs. mirin – hopefully, you understand their differences better than before reading this article. The most noticeable difference is in their flavor. Mirin is basically a sweet rice wine, while rice vinegar has a slightly sour flavor.

Additionally, rice vinegar is used as a cooking ingredient and can’t really be used alone. On the other hand, mirin is a popular condiment with a distinct umami flavor, and it is frequently used as a dipping sauce.

Do you love Asian and Japanese cuisine? Have you tried rice vinegar or mirin? Which one do you like more? Share in the comments your thoughts on mirin vs. rice vinegar!

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