Mirin and rice vinegar are both popular Asian ingredients. They are fermented liquids that share the common “basic foundation” of rice. These can be used in cooking to add acidity to a dish, to breathe new life into rich, fatty meat. Characterized as indispensable in many chef’s kitchens; whether splattered into a stir-fry, whisked into a marinade, or mixed thoroughly into sauces; Mirin vs Rice Vinegar is talk of the town considering their unique characteristics.

What is Mirin?


Mirin is one of the most important ingredients in Japanese cuisine. It is a type of rice wine that contains a small amount of alcohol, making it similar to sake, the traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage. 

If you are searching for traditional Japanese Mirin, there are different variations, such as Hon Mirin and Shio Mirin. Mirin is a key component in teriyaki sauce, udon, ramen broths, and tempura sauces.

It adds depth, shine, and glossiness to sauces.

What is Rice Vinegar?


As you might have guessed from its name, Rice vinegar is simply vinegar made by fermenting rice. It is hard to specify the origin of rice vinegar because it comes from various countries, including Japan, China, Vietnam, and Korea. Chinese rice vinegar comes in various colors ranging from red to black, whereas Japanese rice vinegar is much milder and thus yellow.

Mirin vs Rice Vinegar?

Do you want to expand your knowledge of Asian ingredients? You may be wondering what the difference between Mirin and Rice Vinegar is. They sound the same, but there are a few key distinctions:

  • They both have a liquid consistency that is best to use in sauce format.
  • You can use rice vinegar as a substitute for Mirin if you don’t have any or are having trouble finding some.
  • Mirin is commonly used as a meat and seafood tenderizer. Meanwhile, rice vinegar can be used to combat the saltiness of eel sauce; it can also be used to pickle vegetables, as a seasoning for any Asian-inspired dish, or spattered into stir-fries with soy sauce and hoisin sauce.
  • One of the most noticeable distinctions between rice vinegar and Mirin is that Mirin has a much sweeter flavor, whereas rice vinegar is tangy and slightly bitter. However, Mirin does not contain sugar, whereas rice vinegar does.
  • Rice vinegar contains no alcohol whatsoever. If there is any alcohol content at all, it is extremely low. In addition, cooking helps in excluding any residual alcohol content. Mirin, on the other hand, typically contains about 12% alcohol. The alcohol does cook out of it if you use it in a sauce or cooked meal.
  • Rice vinegar contains more sugar than Mirin, but it is not sweeter due to the sugar. The result is something slightly sweet with a tangy sour flavor.
  • Mirin is a popular dipping sauce for sushi rolls. However, rice vinegar is rarely used as a stand-alone condiment. It can be made into a dipping sauce or a condiment of some sort, but the tangy flavor makes it unsuitable for use on its own.

Benefits of Mirin vs Rice Vinegar

. Mirin typically contains about 12% alcohol. Some supermarket Mirin varieties also contain high fructose corn syrup or glucose syrup. As a result, it does not appear to be healthy. Meanwhile, rice vinegar can help improve your digestive health and slow the buildup of cholesterol on the walls of your blood vessels. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Rice vinegar, like most vinegar, is very acidic; using it as a salad dressing or other condiment may help people with diabetes better control their blood sugar.


Mirin vs Rice Vinegar; Nutritional Facts

Rice Wine Vinegar

For a Serving Size of 1 tbsp (14.9g)

  • Calories 2.7
  • Total Fat 0g
  • Sodium 0.3mg
  • Potassium 0.3mg
  • Carbohydrates 0g
  • Protein 0g


For a Serving Size of 1 tbsp (17g)

  • Calories 25
  • Total Fat 0g
  • Sodium 130.1mg
  • Carbohydrates 7g
  • Protein 0g

Must-Try Recipes

Now that you know the pros and cons of Mirin Verses Rice Vinegar, time to plan your weekly menu. See the options below:


Closing Line

So which side are you on? Mirin or Rice Vinegar? How familiar were you with the differences between the two? Do you know something I missed? Let me know in the comments below.