A bowl of mirin

Mirin (味醂 or みりん, Japanese: [miɾiɴ]) is a type of rice wine and a common ingredient in Japanese cooking. It is similar to sake but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content.[1] The sugar content is a complex carbohydrate that forms naturally during the fermentation process; no sugars are added. The alcohol content is further lowered when the liquid is heated.

Three types of mirin are common. The first is hon mirin (literally: true mirin),[2] which contains about 14% alcohol and is produced by a 40 to 60 day mashing (saccharification) process.[3][4] The second is shio mirin (literally: salt mirin), which contains a minimum of 1.5% salt to prevent consumption in order to avoid alcohol tax.[5] The third is shin mirin (literally: new mirin),[6] or mirin-fu chomiryo (literally: mirin-like seasoning),[7] which contains less than 1% alcohol, yet retains the same flavor.

In the Edo period, mirin was consumed as amazake.[8] O-toso, traditionally consumed for the Japanese New Year, can be made by soaking a spice mixture in mirin.[9]

In the Kansai style of cooking, mirin is briefly boiled before use, allowing some alcohol to evaporate. In the Kantō regional style, the mirin is used untreated. Kansai-style boiled mirin is called nikiri mirin (煮切り味醂)[10] (literally: thoroughly boiled mirin).

A bottle of commercially produced mirin

Mirin adds a bright touch to grilled or broiled fish or erases the fishy smell. A small amount is often used instead of sugar and soy sauce. Its flavor is quite strong. It is sometimes used to accompany sushi.

November 30 has been designated the day of hon-mirin by the mirin industry because in Japanese wordplay, the date words sound like '11' (いい, good) and '30' (みりん, mirin).[4]


Mirin is also an ingredient in other sauces:

See also


  1. ^ Shimbo, Hiroko; Shimbo Beitchman (2000). The Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit. Ming Tsai. Harvard Common Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-55832-177-9.
  2. ^ Yamaguchi, Roy; Joan Namkoong; Maren Caruso (2003). Hawaii Cooks: Flavors from Roy's Pacific Rim Kitchen. Ten Speed Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-58008-454-3.
  3. ^ 本みりんの知識 (in Japanese). honmirin.org. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b 11月30日 は 「本みりんの日」 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Diversified uses of Mirin". Taiwan News. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  6. ^ Telford, Anthony (2003). The Kitchen Hand: A Miscellany of Kitchen Wisdom. Allen & Unwin. p. 153. ISBN 9781865088907.
  7. ^ a b Shimbo, Hiroko; Shimbo Beitchman (2000). The Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit. Ming Tsai. Harvard Common Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-55832-177-9.
  8. ^ Chiba, Machiko, J. K. Whelehan, Tae Hamamura, Elizabeth Floyd (2005). Japanese Dishes for Wine Lovers. Kodansha International. p. 12. ISBN 978-4-7700-3003-0.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Gauntner, John (2001-12-31). "An o-tososan a year keeps the doc away". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  10. ^ Tsuji, Shizuo; Mary Sutherland; Ruth Reichl; Yoshiki Tsuji (2007). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Kodansha International. p. 219. ISBN 978-4-7700-3049-8.
  11. ^ 【広島雑学】うなぎの名店に隠されたヒミツ 秘伝のタレに2代目の意外な経歴、昔はうなぎ以外も売っていた [Hiroshima trivia: The secrets of a renowned eel restaurant]. Hiroshima Home Television (in Japanese). 2021-11-27. Archived from the original on 2021-11-28. Retrieved 2022-06-01. they fill the pan with about 500 bones of eel, and simmer it for 2 to 3 hours.