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What Is Miso Paste? What Does Miso Paste Taste Like?

Miso paste is a traditional Japanese condiment made from fermented soybeans. What Miso paste taste like is salty, slightly sweet, and has a nutty and earthy flavor. It’s often used in miso soup and in dressings for sushi.

Miso paste is a versatile Japanese seasoning used for hundreds of years. It’s made from fermented soybeans and comes in many different types. This article will discuss the taste of miso paste, why it’s eaten on its own, and how you can use it in your cooking.

What To Know About Miso Paste?

Miso Paste Taste

Miso paste is a traditional Japanese ingredient from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley. It’s used in various dishes, such as miso soup, marinades, and sauces.

The paste comes in various colors that are made by adding different types of grains during fermentation.

The resulting paste ranges in color from light brown to dark brown and is typically dissolved in hot water before being added.

The flavor of the paste varies depending on the ingredients and the length of time it’s been aged. It can range from mild to rich.

Different Types Of Miso Paste

Different regions in Japan have their own version of miso, and there are several different types of miso paste available today. Each type has its unique flavor and color, which comes from the ingredients used to make it.

Some types of miso have added ingredients such as seaweed or fish broth to give them even more flavor.

White Miso

White miso is the most common type of miso paste. It’s made from fermented soybeans and rice or barley, which gives it a lighter color than other varieties. White miso is known for its mild taste and smooth texture.

It has a salty flavor that makes it a great choice for cooking or adding to recipes that you want to add some depth without being overpowering.

Yellow Miso

Yellow miso is fermented longer than white miso and has a miso paste taste that is richer flavor. It is saltier and more savory than white miso.

It also has a thicker consistency, which makes it great for soups or sauces that need to be thickened. You’ll find yellow miso in dishes like ramen or Japanese curry rice.

Red Miso

Fermented soybeans and red beans or barley are the base for red miso paste. This variety tends to be denser than white miso because of the addition of beans or grains; however, it still has a smooth texture that makes it easy to work with in recipes.

Red miso has a bolder flavor and deep reddish hue than white miso that lends itself well to sauces, marinades, and dressings.

Mixed Miso Or Awase Miso

Mixed miso is the most common form of miso paste. It’s got a little bit of everything, so it’s great for beginners who are just getting into miso and want to try a little bit of everything.

It’s also good for seasoned misos who want to mix things up a bit.

Mixed miso is made from a combination of red and white miso, which gives it a slightly sweet flavor that’s less salty than other forms of miso.

Soups, marinades, salad dressings, and sauces can all benefit greatly from their flavorful, aromatic, and savory qualities. You can also use mixed miso in place of soy sauce in many dishes.

Kome Miso

Kome miso is a sweet and mellow-flavored paste made from fermented soybeans, rice malt, and salt. It’s light brown in color and has a smooth texture that makes it a great addition to soups and sauces.

Mugi Miso

Mugi miso is made with barley koji, a sweet rice mold fermented with a type of fungus called koji. This miso has a light, mellow flavor and can be used in soups, stews, and sauces. Mugi miso is also known as barley miso or brown rice miso.

Mame Miso

Mame miso is made with mostly soybeans and very little added grains, and it’s probably the type of miso you’re most familiar with.

The result is a thick paste full of umami flavor, making it an excellent addition to sauces, soups, stews, and stir fries.

Where Does Miso Paste Come From?

Miso paste is a traditional Japanese food product. It has a long history of being a staple in the diet of the Japanese people.

Miso paste ferments soybeans, rice, barley, or rye. The fermentation process of the paste alters the structure of the complex proteins in these foods. When finished, the paste can be added to things like broths and sauces.

The enzymes that are responsible for the fermentation process are produced by a group of microorganisms called Aspergillus Oryzae. However, miso paste does not always contain these specific types of microbes.

Some manufacturers add them to their products later to speed up the process and make them more consistent.

Health Benefits Of Miso Paste

Miso Paste Taste

Miso paste is high in protein. A one-cup serving of miso paste contains about 20 grams of protein, making it an excellent source for vegetarians and vegans.

In addition, miso paste provides vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper, selenium, manganese, zinc, and magnesium.

Miso paste is rich in fiber which helps detoxification and digestion by binding toxins released during the digestive process so they can be eliminated from your body more easily.

RELATED: 17 Popular Japanese Appetizers

How To Use Miso Paste

Miso paste is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in various ways. Whether you’re looking for new ways to use miso paste or just want to learn more about this delicious food item, this guide has all the information you need.

The miso paste can be used in various ways, such as

Marinade: Miso paste works well as a marinade because it adds flavor to the meat while tenderizing it and making it moister. It also helps preserve the meat so that it lasts longer than usual.

Soup: If you’re looking for something quick and easy, miso soup is a great choice. It’s full of protein and nutrients that will help keep you healthy!

Stir Fry: If you’re looking for something with a little more substance than soup, try adding some miso paste into your stir fry! It will add flavor and depth to whatever else is going on and make sure everything tastes great together.

Sauce: Use miso paste as an alternative to soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce when making stir-fry dishes or seasoning meat before cooking it on the grill or in the oven.

You can also use it as an ingredient when making salad dressings or sauces for pasta dishes.

How To Store Miso Paste

The shelf life of miso paste in the fridge is one year, but it’s best to use it within six months to prevent any bacteria from growing in it.

Once you open miso paste and use some of it, you should transfer the rest into another container just in case it leaks or spills out before you have time to finish using all of it.

You should always refrigerate your miso paste after opening it. If you’re not going to use all the paste within 1 month of opening it, freeze the remaining paste in an airtight container or plastic bag.

This will help preserve its color and flavor while keeping it safe from contaminants like mold growth. The ideal temperature range is between 32°F and 40°F.

For those in a warmer climate or who don’t have access to a fridge or freezer, there are ways to keep your miso paste fresh for longer periods. You can place it in a cool, dark place like your pantry or basement.

Make sure that the miso container is sealed well to prevent moisture from getting inside and causing mold growth on top of your miso paste.

How To Determine If Miso Paste Is Bad

Miso Paste Taste

If your miso paste has gone bad, you can tell by looking for a few specific things. If your miso paste exhibits any of these signs, it is time to start using the new paste.

Expiration Date: Miso pastes should have an expiration date printed on the packaging, which indicates how long it will stay fresh after opening. Look for a “use-by” date that is about two years from when you bought it.

A “best by” or “enjoy by” label will indicate when you should start using the product. Any food that has been in the fridge for longer than three months without an expiration date should be thrown away.

Smell: If there’s only one way to determine whether your miso has gone bad or not, it’s through its smell. Good quality miso has pleasant aromas, while those past their prime often have sour or rancid odors due to oxidation or microbial growth.

You may also notice an ammonia-like odor indicating microbial growth and yeasty aromas directly from fermentation processes or indirectly through contamination with airborne microorganisms such as wild yeast strains.

Color: You may notice that miso paste turns brown when exposed to air over time. This is normal and doesn’t mean it’s spoiled. But if it becomes discolored or blackened in any way, or even green, it’s probably been compromised by bacteria.

Appearance Of Mold: If there is more than one area where mold has developed, especially if these areas are larger, you’ll want to toss out your miso paste.

Alternatives To Miso Paste

Miso paste can be a great addition to your kitchen, but if you’re not a fan of the stuff or don’t have any on hand, here are some alternatives to try out.

Soy sauce

A great alternative to miso paste is soy sauce. Soy sauce has a similar taste to miso paste, but it’s saltier. It also has a stronger flavor than miso paste and will give your food an added kick.

To use soy sauce instead of miso paste, add it simultaneously as you would have added miso paste. The saltiness will make up for any lost flavor in the dish.


The rich flavor of tahini makes it a great alternative to miso paste. Made from sesame seeds, tahini has a savory, umami flavor that’s reminiscent of miso paste.

Tahini, a sesame-seed-based condiment, shares an umami-rich taste profile with the Japanese fermented soybean paste commonly known as miso. It’s also easy to make your own tahini home if you don’t want to buy it pre-made.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce is a great substitute for miso paste. It has a similar salty, umami flavor and can be used in the same ways as miso paste. It’s also significantly cheaper than miso paste, so if you’re trying to save some cash, fish sauce is the way to go!


The easiest way to make a miso paste substitute is by using salt. Just add the same salt to your recipe as you would miso-paste. You can also substitute it for soy sauce or add it to sauces and soups.


Dashi is a Japanese soup stock made from seaweed and bonito fish flakes. It’s a good alternative to miso paste because it has a similar salty, savory flavor.

You can find dashi at most grocery stores, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make it at home.

Anchovy Paste

An alternative to miso paste with the same umami flavor but less sodium and a little more fishy taste is anchovy paste. Most grocery stores have this in the refrigerated section.

It’s best to use it when you want a more intense flavor, such as on top of a salad or in a soup.


Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce made from fermented soybeans. It’s similar to miso paste in that it has a deep, rich taste, but it doesn’t have the same earthy aroma or thick texture.

It works excellently as a base for soups, stews, and sauces that need some umami flavor without being too heavy.


Tamari is another type of soy sauce. This one is made from wheat instead of soybeans. It has a lighter flavor than shoyu but still packs the same punch of umami flavor.

It’s great in marinades and dipping sauces because it won’t overpower other ingredients like other types of soy sauce might.

Can You Freeze Miso Paste?

You can freeze miso paste. The freezing process will not change the texture or flavor of the paste, but it will greatly extend its shelf life. To freeze your miso paste:

Use plastic wrap to line an airtight container, then fill it with the product of your choice. Seal the container completely by covering the top with additional plastic wrap or parchment paper.

Freeze overnight before storing in the freezer longer than 6 months. You can also transfer to an ice cube tray for freezing into cubes if you prefer smaller portions to use in soups or stews.

Nutritional Facts

Portion Size17 g
Total Fat 1g1 %
Saturated Fat 0.2g1 %
Sodium 634mg28 %
Total Carbohydrate 4.3g2 %
Dietary Fiber 0.9g3 %
Sugar 1.1g 
Protein 2.2g4 %
Vitamin D 0mcg0 %
Calcium 9.7mg1 %
Iron 0.4mg2 %
Potassium 36mg1 %

Miso Paste Recipes: Quick Table

RecipesCaloriesPreparation Time
Miso Chicken3141 hour 22 minutes
5-Minute Miso Soup Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-Free)405 minutes
Miso Vinaigrette245 minutes

1. Miso Chicken

Use miso paste as your secret ingredient to add depth to your favorite chicken recipes. The sweet, salty flavor will boost umami without overpowering other flavors.

Calories: 314

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 22 minutes 

2. 5-Minute Miso Soup Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This simple miso soup recipe is easy to make and tastes great! It’s vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it—and it only takes about 5 minutes.

Calories: 40 

Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes

RELATED: 15 Great Japanese Side Dishes

3. Miso Vinaigrette

This simple vinaigrette has a little heat from the chili paste but not enough to overpower your salad greens. It’s a great dressing for spring salads!

Calories: 24

Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Miso Paste Safe To Eat In Its Raw Form?

Miso Paste is a fermented food product, which means it’s been through a specific process to make it safe for consumption. It’s safe to eat in its raw form because fermentation has eliminated harmful bacteria and pathogens.

Does Miso Paste Contain Msg?

Miso paste does not contain MSG. It is naturally fermented, so it contains a lot of beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

How Long Does Miso Paste Last?

Miso paste can last long, as long as you take proper care of it.

The first thing to remember is that miso paste is a fermented product. This means it’s got live cultures, which makes it so good for you.

But those cultures also need to be protected from oxygen, light, and moisture. So if you want your miso to last as long as possible, here are some tips

  • Use the jar immediately after opening. Don’t store the unused portion in the fridge or on the countertop. The longer the paste sits out, the more likely it is to spoil.
  • Keep your jar tightly closed when not in use. The seal needs to be tight enough so that no air gets in.
  • Store your jar in a cool area away from direct sunlight or heat sources like stoves or radiators. If possible, try keeping it at room temperature instead of refrigerating or freezing it. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation process, while freezing stops it completely.

Wonder No More To Get Miso Recipes

Find Out What Miso Paste Tastes Like And Learn Some Recipes Using This Delicious Ingredient.


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith