Japanese meals are not complete without miso-paste soup. It is made from fermented product, notably, fermented soybean pastes indigenous to Japan, which is often used in Asian food.
Miso’s rich umami seasoning makes it the perfect addition to soups, stir-fried dishes, salads, and stews. It is famous for its distinctive taste and texture.
You’ll definitely struggle to find the best substitute for miso paste when you run out of kitchen ingredients.
Here is a list of useful miso substitutes that can help you prepare meals in a pinch! From dressing to marinade sauce and broth, gluten-free and soy-free also vegan, it provides a unique flavor of spicy umami.
I’m currently enjoying using them in my maple miso chicken recipe. Before this new obsession, Miso powder was not usually my favorite ingredient in my handbag. I want to share a good miso paste substitution idea for the miso paste with you.
What is Miso Paste, and what are its Use and taste?
Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste (mainly a seasoning) full of nutrients and savory flavor (sweet and salty). It’s known for its intense savory flavor, umami, the fifth flavor.
Traditionally miso is commonly incorporated into miso soup, dashi soup or stock, homemade vegetable stock, or salad dressing.
It has a strong flavor and a thick, creamy texture similar to peanut paste, making it a distinct and versatile ingredient.
It originated in Japan, adding umami taste to vegetarian dishes and other Japanese-style dishes such as miso ramen and miso salmon.
Still, you can use it as a substitute for cheesy flavor like in vegan pesto.
Miso Paste Ingredients:
Miso is a paste created of fermented soybeans. Salt and a specific fungus (a koji starter) are added.
A grain, such as barley or rye, can sometimes be added to generate a more nutrient-dense, umami-flavored paste. It’s worth noting that you may have heard of soybean paste before.
Koji, a rice spore, is used to ferment a mixture of soybeans, salt, and water. The longer the paste ferments, the darker and bolder it becomes; the flavor becomes more delicious and nuanced.
The texture of the finished product grows chunkier as the fermentation process advances.
Miso paste is incredibly useful in the kitchen because it can easily match various ingredients. Just a little miso can boost the flavors of any dish.
Although, Miso paste is not the same as soybean paste. Miso tastes a touch sweeter than soybean paste because of the added koji starter. Besides white miso paste, there is also red, yellow miso powder, and brown miso.
Miso powder has a very soft and buttery consistency. You can boil them in different shapes and make them melt.
You should be aware of the gluten-free ingredient labels for a safe source of gluten-free products. The Miso Master’s label shows that they are organic and gluten-less.
What Are the Main Types of Miso?
There are multiple types of miso paste made from different grains, fermented process, age of the fermented process, and salt contained.
You will generally find the flavor of miso paste separated into four categories: red, white, and yellow miso, brown miso.
1. Red Miso: Akamiso
The darkest of the three basic varieties is red miso. It has a longer fermentation period, lasting more than a year.
It uses more salt and has a vibrant, salty astringency with an umami flavor.
It is much stronger-tasting miso among all types. The Aka miso is medium-strength miso prepared from barley.
You should use it sparingly because it can overpower the dish.
2. White Miso: Shiromiso
The most common is ‘Shiro’ miso, also called ‘white miso.’ It has the palest color and the mildest flavor. This is the miso I buy.
The main components are rice, barley, and a small amount of soybean paste.
White miso is created from rice, and fermentation can take anywhere from a year to three years.
Other varieties of miso pastes
include Yellow Miso: Kome miso and Brown miso: Mame miso. While the Mame miso (black color) is made of soybeans with a bold flavor. It is not so sweet as other types of miso but has an excellent savory umami flavor.
All types of miso taste a little bit different (the darker the miso, the stronger the flavor). Light color miso is made from boiled soybeans, and reddish to dark miso is made from steamed soybeans.
You can substitute different sorts of miso paste for each other; just prepare to use less if using a darker or red paste. You can always add more as needed.
My Favourite Recipes Using Miso Paste are:
· Miso Harissa Roast Cauli Tahini Miso Turmeric Sauce Corn & Miso Salad Lemony Miso Salmon, use is white miso paste (also known as ‘Shiro miso’) for both its milder flavor and flexibility in a variety of recipes.
· Barley Used in miso soup Favorite Miso Recipes Pink Peppercorn-crusted Tuna with Wasabi Oil and Miso Mashed Potatoes
-Tuna steaks are rubbed with pink peppercorns, then seared and served with garlic chips and Wasabi Oil Mashed Potatoes.
· Tempura Green Beans This recipe for Tempura Green Beans is served with sweet and sour mustard sauce.
17 Best Miso Paste Substitutes
1. TAHINI is a Best Gluten-free and Soy-free Substitute for Miso Paste
One versatile alternative for substituting miso paste is tahini paste made of ground sesame seeds. This buttery yet creamy texture and earthly taste have a slight bitterness.
Tahini is a popular condiment throughout the Middle East, and the sauce can be sprinkled on sandwiches. It is also applied in dressing and marinade or in many other dishes.
Yet, unlike soy sauce and fish sauce, Tahini does not have the umami flavor that miso paste does but gives the same color as miso paste.
Tahini sauce’s nuttier flavors are milder and softer than miso. While the taste profile may not work for every dish, like if a recipe uses large quantities of miso, tahini probably doesn’t work because the flavor profile is more nutty and creamy than adding umami flavor.
You can add tahini and soy sauce and add some extra umami flavor.
Maintaining texture can make for good flavor exchanges if your goal is to maintain texture.
So, you might achieve the consistency and umami flavor of miso paste by combining tahini with soy sauce or fish sauce.
Tips: Tahini is a better substitute for white than red miso since white miso is less fermented and has a milder flavor. It is appropriate for vegan diets.
Dishes Where You Can Replace Tahini for Miso Paste uses white miso, such as soups, dressings, and marinades.
Miso paste could easily be swapped out for the tahini and vice versa in a 1:1 ratio in these recipes.
Also, Use Tahini in Dashi soup. Use it for savory dishes that can hold more liquid because it is not as thick as miso paste.
2. FISH SAUCE- A Good Miso Substitute
Another most common replacement for miso paste is a Fish sauce. It has the same flavor as miso paste, increasing the cuisine levels of scent and making dishes taste even better.
Fish sauce is a seasoning made from fermented fish used often in Southeast Asian cuisine like Thai, Philipino, and Korean cuisines. Fish sauce is a crucial ingredient for making kimchi.
The fish sauce uses to bring umami to recipes and has a funky, tangy, salty flavor that’s similar to miso paste. However, note that it’s much stronger than miso, and the texture is very thin, not creamy.
Use this ratio: Substitute ½ teaspoon fish sauce for 1 tablespoon miso paste.
The best advantage of fish sauce is that you can cook dozens and hundreds of Asian recipes by simply adding fish sauce; you could also put some fish sauce in the fridge.
The sauce is derived from small fermented fish like krill or anchovies. It has an umami flavor familiar to Japanese cuisine but unsuitable for vegans or vegetarians.
Tips: Dishes Where You Can Substitute Fish Sauce for Miso Paste Like
- soy sauce,
- You can use fish sauce instead of miso paste in dishes like Dipping sauces, Marinades, Soups Noodle dishes.
- Added a salty taste to a stew or sauce.
- Fish sauce is ideal for stir fry, sauces, curry, and dressings.
- Also, it is a better alternative for red miso than white miso.
This is true because the fish sauce has a solid fermented, salty flavor, like soy sauce, which is closer to red miso paste.
3. SOY SAUCE- Acceptable Miso Alternative
Soy sauce can be used as an easy substitute for miso paste and is usually available in your home. It is derived from soybean ferments but is more flavorsome.
Soy sauce does a great job mimicking the salty flavor of miso paste. Still, its most obvious downfall is the difference in consistency.
Regardless, Soy Sauce is good in miso paste recipes as it gives a mild umami flavor.
Soy sauce is a thin liquid, while miso paste is more creamy and paste-like in texture. If you use soy sauce instead of miso paste, a good rule of thumb is to use half the amount of soy sauce for the amount of miso paste.
Tips: Dishes Where You Can Swap Out Soy Sauce for Miso Paste Since soy sauce is a liquid (not in paste), also much thinner than miso paste, you can replace it in dishes like noodle dishes, Marinades, Dipping Sauces, and Soups and some specific consistency.
The consistency difference is large enough that it cannot be substituted as the main ingredient.
To create Japanese food with a strong flavor, use soy sauce to make a miso substitute and add a bit of tomato paste, soybean flour, anchovy paste, and Tahini.
This will give you an extremely creamy texture that is similar to miso paste.
Shoyu is an adapted soy paste in Japan that originates in China. These fermented beans are soaked in water with a mix of wheat and sugar. Mold koji also forms a key component of fermentation. How are they known?
Shoyu and Miso paste has many differences in the taste of these foods. Usually, the Shoyu has a thinner liquid consistency.
So they can be used to make sauces, stews, sauces, marinade sauces, salads, and sauces. Shoyu is less salty than soy sauce.
Therefore the Miso paste can actually serve as a much more effective alternative to traditional Soy sauce.
Dashi is a different Japanese ingredient that can be used to replace miso paste. It is utilized to impart umami flavor. It’s a good option in many recipes that call for miso paste.
Dashi is an important ingredient in a lot of Japanese dishes. This broth is similar to chicken broth. Instead of boiling up the chicken, dashi is crafted from various rich flavors. It is made from a broth with kombu.
While Kelp is primarily used as the main ingredient. Many ingredients may exist; overall, dashi’s flavor profile has an earthy and umami-rich flavor. Different ingredients determine what types of dashi are created.
Tips: Consider using it for savory dishes that can hold more liquid because it is not as thick as miso paste.
Dashi serves as the base for miso soups. It can also be an excellent flavor base in many dishes based on the use of miso. Dashi’s consistency differs slightly from miso paste. You can use miso powder or other alternatives to make dashi soup.
6. ADZUKI BEAN PASTE- Suitable Alternative to Miso Paste
Another non-soybean paste commonly called miso paste is azuki beans paste or red bean paste.
Anko isn’t the same as miso paste; however, it’s a good substitute. The beans are mild in taste, with a nutty, mild sweetness and a soft texture.
Red bean paste is used in a variety of Asian recipes. You can use these beans to make salads, sweets, Daifuku, wagashi, mochi, and rice-based dishes.
Used as an appetizer in sushi dishes, steamed cakes, Matcha muffins, and even in Japan’s dessert soup – Zenzais.
Tips: Red bean paste has a soft texture and is very dense.
Suitable for use on fried fish dishes, the texture of Miso paste or Adzuki beans paste can be added. Adzuki bean paste’s flavors are also quite different from miso paste.
Check more- Make Red bean paste substitute without red beans
7. VEGETABLE STOCK/BROTH – Gluten-free, Vegan & Soy-free Miso Soup Subs
Vegetable stock can also be an excellent miso paste alternative when making soups. It’s an ethereal color and could add a unique flavor to soups.
To achieve the flavor that is original to miso soup, it is necessary to have to add additional spices and herbs.
It is made of vegetables and not proteins, but it still has intense umami flavors similar to fish sauce or soy sauce.
However, it will not thicken the dish like miso and Dashi; it can serve as a great substitute. The vegetable stock also lacks the fermented flavor provided by miso. Still, if a miso isn’t available, it’s an excellent alternative for adding saltiness and umami to a dish.
Having an aesthetically pleasing vegetable can help with digestion. While it doesn’t have the intense umami flavor of Miso, When substituting miso for soups or sauces, you can use a vegetable broth or stock with a rich flavor.
You can use vegetable broth as a substitute for steamed rice. Depending on the recipe you want to try, just try it and try the recipes a little bit.
8. COCONUT AMINOS – Soy-free Alternative to Miso
Coconut Aminos another miso paste alternative. It is extracted from coconut tree leaves. The rich, colored liquid is savory and sweet.
Naturally gluten and soy-free, the product may be used as sweet soy sauce substitutes for sensitive people or who have gluten allergies.
This richly colored liquid has a savory and slightly sweet taste. Naturally gluten-free and soy-free, it is often used as a soy sauce substitute for those with gluten or soy allergies. Since coconut aminos work as a soy sauce substitute, they can also work as a miso paste substitute.
Again it’s a liquid, so don’t use it in recipes using a thin miso paste for a certain texture.
Because coconut aminos’ natural sweetening properties make it better to use fewer ingredients than the recipe says. Use 1 to 1 cup; add more when tasting.
9. ANCHOVY PASTE – Excellent Savory Flavor Miso Paste Replacement
Anchovy paste has a similar texture to fish sauces but is enhanced by miso paste. The sauce is made with pure anchovies and has salty and bold flavors.
The bold flavor of anchovy paste won’t work for all your recipes. However, this can be a great choice in recipes that need a bold flavor and the consistency of miso paste.
Start with using only ½ of what the recipe calls for. If you need more, add more.
Tamari is an excellent red miso paste substitute because it has a similar flavor. This Miso substitute is darker and less salty than miso but has a strong umami flavor and helps boost our immune system.
Tamaris is produced through miso paste in Japan. Since miso paste contains no gluten, tamari can be made from other grains, including rice and barley.
Tamari has a thickness of less than shoyu. But the paste remains a thin paste-like miso paste. So this can be used similarly with a shoyu paste. Tamari can be used 1:1 for miso powder.
11. SOYBEAN PASTE
Soybean paste is a fermented bean paste that can be used in place of miso paste in various cuisines. As a seasoning, you will often find it in stews, soups, and even dipping sauces.
Soya and miso paste both ferments and mimic taste and texture. The soybean paste is much more pungent than miso paste.
You can use Soybean paste as a replacement in almost any recipe, but take its saltiness into account.
Start with a modest amount if you want to use it as a substitute for red miso paste.
You can add more as you go if you want to. This type of paste is nearly identical to miso paste. The color is the only significant difference.
Check more- Best substitutes for Fermented soybean paste
12. CHICKPEA PASTE
Use chickpeas paste (hummus) as an alternative to miso paste. The flavor of chickpea paste has an umami flavor to miso paste.
In addition, it has a dense texture similar to hummus paste. Aside from the chickpeas, it has a wholesome flavor that rivals miso paste.
Besides being loaded with vitamins and minerals, this product has an excellent nutritional value with low calories. Chickpea paste can also be added to a dish with more flavor.
There’s no way of replacing miso paste with something that tastes and textures like a distinctive miso character.
Therefore, to bring umami flavors into dishes, you can select a selection involving mushrooms. Mushrooms have an umami taste; the darker the mushrooms, the more umami flavor they have.
However, you will notice the color variations of Miso paste and mushrooms.
14. SALT – In a Pinch
Miso paste can be used for many purposes, including adding flavor to the dish. You may substitute this mixture with salt in recipes that require a bit of miso paste.
Salt can’t replicate the unique fermented, umami miso paste flavor but helps enhance other flavors.
Salt With the right amount, you can sometimes get the flavor of miso paste in a dish. Though, salt does not have the same texture and complex flavor as miso.
Start by adding salt! Then taste the mixture and gradually increase the quantity as you need.
As a result, while salt is still on our list of top miso substitutes, it should definitely be the final resort.
Having said that, it will suffice in a pinch. Only use salt as a substitute for miso paste in recipes that call for a little amount of miso powder and a variety of other ingredients.
Check More- 10 Suitable Curing Salt substitutes
Other Miso Paste Alternatives
15. TOMATO PASTE
Tomato paste is a weird selection but provides salty and sweet flavors with a miso paste texture. They could use soy sauce to boost flavor profiles for added umami flavor.
The tomato flavor can still appear a bit, but ensure that it is compatible with all the ingredients in the recipe.
Colors can also affect a paste’s appearance. Start by making half the recipe. Add another one as necessary.
16. PARMESAN CHEESE
Parmesan cheese is an old cheese with umami-like properties and is a good substitute for miso paste in cooking. Keep a close eye on how much cheese there is in this dish. Use a small number and taste if needed.
17. CHINESE GROUND BEAN SAUCE
The flavor profile of Chinese Ground Bean Sauce is more complex than miso paste replacements.
It is a sweet soybean paste that adds a savory flavor to Japanese cuisine. Soybeans, salt, and wheat are used to make it.
It has a rich umami flavor, so it guarantees that umami taste is achievable even without using a miso paste or miso powder.
Buy it now: Amazon VEGAN MISO PASTE ALTERNATIVES Most of the above-mentioned substitutes are vegan-friendly.
Bottom Line- Best Miso Substitutes
There are many simple Miso paste substitutions available in your cupboard that we cover.
It is an individual product that can be used as a substitute sometimes. Its real umami flavor is distinct and worth finding.
Miso is also frequently available in specialized food stores, such as those specializing in organic and healthy products.
If you can’t find miso in your local supermarket, most Asian grocery stores, mainly Japanese supermarkets, carry miso paste and miso powder, with several different miso types you can select from.
You can always get it online if you can’t find anything locally. Most miso paste variations are available for purchase online.
But the best option we recommend is either the Tahini or the Soy Sauce. Many may not be familiar with Tahini, but it is definitely a good pick for soups.
Make sure to return and give us the information about the product you’re working on!
What can I substitute for white miso?
Vegetable stock is a suitable replacement for miso paste or an excellent white miso substitute. It has an intense taste similar to umami like soy sauce or fish sauce but is made of veggies instead of protein.
Where to find miso paste?
Miso pastes are available on most supermarket shelves in refrigerated stores, typically near Tofu or tempeh. It’s pretty common to use it with these ingredients.
It may contain tamarind marinade or air-fried tofu. Most conventional grocery stores now include miso paste; however, some stores sell this in such stores as Whole Food or sprouting stores.