Sea bream pickled in spicy sauce, shrimp with miso paste, egg and fish cake, beef, fuki stuffed in plum sauce, fukimoto mixed with tofu, shiitake mushroom and sea cucumber inside

6 Awesome Miso Paste Substitutes: Exploring Your Options

Spencer B. 6 months ago 0 17

If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, chances are that miso paste is a staple in your kitchen. The fermented soybean paste provides an incomparable umami flavor to many dishes and can be difficult to replicate with other ingredients. Unfortunately, if it’s not readily available or doesn’t fit specific dietary restrictions, you can use several Miso Paste Substitutes!

Miso Paste Substitutes: Exploring Your Options

In this article, we will discover the best Miso Paste Substitutes and how they can be used in cooking – creating delicious meals without compromising taste.

What is Miso Paste?

Before we explore alternative ingredients, let’s take a closer look at miso paste and its many uses. Miso paste is produced through fermentation of cooked soybeans with koji (a type of fungus), salt, and oftentimes other grains such as barley or rice. Once fermented for several months to years, the mixture forms into a thick condiment that carries an exceptionally flavorful umami taste. With countless culinary options available, this versatile ingredient can be incorporated in numerous dishes.

Miso paste is a multifaceted ingredient that can be used in soups, marinades, sauces, dressings, and even desserts. Its flavor ranges from mild to robust depending on the variety of miso utilized as well as how long it was fermented for. With its delectable taste and versatility in recipes; this incredible condiment should become an essential part of your pantry staples!

Miso Paste Substitutes

If you don’t have miso paste on hand or can’t use it due to dietary restrictions, there are several substitutes that you can use to achieve similar flavors and textures in your cooking. Here are some of the best miso paste substitutes:

Soy Sauce

When looking for an alternative to miso paste, soy sauce should be your go-to condiment. Derived from fermented soybeans and wheat, it brings a salty yet tantalizing umami flavor to any dish! Though it may not have the same viscosity or feel as miso paste, its versatility allows you to mix it into marinades, sauces, and dressings easily.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce advertising at Siam Square in Bangkok, Thailand
Kikkoman Soy Sauce advertising at Siam Square in Bangkok, Thailand

If substituting in a recipe that calls for miso paste however, always remember: use half the amount of soy sauce than said recipe requires – then adjust accordingly till desired flavour is achieved!


Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds and frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, has a distinctively nutty flavor with an incredibly creamy texture.

Miso Tahini Tarragon Vegan Butter
Miso Tahini Tarragon Vegan Butter

As it can be substituted for miso paste in some dishes – though not as flavorful – when swapping out to tahini you’ll need about half the amount of what’s called for in the recipe, adjusting accordingly according to your taste preferences.


Marmite is a beloved spread throughout the UK and beyond, boasting a distinctive umami flavor similar to miso paste.

My Mate Marmite(s) with Champagne or Guinness
My Mate Marmite(s) with Champagne or Guinness

Not only does it have an intensely savory taste, but its thick texture brings subtle richness to soups and stews. When using Marmite in place of miso paste for recipes, simply use half the amount called for and adjust according to your preference!


Vegemite, one of the most beloved spreads in Australia and New Zealand, has a bold flavor that is reminiscent to miso paste. Its thick consistency adds depth to soups and stews alike.

Vegemite on Toast
Vegemite on Toast

When using it as an alternative for miso paste in your recipes, simply halve the specified amount first then make further adjustments based on how you want it to taste!


Bouillon is a concentrated stock that is made by simmering meat or vegetables in water. It is commonly used as a flavor base for soups and stews, but can also be used as a miso paste substitute in certain dishes.

The tiny bouillon cube that strikes a blow against iron deficiency
The tiny bouillon cube that strikes a blow against iron deficiency

Bouillon has a salty, savory flavor that can add depth to sauces and dressings. When substituting bouillon for miso paste, use about half the amount called for in the recipe, and adjust to taste.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast offers a savory and nutty flavor that is perfect for vegan and vegetarian recipes. It has an incredibly fine texture that can easily amp up the flavors in sauces, dressings, and more. If you’re looking to switch things up from traditional miso paste, consider using nutritional yeast as a substitute – but make sure to cut down on the amount of it by half compared to what’s called for in your recipe! Don’t forget to adjust accordingly based on taste preference too!

Uses and Benefits

Miso paste and its substitutes can add a range of benefits to your cooking. Here are some of the uses and benefits of miso paste and its substitutes:

  • Flavor: Miso paste and its substitutes add a rich, savory umami flavor to dishes that can enhance the overall taste.
  • Nutritional Value: Miso paste and its substitutes are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.
  • Digestive Health: Miso paste and its substitutes contain probiotics, which can promote digestive health and support the immune system.
  • Versatility: Miso paste and its substitutes can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to marinades and dressings.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Miso paste and its substitutes are suitable for a range of dietary restrictions, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets.


If you’re looking to add a delicious umami flavor to your dishes, miso paste is an ideal ingredient. However, if it’s not available or isn’t suitable for your dietary needs, there are plenty of alternatives that provide similar flavors and textures in the kitchen! From soy sauce to nutritional yeast – these substitutes can give meals depth while still delivering healthful nutrients. So why not experiment with different ingredients and find the perfect one(s) that match both your preferences and nutritional requirements?

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