Many people keep only the bare necessities in their spice rack like salt, garlic powder, pepper, and possibly some paprika. Only a few keep a spare bottle of miso paste on hand.
Nowadays, miso paste is used in many recipes, from salads to soups to marinades. Despite its growing popularity, it is still unavailable in many parts of the United States, and ordering online can be costly. Here are some alternatives you can consider.
- Soy Sauce
- Vegetable Stock
- Fish Sauce
- Tahini Sauce
- Chinese Fermented Black Beans
- Chickpeas Paste
Before you despair and give up on that delectable recipe you’ve been eyeing, remember that whether your options are limited or extensive, you will still be able to find a replacement that works.
What Is Miso Paste?
Miso is made from fermented soybean, rice, and other grains such as barley or buckwheat paste. It is widely used in various Japanese dishes, particularly soups and sauces. It has an ‘umami’ flavor, Japanese for ‘savory.’
DID YOU KNOW?
Miso is made with the help of a fungus called koji. This fungus is used to create a variety of fermented dishes.
There are at least 1,000 types of miso paste, each with its unique color, flavor, and texture.
Nowadays, miso paste is widely available in supermarkets worldwide and is frequently used in Western cuisine. It is nutrient-dense, which is why millions of people adore it.
13 Best Substitute For Miso Paste
When it’s challenging to obtain high-quality miso paste from reputable brands, it’s natural to seek out substitutes that work in your cooking recipes. We recommend using substitutes that have the flavor closet to miso paste like soy sauce and tamari.
You can also consider the comprehensive list below for the best miso paste substitutes and their effectiveness.
Because miso is created by fermenting soybeans, soy sauce seamlessly incorporates the intricate flavor of soy and saltiness into your recipes.
If you’ve only recently heard of this amazing sauce, you should start including it on your list of must-have ingredients. Soy sauce enjoys a widespread reputation in Asian cuisines that it can be used with almost any savory dish. It’s incredibly versatile and works well as a flavor enhancer in soups, sauces, and marinades.
However, remember that this sauce is thin and watery in texture, whereas miso is creamy and multicolored. This texture difference may not be noticeable when used in soups or dressings. When using soy sauce, use one tablespoon instead of the two tablespoons specified in the recipe.
Tamari is another option that will give you a similar flavor and taste when making sauces or ramen.
Tamari is the Japanese equivalent of soy sauce. As a result, it bears a resemblance to soy sauce. Although the substitute is darker and saltier than miso paste, it has a more pungent umami taste.
Thus, tamari and miso can be used interchangeably despite their distinct forms. You can substitute miso for tamari and vice versa if you understand the correct ratio between the two.
When substituting this for miso in your meals for the first time, you should start with about half the amount specified in the recipe, then taste and adjust as desired.
The most noticeable difference between miso pastes and tamari is the texture, as tamari is not a paste. It is a substance that is liquid. Therefore, keep an eye on the remaining ingredients when using this option.
Another miso paste alternative is dashi, a Japanese stock made from simmering water, bonito fish flakes, and dried kelp. As a result, this stock is salty and has a distinct fish flavor. This substitution does not work for vegetarians.
Dashi is occasionally used as the base for miso soup and is excellent for ramen, sauces, and stews in the form of miso paste.It is used in various dishes to impart an umami flavor.
Dashi is less salty than miso substitutes such as tamari or soy sauce, so that you can substitute the same amount of dashi for the miso in your cooking recipes. It’s perfect for flavorful and delicious dishes that require more liquid, as the texture is different from miso paste.
Vegetable stocks are a popular substitute for mellow white miso. Due to the stock’s light color, it is ideal for mashed potato recipes and vegetable soups.
Vegetable stocks, made from umami seasonings, a variety of vegetables, and herbs, are the healthiest alternative to miso paste. Due to its tanginess, which is comparable to miso paste, is suitable for use in liquid vegetarian dishes.
As vegetable stocks are a flexible ingredient, you can combine them with various vegan dishes to achieve the flavor you desire.
Fish sauce is another excellent miso substitute. It is a thin, fermented fish sauce widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine.
Fish sauce is an excellent substitute because it imparts a robust fermented flavor to your dish. It is, however, much thinner than miso, like soy sauce.
Another disadvantage of fish sauce is its flavor that is significantly more robust than miso. As a result, when substituting, drastically reduce the amount. Half a teaspoon of fish sauce is recommended in place of a tablespoon of miso paste.
As with soy sauce, it is excellent to substitute miso paste for fish sauce when it is a flavor component rather than a texture component of a recipe. Likewise, it is a superior alternative for red miso than white miso.
Fish sauce has a robust fermented, salty flavor reminiscent of red miso paste.
Tahini paste, made from ground sesame seeds, is another versatile substitute for miso paste.
It has a buttery texture and a slightly bitter flavor, but it imparts a similar color as miso paste, allowing it to be used in place of miso paste.
Tahini paste can be used in the same way that miso paste makes dressings, sauces, and marinades. However, this option is denser and may impart bitterness to your dishes, so bear that in mind. Remember to check to see if tahini spoils before opting for this replacement.
Chinese Fermented Black Beans
Instead of soybeans, this common ingredient is fermented using black beans. However, the difference in bean type is not a significant disadvantage because once fermented, the saltiness masks the bean’s distinctive flavor.
This condiment is well-known for its salty and sweet flavor, making it an excellent substitute for red miso paste in savory recipes such as marinades, mapo tofu, and stir-fries.
However, the texture of this alternative for miso soup is more abrasive than that of soybeans, which are typically used to season sauces and dishes rather than consumed raw.
You can also use chickpea paste or hummus in place of miso paste because it has a somewhat similar flavor to miso paste.
Sesame, garlic, lemon juice, and salt enhance the flavor of chickpea paste, giving it the same umami flavor as miso paste. Additionally, the texture of hummus is as complex as miso paste.
Additionally, because hummus is made from chickpeas, it is as nutritious as miso paste. It is nutrient-dense, containing vitamins, fiber, phosphorus, and iron, but is low in calories.
As a result, chickpea paste is highly versatile when adding flavor to your dishes.
Soybean paste, also known as Doenjang, is comparable to miso paste in that both are made through the fermentation of soybeans. In Korean cuisine, soybean paste is typically used as a seasoning for sauces and soups.
When using soybean paste as a substitute for miso paste, exercise caution as it has a strong salty flavor that may overpower the other components of your dish. It is best used in place of red miso paste.
As a miso paste substitute, anchovies possess the umami flavor associated with miso paste. This substitute has a distinctly fishy taste and can be used as an alternative for miso paste in soups and sauces.
Anchovy paste is a ground anchovy fillet paste. It is readily accessible in various food stores and specialty shops, typically in small tubes.
If you cannot find a substitute identical to miso paste, you can substitute something with a flavor or texture that resembles a unique miso feature.
Therefore, if you need to add umami flavor to your dishes, you have several options from mushrooms. Mushrooms, particularly dried shiitake mushrooms, have an intense umami flavor, the darker the mushrooms, the stronger the umami flavor.
Tomato puree, or paste, is widely available and has acidic, rich, savory flavors reminiscent of miso paste.
It will alter the color and flavor of your dish slightly, so use sparingly, but it will provide the necessary level of richness comparable to red miso.
Depending on how much miso paste your recipe calls for, it could be that you just need something to improve the overall flavor profile of your dish, and salt might be just the key.
If your recipe needs one teaspoon of miso paste, begin with a half-teaspoon of salt and adjust as desired.
Miso Paste Substitute Related FAQs
What can miso paste be used for?
Combine with other crucial spices and ingredients to make ramen broth. This is probably the most common use for miso paste.
For Meats, Miso butter is frequently accompanied by grilled steak, salmon and roast ham. Due to its exceptional umami flavor without meat, it also adds flavor to vegetarian soups and stews.[Source]
Miso paste also helps to enhance the flavor of marinades. You can enhance the texture and taste by marinating the meat in miso paste before cooking.
Is miso paste healthy?
Miso paste is not simply flavorful but also beneficial to your health.
It is high in protein, copper, and various vitamins, including B, E, K, and folic acid.
Miso paste helps in digestion and nutrition absorption by enhancing beneficial bacteria in miso paste through the fermentation process.
Regularly consuming a variety of fermented foods like miso may minimise your need for antibiotic therapy when fighting infection.[Source]
How to properly store miso paste?
Miso paste storage is very similar to tomato paste storage. The most common method is to store it in a dark, cool location, such as the refrigerator. Keep the paste in an airtight container for three months.