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20 Outstanding Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine Substitutes That You Should Try

If you are looking to make Asian-inspired dishes, then there is a good chance that you will need a bottle of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

Essentially, it is just a cooking wine despite its fancy name, though it is quite a unique thing to get a hold of.

However, there is a good chance your local grocery or Asian store doesn’t have it in stock, or you didn’t realize that the recipe you are doing needs the cooking wine. When this happens, there are substitute options available.

Looking for an alternative can be difficult because you will need something that has a similar taste profile, otherwise it will not work in the dish.

5 Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine Substitutes to Try

Chinese cooking wine is a type of rice wine that is used in cooking only and not something you use as a condiment over your fries. 

Whilst it might be tempting to do so, it will not provide the tang you are after, which you associate with regular malt vinegar. Instead, Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine adds another depth of flavor, as well as color and intensity to a dish. 

So, with all this in mind, let’s take a look at some Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine alternatives that you may have lurking inside your pantry.

20 Perfect Alternatives To Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine

SubstituteCalories (Per 100 gm)
Dry White Wine81
Dry Sherry115
Sake134
Mirin218
Rice Vinegar And White Grapes Juice44
Stock5
Light Soy Sauce35
Gin263
Mijiu132
Fujian Cooking Wine50
White Wine Vinegar And Apple Cider Vinegar47
Rice Vinegar18
Champagne Vinegar33
Apple Juice46
Lemon Juice22
Grape Juice60
Balsamic Vinegar88
Non-Alcoholic White Wine Or Beer43
Dry Vermouth117
Cheongju133

1. Dry White Wine

Dry White wine can be a tricky one to use as an alternative to Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

Whilst one of the easiest ingredients to find – heck, you might have some in your kitchen – it can be overused and cause the dish to lose its desired flavor.

In fact, adding too much can change the flavor of the dish completely, and this is the exact opposite of what you want. 

For this reason, always add dry white wine sparingly. Just like with a lot of dishes, you will want to test the taste as you go along.

This ensures that you can keep stock of what the flavors taste like as they come together, and ensure that you don’t overdo adding the dry white wine. 

How To Substitute

You may try dry white wine to the dish to avoid ruining the flavor. It is advised to only add a third of a cup of dry white wine to every cup of shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. Any dry white wine that is left serves as the drink that will go along with the meal. Win-win!

2. Dry Sherry

Out of many options of Shaoxing Chinese Wine Substitutes, Dry sherry is commonly used in tiny amounts when it comes to cooking the likes of meats and different sauces.

Whilst it can be used as a good substitute for Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine because it is both pale and dry, the overall flavor will appear much sweeter. 

How To Substitute

When using dry sherry as a substitute for shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, start by using half the amount needed. This is because dry sherry has a much sweeter taste, so only a small amount is needed to give the dish a burst of sweetness.

3. Sake

You may have already heard (or drank) sake if you are interested in Japanese culture. It is a type of wine that has various percentages of alcohol, but there is also the sake that is specifically used for cooking. 

Whilst you can use regular sake, cooking sake has a lower amount of alcohol in it, which some people find better – however, it won’t change anything about your dish.

It can give your food an umami-like flavor and works well alongside the likes of meat and fish. 

It does have a thicker texture and is slightly sweeter than Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, so it is best to keep this in mind before you begin creating a dish. 

How To Substitute

For every cup of shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, use half the amount of sake. If it is cooking sake, then using the near exact amount as shaoxing is fine as there is not much difference with them both.

RELATED: Top Substitutes For Rice Wine

5 Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine Substitutes to Try (1)

4. Mirin

Mirin is often used within Japanese dishes and is something that can be put into food similar to that of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. This means it can act as both a thickening agent, as well as to season food.

It has a similarity to sake in texture and flavor, however, it doesn’t include the same amount of alcohol (in fact, much less) and has a softer overall depth.

Having said that, it does have a relatively sweet taste – much sweeter than that of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

It has another similarity with sake and Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, that is, the fact it is made using rice. This makes it a great alternative too!

How To Substitute

Because mirin is sweeter than shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, you will need to take into account this imbalance when cooking food.For example, its sweetness will overwhelm the dish if other sugar is added. So reduce any other sweet flavors when adding miren, such as extra sugar. It won’t be needed!

5. Rice Vinegar And White Grape Juice

Using both rice vinegar and white grape juice should be a last resort because it is not the most ideal way to add a Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine substitute to a meal.

However, it can help you to achieve the kind of flavor that you are after, so it is worth a go if you have either in your kitchen. 

When buying grape juice, always go for white grapes. This is because if you use a red grape, for example, both the color and overall flavor will taste very different.

So to achieve a similar result that is close-ish to Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, you will need to use white grape juice. 

Adding white grape juice to the rice vinegar will help to create the acidic undertone alongside the sweetness that comes with Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

How To Substitute

To use this mixture as a substitute for shaoxing Chinese cooking wine you will need to add one whole tablespoon of the rice vinegar to half a cup of whitre grape juice. These measurements will replace every cup amount of shaoxing Chinese cooking wine needed in the recipe. Try to remove any added sugars to avoid the meal being overly sweet.

6. Stock

Stock is the perfect substitute for your recipe if you do not have Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

Stock is a low-alcohol broth made from boiling bones, meat, and other scraps from a roast or meat.

The result is a rich, flavorful stock that can be used as the base for soups, sauces, braises, and gravies.

Stock is typically simmered for hours to extract all the flavors and juices from the meat, but there are many ways to make it in a shorter amount of time.

How To Substitute

Swap out Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine with stock in a ratio of 1:1.

7. Light Soy Sauce

Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine is a popular staple in many recipes, but if you don’t have any in hand and need an immediate alternative, you must try light soy sauce.

Light Soy Sauce, used in Asian dishes such as stir-fry, has a similar flavor to Shaoxing wine, which is traditionally used in Chinese cooking.

However, it is not the same type of soy sauce, and the flavors of Light Soy Sauce and Shaoxing wine are slightly different.

To use Light Soy Sauce in place of Shaoxing wine, add two tablespoons to a stir-fry recipe and continue cooking.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of light soy sauce for one teaspoon of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. Although if you are not comfortable with a taste change, start by adding a small amount.

8. Gin

Of many options, Gin is one of the most popular substitutes for Chinese cooking wine. It is an everyday staple found in everyone’s kitchen.

Gin has a variety of uses and can be used as a substitute for Shaoxing cooking wine in recipes. Gin has a slightly lower alcohol content than Shaoxing cooking wine and a more robust flavor.

Gin is a clear spirit with a strong juniper flavor. It is similar to vodka in that it is distilled from grain, but it is flavored with juniper berries and other botanicals. Gin is a popular choice for cooking because it adds a complex flavor to dishes.

So, if you’re looking to substitute Shaoxing wine with Gin, know that you’ll add a strong juniper flavor to your dish. Depending on your taste, it could be good or bad. But either way, it’s a fun experiment to try!

How To Substitute

To make this substitution, use 2 cups of Shaoxing cooking wine instead of 1 cup of Gin in your recipe.

9. Mijiu

The one of the Shaoxing Chinese wine substitutes is Mijiu. Mijiu is a Chinese rice wine made with glutinous rice, yeast, and water.

It has a sweet taste and is used in many Chinese dishes. Shaoxing wine is made with rice, yeast, and water, but it is aged and has a nutty flavor.

The wine is light, clear, and sweet, with a flavor similar to white wine. You may substitute it for Shaoxing in most recipes. It has a reddish hue color and works excellently in meats and fish.

How To Substitute

The best ratio to substitute Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine with Mijiu is 1:1. You may alter the quantity of it in your recipe as per your taste preference.

10. Fujian Cooking Wine

If you are not a fan of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine’s sweet, savory, sour, and bitter profile or want to try something different, you may try substituting it for Fujian cooking wine.

The Fujian cooking wine contains a mildly sweet, rich, and herbal taste to give your recipe a delicious taste profile.

Fujian cooking wine has a light and fruity flavor. You can use this wine as a substitute for any dish that calls for Shaoxing wine, but it is most commonly used in recipes that call for stir-fry.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of Fujian cooking wine for one teaspoon of Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

11. White Wine Vinegar And Apple Cider Vinegar

Suppose you’re trying to cook a dish traditionally made with Shaoxing wine but need to get on hand or are looking for a healthier alternative to Shaoxing wine. Then, white wine vinegar with apple cider vinegar is your go-to option.

White wine and apple cider vinegar are much more acidic than Shaoxing wine and add a bit more tartness to your dish. However, adding a bit of sugar can compensate for this to the recipe.

Finally, remember that substituting white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for Shaoxing wine will change the flavor of your dish. It may not taste like a traditional dish, but it can still be delicious.

How To Substitute

White wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are much less potent than Shaoxing wine, so you’ll need to use more of them to get the same flavor. I recommend using 1/3 cup of vinegar for every 1/4 cup of Shaoxing wine called for in the recipe.

12. Rice Vinegar

If you’re out of Shaoxing wine and need a quick substitute, you may be looking for a healthier alternative to wine. Whatever the reason, rice vinegar is an excellent Shaoxing Chinese wine substitutes.

Rice vinegar is an excellent substitute for Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. It has a similar acidity and sweetness, making it a perfect all-purpose vinegar for cooking.

Rice vinegar is also less expensive than Shaoxing wine, so it is a great way to save money on your cooking budget. It’sIt’s also lower in calories and has no alcohol content, making it a healthier choice for cooking.

How To Substitute

When substituting rice vinegar for Shaoxing wine, use a 1:1 ratio. So, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of Shaoxing wine, use 1 cup of rice vinegar instead.

RELATED: What’s The Difference Between Rice Vinegar Vs. White Vinegar?

13. Champagne Vinegar

Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine is a type of rice wine, whereas Champagne vinegar is vinegar made from Champagne. It is a light, delicate vinegar that has a slightly sweet flavor. It is often used in salad dressings and other light sauces.

While Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine and Champagne vinegar are both made from fermented rice, they have different flavors. Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine is more robust and has a distinct flavor, while Champagne vinegar is lighter and has a slightly sweet taste.

Champagne vinegar will be a good option if you are looking for a substitute for Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine.

How To Substitute

If you are using Champagne vinegar to replace Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, then using it in double quantity, then recipe calls would be a great choice. However, depending on your taste preference, you may lower or increase its amount.

14. Apple Juice

When cooking Chinese cuisine, it’s essential to use Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. But what if you’re out of Shaoxing wine or don’t want to buy a whole bottle? No problem! You can easily substitute apple juice in most recipes.

The sweetness of the apple juice will add a delicious flavor to your dish. Remember to use the same apple juice as Shaoxing wine in the recipe.

If you’re using apple juice in savory dishes, you’ll need to use a bit more than the recipe calls for Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine since apple juice doesn’t have the same acidity. You can also add a pinch of salt to compensate for the lack of flavor.

How To Substitute

You may replace Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine with apple juice for a 1:1 ratio. However, increase the quantity of apple juice in savory dishes for a better taste profile.

15. Lemon Juice

Shaoxing is a Chinese cooking wine sometimes used as a marinade for meats. It is a tart, slightly sweet, and sour wine distilled from cooked rice, glutinous rice, wheat, or other grains.

Lemon juice is an easy substitute for cooking wine with a less complex flavor profile. It is because the acidity of lemon juice helps to balance the flavors in a dish.

Lemon juice is an easy-to-find Shaoxing Chinese wine substitutes used in various dishes such as soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes.

How To Substitute

Use it in a 1:1 ratio to get the exact taste profile of your dish.

16. Grape Juice

There are many wines made with grapes that you can use as an alternative to Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine. So, if you are uncomfortable with alcoholic content, simple grapes juice is the perfect option.

The Chinese cooking wine Shaoxing is an essential ingredient in various dishes, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy substitute, you can use grape juice instead.

Shaoxing wine is typically fermented with yeast and then aged in wooden barrels. In contrast, grape juice is fermented with yeast but doesn’t undergo aging, making it a healthy and easy substitute. 

How To Substitute

To substitute Shaoxing for grape juice, combine 1/4 cup Shaoxing with 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool and use as you would a wine.

17. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a type made from wine, typically grape must. It is commonly used as a condiment, and you may also use it in cooking and works pretty well as a Shaoxing Chinese wine substitutes.

Balsamic vinegar is a popular ingredient in many dishes. However, it is also a high-quality product that can be expensive.

Balsamic vinegar is a sweet, dark, syrupy condiment in most grocery stores. It is often used as a replacement for Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, a liquid in Chinese grocery stores.

How To Substitute

The Umami flavored balsamic vinegar can be substituted in the 1:1 ratio for Chinese cooking wine. Although depending on your recipe and taste preference, you can make changes too.

18. Non-Alcoholic White Wine Or Beer

Non-alcoholic wine or beer is an easy substitution for Shaoxing cooking wine in a recipe. 

Non-alcoholic wine or beer will impart the same flavor and aroma that Shaoxing does in a dish without alcohol.

To make the substitution, use equal parts of non-alcoholic wine or beer to the amount of Shaoxing wine called for in the recipe. It is one of the best Shaoxing Chinese wine substitutes.

How To Substitute

To substitute Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine with Non-Alcoholic White Wine or Beer, mix 1 part Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine with 1 part Non-Alcoholic White Wine or Beer.

19. Dry Vermouth

If you are a fan of Martini, then you are ready with your next Shaoxing Chinese wine substitutes option: dry Vermouth.

As one of the oldest cooking wines in the world, Shaoxing wine is used in many Asian dishes. You may substitute Shaoxing cooking wine can with dry Vermouth.

Dry Vermouth is high and strong in alcohol; however, it has a similar dryness to Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine to your recipe.

Dry Vermouth is best for dishes with a more pungent taste profile, such as meat or other dishes.

How To Substitute

Dry Vermouth contains higher alcohol and can overpower the taste of your dish, so use it in a lower quantity than your recipe calls for.

20. Cheongju

If you are familiar with rice wines, then you must know that Cheongju is a rice wine that is hard to find. It is prepared in Korea and often used in cooking and drinking.

The Cheongju rice wine contains a mildly sweet flavor and results similar to Chinese Shaoxing wine. 

However, they have a similar flavor, but the result it provides will be much sweeter and crispier than Shaoxing.

How To Substitute

To substitute Cheongju rice wine for Chinese Shaoxing wine, you should use half the amount your recipe requires.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use White Wine Instead Of Shaoxing Wine?

Yes, White wine can substitute for Shaoxing wine, but it won’t taste or feel the same. Still, if you wish to replace the white rice wine with an alcoholic flavor, you can do so. Rather than a sweet white wine, a dry white wine would be more appropriate.

Is Mirin Similar To Shaoxing Wine?

Mirin is a rice wine commonly found in Japan, whereas Shaoxing wine is mainly found in China. Though they are both fermented rice wines, they are still not the same. The flavor of mirin is sweeter than that of Shaoxing.

Is Shaoxing Wine And Rice Wine The Same?

No, rice wine and Shaoxing wine are not the same. Rice wine is colorless and often used in Taiwanese and Chinese dishes. At the same time, Shaoxing wine is prepared with glutinous rice and comes in brownish. However, rice wine is prepared from regular rice.

20 Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine Substitutes To Try

5 from 7 votes
Prep time

minutes
Cooking time

minutes
Total time

minutes

In this article, we take a look at 5 substitutes for when you have no Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine in your pantry

Ingredients

  • Dry White Wine

  • Dry Sherry

  • Sake

  • Mirin

  • Rice Vinegar And White Grape Juice

  • Stock

  • Light Soy Sauce

  • Gin

  • Mijiu

  • Fujian Cooking Wine

  • White Wine Vinegar And Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Rice Vinegar

  • Champagne Vinegar

  • Apple Juice

  • Lemon Juice

  • Grape Juice

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • Non-Alcoholic White Wine Or Beer

  • Dry Vermouth

  • Cheongju

Directions

  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith