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Miso is the epitome Japanese essential, and for good reason. The backbone of the humble dough is simply fermented soybeans and assorted grains (soy-free alternatives are on the rise), but even a tiny amount of these superfood can pack a huge dose of flavor.
In Japan, miso is available in a wide assortment of forms which tend to support a particular fermented grain as a central ingredient. They fall into three different categories: white, yellow and red. The variations are rooted in the fermentation time – if you are a Tequila fan, it’s similar to the difference between blanco, reposado, and añejo.
The slightly aged white offers sweet and sweet notes. Older yellow (less common in stores in the United States) tends to be more earthy. The big red is full of salty umami goodness and is best used in heavier dishes.
Know that a little miso goes a long way, and this is especially true with red.
Check out some of our favorite ways to get the most out of your miso below, but don’t miss the rest of our miso recipes.
This simple and beautiful dressing shines in Chilled tofu salad, a satisfying meal for vegetarians and calorie counters. He also works wonders as Marinade for chicken as well as the perfect exclamation mark for Grilled fish. Get our Miso-ginger dressing recipe.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of miso is probably soup, but that doesn’t have to be limited to the familiar combo of tofu, seaweed, and broth. Here, shiitake mushrooms, udon noodles, and napa cabbage pair with white miso in a large bowl of sizzling goodness. Go even bigger by covering it with a poached egg. Get our Nappa cabbage and udon miso soup recipe.
The earthy richness of yellow miso offers the perfect complement to the rustic fall flavors of pumpkin Soupe. Garnish with nuts and sesame seeds brittle for a sweet and savory addition and added crunch. Get the Pumpkin, Nut, Sesame Seed Miso Soup Recipe.
A tab of butter mixed with white miso and mustard with a dose of caramelized onions can take a regular grilled cheese to new extraordinary heights. The recipe is courtesy of Raqeul Plezel’s “Umami Bomb”Cookbook and the standout sando certainly lives up to that billing. Get the Grilled Cheese Recipe with Caramelized Onions and Miso Butter.
This easy vegetarian Japanese-Italian fusion is meant to be on your weekday dinner list. Swiss chard and red miso swap spots with basil and pine nuts for a full throat Pesto while gluten free buckwheat soba plays the role of noodles. Serve warm or ambient temperature. Get our Soba noodle recipe with chard and miso pesto.
Take out the blender and turn on the grill for this advance marinated chicken. Yellow miso takes center stage while a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce spices things up. Get our Grilled Chicken Leg with Miso Marinade Recipe.
Beef, flame and red miso are a wonderful trio. With the extra seasonings of mirin, sake, and fermented soybean paste and tobanjan, you can turn your garden into teppanyaki in no time. Get our Grilled skirt steak with red miso recipe.
Black cod are not the only fish that deserve to participate in a miso action. The icing infused with red miso and ginger will have the Salmon bright and bursting with flavor. Serve all the family-style fillet on a platter and watch it disappear in seconds. Get our Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon Recipe.
Yes, you can even add miso to dessert. This Apple pie is not really easy, but it is totally worth it. You’ll want to go with a delicate white miso that offers a nice salted caramel balance. Get the Miso Caramel Apple Pie Recipe.
Related Video: Also try Chef Stephanie Izard’s Easy Miso Meat Marinade