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Don’t have sake on hand or want a non alcoholic substitute? Here’s the best sake substitute to use in your cooking.

Sake substitute
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Making a recipe that calls for dry sherry and don’t have it? Sake (pronounced sah-kay) is a Japanese fermented rice liquor, sometimes called rice wine. Sake has a smooth flavor with a dry finish, like dry white wine or dry vermouth. It’s used in cooking like a white wine: to deglaze a pan, tenderize meat and add complexity in flavor to sauces. Of course sake is also used in cocktails (like this tasty Sake Southside!), but today we’re talking about cooking sake substitutes.

But don’t have time to shop for it, or don’t want to spring for a bottle? Or need a non-alcoholic substitute? We’ve got you.

Best sake substitute to use in cooking!

1. Dry sherry

The best sake substitute? Dry sherry. Cooking sherry is dry white wine that’s been fortified by adding alcohol. The flavor is sharp, with a scent of apple cider and a very dry finish. The flavor is a bit stronger than sake, but it’s close. Use it as a 1:1 replacement.

2. Dry white wine

Another good sake substitute? Dry white wine. The flavor profiles of sake and dry white wine are very similar, though sake may be slightly stronger. Use a dry white wine as a 1:1 replacement. Avoid using a sweet wine, because it will give the recipe an entirely new character.

3. Dry vermouth

Another decent sake substitute? Dry white vermouth! Do not use a sweet vermouth (which are typically red) or a semi-sweet vermouth like Dolin or Lillet Blanc. These will come out entirely too sweet and change the character of the recipe. But a dry vermouth works: like what you’d use for a Classic Martini.

4. Rice wine vinegar

Need a non-alcoholic sake substitute? Try rice wine vinegar! What’s the ratio? Use 1 tablespoon vinegar plus 3 tablespoons water to replace ¼ cup sake.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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