Asian Recipes/ Japanese/ Roundup

12 Incredibly Healthy Recipes Using Miso Paste… Including Dessert!

22/07/2020 (Last Updated: 05/10/2020)

Have you ever wondered what to do with that leftover miso paste in the back of the fridge? Well now we’ve got you covered with some helpful info and tasty recipes to kick-start your kitchen adventures using this versatile ingredient.

12 Incredibly Heathly Recipes using Miso Paste...Including Dessert

What is miso?

Miso paste is a versatile Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans and salt. Some versions of miso also include grains like rice or barley, seaweed, or a special type of mold known as Koji.

Is it healthy?

Miso paste is a great source of proteins and nutrients. As a fermented food, it’s also full of beneficial bacteria which contributes to good gut health. It can also help boost your immune system and help your body to fight off infection. What a superfood!

How to use miso paste?

Apart from well-known dishes such as Miso Soup, this delicious ingredient is used in sauces like Goma Dare (sesame sauce for Shabu Shabu hotpot) through deliciously savoury-sweet desserts and treats. Miso paste can also be used to make tangy salad dressings and savoury marinades.

We’ve got a delicious range of them below just begging to take a turn around your kitchen.

Now there’s no need to let that humble pack of miso wallow in the back of your fridge til you discover it months down the track. Whip up a few of these recipes and you’ll be wondering how it disappeared so quickly!

The Three Main Types of Miso Paste

Here’s a quick overview of the three main types of miso paste available so you’ll know what each type brings to the table.

White Miso (Shiro Miso)

A packet of white miso paste, also known as shiro miso.

Made from fermented soybeans and rice, the name white miso is actually a bit of a trick, as you’re more likely to find this variety in a pale yellow colour (not to be confused with yellow miso below, which is actually brown in colour.

White miso is also known as ‘sweet’ or ‘mellow’ miso, as it has the mildest flavour of the three. It is also lower in salt than the darker varieties because it’s fermented for a shorter amount of time.

White miso is the most versatile of the three types so it’s a great all-rounder to keep in the fridge for many of the recipes below.

Shiro miso is the best choice for:

  • Condiments (such as mayonnaise)
  • Salad Dressings
  • Light Sauces
  • Desserts

Yellow Miso (Shinshu Miso)

Yellow (shinshu) miso paste containers on a supermarket shelf.

Fermented with barley and sometimes a small amount of rice, remember that yellow miso is actually a light brown colour.

It has a stronger, earthier flavour than white miso and just a hint of sweetness in comparison.

Shinshu miso is the best choice for:

  • Soups
  • Marinades
  • Glazes

Red Miso (Aka Miso)

Aka miso (aka red miso) in a plastic container.

Red miso has the strongest flavour of the three main varieties of miso paste because it’s made with a higher percentage of soybeans and has been fermented for a longer time.

It’s the saltiest and most pungent of the three as well, adding some serious umami flavour to your dishes. Note that the term red miso covers all of the darker shades including dark red and dark brown.

Aka miso is the best choice for:

  • Heavier Soups
  • Heartier Marinades

Tips for choosing which miso paste to use

  • The colour of any miso paste can give you a good idea of how it will taste. Paler in colour = lighter in flavour. Darker colour = stronger and more intense umami flavour.
  • If you’re looking for a versatile miso to use in a broad range of dishes opting for yellow or white miso should do the trick. If you’ve only got red miso on hand you can still use it, but play it cool and only add a touch at a time til you’re happy with the flavour. After all, you can always add more in but you can’t take it out!
Containers of miso on a supermarket shelf.

Where to buy and how to store miso paste

Thankfully a huge variety of miso pastes are now available across the globe. You’ll find a range of types and brands on the shelves in Asian grocery stores and occasionally the Asian section at well-stocked local supermarkets. You can also head to Amazon to buy miso paste online.

If you have any dietary issues, feel free to check the ingredients list when you buy and try to avoid brands with additives such as MSG. It’s also possible to buy organic miso paste.

How long does miso paste last?

Once opened, miso paste should be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Lighter varieties will last around nine months while darker varieties will keep for up to a year.

Now that you’re an expert on this amazing ingredient here are a few recipes we think you should try. Personally we can’t wait to try a miso infused dessert – so if that’s where you want to start there’ll be zero judgement from us. Enjoy!

Front cover of Adventures with Miso e-Cookbook.

Adventures with Miso

A beautiful recipe + ingredient guidebook including:

  • 52 page full colour PDF with photos for every recipe.
  • 15 tried and tested recipes
  • Metric and imperial weights 

12 Incredibly Healthy Recipes Using Miso Paste… Including Dessert!


Bowl of Japanese miso soup with pumpkin and tofu.
Quick Japanese Miso Soup Recipe
Move aside udon, this homemade Japanese Miso Soup recipe is ready to warm you up. Filled with dashi, tofu, onion and pumpkin, it's bursting with goodness and ready in 10 minutes.
Click for Quick Japanese Miso Soup Recipe
A bowl of ozoni mochi miso soup next to a set of chopsticks.
Ozoni Miso Soup with Mochi Rice Cake | Chopstick Chronicles
Ozoni is a traditional Japanese New Year’s specialty food made from miso soup with vegetables and mochi (rice cakes). It’s healthy and very delicious!
Click for Ozoni Miso Soup with Mochi Rice Cake | Chopstick Chronicles

Stir Fries / Noodles

A close up image of Japanese mapo tofu udon noodles.
Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles
These spicy Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles are totally delicious, packed with flavour and ready in 10 minutes! A lighter take on the traditional Chinese version, it's a super satisfying dish perfect for lunch or dinner.
Click for Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles
Honey and miso stir fry on a plate with rice, garnished with spring onion.
Honey Miso Stir Fry | A Beautiful Mess
This particular stir fry recipe is so yummy because it features a thicker sauce with honey and miso flavours.
Click for Honey Miso Stir Fry | A Beautiful Mess

Salad Dressings

Pouring sesame ginger miso dressing over a crisp carrot and greens salad.
Sesame Ginger Miso Dressing | Savory Sweet Life
A light savory with a touch of sweet Asian Sesame Ginger Miso salad dressing recipe, similar to the kind served in gourmet restaurants. Only takes a couple minutes to make.
Click for Sesame Ginger Miso Dressing | Savory Sweet Life

Sauces & Glazes

Top view of goma dare topped with sesame seeds and sesame oil.
Goma Dare – Japanese Sesame Sauce
A creamy, nutty, Japanese sesame sauce known as Goma Dare. It's perfect for dipping pork and veggies in shabu shabu hot pot, drizzling over crisp salads or freshly cooked noodles.
Click for Goma Dare – Japanese Sesame Sauce
A bamboo tray filled with grilled onigiri rice balls.
Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Ball) with Miso Butter Sauce – Chopstick Chronicles
Miso Yaki Onigiri are delicious grilled rice balls coated in a tasty Miso Butter Sauce that are simple, and easy to eat on the go for lunch or a snack!
Click for Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Ball) with Miso Butter Sauce – Chopstick Chronicles

Marinades & Fillings

Burger on a white plate dripping with bbq sauce.
The Best Japanese Style Burgers
Sink your teeth into these homemade Japanese Style Burgers, guaranteed to satisfy. Angus beef mince and umami flavours get together in this crispy, succulent burger packed full of fusion-flavours.  Oh, and don't forget the winning combination of Kewpie mayonnaise and Japanese BBQ sauce.
Click for The Best Japanese Style Burgers
Japanese Miso Salmon (Barbecue or Bake) | RecipeTin Eats
This Japanese Miso Salmon is 4 ingredient magic at its best. This classic Japanese miso marinade is a family recipe suited to a side of salmon or fillets. I joke that Nobu, on the most famous Japanese restaurants in the world, stole my mother’s recipe.
Click for Japanese Miso Salmon (Barbecue or Bake) | RecipeTin Eats

Desserts & Treats

Miso Butter Cookies | Just One Cookbook
Crisp, buttery, and melt-in-your-mouth, these Miso Butter Cookies make the most delicious afternoon treat! Only 7 pantry ingredients needed!
Click for Miso Butter Cookies | Just One Cookbook
Blueberry Turnovers with Maple Miso Drizzle | Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
The maple miso drizzle is truly the star of this recipe – it’s so incredible; I caught myself going back to the bowl more than once for another “taste test”.
Click for Blueberry Turnovers with Maple Miso Drizzle | Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
Homemade ice cream made with miso paste on a plate.
The Best Ever Ginger Miso Ice Cream – Drizzle & Dip
The miso has a lovely salty butterscotch flavour which when added to cream is a lot like salted caramel. It may even be better than salted caramel!
Click for The Best Ever Ginger Miso Ice Cream – Drizzle & Dip

These recipes are sure to help you find new and exciting ways to use up your container of miso paste. All you need to do now is decide: Which recipe will you try first? 

And if you’ve already tried one or more of these tasty dishes, let us know how it turned out in the comments!

Looking for MORE delicious ingredient ideas to use up those condiments in the cupboard? Try these:

Miso E-cookbook

Image of laptop and ipad with text overlay.


  • Reply
    Martin @ The Why Chef
    18/11/2016 at 7:38 pm

    I’m gonna give them udon noodles a try! I use miso in a crazy umami burger I make – it’s also got seaweed, soy sauce, anchovies, mushroom ketchup, Worcesershire sauce, fish sauce, and is warm aged in the sous vide before cooking – AND it doesn’t taste weird, just very beefy and moreish 😀

    • Reply
      18/11/2016 at 7:39 pm

      Oh my god that sounds amazing Martin! We need to try your recipe! Definitely give the udon noodles a go, we were addicted to them in Japan and nothing much has changed since then haha

  • Reply
    28/04/2016 at 3:40 am

    Great post! I have only used the red miso in soup! My mind is now exponentially expanding with dessert possibilities??? Never saw that coming. I am ready to dig into these new ideas and delicious looking recipes! And all these misos!

    • Reply
      28/04/2016 at 9:39 am

      Excellent Diane, then our job is done haha 😛 Seriously though the flavours are so different across the different kinds of miso, there are so many delicious opportunities coming your way!

  • Reply
    Jolina - The Unlikely Baker
    28/04/2016 at 2:23 am

    Ok. You guys just made me run and check if we still had miso somewhere! And we don’t (boo, I thought we always have it on hand). Thanks for this roundup. Cannot wait to try (I am most curious about the pancakes – we only ever use miso for savoury dishes). Exciting!

    • Reply
      28/04/2016 at 9:38 am

      Oh no! Better go grab some! We’ll wait. Haha seriously though, we haven’t tried miso in a dessert and we need to asap! It’s just such an intriguing concept I can’t even imagine the flavours. 😀

  • Reply
    Georgina Ingham | Culinary Travels
    27/04/2016 at 11:37 pm

    What a fabulous round up of recipes! Miso is a staple ingredient in my pantry.

    • Reply
      28/04/2016 at 9:36 am

      Great to hear Georgina! What’s your favourite miso recipe?

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    27/04/2016 at 10:30 pm

    I have only used miso paste a couple of times to make soup. These are great ways to use it more often.

    • Reply
      28/04/2016 at 9:36 am

      Miso is such an understated ingredient – time to let it shine! 🙂

  • Reply
    30/01/2016 at 7:10 pm

    Wow Great collection of Miso flavour! I love anything Miso, miso ramen, miso soup, miso katsu don (which I have just made today and the recipe will be shared soon), but I did not know there is Miso Ice cream. I would love to try it one day. 😀 Thank you for including my recipes in this great round up<3

    • Reply
      02/02/2016 at 10:51 am

      Arigato Gozaimasu Shihoko! The miso ice cream is seriously intriguing, but we had no idea that miso was used in so many other different ways too. Love your recipes and can’t wait to try them when we get home. Three weeks! So excited. 🙂

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