April 3, 2021

10 Best Sake Substitutes for Cooking

Sake Substitutes

When you cannot find sake at your grocery shop, you will have to make do with a replacement. This article will present you with a list of the best sake substitutes to match your cooking needs.

Are you attempting to make some Japanese cuisine or another recipe that uses sake?

Sake is a popular ingredient in a variety of dishes. It adds a delicate flavor to your meals and works best for marinating and tenderizing meat.

Best Substitutes for Sake

1. Mirin


Also known as sweet Japanese rice wine, mirin is a famous sake substitute. It is similar to sake but with higher sugar content and lower alcohol content.

In terms of flavor, there isn’t much of a distinction between sake and mirin.

Mirin is a syrupy liquid ingredient used for glazing and seasoning. Another advantage of mirin is that it is commonly available at local supermarkets.

2. Chinese Shaoxing Wine

Chinese Shaoxing Wine

This essential rice wine is a special ingredient in Chinese cooking. It is commonly called Chinese cooking wine because it is a staple of many Chinese cuisines. You can easily find it in any Chinese grocery store.

It brings richness and flavor intensity to your dish and can easily substitute sake in a recipe. This wine is used to marinate fresh meats and vegetables for sauces and soups. It also serves as a flavoring agent in wontons.

3. Dry Sherry

Dry Sherry - Sake Substitutes

This sweet Michigan cooking wine has an alcohol content of 10%. Grapes are used to producing sherry, but it has a flavor profile close to sake which makes it an outstanding replacement.

Sherry wine is available in dry, semi-dry, and sweet varieties, and it pairs well with grilled chicken and Asian cuisine.

4. Vermouth


Vermouth is an aromatized wine flavored with neutral alcohol, herbs, and spices. It is fairly strong for cooking purposes and makes an excellent substitute for sake.

Vermouth has two flavors: red and sweet, which is originally from Italy; and white and dry, which comes from France.

When you use Vermouth in cooking, it will require additional sugar to enhance the flavor. To better balance the recipe, you need to put two tablespoons of sugar for every 1/2 cup of vermouth used.

5. White Wine

White Wine

You can use a mild, alcoholic, white wine to replace the strongly alcoholic sake. The end product of this replacement method may not be precisely the same as you’d expect if you used sake. However, you can still get a favorable result.

Like vermouth, you should add additional sugar to adjust for the replacement. To properly balance the recipe, add two teaspoons of sugar for every teaspoon of white wine. 

6. Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is a great replacement for sake, particularly if you are making a dipping sauce or dressing.

It has a moderate, subtly sweet taste that is obtained by separating sugar from rice, fermenting the sugar into alcohol, and then into acid.

When using rice vinegar, you should add more sugar. And though it has an inevitable bitter flavor, it is a decent replacement for sake.

7. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

When it comes to improving the flavor and appearance of food, a properly processed Balsamic vinegar can easily substitute sake.

Balsamic vinegar is Italian. It is made from condensed and crushed grape seeds, skin, and stems. Balsamic Vinegar is then aged for years to achieve its distinct flavor.

8. White Grape Juice

White Grape Juice

You can use white grape juice in place of sake as a non-alcoholic alternative in cooking. This juice, made from the greened skin grapes, has a high level of Vitamin C.

9. Distilled White Vinegar

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Compared to other types of vinegar, distilled white vinegar has a mild flavor. It can substitute sake in cooking.

Also called Spirit Vinegar, distilled white vinegar passes through a long oxidation process. It allows the liquid to change color and become acidic during fermentation, resulting in white vinegar.

10. Apple Cider

Apple Cider

Apple cider is a fermented product of apple juice. However, it is a rare sake replacement that may not recreate the ideal sake taste.

Nevertheless, it can also add a wonderful flavor to spices and soup.

The Bottom Line

This article has shared a list of sake substitutes, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. So, you can pick whatever suits your preferences and those you will be cooking for.

Of course, the substitute ingredient you choose also depends on the recipe you are following. Don’t be afraid to experiment for an exciting new flavor in your final dish.

Best Sake Substitutes

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