8 Ways to Use Miso Paste

Do you have a tub of miso paste sitting in your refrigerator, left over from that one Japanese dish you made a while back?

8 Ways to Use Miso Paste

If so, you're probably wondering what else you can do with this salty, umami-packed paste.

Well, you'll be happy to know that miso has many versatile uses beyond just miso soup.

1. Enhance Ramen Broth

One of the most popular uses for miso paste is in ramen broth. Miso adds a rich, umami depth to the broth, making it incredibly flavorful and satisfying. To create a miso lime veggie ramen, start by sautéing hard vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, or carrots in a Dutch oven. Then, add aromatics such as garlic, lime juice and zest, cilantro, and miso paste. Once the aromatics are fragrant, pour in vegetable or chicken stock and bring it to a simmer. Once the vegetables are nearly tender, add your ramen noodles, soft vegetables, and edamame or other beans. When everything is cooked, remove it from the heat and stir in additional miso paste, lime juice, and soy sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and optional hot sauce.

2. Make Miso Butter

Miso butter is a game-changer for adding depth and complexity to various dishes. Cook Smarts users rave about this simple yet flavorful condiment, which can be used to enhance grilled steak, fish, tofu, pork chops, and more. To make miso butter, simply mash together softened butter, miso paste, and a squeeze of lime juice. You can also add additional ingredients like sriracha, green onion, or cilantro to suit your taste preferences. Use this miso butter as a finishing touch by spooning it over warm proteins, steamed vegetables, or rice.

3. Add Umami Flavor to Vegetarian Soups and Stews

Meat typically imparts a rich, umami flavor to soups and stews as its juices seep into the broth and vegetables. If you're following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might miss that savory depth. Fortunately, miso paste can help solve this problem. Simply whisk in about a tablespoon of miso paste per four servings of soup or stew to boost the umami flavor. This trick works exceptionally well in vegetarian versions of dishes like slow-cooker split pea soup or minestrone.

4. Create Delicious Pan Sauces

Elevate your meals with flavorful pan sauces, and miso paste can be a key ingredient in creating these sauces. After cooking meat or fish in a pan, remove it and deglaze the pan with stock or wine. Then, whisk in a mixture of miso paste, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, and a little water. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and incorporate them into the sauce as it simmers and thickens. Once done, pour this miso pan sauce over your cooked protein for an extra burst of flavor.

Key Takeaway: Miso paste is a versatile ingredient that can add a rich, umami depth to various dishes, from ramen broth and pan sauces to vegetarian soups and miso butter.

5. Add to Stir-Fries

Stir-fries are a fantastic way to incorporate miso paste into your meals. When making the sauce for your stir-fry, whisk in some miso paste along with other ingredients like soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and toasted sesame oil. Alternatively, you can stir in a dollop of miso butter toward the end of cooking for an extra flavor boost. For example, in the Chicken, Green Bean, and Mushroom Stir-fry, Cook Smarts users rave about the addition of miso butter, which they claim is the best part of the dish.

6. Enhance Marinades

Marinades are an excellent way to infuse proteins with flavor before cooking. Miso paste can be a fantastic addition to marinades, providing a salty, savory punch. For instance, in the Sriracha Chicken Ramen Salad recipe, half of the miso-based marinade is used to marinate the chicken before cooking, while the other half is reserved to dress the salad at the end. This technique ensures that the miso flavor permeates both the chicken and the salad dressing, creating a cohesive and delicious dish.

7. Create Crispy Panko Crusts

Panko breadcrumbs provide a delightful crunch when used as a coating for proteins or vegetables, but they can sometimes lack flavor on their own. To combat this, you can mix miso paste into the panko before breading. For example, in the Miso-Maple Crusted Chicken Breasts recipe, maple syrup and fresh ginger are combined with butter and then stirred into panko breadcrumbs. This mixture creates a flavorful crust that's slightly sweet, a little spicy, and altogether delicious when cooked until crispy.

8. Whisk into Salad Dressings

Miso paste can add a rich, robust flavor to salad dressings, making them a fantastic option for Asian-inspired salads. In the Tuna Roll Salad recipe, the dressing features miso paste, fresh ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and toasted sesame oil. This dressing creates a well-rounded balance of sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and umami flavors, perfectly complementing the seared tuna and other salad components.

Key Takeaway: From stir-fries and marinades to crispy panko crusts and salad dressings, miso paste can add a savory, umami punch to a variety of dishes.

DishMiso Paste Usage
Ramen BrothAdd to broth for rich umami flavor
Miso ButterMix with butter for a savory condiment
Vegetarian Soups/StewsWhisk in for meaty umami depth
Pan SaucesIncorporate into sauces for a flavor boost
Stir-FriesWhisk into stir-fry sauce or add miso butter
MarinadesUse in marinades for salty, savory flavors
Panko CrustsMix into panko for crispy, flavorful coatings
Salad DressingsAdd to dressings for robust, umami notes


What is miso paste made of?

Miso paste is a fermented condiment made from soybeans, salt, and a fungus called koji (Aspergillus oryzae). The ingredients are combined and then fermented for a period ranging from a few weeks to several years.

How long does miso paste last in the refrigerator?

If stored properly in the refrigerator, miso paste can last for up to a year without a significant reduction in quality.

Can I substitute different types of miso paste in recipes?

While lighter-colored misos tend to be sweeter and milder, while darker misos are saltier and more intense in flavor, you can generally substitute one type of miso for another in recipes. The flavor profile may vary slightly, but the overall result will still be delicious.

Is miso paste gluten-free?

Most varieties of miso paste are naturally gluten-free, as they are made from fermented soybeans and koji (a type of mold). However, it's always a good idea to check the label or consult with the manufacturer if you have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity.


As you can see, miso paste is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can add depth, complexity, and a rich umami flavor to various dishes.

From ramen broths and pan sauces to salad dressings and marinades, there are countless ways to incorporate this salty, savory paste into your cooking.

So the next time you find yourself with a tub of miso paste in your refrigerator, don't let it go to waste.

Experiment with these eight creative uses and discover the delicious possibilities that miso paste has to offer.

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