The Basics of Cooking Sake: Understanding What It Is and How to Use It

Sharing is caring!

What Is Cooking Sake?

Cooking sake refers to a type of condiment that has been seasoned with salt and vinegar to make it suitable for use in cooking.

Some cooking sakes are exempt from taxation because they have been so treated that they cannot be drunk.

This is why you can find this kind of sake at a very affordable price, even in shops that are not allowed to sell alcohol.

Is Cooking Sake the Same as Sake?

This can be described as a type of(Japanese rice wine), but it is also seasoning for cooking that contains alcohol.

It contains alcohol as well as salt, vinegar, and many umami ingredients that make the food taste delicious. So, it has a more distinct taste than sake for drinking, which has more sourness and a miscellaneous taste.

What Are the Benefits of Using Sake in Cooking?

Here are 4 main reasons sake should be used in your cooking:

1. Takes away the smell of ingredients such as meat and fish

Sake can have an alcohol content that removes the smell of fish and meat.

You can also sprinkle sake on the ingredients directly. Or, marinate your ingredients in the mixture of sake and other seasonings to avoid odors.

Furthermore, heating will also remove alcohol, and the odor of the alcohol will get removed as well.

2. Soften the ingredients

Sake contains alcohol that works on the material to make sure it absorbs the water, and to make sure it doesn’t allow moisture to escape. Thus, sake can be used to soften ingredients during cooking.

3. Adds koku (richness) and umami (delicious taste)

Sake contains glucose and sucrose, which creates an elegant sweetness that sugar can’t match. Amino acids and glutamic acids, which are umami ingredients, have the ability to add flavor and umami to dishes.

4. Improves the penetration of taste

The alcohol has good permeability to the material. It helps other seasonings soak into the ingredients as well when adding sake, especially when you are making stew dishes.

Can You Use Regular Sake for Cooking?


Although no one purchases cooking sake and drinks it, many Japanese purchase drinkable sake, which is affordable to use.

Regular sake is better for enhancing the taste and adding richness to dishes.

For dishes that require saltiness (e.g. stews or stir-frying), cooking sake is the best choice. Regular sake, on the other hand, is good for simple seasoned dishes and dishes that bring out the full flavor, and dishes where you prefer to keep the salt low.

Regularones are normally more expensive than cooking variants. So, here are some ideas to help you decide how to use them:

  • Cooking sake can be used to prepare large quantities of food
  • Season your dish with regular sake

Sharing is caring!