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How much miso paste per cup of water? (Perfect miso paste water ratio)

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  September 6, 2022

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Like many Japanese recipes, making miso soup is pretty straightforward. Just some stock, vegetables, and miso paste, and you’ve got yourself a bowl of pure umami-rich delight!

However, even the simplest things are filled with complexities when you look at them in detail, and miso soup is no exception. Even in all its simplicity, it requires the perfect balance of every ingredient to taste amazing.

For example, let’s talk about the miso paste water ratio. Believe me when I say that most people mess this part up in homemade miso soup without even realizing it. Not that it makes the soup taste bad, but the right flavor intensity is crucial for the dish’s “optimal” taste.

It’s recommended to add 1 spoon of miso paste to 1 1/2 cup of water or 3 spoons of miso paste to 4 cups of water. Though you can change the ratio as per the intensity you like, this should give you the perfect taste. 

In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about finding the right balance between miso paste and water, along with some tips and tricks, as well as a tasty recipe.

So without any ado, let’s jump in!

How much miso paste per cup of water

If you’d like to make miso paste at home, then check out YouTuber Plantcept蔬食煮义’s video:

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How much miso paste do you use per cup of water?

If you’ve made miso soup before, then you might know that miso paste is very salty! Combine it with other ingredients like soy sauce and kombu dashi, and well, you know where I’m going with this.

Now, as long as you aren’t monitoring your salt intake and love some intensity in flavor, you can mix as much miso paste in your soup as your taste buds see fit.

However, for those who are watching their salt intake and like to keep things balanced, 1 tablespoon per 1 1/2 cups should be good enough for a basic miso soup.

Or if you’re making, let’s say, 4 cups of miso soup, you should add 3 tablespoons of miso paste in it for the perfect flavor. You can adjust the amount if you don’t like the flavor intensity, but better less than more. ;)

It’ll ensure you get all the savory, funky, and salty-sweet richness this flavor powerhouse offers without overpowering the flavor of other ingredients, including the veggies and, of course, the kombu leaves.

What’s the serving size for miso soup?

The typical miso soup you drink per serving will vary, but it’s usually around 1/2 to 1 cup. Miso soup is generally served as an appetizer, so it’s often served in small portions.

Do you boil miso?

With all things considered, that’s a big, fat NO. When you boil miso paste, it loses all of its nutritional benefits.

Since miso is a fermented product, it contains live cultures of bacteria or probiotics (like those in yogurt) that help you maintain healthy bacteria levels in your body.

When you boil miso, you kill all the bacteria found within. Plus, you also destroy the nutrients found in the paste.

A good practice (and the most common) is mixing miso paste into your soup after boiling, just before serving it.

However, if you aren’t into the nutritional benefits and stuff, it’s okay to boil miso paste with the soup. It’ll taste delicious anyway.

Delicious miso soup recipe with kombu and tofu

Well, generally, miso soup is made with bonito flakes. The flakes add a delicious umami flavor to the dish, a taste that traditional Japanese soup is known for. However, this makes the soup unsuitable for vegetarians.

Luckily, you can totally replicate the bonito’s flavor with kombu leaf, which is edible kelp known for its super umami flavor. That said, here’s a fantastic vegan miso soup recipe with animal-free ingredients and the same great flavor you’d get from traditional miso soup!

Course: Appetizer, Dinner

Cuisine: Japanese

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces tofu
  • 1-2 sheets of kombu
  • 4 bags of vegetarian dashi
  • 8 cups water
  • 5 tbsp miso (white or yellow)

Instructions

  1. Bring 8 cups of water to boil over high heat.
  2. Cut kombu leaves into small bite-sized pieces.
  3. Cut tofu into small bite-sized cubes.
  4. When the water is boiling at full heat, add the kombu pieces.
  5. Turn the heat to medium, and let the kombu simmer for 5-10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Add tofu and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  7. Remove the soup from the stove, and mix miso paste into it. Whisk it until it’s fully dissolved in the soup.
  8. You can also make a slurry with some broth and miso soup before adding it to the pot.
  9. Enjoy!

Nutritional information (per serving)

  • 6g carbs
  • 1g fat
  • 2g protein
  • 40 total calories

How to make a perfect miso soup every time

I know I’m going a bit off-topic with this, but I couldn’t back off. There are just so many things that can go wrong in this seemingly simple dish.

To ensure you don’t do that, here are some simple tips to help you make the perfect miso soup every time!

Don’t compromise on the miso paste’s quality

You must’ve heard the saying, “you get what you pay for.” Well, nothing could be more true.

I mean, come on! Yes, high-quality miso is a little expensive, but it’s totally worth it if you want to enjoy the true flavors of this winter’s treat.

In a miso soup, miso paste is the last thing you want to compromise on. Besides, a high-quality miso paste has a flavor intense enough to last a couple of times, compared to some cheap variants.

Use the right tofu

The ideal tofu for miso soup is silken. It gives the dish the much-needed depth, aside from tasting downright amazing when combined with the rest of the ingredients.

There’s simply nothing else that even compares. And if you think otherwise, maybe you haven’t tried it yet. ;)

Never use store-bought stock (or instant dashi)

Never go for shortcuts like store-bought dashi stock when making traditional Japanese soup. Making your dashi with kombu or dried seaweed will ensure you get all the authentic flavors the recipe offers, without putting too much MSG in your body.

As I mentioned at the start, tiny little efforts turn a decent dish into something mouthwatering!

Don’t sautee the vegetables (if any)

Some people sautee the vegetables before they add water to the pot.

Now in some broths, that’s good. But in miso? That’s a straight no-no.

That’s because the fat will give your soup a greasy texture, which is completely undesirable!

Instead, chop all the veggies just small enough so they’re instantly cooked when put into hot water, without requiring extra effort.

As for garnish, add them just before serving. That way, they’ll neither wilt nor lose their flavor.

Don’t add miso too early

I said it once and will repeat it: never add miso paste to the boiling soup. It won’t significantly impact the overall taste, but that’s just it!

You won’t get any of the good things miso has to offer, including most of the nutrients and all the valuable probiotics that come in it. In other words, boiling sucks the soul out of miso paste.

It doesn’t make a difference in the soup’s taste, so be patient and add the miso at the end when it’s not boiling!

Make the perfect miso soup with the proper miso paste water ratio

The next time you make a Japanese meal, you’ll know precisely how much miso paste and water to use so you can serve perfect bowls of soup.

Not to mention, you’ll also know what to do and what to avoid to make your miso soup to perfection, without sacrificing taste or its nutritional benefits.

I hope this article has been informative and helpful throughout. For more cooking tips and exciting new Japanese recipes, keep following my blog.

There’s a lot I have to share with you! Until next time! ;)

Also read: this is how you make a delicious miso soup with dashi-infused miso

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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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.