Skip to Content

15 Illustrative Substitutes For Miso Paste That You Must Try

Miso paste is a fermented paste, often made using soybeans. It is a staple ingredient in a lot of Japanese and Asian dishes. It is incredibly savory and salty, often described as adding an umami flavor to any dishes it is included in.

There are a number of different types of miso paste, so it is important to research your dish to ensure you purchase the correct one for your intended use.

The 10 Best Substitutes For Miso Paste

If you cannot get your hands on miso for any reason, we have compiled a list of the top 10 substitutes that you might just have lying about your pantry.

15 Best Miso Paste Substitutes

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 gm)
Anchovy Paste267
Dashi438
Fermented Black Beans142.9
Fish Sauce35
Salt0
Soybean Paste (Doenjang)155
Tahini595
Tamari (Or Soy Sauce)60
Tomato Paste82
Vegetable Stock10
Mushrooms22
Tomatoes18
Parmesan Cheese431
Chickpeas Paste180
Coconut Aminos100

Anchovy Paste

While it may not seem like the most obvious substitution, anchovy paste and miso paste share a lot of the same flavor notes, especially the umami tone that they supply.

In a number of recipes, miso paste is named as a good vegan substitute for anchovy paste.

Both substances have a similar texture too, making the substitution even more of a breeze. It is important to pay attention to the fat content of the paste, as anchovy paste is prone to being quite oily which could adversely impact your dish.

This can be used in equal quantities to the miso paste that the recipe calls for.

How To Substitute

Anchovy paste and miso taste have many similarities, including the Umami flavor it provides. That’s one of the reasons these two are often replaced with each other. However, anchovy paste has oily content intact, which might mess up your recipe if not used cautiously.

Dashi

This is a type of strongly-flavored broth with a deep and complex flavor profile. The main flavor notes are fish and salt, but these are more muted than some of the other substitutes in this list.

Dashi is made by combining bonito fish flakes and dried kelp with water to produce an amber-colored broth. This works well as a miso paste substitute, but pay attention to the textural differences.

Dashi is a thin liquid and so will not work in all recipes that call for miso paste. Pay close attention to the other liquids in your recipe to prevent making it overly watery.

Again, this can be used as a direct substitute for miso paste.

How To Substitute

Dashi is the best alternative to replace the recipe directly with Miso paste. However, Dashi is prepared with fish, so it will only be suitable for vegetarians. Its liquid consistency also becomes essential to look out for a while using it.

Fermented Black Beans

This is also referred to as Douchi, and is a staple in Chinese cooking. Black beans are fermented in a similar manner to soybeans to produce the Douchi.

The flavor profile of the resultant paste is very similar to that of miso, although the texture is much coarser.

How To Substitute

Fermented black beans, known as Douchi, are one of the famous stables in Chinese cuisine. It’s the perfect alternative to replace miso paste if the coarser form of it doesn’t matter to you.

RELATED: 8 Options To Substitute Tamarind Paste

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes and you may well have a bottle in the cupboard or pantry if you cook Asian cuisine regularly.

There are a number of similarities to soy sauce in terms of flavor, and this too will add umami notes to your food.

Fish sauce also undergoes a process of fermentation, making it even more similar in taste to miso paste. This is a great substitute for people with gluten or soy allergies without needing to compromise on the flavor.

It is a very strongly flavored sauce. If your recipe calls for a tablespoon of miso paste you should substitute ½ teaspoon of fish sauce. You can always add more to taste.

How To Substitute

The authentic, robust, and umami flavor of fish makes it a popular choice to replace miso paste in various recipes. It works terrific with several dishes such as soups, stews, gravy, salad dressing, etc.

Salt

Salt seems like too simple of a substitution to even consider. Sometimes though, it is the simplest things that are the most useful.

Everyone has salt on hand in their home, meaning that it is unlikely you will ever be out of it.

The issue with salt compared to the other substitution suggestions is that salt imparts no additional flavors to your dish, which could leave it tasting as though it is lacking depth.

You should be careful with the substitution to avoid over-salting your dish. We recommend beginning with ½ teaspoon of salt for each teaspoon of miso paste your recipe calls for.

How To Substitute

Salt seems like a simple and obvious alternative to miso paste; however, it is one of the valuable ingredients. Although it doesn’t make any addition to the flavors, it is still the easiest option to use instead of miso paste.

Soybean Paste (Doenjang)

This is an ingredient that is commonly found in Korean cuisine. This is a fairly similar texture and consistency to miso paste, making it an easy-to-use substitute.

The issue with Doenjang is that it can be even harder to locate than miso paste. It is also very high in salt when compared to miso paste, and it can be very easy to over-season your food.

We advise halving the quantity of miso paste that the recipe calls for when substituting for Doenjang. This means that if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon miso paste, you will use ½ tablespoon Doenjang.

How To Substitute

One of the most popular staples in Korean cuisine is soybean paste (Doenjang), which is made from fermented soybeans. It resembles miso paste in consistency and texture. However, it is higher in salt and can easily overwhelm the taste of your recipe when used.

Tahini

Tahini is a sesame seed paste popular in Mediterranean cuisine and one of the most vital ingredients in hummus. It is a rich and creamy sauce that adds immeasurable depth and complexity of flavor to any dish it is used in.

The flavor profile of tahini is not hugely close to that of miso paste. This means that it works best as a substitute when your recipe only calls for small quantities of miso paste.

If your recipe is miso flavored, you will not achieve the same results using tahini instead.

How To Substitute

Tahini may not be the best alternative in all your recipes as its flavor is nowhere close to miso paste. Still, if any of your calls for miso paste in a small quantity, you may try it.

Tamari (Or Soy Sauce)

Tamari is a gluten-free version of soy sauce. Both of these products are produced through the fermentation of soybeans. This lends them a very similar flavor profile to miso paste.

Tamari is slightly lower in salt than soy sauce, and so seasoning levels may need adjusting depending on which substance you opt for.

Tamari also has a slightly thicker consistency than soy sauce, making it easier to substitute for miso paste. It is recommended that you halve the quantities the recipe calls for of miso paste when substituting for tamari.

How To Substitute

Tamari is prepared by fermenting soybeans and has a similar flavor to miso paste. However, it would be best to use it wisely due to its thicker consistency and lower salt. It is best to replace one tablespoon of miso paste with half a tablespoon of tamari.

RELATED: 10 Best Red Curry Paste Substitutes

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is another of those substitutions that sounds odd, but trust us, it works! Tomato paste is an easily accessible substitute with similar notes of richness, acidity, and savoriness.

You should bear in mind that the color of tomato paste could cause your overall dish to become discolored, particularly if you are adding large quantities of it.

Some people like to combine their tomato paste with a little soy sauce for a more accurate imitation of miso paste.

How To Substitute

Tomato paste’s richness and savory flavor are similar to miso paste’s. Although it could ruin the aesthetics of your recipe, it would taste similar to miso paste. Try adding a little soy sauce if you want a more authentic flavor.

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is a staple store cupboard ingredient in almost every home.

The flavor profile is not a close match to miso paste, but it is similar enough to work in a pinch. You can substitute vegetable stock directly for miso paste.

There are 2 main considerations to take into account with this substitution: the salt content and the consistency. Stock is very liquid, and so it can change the overall consistency of your dish, especially if you are using large quantities.

It is also a very salty liquid, and you should be prepared to dial back the additional seasonings in your dish to counteract this.

How To Substitute

Miso paste is a flavorful, salty soybean paste that is best for soups and sauces with low sodium. If your recipe calls for a low-sodium alternative to miso paste, then the vegetable stock is a flavorful, salt-free, and vegan alternative to miso paste. Vegetable stock is suitable for soups and sauces.

Mushrooms

The flavor and taste of mushrooms resemble miso paste, although it’s not similar. Therefore, it is one of the best substitutes to replace miso paste.

You may try different mushrooms, like dry shiitake mushrooms, that will bring the umami flavor out of your dish, and you will love the presentation it provides to your dish.

The more brown your mushrooms are, the more intense the umami flavor you get.

How To Substitute

You may use 1 cup of mushroom for 1 cup of miso paste.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the best and easy-to-find substitute for miso paste. It has distinctive umami and tangy flavor and gives your recipe a fantastic texture and flavor.

To substitute miso paste, you may use both dried and fresh tomatoes. However, if you want a more intense umami flavor go for dried ones.

How To Substitute

Use tomatoes for miso paste in a 1:1 ratio.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is one of the oldest cheeses and comes with an umami flavor similar to miso paste, making it one of the best alternatives.

Although it has a similar flavor, you should use it wisely to replace the miso paste.

How To Substitute

Add parmesan cheese to your recipe in small quantities starting. Then you may use it to reach the exact taste and flavor similar to your requirement.

Chickpeas Paste

If you are looking for a similar taste and exact flavor that resembles miso paste, you may replace it with chickpea paste to get the authentic flavor.

The miso paste is intact with many nutrient benefits and comes with a low-calorie content. As a result, it makes it an excellent option for people looking to cut their calorie intake.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace the miso paste with chickpeas paste.

Coconut Aminos

With a sweet and savory taste, coconut aminos are derived from the sap of coconut trees. It is gluten-free and soy free.

It is a liquid substitute for thick miso paste, and it will be difficult for you to use it in the recipe else it will mess up the consistency and texture of your recipe.

How To Substitute

You may use it in ½ quantity, then your recipe calls for and adds salt. You may add more if your recipe calls for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do I Find Miso Paste?

Miso paste is typically not too hard to locate. Many large grocery stores will stock it, either in their world food aisle or in the refrigerated section.

If you cannot find it here, you will be able to stock up on it at any Asian grocery store.

When buying miso paste we recommended looking for one that does not contain stabilizers or preservatives. There are a number of different types of miso paste, and it is important to choose the right one for your recipe.

How Do You Store Miso?

As miso is a fermented food, it holds up very well in storage. It is advised to store miso in the refrigerator in the container that you purchased it in.

Provided that you seal the container tightly, your miso paste should keep for up to a year without deterioration in quality.

Lighter varieties of miso will begin to turn before the darker varieties, as they are less fermented. Miso paste is prone to oxidation (the process that turns the flesh of cut apples brown) and can become discolored during storage.

To prevent this, we recommend placing a sheet of plastic wrap on the exposed surface of the miso paste before sealing with the lid.

Is Miso Good For You?

Yes, miso paste has a number of positive health impacts. It is relatively low in calories and fat and contains decent amounts of manganese, copper, zinc, and Vitamin K.

It is also a source of B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, choline, phosphorus, and selenium.

Soybean miso paste is a complete protein source. This is because soybeans contain all of the essential amino acids required for optimal health.

The fermentation process that the miso paste undergoes also means that the resultant product contains a lot of probiotics, important bacteria to retain the health of your gut microbiome.

The 15 Best Substitutes For Miso Paste

5 from 6 votes
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 
Total time

2

hours 

20

minutes

Miso paste is a staple in Asian cooking, but it can be hard to find. Here are 10 great substitutes for miso paste.

Ingredients

  • Anchovy Paste

  • Dashi

  • Fermented Black Beans

  • Fish Sauce

  • Salt

  • Soybean Paste (Doenjang)

  • Tahini

  • Tamari (Or Soy Sauce)

  • Tomato Paste

  • Vegetable Stock

  • Mushrooms

  • Tomatoes

  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Chickpeas Paste

  • Coconut Aminos

Directions

  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith