What Does Miso Taste Like?

When most people think of miso, they tend to think of soup. However, miso is actually a seasoning with a fairly strong savory flavor. It’s made with fermented soybeans, salt, and other ingredients mixed together to create a thick paste.

The paste is then used to flavor things such as sauces, meats, fish, vegetables, and yes, soup.

Miso more than anything else tastes salty with a high presence of umami. However, depending on what’s blended with the soybeans it could also be sweeter or more savory. 

There are several types of miso and each has its own unique flavor.

Types of Miso

The most common types of miso are white, red, and mixed. However, other types of miso do exist.

White Miso

White miso is the sweeter of the two. Made with rice and barley, it also has a milder, more delicate flavor.

Red Miso

Red miso is saltier and has a more pungent umami flavor than white miso. It is easy to use too much red miso, so be sure to use it sparingly.

Mixed Miso

Exactly as it sounds, mixed miso is simply a combination of different kinds of miso. This way you can be assured of the exact flavor you’re looking for.

Miso Soup

Chances are if you’re going to eat miso, it will be in a soup. 

Miso soup is a popular Japanese soup that is available in many restaurants and is commonly made at home.

What Does Miso Soup Taste Like

Made from miso paste, fish stock, tofu, seaweed, and scallions, miso has a few flavors happening at once.

See also  What Does Kale Taste Like?

Heavy on umami, miso soup tastes salty, fishy, and somewhat nutty. It has an earthy flavor as well, with both sweetness and spice. 

What Else To Use Miso For

While most common in soup, miso is often used when umami flavor is desired. 

It’s often added to ramen, stir fry, marinades, soups, and salads. 

What Can I Substitute Miso With

Miso paste is not always a common ingredient to keep on hand. If you’re looking for something else to give you that umami flavor, here are some options. 

  • Soy sauce
  • Tamari
  • Tahini
  • Fish sauce
  • Soybean paste


Miso is a thick paste used to season various dishes. It relies heavily on umami flavor and tastes salty, savory, and occasionally sweet.

Most often eaten in soup, miso can find its way into many other dishes. If you haven’t tried yet, perhaps you will now.