Uncovering the Differences: Mirin VS Cooking Sake

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Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Share My Kitchen

You might be wondering, what is the difference of mirin vs sake? They all sound the same, right? Rice wines.
Mirin is a key ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It is a condiment first discovered in Japan. Mirin, soy sauce, and miso were all discovered in Japan because koji mold (bacteria) is only found in Japan. These products have koji mold as an essential ingredient.

Both sake and mirin can be used in different ways when cooking. However, what is the difference between mirin and sake?


Mirin came from mochi rice koji and shochu (alcohol). Mochi rice has a higher starch content and a sweeter flavor which it gives to mirin.

Mirin has about 14% alcohol, and it contains less than 1% alcohol, which is called Mirin-fu (Mirin-ish), also known as low alcohol mirin.

Mirin adds a mild sweetness to the food. It can also add TERI (shine or gloss) to food. Teriyaki’s TERI is mirin.

What Is the Difference Between Mirin vs Sake?

Cooking sake is used for tenderizing meat and to remove unpleasant smells and flavors. Salt is in cooking sake, so it enhances the flavor of the meat. Salt is used in cooking sake to make it different from drinking sake. When you add dome salt, it isn’t allowed to be drank, so it’s not taxed as alcohol in Japan and can only be used for cooking purposes.

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