Best Red Miso Substitutes

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Miso is a classic paste that is typically used when making Japanese cuisine. But it also plays a vital role in many other recipes. Red miso is derived from fermented soybeans and mixed with koji and salt. The end result is quite tasty.

But what many culinary connoisseurs love about miso is its versatility. It makes a wonderful and easy-to-use addition to things like rice and grains such as rye. When added, the flavor of your meals improved tenfold.

To achieve the robust flavor of red miso, it must be allowed to ferment for extended periods of time. This can often take months. And the longer it’s left to ferment, the most pronounced the taste becomes.

So effective is miso that just a single tablespoon can significantly impact the flavor of your dish. Red miso isn’t the only one of its kind, as there are also white and red/white mixed forms.

Like other ingredients, you may find yourself making a recipe that calls for red miso, but you don’t have any on hand. What can you do? Thankfully, you have some options. To help you with this, we’ve compiled our top picks for red miso substitutes.

Best Miso Paste Substitutes

We are under the belief that there’s a substitute for every ingredient. But in the case of red miso, finding alternatives isn’t as easy as others. In fact, it was difficult to find a viable substitute. But that didn’t stop us from trying.

Here, we present you with a range of products that can help you complete your recipe and offer you a taste that’s similar to miso paste.

Soy Sauce

First up is the ever-popular soy sauce. This one’s easy to find. And, similar to miso paste, fermentation plays a key role in giving soy sauce its similar properties. Even the nutrients and taste are very much like that of red miso.

In fact, soy sauce gives dishes a nice zing, just like the one provided by miso. There’s also a salty taste very similar to miso paste.

And best of all, vegans will appreciate there are no animal ingredients in soy sauce. This means you may confidently use this ingredient in a variety of vegan dishes. Feel free to use soy sauce in your dressings, soups, seasonings, and any recipe that calls for red miso paste.


Here’s yet another ingredient that’s very similar to miso paste. Tamari and miso have a lot in common. When you add tamari in place of red miso, you can look forward to flavors similar to those using miso sauce, such as saltiness and umami.

Tamari is actually a lot like soy sauce. As such, tamari, soy sauce, and red miso are easy to interchange with one another. Their textures are similar, too. So you can expect to get good results in your recipes.

Tahini Paste

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It has a consistency similar to miso paste and can be used as a substitute in many recipes. Although similar to red miso, there is a difference, which lies in the taste.

The creamy and nutty taste of tahini is quite strong. As such, if you have a recipe that requires a lot of miso paste, you might want to use a different substitute. The tahini paste will likely overpower your dish. But in smaller amounts, tahini works well in many recipes.


You can use this Japanese ingredient as a miso paste substitute. Dashi works well in many dishes to impart the taste of umami. So it can be a good substitute for many recipes that call for miso paste.

Made from light kombu broth, dashi is a common fixture among recipes in Japan. It is very suitable for use in salty dishes that consist of a lot of liquid because dashi’s texture is very different compared to miso paste.

Vegetable Stock

This useful ingredient can be used as a good substitute, especially in a wide variety of soups. It is light in color and can add flavor to your soup. But when preparing miso soup, consider adding other herbs and ingredients to get closer to the recipe’s original flavor.

Fish Sauce

Widely available at local markets, fish sauce makes a worthy miso paste alternative. When used in various recipes, fish sauce adds a taste very similar to miso paste.

As such, it features a salty and savory umami taste. But please be aware that fish sauce contains gluten. So when using it to replace red miso, try adding a little at a time while adjusting to taste.

Soybean Paste

Primarily used for seasoning purposes, soybean paste goes well with dipping sauces, soups, and stews. Thanks to its fermentation, this paste provides a similar experience to red miso paste. It’s quite salty, though, so be sure to apply just a little at a time. You can always increase the soybean paste until you get your desired taste.


This common ingredient works well in a pinch and when you have no other alternatives to try in place of red miso. Plus, it works well in conjunction with many other ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about it interfering with your recipes.

Obviously, you’re not going to get the same effect that red miso would provide or any of the substitutes listed here. But you will get red miso’s saltiness, giving your dishes just enough zing to ensure a flavorful experience.

Substitutes, Recipes, and More at Cook Gem

You don’t have to make Japanese cuisine to put red miso to use. Its savory qualities inject many other dishes with flavor and appeal. Thanks to these substitutes, you can get away with replacing red miso in many recipes to much of the same effect.

At Cook Gem, we are your source for exciting recipes, substitutes, and more. So be sure to check out all that we have to offer. From vegan-friendly restaurants to cooking guides and everything in-between, you are sure to find what you’re looking for.

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