This recipe is a comprehensive guide for everybody who loves making homemade miso soup. If you're looking for learning how to make miso soup, then this is a great place to start!
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that contains miso paste in dashi stock. It's healthy and nutritious, making it an everyday staple in Japan!
In this guide, you will learn the classic ingredients for miso soup, which ingredients to choose, and how to make miso soup (with five easy steps).
You will also find my favorite miso soup recipes at the end. You can make it right away and enjoy this delicious and comforting dish today!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love Japanese miso soup.
- You want to know what to put in miso soup.
- You are looking for miso soup ingredients.
- You are looking for authentic miso soup recipes.
Let's get started!
About This Article
- Comprehensive guide for miso ingredients
- Japanese ingredients explained
- 5 steps to make miso soup
- Japanese miso soup recipes
The Basic Miso Soup Ingredients
If you just want to know the classic miso soup ingredients, this list will give you a quick answer.
Tofu miso soup is one of the typical miso soup recipes, and they are made of these ingredients:
- Miso paste
- Katsuobushi dashi
- Scallions or green onions
Are you familiar with them? If not, please continue reading and learning more about them!
What is miso soup?
Miso soup is a traditional soup and the basis of Japanese cuisine. The main ingredients are miso paste, dashi soup, and other ingredients such as tofu, vegetables, and seaweed.
It is a savory soup and goes well with any meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the morning is the best time as it warms your body inside out.
Have you ever felt at peace when eating miso soup? It's proven that miso paste contains soothing properties to help you relax and calm.
It's easy to make that even my 6 years old boy can make it on his own. I remember when I was a child, the first recipe I learned from my mother was how to make miso soup. It's the most simple soup in Japanese cooking.
What's in miso soup?
You can find the answer here if you ask what's in miso soup. Miso soup is commonly made of three ingredients:
- Miso paste
- Dashi (soup stock)
- Ingredients of your choice (such as tofu and seaweed)
There are many choices for each ingredient and recipe such as tofu miso soup, wakame seaweed miso soup, daikon miso soup, and many more.
In the following section, I will explain each to help you find your best option. Ready? let's dive in!
Where to buy Japanese ingredients?
- Japanese grocery stores: Mitsuwa marketplace, Marukai
- Local Asian grocery stores or Asian market
- Online stores: Instacart, Walmart, Amazon
1. Miso Paste
Miso is a fermented food and an essential seasoning for Japanese cooking. It's nutritious-rich, healthy, and contains beneficial bacteria that help create a healthier digestive environment (see the benefits here).
Type of miso paste
In general, there are three types of miso paste:
- Rice miso paste - made from soybeans, rice, salt
- Barley miso paste - made from soybeans, barley, salt
- Soybean miso paste - made from soybean, salt
Rice miso paste is the most common type of miso (80% of miso production, I always use this type), but there are also regional differences. For example, people in southern Japan use barley miso paste.
Since rice miso paste is widely used in Japanese kitchens, I will focus on it in the following sections.
Click here to learn more about miso paste.
The difference in the color
Have you ever seen miso with various colors? Miso paste has different tastes and flavors depending on its color.
The longer miso is fermented, the more flavors and colors it will develop (called the Maillard reaction).
Here are different types of miso paste by color:
- White miso paste (shiro miso) - Short fermentation (1 to 3 months). Slightly sweet with a light aroma.
- Yellow miso paste (awairo miso) - Medium fermentation (4 to 8 months). It's mainstream miso.
- Red miso paste (aka miso) - Long fermentation (one year or more). Salty and rich in flavor
I like using yellow for miso soup and red for other dishes. But, it’s a personal preference, so try red, yellow, and white, and find out which one suits your taste.
Pick authentic miso paste
It takes time to make miso paste, like 6 months to a year, but some of the products are out much shorter. These products contain additives to fake the deep flavor and control the quality, which doesn't have an authentic taste.
Miso paste is the key ingredient in miso soup, so I recommend picking genuine products which only contain rice, koji rice, and salt on the label, like this miso paste.
Dashi is a flavorful broth and another essential ingredient in miso soup. It brings a unique flavor and aroma to the soup. You could substitute it with vegetable broth, but you won't experience real miso soup.
General dashi ingredients are Katsuobushi (Bonito flakes), Kombu seaweed (Kelp), Dried shiitake mushroom, and Niboshi (Baby anchovy).
How are they made into dashi? There are 3 types:
- Make homemade dashi
- Instant dashi powder/granules
- Dashi packet
Let's go over each type in the following section.
Click here to learn more about Japanese dashi.
1. Homemade dashi broth
Store-bought dashi powder is easy and quick, but homemade dashi broth makes your soup more delicious. Making dashi from scratch is extra work, but if you are looking for authentic Japanese restaurant quality, I highly recommend trying these recipes!
Homemade dashi recipes:
- Vegan dashi (Shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed)
- Awase dashi (Katsuobushi and kombu seaweed)
- Niboshi dashi (Baby anchovy)
2. Instant Dashi Powder
If you want something quick and easy, these instant dashi powders or dashi granules help you. Add a couple of teaspoons to a saucepan with water. They are easy to dissolve.
Choose the one that suits your preference, but if unsure, pick katsuobushi dashi, which is standard for miso soup.
Instant dashi powder variations:
- Kombu dashi powder - made from Kombu seaweed. It's vegan. The flavor is mild.
- Katsuobushi dashi powder - made from katsuobushi (bonito flakes), kombu, and shiitake mushroom. This brings a well-balanced umami flavor.
- Niboshi dashi powder - made from niboshi (baby anchovy), katsuobushi (bonito flakes), kombu, and shiitake mushroom. It has a more intense flavor than the other two.
3. Dashi packet
The last option is a dashi packet, which is easy to use and gives authentic flavor.
Grounded dashi ingredients are in the packet. This one contains bonito, sardines, dried shiitake mushrooms, and kombu.
How to make dashi with the packet is simple. When you make miso soup, add one packet to a saucepan with water and cook. Then take it out before adding miso paste.
3. Soup Ingredients of choice
The miso soup ingredients of choice are limitless, so we don't get bored eating the soup every day. Popular ingredients are tofu, scallions, dried wakame seaweed, aburaage, and daikon.
Variety of ingredients
If you are looking for more variety, here's a list of ingredients!
- Vegetables: Green onions, scallions, spring onions, okra, tomatoes, eggplants, moyashi sprouts
- Root vegetables: Daikon, onion, carrot, sweet potato, gobo
- Leafy greens: Spinach, bok choy, komatsuna
- Mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms
- Seaweed: Wakame, kombu, nori
- Soybean products: Silken tofu, soft tofu, firm tofu, aburaage, natto
Pick your favorite ingredient and make your original miso soup every day! If you like hearty soup like me, select 2 or 3 and make it a filling dish!
How to make miso soup (5 Easy Steps)
How to make it is so simple and easy as follows:
- Step #1 - Cut soup ingredients of choice
- Step #2 - Put soup ingredients, dashi, and water in a saucepan
- Step #3 - Bring to a boil and simmer
- Step #4 - Add miso paste
- Step #5 - Dissolve miso paste
Please see more details in this tofu miso soup video.
That's it! Miso soup is best enjoyed when it's hot, so serve it immediately!
By the way, we use these types of Miso soup bowls (Owan in Japanese) for serving miso soup. Maybe it's just me, but the miso soup tastes better when eaten in this bowl!
Japanese Miso Soup Recipes
You will find many different miso soup recipes in the following post. Enjoy the classic Japanese miso soup at home!
Thanks For Stopping By
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Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Recipes You Might Like
- Natto Miso Soup
- Kabocha Miso Soup
- Daikon Miso Soup (Niboshi Dashi)
- Summer Vegetable Miso Soup
- Japanese Napa Cabbage Soup
Miso soup is made from three basic components: Miso paste, dashi (soup stock), and Ingredients of your choice. The most common ingredients are tofu, scallions, and wakame seaweed.
Because we usually use katsuobushi (bonito) dashi for miso soup. But you can easily make it vegan using kombu dashi.
Miso soup is a daily staple in Japan. It depends on the family, but I make it almost every day, and we eat it a couple of times a day.
8-Minute Tofu Miso SoupPrint Pin Rate
- Medium saucepan 18cm/7 inches
- 1 Tofu, 200g, 7oz
- ½ Scallion, 50g, 1.7oz
- 1½ teaspoon Dashi powder, 5g
- 3 c Water, 720ml
- 2 tablespoon Miso paste, 36g, 1.3oz
- Preparation: Chop scallion, cut tofu into cubes.
- Bring to a boil: Put the scallions, tofu, dashi powder, and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil on medium heat.
- Simmer: Lower the heat and simmer for one minute.
- Add miso paste: Turn off the heat, add miso (use a miso measuring whisk if you have it), and stir gently until it dissolves.
- Storage: 3 days in the fridge.
- If the taste of the soup is light to you, feel free to add more miso paste.
- If you want to try making dashi from scratch, here are the recipes: vegan dashi (shiitake mushroom and kombu), awase dashi (bonito and kombu), niboshi dashi (dried sardine)
- Always add miso paste after turning off the heat. If you boil the miso, you will lose the excellent flavor.
- When adding the miso to your soup, stir gently (try not to break the tofu).
We eat misoshiru regularly. The most common ingredients we add are tofu or aburaage topped with chopped scallions. Occasionally we add various mushrooms or natto. If we’re eating natto and rice along with misoshiru, and there is leftover natto, I’ll add the natto to my misoshiru. Oishiiiiii!!!!!!
Speaking of mushrooms, nameko is a favorite ingredient, but unfortunately nameko are not readily available in the U.S. Shijimi (tiny clams) are also a favorite that adds extra umami, but they too are not common in the U.S.
Hi Rick, I'm happy to hear you enjoy misosiru regularly. All the ingredients you mentioned are my favorite too!