Asian Recipes/ Breakfast/ Japanese/ Lunch/ Pumpkin/ Recipes/ Soup/ Super Simple

Quick Japanese Miso Soup

31/01/2023

Make this quick and easy miso soup recipe in just 10 minutes! Filled with the rich umami flavours of dashi and miso paste, enjoy this classic Japanese soup as a main or side for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Two bowls of Japanese miso soup with chunky pumpkin and tofu.

Why We Love This

Miso soup is the perfect side dish or quick meal. It’s filling and satisfying without feeling heavy

With its rich flavour and simple ingredients, this quick and easy Japanese soup is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We love the addition of tofu and delicious veggies like pumpkin and onion for extra nutrition and flavour. Feel free to adapt the recipe to use up other veggies from your fridge or leave them out to make it even easier.

Related: Korean Bean Sprout Soup / Miso Nikomi Udon

Big chunks of pumpkin and tofu in white miso soup.

What is Miso Soup? 

Miso soup (misoshiru, みそ汁 or 味噌汁) is an integral part of Japanese cuisine. It’s usually served as a side dish alongside portions of cooked rice, takuan pickles, a feature protein (such as grilled chicken or fish) and salad. 

This traditional Japanese soup is usually made with tofu, wakame seaweed and spring onion simmered in dashi stock. Miso paste is blended into the soup once removed from the heat to preserve the nutrition and flavour. 

Pumpkin is a regional addition we discovered through our wonderful hosts Yuko and Himari in Kagoshima, southern Kyushu. We love how it softens and soaks up the rich umami flavour from the broth!

What You’ll Need

  • Miso Paste – We usually use white miso paste (shiro miso) which is slightly sweet with a mild umami flavour. You can use red miso paste (aka miso) if you prefer, which has a saltier, more intense flavour, or even a blend of both if you like. 
  • Dashi Stock – Make your own dashi stock using kombu and/or bonito flakes, or use dashi powder for convenience. 
  • Wakame Seaweed – This is usually sold dried in small curls, and unfolds as it cooks. 
  • Tofu – You can use firm or silken tofu in this recipe. Firm tofu holds its shape really well, so we’ll use it if we want to have extra soup for leftovers the next day. Silken tofu can sometimes fall apart, but is equally delicious, so pick whichever style you prefer!
  • Pumpkin – Kabocha, Kent or Jap pumpkins all soften quickly and are nice and sweet. You can even leave the skin on for extra nutrition! Sub with just about any variety of pumpkin or squash you have on hand (but check whether the skin is edible first). 
  • Onion – You’ll need regular white or brown onion for the soup, and green onions / spring onions to garnish. The texture of the simmered onion is amazing! Feel free to slice into thin strips or chunky segments, it’s up to you.

Tip: Our local supermarket chain stocks most of these ingredients in the Asian aisle these days. If you’re struggling to find them, head to an Asian grocery store or consider buying them online.

Ingredients laid out for the easy Japanese miso soup recipe.

How to Make Miso Soup

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

  1. Pour water and dashi powder into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the pumpkin and onion and boil for 5 minutes until the pumpkin has softened. Tip: If you can break a pumpkin piece in half with your chopsticks, you know it’s soft enough!
  1. Add tofu and wakame seaweed and cook for a further minute to warm the tofu through without it breaking up.
  2. Take the soup off the heat. Dissolve the miso paste into the soup using a strainer and chopsticks or a spoon. Tip: If you don’t have a sieve or find this process tricky, just place the miso paste into a small bowl and top with a few spoonfuls of broth. Stir until dissolved, then pour into the soup.
  3. Transfer soup into serving bowls. Garnish with spring onion / green onion and enjoy!

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Broth Intensity – If the broth is a little too intense for your taste, you can tone it down by adding a little more water.
  • Storage – Miso soup will last 1-2 days in the fridge in an airtight container. While it can technically be frozen, we don’t actually recommend it as it can damage the probiotics in the miso paste.

FAQs

What is miso paste?

Miso paste is a versatile Japanese ingredient made from soybeans fermented with koji mould and salt. Some versions of miso are made with rice, barley or seaweed. Miso is used to add flavour to Japanese hot pots like miso nikomi udon, as well as in sauces, marinades and glazes. You can even use it to make miso butter or miso scrambled eggs! Find out more about this delicious ingredient in our full miso paste guide.

Why should I turn off the heat before adding the miso?

Miso paste contains lots of probiotics and nutrients that can be damaged if added straight into boiling water or broth, so it should always be added at the end of cooking. This helps maintain the benefits and maximise the digestive health potential of all foods with miso, not just miso soup!

Is miso soup vegan?

You can make this recipe vegan by using kombu dashi (or plain water) instead of hon dashi. Kombu dashi is made with seaweed only, while hon dashi is made with bonito flakes for extra umami.

What should I serve with it?

As a side dish, you can serve miso soup with just about anything! Try it alongside classic Japanese favourites like Japanese fried chicken, agedashi tofu, katsu chicken or ginger pork.

Variations

  • Add Veggies – Try it with grated or simmered daikon radish, carrot, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, bok choy or spinach. 
  • Add Seafood – Instead of tofu, you can try it with mackerel (saba miso soup) or prawns.
  • Add Mushrooms – This soup is amazing with the addition of shiitake, shimeji or enoki mushrooms! 
  • Optional Garnishes – Traditional garnishes are aonori seaweed flakes and shichimi togarashi chilli powder. We also love it with gomashio sesame seeds or a few drops of rayu chilli oil
Close up bowl of a simple Japanese miso soup recipe.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Bowl of Japanese miso soup with pumpkin and tofu.

Quick Japanese Miso Soup

Make this quick and easy miso soup recipe in just 10 minutes! Filled with the rich umami flavours of dashi and miso paste, enjoy this classic Japanese soup as a main or side for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 side serves
Calories: 74kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour water and dashi powder into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
    4 cups water, 2 tsp dashi powder
  • Add the pumpkin and onion and boil for 5 minutes until the pumpkin has softened. Tip: If you can break a pumpkin piece in half with your chopsticks, you know it’s soft enough!
    100 g pumpkin, 1 onion
  • Add tofu and wakame seaweed and cook for a further minute to warm the tofu through without it breaking up.
    100 g firm tofu, 1 tbsp wakame seaweed
  • Take the soup off the heat. Dissolve the miso paste into the soup using a strainer and chopsticks or a spoon. Tip: If you don't have a sieve or find this process tricky, just place the miso paste into a small bowl and top with a few spoonfuls of broth. Stir until dissolved, then pour into the soup.
    4 tbsp white miso paste
  • Transfer soup into serving bowls. Garnish with spring onion / green onion and enjoy!
    2 tbsp spring onion / green onion

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Miso Paste – We usually use white miso paste (shiro miso) which is slightly sweet with a mild umami flavour. You can use red miso paste (aka miso) if you prefer, which has a saltier, more intense flavour, or even a blend of both if you like. 
  • Dashi Stock – Make your own dashi stock using kombu and/or bonito flakes, or use dashi powder for convenience. 
  • Wakame Seaweed – This is usually sold dried in small curls, and unfolds as it cooks. 
  • Tofu – You can use firm or silken tofu in this recipe. Firm tofu holds its shape really well, so we’ll use it if we want to have extra soup for leftovers the next day. Silken tofu can sometimes fall apart, but is equally delicious, so pick whichever style you prefer!
  • Pumpkin – Kabocha, Kent or Jap pumpkins all soften quickly and are nice and sweet. You can even leave the skin on for extra nutrition! Sub with just about any variety of pumpkin or squash you have on hand (but check whether the skin is edible first). 
  • Onion – You’ll need regular white or brown onion for the soup, and green onions / spring onions to garnish. The texture of the simmered onion is amazing! Feel free to slice into thin strips or chunky segments, it’s up to you.
  • Broth Intensity – If the broth is a little too intense for your taste, you can tone it down by adding a little more water.
  • Storage – Miso soup will last 1-2 days in the fridge in an airtight container. While it can technically be frozen, we don’t actually recommend it as it can damage the probiotics in the miso paste.
  • Add Veggies – Try it with grated or simmered daikon radish, carrot, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, bok choy or spinach. 
  • Add Seafood – Instead of tofu, you can try it with mackerel (saba miso soup) or prawns.
  • Add Mushrooms – This soup is amazing with the addition of shiitake, shimeji or enoki mushrooms! 
  • Optional Garnishes – Traditional garnishes are aonori seaweed flakes and shichimi togarashi chilli powder. We also love it with gomashio sesame seeds or a few drops of rayu chilli oil

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Quick Japanese Miso Soup
Amount per Serving
Calories
74
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.3
g
2
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.5
g
Sodium
 
660
mg
29
%
Potassium
 
172
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
9
g
3
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
2175
IU
44
%
Vitamin C
 
5
mg
6
%
Calcium
 
65
mg
7
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Quick Japanese Miso Soup

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    14/10/2021 at 6:41 pm

    5 stars
    This miso soup recipe is the bomb! It’s really delicious and flavorful! My new fave recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/10/2021 at 10:49 am

      So good to hear, thanks for letting us know!

  • Reply
    Sam | Ahead of Thyme
    04/03/2016 at 1:32 pm

    This looks so yummy and easy!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      05/03/2016 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Sam, that’s exactly why we love it! 😀

  • Reply
    Manju | Cooking Curries
    04/03/2016 at 11:41 am

    5 stars
    That looks so comforting and refreshingly light at the same time!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 12:10 pm

      It really is Manju! Best of both worlds in our opinion. 😀

  • Reply
    Vicky @ Avocado Pesto
    04/03/2016 at 11:35 am

    I do love ramen but miso soup is up there too! Can never go to a Japanese restaurant without ordering a miso soup — something just so warm and comforting about it! Love the addition of pumpkin here too!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 12:06 pm

      Us too! We love having a side of miso soup with a Japanese meal, it just balances out all those yummy flavours so nicely. We’d never seen it with pumpkin at a restaurant before, but it really does give it an extra level of creamy homemade comfort. (Not to mention it’s extra delicious in miso broth) 🙂

  • Reply
    Britni
    04/03/2016 at 11:26 am

    Wow, I love how you tied this into the trip you’re taking! Sounds like the perfect hot soup for your cold day. I need to try some miso soup!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 12:04 pm

      It is sooooo good on a cold day Britni, warms you through to the tips of your toes! If you give it a try let us know how you go. 🙂

  • Reply
    Valentina
    04/03/2016 at 11:06 am

    5 stars
    This is a beautiful soup! Not only is the blend of ingredients super delicious, but it’s so pretty!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Valentina! It’s such a comforting dish but the best part is that it leaves you feeling happy and healthy too!

  • Reply
    Ramona W
    04/03/2016 at 9:28 am

    What a fantastic soup!! I love the creaminess of the broth. 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/03/2016 at 9:46 am

      It goes even creamier with the addition of the pumpkin too! 🙂

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