The Top 10 Miso Paste Recipes for Miso Soup, Stir Fries, and Meat Marinades

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Try adding a little miso paste to your cuisine to bring a bit extra umami to your day. Miso paste is an essential component in Japanese cuisine, used in soups, marinades for meat and fish, and for pickling vegetables. It also enhances the taste of ramen, stir fries, veggies, mayos, slaws, and other dishes.

While there are many forms of miso paste, the two primary types or colors of miso paste accessible to us in the US are white and red, and in this article, we look at some of the factors to consider when purchasing miso paste. We’ve also reviewed the top white miso pastes, as well as several reds and awase miso, to assist you choose your next miso paste purchase.

Best Selection

As a white miso paste that comes bundled with that all-important miso soup recipe, we recommend the non-GMO Miko Brand soybean paste shiro miso!

Budget Selection

The organic and MSG-free Hikari Miso organic white miso is our affordable and gluten-free white miso paste selection.

Product Name Grade
Miko Brand Soybean Paste Shiro Miso A
Hikari Organic Miso Paste A
Miko Brand Awase Miso Paste A-
Namikura Miso Co. Organic Red Aka Miso Paste A
Tetsujin Organic Shiro White Miso Paste A-
Koko Doenjang Korean Miso A
Roland White Miso Paste B+
Marukome Reduced Sodium Organic Miso B+
Maruman Organic Red Miso A-
Honzokuri Low Salt Miso A-

1. ​Miko Brand Soybean Paste Shiro Miso  

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 35.2 oz pack of white miso paste made in Japan
  • Made from soybean, rice malt, salt and alcohol as preservative
  • The soybeans are non-GMO and this miso does not contain any added MSG
  • The packaging includes a recipe for miso soup

Miko Brand soybean paste shiro miso is prepared in Japan from non-GMO soybeans and does not include MSG. The box includes a recipe for miso soup as well as a 35.2 ounce bag.

This white miso is prepared with soybeans, rice malt, salt, and alcohol as a preservative. This will keep for a while on the shelf, however some purchasers are unsure if it needs be chilled before opening. Since it is a fermented paste, it should not need to be refrigerated until opened. Since the package is not resealable, you will need to keep it in another container after you open it.


  • White miso
  • Made in Japan
  • Non-GMO
  • Free from added MSG
  • Includes miso soup recipe


  • Contains alcohol as a preservative
  • You cannot reseal the packaging after opening

2. Hikari Organic Miso Paste 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Certified USDA organic white miso in a 17.6 oz resealable container
  • Does not contain any added MSG, additives or GMO ingredients
  • Made in Japan with organic rice, soybeans, salt, yeast and Koji culture
  • Certified as gluten free

Hikari Miso organic white miso is made with 100% organic rice and soybeans, as well as salt, yeast, and Koji culture, and is devoid of GMO ingredients, additives, and MSG. It is not only USDA certified organic, but it is also gluten free. This paste is prepared in Japan using a lengthy fermentation process that gives it its particular rich and deep flavor and fragrance.

This comes in a 17.6 ounce container that may be resealed after opening, however some consumers have reported that the pack was broken, enabling the paste to flow out. The unusual customer also thinks the hue is deeper than anticipated, maybe because to the lower expiry dates.


  • White miso
  • USDA organic
  • Gluten free
  • No added MSG
  • Made in Japan
  • Resealable container


  • There is a risk of the resealable pack being damaged
  • The color of this may be darker than you would expect for a white miso

3. Miko Brand Awase Miso Paste

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 17.6 oz pack of awase miso which is a blend of red and white miso pastes
  • This is produced in Japan
  • Made from soybean, rice malt and salt and uses alcohol as a preservative
  • The pack is resealable after opening

Miko Brand awase miso paste is made in Japan from a combination of white and red miso. This paste contains soybean, rice malt, salt, and alcohol as a preservative.

This is a 17.6 ounce pack that may be resealed once opened. The packaging may be broken during delivery, and like with other miso pastes, there may be some doubt as to whether it should be refrigerated before opening. The flavor of this has also disappointed the occasional consumer.


  • Awase miso
  • Blend of white and red miso pastes
  • Made in Japan
  • Resealable pack


  • ​The odd buyer has not been as keen on the taste of this blended miso
  • ​Confusion over whether it should be refrigerated before opening
  • ​Contains alcohol as a preservative

4. Namikura Miso Co. Organic Red Aka Miso Paste 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 2.2 lbs. pack of organic red miso paste
  • Aged for at least six months with more soybeans and less rice
  • As well as being certified USDA organic, this is also certified kosher
  • Shelf stable but should be refrigerated after opening

The Namikura Miso Co. aka miso organic soybean paste is a red miso paste that has been matured for at least six months to produce a more flavorful and darker paste. This, too, is fermented with more soybeans and less rice, as well as water and salt.

This is made in Japan and is USDA organic and kosher certified. This 2.2 pound bag is shelf stable but should be refrigerated once opened. The packaging is not ideal, since there is a risk of damage to the package seams, and you will need to store it in another container because the pack is not resealable.


  • Red miso paste
  • Aged for 6+ months
  • Organic
  • Kosher
  • ​Made in Japan


  • There is a chance that you may receive this with damaged packaging
  • The packaging is not resealable so you will need to store it in another container

5. Tetsujin Organic Shiro White Miso Paste 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 2.2lbs pack of white miso paste
  • Certified USDA organic and ECOCERT
  • Made from water, organic soybeans, organic rice and salt
  • Does not contain any added MSG
  • This paste is also certified kosher and comes with a satisfaction guarantee

Tetsujin organic shiro paste is a white miso paste that is USDA organic and ECOCERT certified (organic certification organization). This paste has no alcohol or added MSG and is produced from water, organic soybeans, organic rice, and salt. It is also kosher certified.

This paste has a unique, sweet and mild flavor with a little umami scent that works well in marinades for meat or fish and salad dressings. This is a 2.2-pound BPA-free pack that is shelf stable until opened, at which point it should be refrigerated in an airtight container. This is also backed by a satisfaction guarantee.

The odd customer has been dissatisfied since this was made in China rather than Japan, and there is a risk of the pack leaking during delivery. Some purchasers would also want to see this in a lower size pack.


  • White miso
  • Organic
  • BPA-free pack
  • No added MSG
  • Kosher
  • Satisfaction guarantee


  • This is produced in China rather than Japan
  • Only comes as a larger 2.2 lbs. pack
  • Risk of the packaging leaking during shipping

6. Koko Doenjang Korean Miso 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Korean miso paste or doenjang which is imported from Korea
  • Made with dried fermented soybeans and salt
  • Available in three different sizes of jar
  • Certified kosher, gluten free and vegan

KOKO is a Korean brand that was imported. Doenjang soy bean paste is a kosher-certified Korean miso paste. It is also vegetarian and gluten free. This is comparable to Japanese miso paste and is used in many Korean recipes. This is available in three plastic jar sizes, including an 8.1 oz jar, and is produced from dry fermented soybeans and salt. Doenjang has a somewhat different texture than miso paste, which you may like depending on how you want to use it.


  • Korean miso paste
  • Made in Korea
  • Kosher
  • Vegan
  • Gluten free


  • Has a different texture to Japanese miso
  • Does not contain any rice or barley like typical miso pastes

7. Roland White Miso Paste

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A twin pack of 35.3 oz bags of white miso paste
  • Made from water, soybeans, rice, salt and alcohol
  • This does not contain any gluten
  • Is manufactured in Japan

The Roland shiro miso is a gluten-free white miso paste made in Japan. This is a twin pack of 35.3 oz bags produced with water, soybeans, rice, salt, and alcohol. While it is a white miso, several customers have reported that it is darker in color than anticipated. This may be too huge for certain houses as a greater amount.


  • White miso paste
  • Made in Japan
  • Gluten free
  • Larger pack


  • As a larger pack, this may be too big for your household depending on how much you use
  • Some buyers have found this to be a darker paste than they would expect for a white miso
  • Contains alcohol as a preservative

8. Marukome Reduced Sodium Organic Miso 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 13.2 oz resealable pack of reduced sodium white miso
  • This is an authentic Japanese-style miso made in the US by the largest Japanese miso manufacturer
  • Contains 25% less sodium than a standard white miso
  • Certified by USDA organic and Canada Organic
  • Also certified as gluten free and kosher

Marukome reduced sodium organic miso is a genuine Japanese-style white miso that is USDA organic and Canada Organic certified. It is also kosher-certified and gluten-free. This miso is created in the United States by Japan’s biggest miso manufacturer and has 25% less sodium than conventional miso. It is prepared using water, organic soybeans, organic rice, sea salt, and organic alcohol. This is available in a 13.2 ounce resealable pack and is shelf stable, but should be refrigerated once opened.

There is a potential that the packaging may be destroyed during shipment, and some customers think it tastes saltier than other low sodium miso pastes. But, since it is lower in sodium, it can provide a new flavor to a meal.


  • White miso
  • Reduced sodium
  • Organic
  • Kosher
  • Gluten free


  • Some buyers consider this is saltier than other lower sodium pastes
  • As it is reduced sodium, some may find it gives a slightly different taste to the dish

9. Maruman Organic Red Miso 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 26.4 oz pack of red miso
  • The container is resealable after opening
  • This is made in Japan and certified as organic in Japan

The Maruman organic red miso is made in Japan and comes in a resealable 26.4 ounce jar. This is a saltier red miso, and although it is organic, it is only presently certified organic in Japan, not the United States. Several customers have expressed disappointment because the labeling is in Japanese rather than English.


  • Red miso
  • Made in Japan
  • Organic
  • Resealable pack


  • Not currently registered as organic in the US, just in Japan
  • Japanese rather than English labelling

​10. Honzokuri Low Salt Miso 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A miso genen or low sodium miso which is made in Japan
  • Free from any added MSG, this is made with soybeans, rice, salt and water
  • This comes as a 26.4 oz pack which is resealable
  • Contains 6980 mg of sodium per serving

Hozukuri miso genen is a Japanese low sodium miso produced with soybeans, rice, salt, and water. It doesn’t have any additional MSG. You may reseal the 26.4 oz bottle once opened, however there is a danger of the container being destroyed.

Since this still includes 690 mg of sodium per serving, consider it a reduced sodium miso rather than a low sodium miso.


  • Miso genen (low salt miso)
  • Made in Japan
  • Free from added MSG
  • No added alcohol
  • Resealable pack


  • Still contains 690 mg of sodium per serving so you may want to treat as reduced rather than lower sodium
  • The container can be prone to damage during shipping

Considerations When Purchasing Miso Paste

Miso paste is created from cooked soybeans, a grain that has been cultivated with Koji (a mold), water, and salt. A tiny amount of miso from a previous batch is frequently incorporated to assist kickstart the fermentation.

This combination is then let to ferment for many months to several years. It thickens and darkens as it ferments. Miso that has been fermented for a longer period of time has a more nuanced flavor and scent, as well as a saltier taste.

Used in miso soup, where it is blended with dashi soup stock, miso may be used in a variety of recipes; however, whenever you use miso, avoid boiling it. Since miso is alive (similar to yogurt), the boiling temperature will destroy the beneficial microorganisms.

Miso is normally used towards the end of cooking, when the heat is set down or off. Since miso does not soften fast, straining it into the dish or combining it in a separate dish with extra liquid before adding it to the pan helps prevent miso lumps.

If you’re using it in salad dressings, consider diluting it with sake or olive oil before adding it to the dressing.

There are around 1,300 different types of miso. Some of the variables that characterize various miso pastes include where it is manufactured, the kind of Koji culture used, component quantities, and how it ferments. Miso paste is often classified by color, with white and red being the most common miso paste hues available in the United States. Since miso is often used in miso soup, you may come across miso paste that already contains dashi stock (dashi iri).

Miso Paste (White) (Miso Shiro)

The best miso paste for homemade soup is usually a white paste. Since white miso or shiro miso is manufactured from soybeans with a larger percentage of rice, it has a lighter and smoother taste. It also ferments for a shorter period of time than other miso pastes.

White miso, often known as mellow or sweet miso, is used in Japanese fish marinades and sauces. It may also be used in light sauces and even sweets, and it can replace dairy in certain dishes like mashed potatoes. White miso paste is often beige to pale yellow in hue.

While looking for the finest white miso paste, search for one with few components. Since alcohol is not a fundamental element in miso, you may choose a paste without it. Since white miso does not need to be fermented for as long, some manufacturers add preservatives (such as alcohol) to compensate for the time it would have taken to ferment.

Similarly, a pasteurized white paste will have been generated fast rather than fermenting fermentation would otherwise replace the necessity for pasteurization.

Look for packaging that is simple to open and can be resealed after use. There is also a selection of non-GMO and organic pastes. Most Japanese miso pastes designated yuuki are made from organically cultivated soybeans rather than GM soybeans, while miso called mutenka is often non-GMO.

Miso Paste (Red) (Miso Aka)

Red miso paste (miso aka) is any dark miso paste that is generally a hue of brown and chunkier than white miso. Since it has been fermented for a longer period of time, red miso is stronger and has a more nuanced umami taste than white miso.

Miso aka also has a larger soybean-to-rice ratio than white miso. Red miso adds flavor to marinades and goes well with heavier stews and braises. Remember to season with salt once the meal is completed, since red miso may be rather salty.

Because of its depth of flavor, red miso is often used in miso soups served in Japanese restaurants, but it must be handled with caution to avoid overwhelming the other tastes.

Miso Paste Awase

While technically an awase miso is only a combination of red and white miso pastes, it is a miso that includes a blend of two or more miso pastes. Whether you’re searching for a general-purpose miso to use in a variety of recipes, or even the best miso paste for ramen, an awase miso may provide some of the sweetness and smoothness of a white paste with the added umami of the red.

Red and white miso may be used interchangeably in recipes; just use greater caution when replacing white miso for red; use less and always taste before adding more.

Keeping Miso

Since miso is shelf stable before opening, it may be kept in a kitchen cabinet or pantry. After opened, the package should be resealed, or if this is not possible, lay a piece of parchment or plastic wrap over the open area and keep it in an airtight container. This must then be chilled.

Miso paste may be securely kept for a long time since it is fermented, albeit it will deepen in color with time. This may still be utilized, however it may be best used in stir fries and other similar dishes than than soups. Miso paste may also be frozen.


This article has provided a brief introduction to three of the most common forms of miso paste, as well as a few of the ways you may use it to add umami to your cuisine. We’ve also shared some miso-making tips and established that miso is shelf stable until opened, at which time it must be refrigerated.

Thus, whether you’re searching for the best miso paste for soup or the best miso paste for ramen, we hope our reviews of the finest miso pastes have been useful.

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