Shaoxing Wine Substitute. Complete Guide

Shaoxing Wine Substitute. Complete Guide

Shaoxing Wine Substitute. Shaoxing wine (sometimes written Shaosing wine) is a Chinese rice wine used to provide complex tastes to a variety of cuisines. Because there are few, if any, replacements that can completely duplicate its flavour and character, it is better to utilise the real thing. Having said that, we understand that there may be situations when you need to use non-alcoholic replacements for Shaoxing wine.

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Shaoxing Wine Substitute. Complete Guide
Shaoxing Wine Substitute. Complete Guide

Shaoxing wine is an important element in many Asian recipes for adding umami and removing odours from meat. It is commonly used in Chinese dishes as a flavouring element in sauces or as a meat marinade. If you can drink alcohol but don’t have Shaoxing wine on hand, we recommend obtaining an alcoholic substitute. Dry sherry or other rice wines, as substitutes, will produce greater outcomes than non-alcoholic alternatives.

A lot of the alcohol content in Shaoxing wine can be boiled down depending on how it is prepared, but you may still desire non-alcoholic alternatives for religious or personal reasons. Whatever the reason, or if you just don’t have any cooking alcohol on hand, there are options to consider. In this essay, I’ll look at five non-alcoholic alternatives to Shaoxing wine: stock, light soy sauce, mirin, a marinade substitute, and non-alcoholic beer or wine.

When used in tiny amounts and in stir-fries or sauces, stock such as chicken, vegetable, pig, beef, or mushroom can be used as a non-alcoholic alternative for Shaoxing wine. While stock cannot duplicate the rich flavours of Shaoxing wine, it can be used in small amounts to give a savoury flavour.

You can add a small amount of rice vinegar and brown sugar to your stock to enhance depth of flavour. When used in tiny amounts, the mixture tastes more complex than utilising stock alone.

5 Best Shaoxing Wine Substitute

If your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons or less of wine, you can substitute any liquid stock in a 1:1 ratio. If you add extra stock, the dish will taste too much like the stock and will be overly watery.

Soy Sauce (Light)

Because Shaoxing wine imparts a savory-sweet flavour to meals, a light soy sauce with a very small quantity of sugar can be used as a substitute. Because soy sauce is saltier than Shaoxing wine, use less than you would with the wine (I would say: quarter the amount of Shaoxing that is called for, to use as soy sauce).

Also, avoid using dark soy sauce, which can dominate the dish and taste harsh if not utilised correctly. It can also catch fire easily.

Marinade for Non-alcoholic Meat

Shaoxing wine is used in many Asian dishes as a marinade to eliminate the odour of meat. Instead of Shaoxing wine, ginger-water or ginger-Sichuan peppercorn water can be used as a non-alcoholic marinade.

This is simple to make by smashing around 1-1.5 inches of fresh ginger and adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of whole Sichuan peppercorns (you may omit this if you don’t have any). Add these to a cup of boiling water and steep for about 15 minutes.

Then, remove the ginger and peppercorns (if used) and substitute the conserved water for Shaoxing wine in recipes that call for it to neutralise odours. Dumpling fillings and marinades are two examples of dishes.

White wine or beer that is not alcoholic

Shaoxing wine can be substituted with non-alcoholic wine or beer. However, because non-alcoholic drinks often contain trace amounts of alcohol, this is only appropriate for persons who can tolerate modest doses of alcohol.

Although a little amount is usually added to a recipe, use mild-flavored beers to prevent dominating the flavour of the dish.


If you can handle trace levels of alcohol, another alternative is to use mirin. Mirin comes in a variety of grades, with some containing significantly more alcohol than others. When compared to traditional mirin, Honteri has a substantially lower alcohol concentration (0.5% alcohol). If you can tolerate minor levels of alcohol in your food, it can be a good substitute for Shaoxing wine.

Because mirin can be fairly sweet, use less than the amount specified in the recipe for Shaoxing wine. You should also use less sugar in the remaining ingredients (if called for). This is done to avoid making your food too sugary. Because Shaoxing wine has a savoury flavour, you may need Chinese add salt or dashi powder to your final dish to acquire more of the wine’s umami flavour.

What Do You Think of Rice Vinegar?

Many people have attempted to substitute rice vinegar for Shaoxing wine. It’s not something I’d use in place of Shaoxing wine because it has a completely distinct flavour profile and can make a meal too acidic.

That’s not to say you won’t get a tasty dish if you use rice vinegar, but you’ll probably get a whole different flavour profile (rather than what was originally intended in the recipe). As a result, I would skip the Shaoxing wine entirely or replace the alternative substitutes listed above in place of rice vinegar.

It is considerably sourer than Shaoxing wine, so use less of it if you must substitute it. You can also add brown sugar to balance out the sourness of the vinegar.



Finally, if you can’t find a good substitute, there’s always the option to leave out the Shaoxing wine entirely. If your recipe calls for less than 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine, you can safely omit it without noticing a difference in flavour.

It adds a lovely taste but is not crucial to the flavour profile of most Chinese dishes (apart from those that are plainly Shaoxing wine-heavy). If you are hesitant to employ alcoholic substitutes, feel free to use the non-alcoholic options listed here. In most circumstances, it is a nice-to-have rather than a need.


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