11 Best Miso Paste Substitutes

Miso paste is an amazing ingredient that can be used in so many ways. It’s packed with umami, which means it adds depth and savory flavors to any dish.

Miso paste is delicious and nutritious, but it can be hard to find at the grocery store.

And let me tell you, I know how frustrating it is when your pantry staples run out and you have to find the right alternatives.

Fortunately, if you don’t have miso paste on hand, there are plenty of other miso paste substitutes you can use in its place.

To make your search easier, I’m sharing the 11 best substitutes for miso paste that offer a similar flavor profile. But before that, let’s take a quick look at the original ingredient.

What is Miso Paste?

Miso paste is a staple in Japanese cuisine, but it’s also used in many other countries. It is a type of seasoning made from fermented soybeans, barley or rice, and a fungus called koji. It comes in different colors, flavors, and textures.

The paste is high in protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. It has a salty, earthy flavor that’s perfect for adding depth to sauces, soups, and marinades.

Miso paste is not only used for soup broths and dipping sauces: it’s also added to many marinated dishes and baked goods.

It can be found in Japanese dishes like miso soup, ramen, teriyaki sauce, and rice balls (onigiri).

In addition, miso adds unique flavor profiles to salad dressings, sauces, dips, and marinades.

9 Best Miso Paste Substitutes

1. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a great substitute for miso paste. It is a fermented sauce made from soybeans, wheat, and salt.

It has a salty, umami flavor that will add depth to your dish. Plus, it’s easy to find at the grocery store.

Soy sauce is a good substitute for miso paste in soups, dressings, and other recipes that use it.

2. Tahini Paste

Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and has a nutty, earthy flavor, and a creamy texture. It is used in many Middle Eastern dishes, like hummus.

Tahini is a great substitute for miso paste in salad dressings or pasta sauces because the flavor profile is similar.

It is also high in protein and healthy fats, making it a nutritious choice.

3. Tamari Sauce

Tamari Substitutes

Tamari is another fermented soybean sauce that has a salty, savory taste. It is thicker than soy sauce and has a deep, rich flavor.

It has a similar taste profile to miso paste but is thicker and darker in color. It is also made from soybeans and wheat, so it’s perfect for vegetarians or anyone with gluten intolerance.

You can use tamari sauce as a substitute in dressings, sauces, marinades, dips, and noodle dishes.

4. Vegetable Stock

If you don’t have any miso paste on hand, vegetable stock is a great substitute.

It is made from water, vegetables, and herbs. It has a mild flavor that will not overpower your dish.

You can use vegetable stock as a base for soups, sauces, and dips. It is also a good choice for anyone who is vegan or vegetarian.

5. Soybean Paste

Soybean paste is made from fermented soybeans and has a salty, earthy flavor. It is used in many Asian dishes, like stir-fries and sauces.

Soybean paste is a good substitute for miso paste in dishes that call for it. It is easy to find at Asian grocery stores and has a similar flavor profile.

6. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce Substitutes

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish and salt. It has a strong, salty taste and is used in many Southeast Asian dishes.

Fish sauce can be used as a substitute for miso paste in dipping sauces, dressings, marinades, or any dish that calls for it.

It will add a savory flavor to your dish and is high in protein.

7. Dashi

Dashi is a Japanese stock made from fish flakes (bonito) and kombu seaweed. It has a rich flavor profile with notes of celery, mushrooms, and the ocean.

Dashi can be used in place of miso paste in dipping sauces, soups, dressings, marinades, or any dish that calls for it. It will add a salty umami flavor to your dish.

8. Salt

Salt is a basic ingredient that can be used as a substitute for miso paste. And as the name suggests, it has a salty, earthy flavor and is perfect for adding flavor to any dish.

Salt can be used in place of miso paste in any recipe that calls for it. Just be sure to add enough salt to your dish so that the flavor stands out.

9. Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans are small, red bean that is popular in Japanese cuisine. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and are often used in desserts. They are used in Asian and Caribbean dishes.

Adzuki beans can be used as miso paste substitutes in soups or stews because of their similar texture and flavor. The red color will also add a pop of color to your dish.

10. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a type of legume that has a nutty, earthy flavor. They are used in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes.

Chickpeas can be used as substitutes for miso paste in hummus, falafel, and other dishes that call for it.

They have a similar texture and flavor to miso paste. Chickpeas are also high in protein and fiber, making them a healthy choice.

11. Anchovy Paste

Anchovy Paste

Anchovy paste is made from anchovies, salt, oil, and spices. It has a strong flavor that can be used in dressings or sauces.

Anchovy paste is similar to miso paste because it is also made with fermented ingredients.

You can use anchovy paste as a substitute for miso paste in any dish that calls for it. It will add a salty, umami flavor to your dish.

What Does Miso Paste Taste Like?

Miso paste is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, barley, or rice. It has a salty and slightly sweet taste that is earthy and umami-rich.

Miso paste has a savory flavor that enhances the flavor of any dish. It has a thick texture with a red or brown color.

The color will vary depending on what kind of miso paste is being used.

Different Types of Miso Paste

There are several different types of miso paste which vary in ingredients and flavors:

1. Red Miso

Containing the most amount of soybeans with a little bit of rice or barley mixed in. This type of miso has a very salty flavor with a deep, reddish-brown color.

2. White Miso

Made from mostly rice and soybeans rather than barley or rice. White miso paste has a sweeter flavor and lighter appearance compared to red miso.

It is commonly used for dipping sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. This type of miso has a very salty flavor with a light yellow color.

3. Yellow Miso

A mixture of rice, soybeans, and barley. Similar to red or white miso paste, yellow miso is used for soup broths and dipping sauces.

This type of miso has a salty flavor with an earthy appearance similar to peanut butter –  but lighter in color than red or white miso.

4. Green Miso

This variety of miso paste is made with mostly soybeans, but also contains a small amount of barley.

It has a light flavor and is the most commonly used miso in the US. It’s typically used for dressings, sauces, dips, and spreads.

Can I Use Miso Powder Instead of Miso Paste?

In a pinch, you can substitute miso powder for miso paste. Keep in mind that they are certainly not equivalent, and the substituted product will have slightly different properties.

Moreover, you’ll lose most of the benefits of using true miso paste since it is less processed than the powder form. So it’s better to stick with miso paste if you can.

Is Miso Soup The Same As Miso Paste?

Miso soup is a mixture of miso paste with stock, soy sauce, and other flavors.

A small amount of miso paste goes a long way in terms of flavor, so it doesn’t take very much to change a dish from bland to delicious.

How Long Does Miso Paste Last If Not Refrigerated?

Miso paste can last for about six months in a cupboard or pantry. After that, it will start to lose its potency and flavor.

Just like most other foods, miso paste is best when used fresh. However, if you need to store it for an extended period of time, put it in the fridge.

What Can’t I Do With Leftover Miso Paste?

If you have leftover miso paste, keep it in the fridge. It will last for a few days, but after that point, it will start to degrade and lose its potency.

Final Words

There are many types of miso paste substitutes that can be used to make tasty and healthy dishes.

Have you tried any? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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