Is mirin rice vinegar?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is mirin rice vinegar?” We will also discuss mirin and rice vinegar in general and how mirin and rice vinegar differs from one another.

Is mirin rice vinegar?

No, mirin is not rice vinegar. Most people might confuse it with rice vinegar but both of them are two different ingredients. Mirin is a sweetened rice wine that is similar to sake, whereas rice wine vinegar is a fermentation of rice wine. 

Both mirin and rice wine vinegar add distinct, sweet, and umami flavors to food. While they have some common flavors and are frequently compared with each other, they should not be used interchangeably and are certainly not the same thing.

Mirin and rice wine vinegar are both common ingredients used in Japanese cooking. They can be found in salad dressings, marinades, glazes, sweeteners, sushi roll condiments, dipping sauces, and other dishes. 

While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, it is important to understand that they have different flavors and most importantly serve a different purposes in your recipes.

What exactly is mirin?

Mirin is a Japanese fermented rice wine product similar to sake. Because of the aspergillus oryzae mold, which is responsible for fermentation, mirin has a distinctively rich, earthy, almost mushroom undertone.

Mirin is responsible for the distinct umami flavor found in dishes such as teriyaki sauce and gyoza. It is also one of the key ingredients in most dumpling dipping sauces. The sweet, rich, round note that you can find in most Japanese dishes is from mirin. Its unique flavor profiles also make it an excellent choice for marinades.

What exactly is rice vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a secondary fermentation of rice wine, similar to sake or mirin. Rice Vinegar has a lower acidity than Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar because of its higher sugar content and medium alcohol content.

Rice Vinegar is a well-known Asian condiment that lends a familiar zing and brightness to many of our favorite dishes. However, you should be careful while using it, always use it sparingly as a secondary ingredient instead of the main ingredient. 

One of the most common applications of rice vinegar is to season the rice used in Sushi Rolls. Rice Vinegar can add layers of flavors to almost any dish, not just Asian foods, thanks to the sweet fruitiness of rice wine and the unique earthy notes from the aspergillus bacteria used in the fermentation.

How are mirin and rice vinegar different?

The differences between mirin and rice vinegar can be described in the following points:

Alcohol content

Mirin is a Japanese fermented rice wine that can be enjoyed as a lightly alcoholic beverage on its own, whereas rice vinegar has little to no alcohol content left after fermentation. As a result, mirin tastes more like a sweet marsala wine and rice vinegar tastes more like dry sherry.

Fermentation method

Both mirin and rice vinegar are made from fermented rice. While Mirin contains a lot of natural alcohol, Rice Vinegar has almost none. This is due to the secondary fermentation that Rice Vinegar goes through, which converts the natural alcohol into acetic acid, giving vinegar its natural acidity. This also has a lot to do with the aging process of rice vinegar which is longer than mirin.


True mirin has a much sweeter taste than rice vinegar. The higher sugar content of rice wine vinegar is compensated by its strong umami flavor. Both mirin and rice vinegar have flavors that are not particularly strong. Mirin will have hints of sweetness, while rice vinegar will be bitter and sour, but these flavors are nothing like apple cider vinegar, which has a particularly bitter taste.


Both mirin and rice vinegar are staples in Asian cuisines. They can also be substituted for things like balsamic vinegar

Seasoned rice vinegar can add acidity to white rice, whereas mirin adds some sugar to the grains instead. Teriyaki sauce is made by combining mirin and soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar can be used as a pickling agent. You can use these ingredients for sweet and sour recipes accordingly.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Is mirin rice vinegar?” We have also discussed mirin and rice vinegar in general and how mirin and rice vinegar differs from one another.


Leave a Comment