Don’t have miso paste? This unique ingredient is hard to replace, but there are a few options. Here’s the best miso substitute!

Miso substitute

Making a recipe that calls for miso paste and don’t have it? Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor. It’s known for its intense savory flavor, otherwise known as umami: the fifth flavor. It’s often used in Japanese-style dishes like miso ramen and miso salmon, but you can also use it as a substitute for cheesy flavor like in vegan pesto.

You can find miso in the international foods aisle near the Japanese ingredients. There are many different types of miso: and they all taste different! Yellow miso, white miso, red miso, dark or brown miso are all different varieties of this magic ingredient.

Important: Miso is such a unique ingredient, you should seek it out if at all possible! This is especially important if the word miso is in the recipe title, like Miso Glaze. But if you don’t have time to shop, here are a few substitutes! They just don’t come close to the real thing.

Best miso paste substitute

1. Soy sauce

The best miso substitute? Soy sauce. Soy sauce can stand in for the salty and savory flavor of miso in a pinch. But keep in mind: miso paste has a creamy texture and soy sauce is very thin, almost like water.

Use this ratio: Substitute ½ tablespoon soy sauce for 1 tablespoon miso paste.

Need a gluten free or soy free substitute for soy sauce? Try tamari (gluten free), coconut aminos (gluten free and soy free), or liquid aminos (gluten free).

2. Fish sauce

Another miso substitute? Fish sauce. Fish sauce is a condiment made from fermented fish that’s used often in Southeast Asian cuisine like Thai food. It’s used to bring umami to recipes and has a funky, tangy, salty flavor that’s similar to miso paste. However, note that it’s much stronger than miso and the texture is very thin, not creamy.

Use this ratio: Substitute ½ teaspoon fish sauce for 1 tablespoon miso paste.

Here are some great miso recipes for using this magic paste:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I have been looking all over for yellow or white miso for your Shrimp stir fry recipe. What can I use as a substitute?