4 Miso Substitutes

Miso is a Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans. It is used to add a savory flavor (also known as ‘unami’) to dishes. 

4 Miso Substitutes

It has a robust and savory taste, with a creamy-like consistency, and is often used in soups, broths, and stir-fries. 

Since it has quite a distinct flavor, it can be frustrating if it is needed in a recipe, but you simply can’t find any, or you’ve run out of your last pot. 

This article is going to provide you with some wonderful alternatives for miso paste – you may already have them lying around in your kitchen somewhere! 

1. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce can work great as a miso substitute, due to its savory and salty taste. 

However, it is more of a liquid than miso, so it is best to start with less and work your way up as you see fit when it comes to your recipe. 

If the miso in your recipe is only intended to serve as a flavoring, then using soy sauce as an alternative is great.

On the other hand, if miso is a large part of the recipe, then the difference in consistency may be too much. 

2. Fish Sauce

Made from fermented fish, fish sauce is a wonderful substitute for miso paste. It has a savory flavor that resembles that of miso, but it has more of a liquid consistency, like soy sauce. 

It also has a much stronger taste than miso, so if using fish paste as a substitute, use it sparingly.

It is recommended that if your recipe requires a tablespoon of miso paste, you should use half a teaspoon of fish sauce. 

3. Tahini

While tahini has an entirely different flavor to miso paste, it has a similar consistency. Therefore, it is a great substitute if the miso is needed in order to add body and thickness to your dish. 

However, if your recipe requires miso for its taste, then tahini alone will not suffice. You’d need to combine it with some other sauces and spices in order to recreate the flavor of miso. 

Tahini is made from sesame seeds and has a nutty flavor. 

4. Vegetable Stock 

Although it is made from vegetables and not proteins, the vegetable stock has a wonderful savory flavor, which can work great as a substitute for miso paste. 

However, much like some of the other alternatives on this list, it is a liquid, so it won’t be useful if you need to add texture and consistency to your dish. 

Vegetable stock is best used when your dish needs that miso flavor, and you’re bound to have some lying around in your pantry!

Some dishes where you can substitute miso paste for vegetable stock are noodle dishes and soups. 

Final Thoughts 

Miso is used for either its consistency or flavor, so finding substitutes that can mimic both is key. 

However, you can also use more than one substitute in order to replicate the flavor and thickness appropriately. The trick is to keep on tasting, and add as you please! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Are The Different Types Of Miso? 

There are several types of miso that you’ll find in markets and grocery stores. These are red miso, white miso, and yellow miso. 

Red miso has a very salty flavor and is the darkest variety of miso you can find. As it has quite a strong taste, you’ll want to use it sparingly. It is mainly used in marinades and glades for different kinds of protein. 

White miso is the lightest of the three and has less salt content, making it milder in taste. This means it is a lot more versatile and it can be used in a variety of dishes. 

Yellow miso is known as a variation that falls in between the two. It is milder than red miso, but more powerful than white miso.

It has a strong flavor that isn’t too overpowering, so it can also be used in a variety of meals. 

Can You Use More Than One Substitute In A Dish? 

You can absolutely combine more than one substitute in a dish. For example, you may use tahini and soy sauce together in order to achieve the right flavor and consistency. 

4 Miso Substitutes

4 Miso Substitutes

Recipe by Jenna

Miso paste is a very popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. If you ever find yourself in need of miso, but can’t seem to find any, these substitutes should do the trick!

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Soy Sauce

  • Fish Sauce

  • Tahini

  • Vegetable Stock 


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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