12 Best Sake Substitutes

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This is a comprehensive one-stop guide of some great substitutes for Sake. 

So, let’s dive right in. 

Best Sake Substitutes

The Best Sake Substitutes are- Dry Sherry, Dry White Wine, Dry Vermouth, Rice Wine Vinegar, Shao Xing Cooking Wine, Mirin, Kombucha, Balsamic Vinegar, White Grape Juice, Distilled White Vinegar, Apple Cider, and Water.

These are discussed in detail here-

1. Dry Sherry 

Dry sherry might be an easier find than sake and it is a dry white wine with added alcohol.

If you don’t mind a dry finish, dry sherry works just fine in almost any recipe in which you would use sake, although the flavors will be a bit different.

How to Substitute? 

You can substitute dry sherry for the sake in almost any recipe that you like, in a 1:1 ratio. 

Check out this YouTube tutorial for a recipe with dry sherry as an ingredient – 

2. Dry White Wine 

Although you could use regular white wine, dry white wine comes the closest to sake in terms of flavor and finish.

You could easily find them at stores near you and it is perfect if you like sweeter flavors. Fuller-bodied white wines can also do the trick.

How to Substitute? 

You can substitute sake with more or less the same measure of white wine or dry white wine in most recipes. 

Here is a dry white wine sauce recipe that you can add to your veggies or meat – 

3. Dry Vermouth 

Dry vermouth with its herby and spicy notes is a great alternative for the sake if you are looking for a more flavorful alternative.

Although you might want to add some sugar to balance out the flavors of the recipe, they work great in most recipes.

How to Substitute? 

You can use the same measure of dry vermouth as sake is called for in any recipe, though there may be flavor differences. 

4. Rice Wine Vinegar

If you are looking for a non-alcoholic alternative, rice wine vinegar is your best bet.

It is also made from rice and has similar flavors and finish.

In fact, in most recipes, you won’t even realize the substitution has been done.

How to Substitute? 

Because of how similar they are, you can use rice wine vinegar in a 1:1 substitution with sake in most recipes. 

Here is how you can make the rice wine vinegar at home on your own – 

5. Shao Xing Cooking Wine 

Shao Xing cooking wine or Chinese cooking wine is also made from rice and is a great alternative to sake, especially if you are looking for sweeter flavors.

Shao Xing cooking wine has stronger flavors than sake but offers similar results.

How to Substitute? 

Since Shao Xing cooking wine is stronger and can come salted, it is best to add smaller portions and add more as you go. 

If you want to try a Shao xing wine recipe instead of a sake recipe, check out this YouTube video – 

6. Mirin 

Mirin, much like sake is made from fermented rice and needs a long cook time, but is a sweeter and less alcoholic alternative.

It is great for glaze, marinades, and sauces, because of its stronger taste and thicker consistency than sake.

How to Substitute? 

You can use mirin in more or less the same measure but you might want to play around with the ratio of sugar and mirin to get your preferred flavor. 

Check out this YouTube video for a cod with mirin sauce recipe – 

7. Kombucha 

For a healthier and less alcoholic alternative to sake in your cooking, you might want to give kombucha a shot.

It offers the same acidity and texture but with a less alcoholic aftertaste. You can use kombucha in almost any sake-based recipe.

How to Substitute? 

You can use the same measure of kombucha as sake is called for in the recipe, although you might want to add sugar to balance the flavors. 

Here is how you can make kombucha at home – 

8. Balsamic Vinegar 

If you are looking for a quick fix substitution that you can easily find at stores near you, you can try balsamic vinegar.

Though it is Italian in roots and has quite a different flavor profile, it still works like a charm in most recipes that call for sake.

How to Substitute? 

You can use more or less the same measure of balsamic vinegar as sake in your recipe, although there may be slight flavor differences. 

Here is a balsamic vinegar vinaigrette recipe that you can give a try – 

9. White Grape Juice 

For a non-alcoholic and healthy alternative that offers the same finish and acidity, you could also opt for white grape juice as a sake substitute.

But keep in mind that the flavors might be milder although it will still work great in most recipes.

How to Substitute? 

You might want to play around with the ratio and cook time of the white grape juice to get the flavors just right. 

10. Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is an easily accessible and cheap alternative to sake and is perfect in marinades.

Although it is milder in flavor, it offers good acidity and is often used for pickling.

It is also a less alcoholic alternative. 

How to Substitute? 

You can use more or less the same measure of distilled white vinegar as sake is called for in the recipe, but there may be flavor differences. 

11. Apple Cider 

Apple cider is another easily found substitute for sake but keep in mind that you are not getting apple cider vinegar but apple cider.

They are perfect for marinades and sauces and depending on the kind of apples used, they can be sweeter or more sour in taste.

How to Substitute? 

Although you could use the same measure of apple cider as sake in your recipe, you might want to keep in mind that they are different in flavor and finish. 

Here is an apple cider chicken recipe that you can try instead of a sake recipe – 

12. Water

This might seem like an odd entry but you could also use water instead of sake in your recipe, especially if you are looking to avoid alcohol and want to maintain the consistency of the recipe.

But as you probably guessed, the taste will not be the same. 

How to Substitute? 

Since this substitution is mostly for consistency, you can add as much water as you see fit to get the recipe right. 

Bottom Line 

I hope this guide helped you pick the perfect alternative to Sake in your cooking. 

Feel free to share this with your friends and loved ones who love a good cooking hack.

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.

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