7 Best Miso Paste Substitutes


Miso paste is a traditional Japanese paste made using fermented soybean, fermented rice, and saltwater. It is a popular ingredient in Japanese dishes, including soup, ramen, and salmon.

It offers spicy, umami flavor with numerous health benefits.

However, some individuals may have allergies and avoid miso paste or may run out of miso paste and look for an alternative; in such scenarios, we will present with top substitutes for miso paste that may be readily available.

7 Best Miso Paste Substitutes

The best substitute for Miso Paste are – Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Tahini, Tamari, Dashi, Chickpeas Miso, AND Adzuki Beans Miso. They are discussed in detail here –

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a traditional condiment of East Asian countries made using fermented soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae. It is dark reddish-brown with a liquid appearance and enhances the umami taste of the foods.

Plain soy sauce is the closest alternative to miso paste as it delivers a salty, umami flavor like miso paste. However, soy sauce is very thin and salty compared to miso paste.

Therefore, it is recommended to use in smaller quantities at first and then increase according to the flavor.


Soy sauce is a popular miso paste substitute as it is readily available and offers the same salty umami flavor to the dishes.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a popular seasoning originally from southeastern Asian cuisine made of fermented fish, salt, and additional ingredients.

It brings an umami flavor to recipes similar to miso paste. However, it is very stronger than miso, so less quantity has to be used to retain the prominent flavors of the recipe. Also, it is most commonly available than miso paste.


Fish sauce may work as a substitute for miso paste as it offers a similar salty and umami flavor.


Tahini is a paste made of crushed sesame seeds and is widely used in Middle Eastern cooking. It is commonly used as a sauce ingredient in fish and vegetable dishes.

It may work as a miso paste substitute as it provides similar color and texture as miso. However, it may not work in recipes that require a large amount of miso, as it has a strong nutty flavor and adds creaminess.


Tahini may work as a good substitute for miso in providing the same color and body to the dishes as miso.


Tamari is one of the Japanese soy sauces made using fermented soybeans, fungus, and brine. It has a stronger umami flavor and contains little to no wheat.

It has a similar flavor profile as miso paste as it is a byproduct of making miso and may work as a substitute for miso paste. It enhances the saltiness and umami taste of the dishes. It is suitable for individuals with gluten allergies.


Tamari may work as a decent substitute for miso as it provides a similar saltiness and umami flavor.


Dashi is a pale broth made of seaweed, kombu and is often used in Japanese cuisine with numerous health benefits. It gives a strong umami flavor to many recipes.

It may be used as a substitute for miso paste as it gives an umami taste and may enhance savory flavor profiles. It may work in a savory dish that can handle extra liquid.


Dashi may work as a miso substitute as it may give an umami flavor to many foods and enhance savory flavor profiles.

Chickpeas Miso

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a rich source of dietary protein, fiber and can be incorporated because of their nut-like flavor and versatile sensory applications.

Chickpeas miso is a good substitute for soybean miso, especially for those who don’t eat soy. It has a stronger nutty flavor compared to miso. However, it is not readily available as miso.


Chickpeas miso may work as a healthy substitute for soy-miso due to its nutty flavor and texture.

Adzuki Beans Miso

Adzuki beans are mainly used in making Japanese sweets or fermented products, including bean pastes. It has a higher content of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

It has antioxidant properties suggesting health-promoting effects.

Fermented miso made from adzuki beans makes a good replacement for miso paste from soybeans due to their mildly nutty taste and smooth texture. However, they are rare to find and comes with a higher price tag.


Adzuki beans miso may work as a non-soy miso substitute for soy-miso due to its similar texture and mildly nutty taste.


What are the health benefits of miso?

Miso is a rich source of copper, manganese, vitamin K, protein, and zinc. Also, as it is a fermented food, it adds beneficial bacteria increasing the health of the gut microbiome and enhancing the immune system.

Can vegetable stock be used as a substitute for miso?

Vegetable stock may work as a good substitute for miso, especially when used in soups. It may add light color and tastiness to the soups.

Can Chinese ground bean sauce be used in place of miso?

Chinese ground bean sauce is made from soybeans, wheat, and salt. It is similar to miso as it offers a rich umami flavor. Therefore, it may be used as a substitute for miso. However, it has a strong flavor, and therefore, it is recommended to use less quantity.

Bottom Line

Miso is a fermented soybean seasoning popularly used in soup, stir-fry dishes, and as a glaze. However, if you don’t have any miso paste or allergic to it, this article presents you with different substitutions.

While there is no perfect flavor match, these substitutes may work in place of miso paste.

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About Nancy Miller

Nancy is a foodie by heart and loves experimenting with food. She likes to experiment not only as part of academics but also as a cook at home, sometimes she does not get the desired outcome of these experiments though! But that doesn't stop her from trying more out-of-the-box things. When Nancy entered college, it became clear to her that food was going to be an important part of her life.