What Is A Good Substitution For Shaoxing Wine? Find Out Now

When it comes to Asian cooking, substitution for shaoxing wine is an absolute must. It’s used in a variety of different recipes, from mixes for marinades to added flavor for slow-cooked meats and more. It adds complexity and depth of flavor that can’t really be mimicked using any other ingredient. Unfortunately, however, finding this particular rice wine isn’t always easy given its limited availability outside of Asian grocery stores or specialty shops. If you’ve been struggling to get your hands on Shaoxing wine but don’t have the luxury of being near such places, there are still options available – as you’ll discover with these substitution ideas.

What is Shaoxing wine and what are its substitutes?

Shaoxing wine is a type of Chinese rice wine made from fermented rice, wheat and other grains. It has a slightly sweet flavor with hints of smokiness, making it a great addition to many Asian recipes. Unfortunately, Shaoxing wine can be difficult to find in some areas due to its limited availability outside of specialty stores. If you don’t have access to Shaoxing wine, don’t worry – there are plenty of substitution options available.

  • Dry sherry is a great substitute for Shaoxing wine due to its similar flavor profile.
  • Mirin, a Japanese sweet cooking wine, can also be used as a substitute in recipes but may require less sugar to be added.
  • Cooking Sake or Japanese Rice Wine is the best substitute for Shaoxing wine, lighter in flavor than Chinese cooking wine.
Substitution for shaoxing wine

What Is A Good Substitution For Shaoxing Wine?


Dry sherry is a suitable substitute for Shaoxing wine. This Spanish wine is widely available and can be used in both drinking and cooking. Ensure to buy the dry variety of sherry to maintain the intended flavor. Though sherry is slightly sweeter than Shaoxing wine, using half the amount recommended in the recipe will prevent overpowering sweetness. Dry sherry works well in sauces, soups, and meat dishes.


Mirin, a Japanese rice wine made for cooking, is another excellent option. It offers a similar flavor profile to Shaoxing and can provide the desired outcome in terms of taste and texture. Compared to Shaoxing, mirin is a bit sweeter. If the recipe calls for additional sweeteners, adjust by reducing the amount of added sugar accordingly. In savory recipes without sweeteners, substitute 1 cup of Shaoxing with ¾ cup of mirin.


Sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine popular for drinking, can also be used as a substitute. Sake is sweeter than both mirin and Shaoxing, so start by using half the recommended amount to avoid overpowering sweetness.


If you can find it, cooking sake is specifically made for culinary purposes and has a different flavor compared to regular drinking sake. Although slightly sweeter than Shaoxing, it is less sweet than traditional sake. In most recipes, you can substitute cooking sake in a 1:1 ratio.


Cheongju, a Korean rice wine used for both drinking and cooking, is another option, but it may be harder to find. It has a mildly sweet flavor and has been a favorite for centuries in Korea.


Choose a truly dry wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. Use ⅓ cup of white wine + ½ teaspoon lime juice to replace 1 cup of Shaoxing wine.


Start with a small amount and pair it with ingredients that have a strong flavor profile, such as meat.


While not an exact match, gin faintly resembles the taste of rice wine. Use a small fraction of what the recipe calls for, starting with as little as ⅛ to ¼ the amount.


If you prefer to cook without alcohol, white grape juice can be used. It is sweeter but has a small amount of acidity that enhances the flavor.


Adding a bit of rice vinegar to white grape juice can further enhance the flavor. Rice vinegar is extremely acidic and does not contain alcohol.

Way to make a substitution for Shaoxing wine in your recipe

If you want to make a substitution for Shaoxing wine in your recipe, start by checking the availability of the original rice wine. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, try looking for dry sherry or dry white wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. These options will provide a similar flavor but with a slightly sweeter profile.

If you don’t have access to those, white cooking wine is also a good substitution for Shaoxing wine. This option doesn’t really provide any flavor to the dish but can still work as a substitution if you’re in a pinch. Lastly, if all else fails, opt for sake or mirin. Both of these options will provide a sweeter flavor than the original rice wine and can be used in place of Shaoxing wine in many recipes.

Substitution for shaoxing wine

When substituting Shaoxing wine, keep in mind that it may not have the same depth of flavor as the original ingredient. Try to adjust other ingredients accordingly or use more of the substitution ingredient to get as close to the original flavor as possible. With a bit of trial and error, you should be able to make a substitution that is just as tasty as the original.

Once you have substituted Shaoxing wine in your recipe, give it a taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Remember, these substitution options can help you achieve the flavor and texture of a dish without having to source the original rice wine – so don’t be afraid to experiment and find a substitution that works for you.

How to make a substitute for shaoxing wine at home?

Sherry is a type of Spanish wine with nutty and sweet flavors that can be used as a substitute for Shaoxing wine. Dry sherry has a crisp, tangy flavor that can be used to replace Shaoxing wine in soups, sauces, meat dishes, and more.

Keep in mind that it tends to be stronger than Shaoxing wine, so adjust the amount used accordingly. Even the driest sherry can be a touch too sweet, so start with a small amount and add more if needed after tasting. As an approximate measure: 1 cup Shaoxing wine = 1/2 cup dry sherry.


Making a substitution for Shaoxing wine at home is an easy and cost effective way to get the flavor you need in your recipes without having to source the original rice wine. And with a few simple ingredients, you can make a substitution that will taste great and save you time and money.

Recipes that use shaoxing wine as a main ingredient

Shaoxing wine is an essential ingredient in many Asian dishes, from stir-fries to braises and beyond. Here are a few classic recipes that use Shaoxing wine as a main ingredient:

1. Kung Pao Chicken – This spicy Chinese dish is made with diced chicken, bell peppers, and peanuts in a delicious sauce made with Shaoxing wine.

2. Mongolian Beef – This popular Chinese dish is typically served over rice and features tender beef in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, garlic, chili flakes, and Shaoxing wine.

3. Braised Tofu – A classic vegan dish featuring tofu cooked in a savory sauce made with Shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.

4. Fried Rice – A classic Chinese dish featuring fried rice cooked in Shaoxing wine and topped with your favorite vegetables and proteins.

5. Stir-Fried Bok Choy – This simple Asian side dish is cooked in oil, Shaoxing wine, garlic, and ginger for a delicious flavor.

With a versatile ingredient like Shaoxing wine, there are endless ways to incorporate it into your favorite dishes. Whether you’re looking for an authentic Chinese dish or just trying something new, Shaoxing wine is sure to bring out the best flavors in your cooking.

The benefits of using a substitution for Shaoxing wine in your recipe

Using a substitution for Shaoxing wine in your cooking can be beneficial for many reasons. The substitution is often easier to find than the original rice wine, and it tends to be less expensive. Additionally, substitutions are usually more accessible to those who may not have access to specialty Asian ingredients like Shaoxing wine.

Using a substitution for Shaoxing wine also offers more control over the flavor of your dish. Because there is often a variety of substitution options available, you can choose one that works best to get the desired taste and texture in your recipe.

Substitution for shaoxing wine

Finally, substitution options offer versatility when it comes to creating a dish with different flavors or textures. Whether you are looking for a substitution that will give your dish a more complex flavor or one that will lighten up the overall dish, there is sure to be an option that works best.

Substitution for shaoxing wine

If you have a recipe that calls for Shaoxing wine but don’t have access to any store bought options, there are many substitution options to choose from. Here are some substitution suggestions for common recipes:

1. Stir-fries – Substitute Shaoxing wine with equal parts sake and mirin.

2. Braised dishes – Substitute Shaoxing wine with equal parts dry sherry and Worcestershire sauce.

3. Mongolian beef – Substitute Shaoxing wine with equal parts balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.

4. Fried rice – Substitute Shaoxing wine with equal parts apple cider vinegar and soy sauce.

5. Kung pao chicken – Substitute Shaoxing wine with equal parts dry sherry and Worcestershire sauce.

With substitution options like these, you can still enjoy delicious Asian dishes even if the original recipe calls for Shaoxing wine.

Shaoxing wine brands to look for when grocery shopping

If you are looking for Shaoxing wine to use in your cooking, there are several brands that offer quality versions. Some of the most popular brands include:

1. Koon Chun – A Chinese brand with a variety of flavors, from mild to medium strength.

2. Lee Kum Kee – Another Chinese brand offering both mild and strong Shaoxing wine.

3. Yutaka – A Japanese brand with a light and fragrant flavor.

Substitution for shaoxing wine

When purchasing Shaoxing wine, be sure to read the label for any additional ingredients that could affect the flavor of your dish. Also, it is important to note that some brands are meant for cooking while others are meant for drinking.

No matter which brand you choose, Shaoxing wine is sure to bring out the best in your cooking. So don’t be afraid to try something new and add it to your next recipe. With substitution options like these and quality brands available, you can easily find the perfect match for any dish.

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FAQ: Substitution for shaoxing wine

What are some of the best substitutes for shaoxing wine?

Dry Sherry, Mirin, Sake, Cooking Sake, Cheongju, Dry White Wine, Dry Vermouth, Gin, White Grape Juice and White Grape Juice mixed with Rice Vinegar are some of the best substitutes for Shaoxing wine.

Can I use Shaoxing wine for drinking?

Shaoxing wine can indeed be used for drinking. There are various types of Shaoxing wine available, each with different levels of quality and characteristics. While some Shaoxing wines are specifically meant for cooking due to lower quality and salt content, there are also fruity, rich, and light varieties that are perfect for drinking neat. High-quality Shaoxing wine can be utilized for both drinking and cooking, similar to how sake and pinot grigio can serve dual purposes.

How do I store shaoxing wine?

Store shaoxing wine in a cool, dark place to keep it sealed for up to 6 months. Refrigerate if not used often to extend storage time. Quality and price are directly related – higher priced wine is usually of higher quality.

How long does shaoxing wine last?

Shaoxing wine should be stored in a cool, dark place and sealed to last for up to 6 months. Refrigeration can extend the shelf life of the wine. Generally, higher quality and more expensive wines have less brininess and more flavor.

How do I use Shaoxing wine?

Shaoxing wine is a versatile ingredient that adds depth and complexity to various dishes. Here are some ways to use it:

+ Marinades: Incorporate Shaoxing wine in marinades for meats to enhance the flavor.

+ Flavor Agent: Use it as a flavor agent in wonton or dumpling fillings to add an extra dimension of taste.

+ Deglazing: Deglaze your wok with Shaoxing wine to infuse stir-fries with a delightful aroma.

+ Sauces and Braises: Add Shaoxing wine to sauces and braises to elevate their flavors.

For hong shao or red-cooked dishes like Chinese Braised Fish (Hong Shao Yu) and Shanghai Style Braised pork belly (Hong Shao Rou), Shaoxing wine is particularly essential. It is used in larger quantities for braised dishes, whereas marinades or stir-fries usually require only a tablespoon or two. Enjoy experimenting with this fantastic ingredient in your savory recipes.

Is Chinese rice vinegar the same as Shaoxing wine?

Chinese rice vinegar and Shaoxing wine are not the same. While Shaoxing wine is primarily used for cooking and is relatively inexpensive, Chinese rice vinegar serves a different purpose.

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