Shaoxing Wine – Chinese Cooking Wine – RecipeTin Eats

Chinese cooking wine recipes

Video Chinese cooking wine recipes

Shaoxing Wine (sometimes spelled Shaosing Wine) is a type of rice cooking wine essential to much of Chinese cuisine. It’s a secret ingredient that makes recipes really taste like what you get in Chinese restaurants. Chinese restaurants use it by the gallon in everything from stir-fries to soup broths, marinades and wontons.

Shaoxing wine is used in virtually every Chinese recipe I’ve shared, because it’s a key ingredient!

<img src="" alt=

“Shaoxing Wine / Chinese Cooking Wine” /> What is Shaoxing Wine

? Shaoxing

wine is

a type of Chinese cuisine wine, and is alternately written Shao-hsing or Shaohsing wine. It is made from rice and is one of the most popular types of Chinese rice wines for cooking thanks to its complex and sweet taste.

It’s the default rice wine I use for Chinese cuisine, so I refer to it simply as Chinese cooking wine in almost all of my recipes.

Remember that Shaoxing wine is designed for cooking and not drinking! Tested on its own, it’s harshly alcoholic and a bit salty too, as salt is added to most formulations (my understanding this is mainly for reasons of taxation and alcohol regulation).

Along with soy sauce, it is probably one of the most important cooking condiments and liquids for Chinese cuisine. Like much of European and Western cuisine, it is used to add depth and complexity to sauces, broths, and anything else to which it is added.

It is usually used in small quantities, most French fries only require 1 or 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine, and you can’t distinguish its taste in the finished dish. You only know it’s better! 🙂

<img src="" alt=

“Shaoxing Wine / Chinese Cooking Wine” /> Shaoxing Rice Wine

The best substitutes for Shaoxing wine / Chinese cuisine wine are as follows:

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  • Dry sherry – that’s right, every day cheap and cheerful dry sherry;

  • Mirin – a sweet Japanese cuisine wine. If you use this, skip or reduce the sugar required in the recipe because Mirin is much sweeter than Chinese cooking wine. If there’s no sugar to skip, that’s fine, just know that the sauce will be a little sweeter;

  • Cooking sake/Japanese rice wine: This is slightly lighter in flavor than Chinese cooking wine, but is an acceptable substitute and the best substitute.

These wines bring a depth and complexity similar to sauces.

Warning: I understand that there are some people who cannot or cannot consume alcohol, whether for health or religious reasons. But because Chinese cooking wine is such a key ingredient in Chinese sauces that it can’t really be approximated by anything else, I can’t promise the same recipe result if it’s made without using a wine.

But for those who may consume alcohol, I really urge you to use one of the above alcoholic substitutes. You’ll thank me! 🙂

In the photo:

Chop Suey / Chicken Stir Fry

Chop Suey - Chicken Stir Fry

What is Shaoxing rice wine used for?

Among all the familiar Chinese meals we are used to in the West, it would be difficult to find a single dish on the menu of a Chinese restaurant that does not use Chinese cuisine wine!

It’s used in almost every sauce, from classic chop suey/chicken fries (pictured above) to cashew chicken, Mongolian beef to beef and broccoli, and Kung Pao chicken.

It is also used in noodle recipes such as Chow Mein and soup broths, such as Wonton soup and Chinese corn soup. And fillings for meatballs, such as Wontons and Potstickers.

In the photo:

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Kung Pao Chicken and Potstickers <img src="" alt="Close-up of Kung Pao chicken with

Kung Pao sauce, fresh off the stove” /> <img src

=”” alt=”Overheated photo of Potstickers, also known as fried Chinese dumplings, on a dark brown plate with dipping sauce.” />


you’ve ever made a Chinese recipe and wondered why it didn’t taste as good as what you get from your favorite Chinese restaurant, then Chinese cooking wine is probably the missing ingredient.

You can get all the other “right” ingredients in a stir-fry sauce, but if you don’t use Chinese cooking wine, That something extra will be missing, something that makes you really savor the quality of the restaurant.

Or if it really looks tasty and you really want to try it anyway, add a splash of Chinese cuisine wine and know that you just improved the recipe. 😉


Chow Mein

Close-up of Chicken Chow Mein

Is Shaoxing wine safe to drink?

Chinese cuisine wine usually has an alcohol content of between 15 and 20%. Because potato chips cook quickly, the alcohol content does not necessarily evaporate completely. However, recipes only use a small amount of Chinese cooking wine, usually only 1 or 2 tablespoons for a stir-fry that will serve between 3 and 4 people.

Based on this, the amount of alcohol per serving is probably 1 or 2 ml maximum, which is a minuscule amount (a bottle of regular beer compared to contains about 15 – 20 ml of pure alcohol). And you certainly can’t taste it!

If you are concerned about consuming a small amount of alcohol in food, I advise you not to eat Chinese food from Chinese restaurants because Shaoxing wine is a key ingredient in Chinese cuisine, used in almost everything. Certainly in all takeaway favorites!

In fact, I would advise you not to eat Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Thai food from any restaurant because all these cuisines use rice wines to cook in a similar way. <img src="" alt="Chinese cuisine wine (Shaoxing, Shao-hsing or Shaohsing rice wine) – an essential for making truly tasty stir-fries like Chinese restaurants. 🙂

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What brand of Shaoxing I wine do I use

I use a brand called Double Phoenix (red bottle, top right) that I get from Asian grocery stores. It costs a whopping $2 a bottle and will make 40 or 50 potato chips. It’s very affordable!

There are many different brands in Asian stores and to be honest, I’m not furiously loyal to Double Phoenix, it’s just the most common brand I see. I’ve used others and haven’t noticed a difference.

Chinese cuisine wine is also now sold in supermarkets here in Australia. A brand called Pandaroo (top left bottle) that is perfectly suitable, albeit more expensive than real Chinese brands!

How to store

Shaoxing wine

Shaoxing wine does not need to be refrigerated once opened. Just keep it in your pantry, and keep it for years! Check the expiration date of your bottle.

In the photo: Fried Egg Rice

Close-up of egg fried rice in a wok with a wooden spoon, fresh off the stove

I hope it helped answer some questions you might have had about Shaoxing Wine! You will find that I use Chinese cuisine wine in virtually every Chinese recipe on my site. I’ve pulled out a list of some of the most popular ones below! – Nagi x


Try these popular Chinese takeaway recipes:


  • Cashew

  • Chicken

  • Kung Pao

  • Chicken

  • Chop Suey / Sautéed Chicken


  • and Broccoli

  • Crunchy Sticky Mongolian Veal

  • Sautéed meat


  • Chow Mein

  • Singapore Noodles


  • Wontons

  • Potstickers

  • Spring rolls

  • Chinese lettuce wraps

  • Fried rice

See all Asian takeaway recipes

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