10 Substitutes for Sake – Similar Alternatives to Try

Sake is a delicious rice wine that has a unique flavor. It’s often enjoyed during meals or as a drink to relax after work.

However, what do you do if you can’t find Sake or simply don’t want to spend the money on it?

There are several substitutes for Sake that will give you the same great flavor without sacrificing quality.

Let’s get started!

Substitutes for Sake

  1.  Mirin
  2. Chinese Shaoxing Wine
  3. Dry Sherry
  4. Vermouth
  5. White Wine
  6.  Rice Wine Vinegar
  7.  Balsamic Vinegar
  8. White Grape Juice
  9. Distilled White Vinegar
  10. Apple Cider


Mirin is a flavourful swap for Sake during cooking.

When substituting Mirin for Sake, it is important to keep the ratio of sweet to savory flavors in mind.

However, Mirin can add a delicious depth of flavor to many different dishes when used correctly.

In my experience, mirin makes a great substitute for Sake because it has a sweet umami flavor that can help round out a dish’s flavors.

It also contains less alcohol than Sake, so it can be used in recipes that require cooking over high heat without adding too much booze.

A good rule of thumb is to use half as much Mirin as you would Sake. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of Sake, you would use 1/2 cup of Mirin instead.

Chinese Shaoxing Wine

Shaoxing wine is a traditional Chinese cooking wine that adds depth and intense flavor to Asian dishes. It is made from fermented rice and has a spicy-sweet taste.

Shaoxing wine can be used as a substitute for Sake, and it is a 1:1 ratio. This means that if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sake, you can use 1 cup of Shaoxing wine as a great alternative.

Some dishes that are prepared using Shaoxing wine include stir-fries, marinades, and braised meats.

The benefits of using Shaoxing wine as a substitute for sake include its intense flavor and its ability to add depth to any dish.

Dry Sherry

You can use dry sherry as a substitute for Sake primarily in savory dishes.

It’s a good idea to use it in stews or other dishes that are cooked for a long time so the alcohol has a chance to evaporate.

The ratio of dry sherry to sake is 1to1.

Dry sherry is a great alternative to sake because it’s less expensive and has a more intense flavor.

The downside is that it’s salty, so you may want to use less salt in your dish if you’re using dry sherry as a substitute for Sake.


Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that is often used as a substitute for Sake in Japanese cooking. There are several reasons why Vermouth makes a good substitute for Sake.

First, Vermouth is a neutral alcohol, so it will not alter the flavor of the dish.

Second, Vermouth needs additional sugar, which can help to offset the sweetness of some Japanese dishes.

Finally, vermouth can be used in soups and marinades, and it has a 1:1 ratio with sake.

A few dishes can be prepared using Vermouth as a substitute for Sake. One popular dish is tempura, which is a type of fried food. Another popular dish is yakitori, which is grilled chicken skewers.

White Wine

White Wine can be used as a superb fill-in for Sake in many cases. Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is lower in acidity than White Wine.

It also has a more delicate flavor profile. As such, it is often used in sushi restaurants to accompany seafood dishes.

In addition, Sake is also commonly used in risottos.

The high acidity of white wine will provide a flavor punch that perfectly complements the seafood. And, when used in risottos, the white wine will still provide a smooth and creamy texture without overwhelming the other flavors in the dish.

So, the next time you’re out of sake, don’t hesitate to reach for the white wine instead.

Rice Wine Vinegar

While both Sake and Rice Wine Vinegar are slightly sweet and slightly acidic, Rice Wine Vinegar is bit more tart than Sake.

Sake is a fermented beverage made from rice, while Rice Wine Vinegar is made by fermenting the rice wine. As a result, Rice Wine vinegar has a more complex flavor than sake.

Rice Wine Vinegar can be used as a dipping sauce for sushi or as a marinade for chicken or fish. It can also be used in place of Sake in any recipe that calls for a slightly sweet, slightly acidic liquid.

The best way to substitute Rice Wine Vinegar for Sake is to use a 1:1 ratio. In other words, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of Sake, use 1 cup of rice wine vinegar instead.

This swap is an excellent way to add a new dimension of flavor to your cooking.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a slightly acidic, dark-colored vinegar produced in Italy.

It has been used for centuries in traditional Italian cooking, and more recently, it has become a popular ingredient in many desserts.

Balsamic vinegar can be used as a substitute for Sake in a 1:1 ratio. This makes it a nice substitute for those who are looking for a slightly less sweet option.

Additionally, Balsamic vinegar can be used as a dressing or marinade for chicken or fish. When used as a marinade, it helps to tenderize the meat and add flavor.

Overall, Balsamic vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes.

White Grape Juice

Many non-alcoholic substitutes for wine and spirits are available on the market today. One such substitute is white grape juice, which can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a replacement for Sake in cooking.

This non-alcoholic alternative has a light, fruity flavor with herbal tones that make it a nice substitute for Sake in dishes such as sushi, sashimi, and tempura.

In addition, grape juice is a good replacement for Sake because it is non-inflammatory and does not contain any sulfites.

As a result, it can be a good choice for those who are sensitive to sulfites or those who are trying to avoid alcohol for health reasons.

Overall, white grape juice is a versatile non-alcoholic substitute that can be used in many dishes in place of sake.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is a good enough substitute for Sake, especially when used in small amounts.

The mild taste is suitable for most dishes, and the acidic nature of vinegar can help to balance out flavors. In addition, distilled White vinegar is less expensive than Sake, making it a more budget-friendly option.

There are some dishes, however, where Sake is the better choice.

Sushi, for instance, is traditionally made with rice that has been cooked in Sake. The alcohol content of the Sake helps to flavor the rice and gives it a distinctive aroma.

As a result, sushi made with distilled White vinegar will not taste the same as sushi made with Sake.

Nevertheless, for most other dishes, distilled white vinegar makes a perfectly good substitute for Sake.

Apple Cider

Many people don’t know this, but Apple Cider can be a great substitute for Sake in a lot of dishes.

It has a sweet and sour taste, making it a great addition to soups and other acidic dishes. It’s also a good replacement for Sake in cakes and other desserts.

However, it’s important to note that Apple Cider is seldom used as a replacement for Sake in a dish. This is because the cider can be a bit off-putting in some dishes.

If you’re looking to use Apple Cider as a substitute for Sake, I recommend using it in soups or desserts.


What are some good substitutes for Sake?

There are many good substitutes for Sake, including rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white grape juice, apple cider, and distilled white vinegar.

What are some good dishes to use Sake in?

Some good dishes to use Sake in include sushi, sashimi, tempura, and soup.

Is sake gluten-free?

Yes, Sake is gluten-free.

In Conclusion

There are many good substitutes for Sake, and the best substitute will depend on the dish you’re making.

For most dishes, any of the substitutes listed above will work well. However, there are some dishes where Sake is the better choice.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to find a suitable substitute for Sake in your cooking. Thanks for reading!