Mirin can add depth and sweetness to a dish, but it’s important to use the best quality product for the best taste. Here’s our selection of the best mirin for cooking at home.
Mirin, also known as Japanese sweet rice wine, is perhaps one of the best cooking secret weapons out there for Asian cuisine dishes.
While mirin is similar to sake – a popular Japanese alcohol that can be taken as a drink or incorporated in cooking – it has a lower alcohol content of around 14%. When the slightly sweet mirin is added to dishes, it can elevate flavors and balance out the saltiness of condiments like soy sauce.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get restaurant – quality mirin at home. But if you’re able to find the following mirin in your local Asian grocer or via online order, we highly recommend trying them out – to enhance and meld the flavors in your cooking.
These are our recommendations for the best mirin for cooking.
Hinode Hon Mirin
Hon mirin is known as the best quality mirin, making it just as delicious to drink as it is as a condiment. Hinode hon mirin is only made from three ingredients—shochu, which is a type of Japanese alcohol, rice koji, and glutinous rice.
Hinode hon mirin has a golden color and a rich, natural sweetness. It’s generally more complex in flavor than its cheaper counterparts, making it perfect for adding in unique dishes that really make it shine. These include miso soup, dessert liquor, and even ice creams.
Mitoku Organic Mikawa Mirin
Aged over nine months, the Mitoku Organic Mikawa Mirin is one of Japan’s more authentic and traditional brewed mirins. It’s brewed in the small town of Hekinan by the Sumiya Bunjiro Shoten company and has a delicate sweetness.
Due to the gentle flavor profile of this mirin, it really shines when included in savory sauces like marinades and in noodle stir-frys or sushi rice.
- Looking for authentic, traditionally brewed mirin? Look no further. Mikawa Organic Mirin, brewed...
- The mirin produced by the Sumiya family became the only mirin ever to receive the coveted Diamond...
- Enjoy this truly authentic mirin, a treat rarely seen on store shelves outside of Japan.
Made with premium sake that contains amino acids, Takara mirin is a popular option for home chefs across America looking for Japanese-quality mirin at a reasonable price point.
Due to the addition of some natural sweetness, Takara mirin is best suited as a pure replacement for honey or sherry in soups, stir frys, and all types of rice dishes.
- Takara Mirin is a seasoning sake. It brings out the taste of natural ingredients and adds a pleasant...
Ohsawa Organic Genuine Mirin
Aged over nine months to produce a sweet and thick golden sauce, Ohsawa Organic Genuine Mirin is another mirin easily available in the US while still retaining the traditional flavor properties of authentic Japanese mirin.
This mirin results in a sweet and lightly glazed dish, so it’s best used when poaching meats and vegetables, in yakitori, or teriyaki chicken.
- KEY INGREDIENTS - Organic Sweet Rice, Organic Distilled Rice Wine (water, organic sweet rice, koji...
- HAND-CRAFTED JUST FOR YOU –Naturally Fermented over 9 months creates a sweet, thick, golden...
- TRADITIONAL AND VERSATILE – Blossomed in Japanese Cuisine during the Sengoku period, or 'Age of...
Hakusen Fukuraijun Hon Mirin
This mirin is free from any additives and only contains the natural ingredients necessary for making high-quality mirin—rice spirit, Japanese glutinous rice, and Japanese malted rice. The ingredients are then fermented for three months and aged for an additional three years.
The result is a mirin with a deep sweetness yet a clear aftertaste, which helps to balance excess acidity or salt in dishes. This makes it excellent in a soup base, when cooking rice, and surprisingly, in a variety of desserts and sweet treats like pancakes.
- Contents: 500ml
- Hida of glutinous rice "alpine mochi" use
What is Mirin?
Simply put, mirin is a type of Japanese rice wine made from fermenting rice. The exact type of rice will depend on the quality of the mirin and the manufacturer.
The texture is known to be slightly syrupy and tinged with a slightly yellow and goldish color. While the taste is sweet, there’s actually no sugar added to the mirin. Instead, the sweetness comes from the complex carbohydrate formed during the fermentation process.
Why Would You Add Mirin to Cooking?
Unlike a lot of Asian condiments like soy sauce and oyster sauce, which are primarily salty, mirin adds a nice balance to dishes with a touch of sweetness.
However, mirin also provides more benefits than just a touch of sweetness. The slight syrupy texture adds a nice gloss and shine to dishes, acting as a glazing agent. It can even help sauces cling to rice, noodles, or meat.
In Japan, many home cooks like to use mirin instead of sugar when the recipe calls for it to add additional depth of flavor. Others also use mirin in sauces poured over plain grilled fish to mask any fishy smell.
Tips for Cooking with Mirin
If you haven’t cooked with Mirin before or you’re still uncertain how to get the most out of this popular Japanese rice wine, here are a couple of easy tips to keep in mind:
- Mirin can be added to food just before serving and during cooking—meaning it’s suitable in marinades, dipping sauces, soups, and on the stovetop simmering with other sauces.
- If you’re cooking strong-smelling meat dishes (like pork or fish), mirin can be added to tone down the smell and taste.
- The taste of mirin can develop during the cooking process, so start with a small amount and add more gradually.