What is a Shaoxing wine substitute?

In this brief guide, we will address the search query: “what is a Shaoxing wine substitute?” Also, we will explore what Shaoxing wine is, Where Shaoxing wine is from, what its nutritional content is, and whether or not it is healthy to consume.

What is a Shaoxing wine substitute?

Suitable replacements for Shaoxing wine include Japanese rice wines such as Cooking Sake, Mirin, and dry Sherry, dry white wine, stock, light soy sauce, Mijiu, Gin, vinegar from white wine, vinegar from apple cider, rice vinegar, vinegar from champagne, juices from apples, lemons, grapes, balsamic vinegar, and non alcoholic wine. 

The question of which one makes the best substitute, is a matter of taste and the selected recipe. 

Some of these substitutes are non-alcoholic, whereas others may be distilled spirits, and others have a moderate volume of alcohol. 

What is Shaoxing wine? 

Shaoxing wine is a traditional huanjiu; a wine made of fermented rice. It is used both as an alcoholic beverage, and as a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine. 

Due to the popularity of Chinese cuisine throughout different countries and cultures, Shaoxing wine has achieved a certain notoriety out of mainland China and Taiwan, and other countries in Southeast Asia. 

Production of Shaoxing wine dates back to dynastic China, (since around the seventh century BC), and it when it was found in banquets and feasts, it denoted a certain status. Traditionally, volumes of Shaoxing wine were aged in clay jars, whereas grape wines are aged in wooden casks. 

It is a popular alcoholic beverage in China, while it is regarded as more of a cooking wine in other countries. 

Where is Shaoxing wine from? 

As its name indicated, Shaoxing wine comes from Shaoxing, a city in the Chinese province of Zhejiang. 

While not protected by a denomination of origin, Chinese national standards dictate that Shaoxing wine (sometimes shortened to Shao wine), must be made with quality rice, wheat, and water sourced from Mirror lake; a body of water near the city of Shaoxing. 

In actuality, many Shaoxing wines can be made using sorghum or or millet, in addition to quality rice. However, many of these wines may be labelled as Shaoxing wines, though they may differ from the original variety in ingredients, flavoring and uses. 

In many countries, -Liaojiu- which is cooking wine, may be labelled as Shaoxing, though it may not exhibit the properties of the original variety. Notably, it isn’t as palatable for drinking (it may have a salty taste–and added salt), and should only be used for cooking.

What is the nutritional content of Shaoxing wine?

On average, a 100 ml serving of Shaoxing wine (from the Yutaka brand) will provide: 

  • 27 calories –of which 4.5 are sourced from fat
  • 1.1 grams of protein
  • 0.5 grams of (saturated) fat (1% of the RDI)
  • 4.2 grams of carbohydrates (1% of the RDI) – of which 1.8 grams are sugar
  • 20 milligrams of sodium (1% of the RDI)

*Recommended daily intake values are based on a 2000 calories per day diet. 

Is Shaoxing wine healthy to drink?

While Shaoxing wine is reputedly popular, both as a beverage and a cooking wine, extensive and comprehensive studies are needed to discern its exact effects on a person’s health. 

Thus far, preliminary studies on mice have shown that rice wine consumption is associated with decreased fatigue, and may have some anti-aging properties. 

However, whether or not this is the case for humans, requires studies and various trials. 

While rice wine is a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine, it is an alcoholic beverage, and as such we encourage our readers to practice moderation when using it for their dishes.

Also, we encourage our readers to investigate the nutritional content of the recipes they’ll use Shaoxing wine to prepare. This is because as a general rule, it’s important to avoid dishes that are high in sodium, refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and saturated fat

Therefore, any dishes made with rice wine should suit our readers’ nutritional and caloric needs, and remain part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.   


In this brief guide, we have addressed the search query: “what is a Shaoxing wine substitute?” Also, we will explore what Shaoxing wine is, Where Shaoxing wine is from, what its nutritional content is, and whether or not it is healthy to consume.