Doenjang Vs Miso paste: Korean vs Japanese taste uses & more

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 15, 2020
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A lot of people often get confused between Doenjang and Miso. Both are Soybean pastes, with one originating in Korea (Doenjang) and the other coming from Japan (Miso).

Despite both being from different cultures, the method of preparation and the main ingredients are similar. However, there are a few key differences.

Doenjang vs miso paste

Differences between doenjang and miso paste

While both these foods are made using fermented soybeans and salt, a few ingredients set them apart and give different flavors.

Typically, traditional Korean doenjang is made using only soybeans and salt. Whereas, in the case of miso, it’s made by adding a koji starter to rice along with the soybeans. As a result, miso tastes sweeter.

That’s not the only difference; however, depending on the grain used, there are several different kinds of miso.

There’s black miso, which has an almost fudge-like texture, and then there are lighter, creamier shades as well.

Whereas Doenjang has a more robust, sharper, and more complex flavor profile!

Korean Traditional Doenjang paste

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Hikari red miso paste

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Benefits of each

Thanks to Miso and Doenjang being fermented soybean paste, they’re perfect for the gut. Both foods have anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.


Doenjang has been a staple of Korean food for centuries. It’s now becoming increasingly popular due to its many health benefits.

The presence of histamine-leucine amino acid in doenjang is very effective at enhancing the activation of proteins. That helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Traditional doenjang is known to play a role in detoxifying the liver, reducing the activation of glycosyltransferase.

Any kind of fermented food is really good for the gut and helps aid digestion. A traditional Korean remedy for indigestion is having thin doenjang soup.


Miso is a good source of various vitamins, including B vitamins, Vitamins E, C, K, and folic acid. It’s a staple in Japanese cuisine thanks to its nutritional value!

Thanks to the fermentation, miso provides the guy with loads of beneficial bacteria that help keep you healthy.

Also read: does miso expire and how do you store it?

How to use doenjang and miso paste


Doenjang is used in various Korean dishes and is used as a dipping sauce for both meat and vegetables. It’s also used as the main ingredient in a variety of different soups. When it comes to Korean BBQ, you simply can’t have it without Doenjang.


Similar to Doenjang, Miso is also widely used in a wide variety of dishes. Miso soup is incredibly popular, and Miso-glazed meats are starting to increase in popularity!

Also read: these are the differences between Japanese and Korean food

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.