7 Delicious New Ways to Use Japanese Miso Paste

Miso paste is made from fermented soy beans (and other grains) and have been used extensively in Japanese cuisine for hundreds of years. It lends a savory or “umami” taste to dishes, some might even say salty or funky. In Western kitchens it’s not as popular as soy sauce, but it’s definitely a useful ingredient to have on hand. Read on to see how you can use it!

By Cookist

Like many ingredients, miso is available in different textures (smooth or chunky), and some varieties are also fermented for a longer period.  Light miso (also called sweet miso) has been fermented for a shorter period of time and has a higher rice to soybean ratio, resulting in a sweeter flavor. Dark miso is fermented for a longer time with more soybeans, which makes for a funkier, more intense miso paste. Whether you use a light or dark miso will depend on the recipe you’re making. Lighter miso pastes are best suited for salad dressings, while the darker ones work well in stews. When kept in the fridge, miso keeps for at least a year, so you will always have some on hand!

Sticky glaze

This glaze is perfect to brush on grilled meat, chicken, or fish, and it only takes a few minutes to make. Simmer 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp mirin (or dry sherry), 2 Tbsp light miso, 2 Tbsp dark miso, 1 tsp soy sauce, and 1 tsp sugar, until sticky and shiny.

Salad dressing


Convince meat lovers to eat more salad by making this savory salad dressing. Whisk 1 Tbsp mirin (or dry sherry), 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp miso paste, and dress your salad!

Cook onions

For a new take on caramelized onions, make miso onions. Cook thinly sliced onions in butter until soft and translucent. Then stir through a teaspoon of miso. Serve on burgers or crispy bread.



Use miso paste in a marinade for an umami punch. Mix 1/3 cup mirin (or dry sherry) with 2 Tbsp miso paste. Marinade meats for at least 30 minutes!

Pan sauce

Next time you cook proteins in a pan, use miso paste to make a quick pan sauce. After removing the chicken or fish from your sauté pan, stir in 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp light miso, and a splash of hot water. Stir until combined and glossy, and serve with your proteins!

Mashed potato


Forget the butter! Next time you make mashed potatoes, stir in hot milk with 2 tsp miso paste and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Serve as a rich side dish.


When sautéing vegetables, give the veggies a glossy, savory finish by adding butter with miso paste at the end. Serve as a side, or enjoy it as a main dish!

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