Miso Marinade Recipe | A Delicious All-Rounder for Your Culinary Delights

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What if you had something that took less than 10 minutes to prepare and could use for anything, from late-night ramen to your carefully cooked salmon/tuna dinner and calorie-conscious salads? Awesome! Right?

Well, miso marinade is just that!

It’s not just a marinade, it’s a dressing, and on top of that, it’s also a dipping sauce.

It’s an umami-rich, delicious-tasting mixture that could turn the most ordinary recipe into the most delectable food. And I love it for making my life much easier.

Miso Marinade Recipe | A Delicious All-Rounder for Your Culinary Delights

In this article, I’ll share the most delicious miso marinade recipe with you, made with readily available ingredients from the grocery store.

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What is miso marinade?

Miso marinade is a Japanese condiment with miso soybean paste, mirin, Japanese rice wine, and brown sugar.

The ingredients are blended to make a creamy but light mixture that you can use as a side dish or dip and tenderize proteins before grilling or baking them.

The marinade has a vibrant, unique flavor that hints at sweetness and sourness, with umami dominating.

It adds depth to your favorite dishes, blessing your tastebuds with the ultimate experience you crave from your casual cooking streaks.

The umaminess, the highlight of the whole recipe, comes from miso paste. It is a soybean paste inoculated with koji and fermented for a specific duration.

The depth of miso flavor depends on the number of beans used and the total length of fermentation.

Generally, the more the fermentation length, the more the depth and the more potent the flavor. You will find miso in different varieties depending on their region.

The most common types are Shiro miso and Aka miso, though.

The white miso has a somewhat mellow, sweet flavor with less salt content than the darker ones, which are saltier, and hence, more potent.

In this recipe, we will go with the white miso variety, as it is more accessible and generally a better choice for such recipes.

Recipe for miso paste marinade

Easy & Versatile Miso Marinade Recipe

Joost Nusselder
Miso marinade is a delicious, all-in-one condiment to embellish and enhance your favorite recipes. It’s effortless to make, has fewer ingredients, and tastes mouthwatering. It works great as a marinate for meat or fish, as a dressing for salad, or a dipping sauce for your vegetable dishes.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups shiro miso paste (white miso paste)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin


  • Gather up all the ingredients
  • Add all the ingredients to a saucepan on low heat and whisk them for about 5-10 minutes or until the sugar crystals are completely dissolved.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature before using.
  • Enjoy by glazing it on your favorite fillets, siding it with your favorite veggies, and as a marinade for your favorite protein dishes.
Keyword Miso
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cooking tips

Here are some cooking tips that’ll help you make the yummiest miso marinade possible:

  1. If you have a double boiler lying around, use it instead of the saucepan. Since it is best suited for low-heat cooking, your marinade will turn out as yummy as it can be. Plus, since miso paste is notorious for burning on high heat, you don’t want to take any risks.
  2. Don’t be shy of experimenting with your miso marinade by adding some extra ingredients and spices (discussed in the substitutions and variations section below).
  3. When making miso marinade, look out for any bits of miso floating around, and press them with a spatula for the smoothest results.

Learn some more tricks here on how to make sure your miso paste completely dissolves in soup or sauce

Substitutes and variations

Continuing on the point of “experimenting” with your recipe, the following are some exciting variations of this recipe you can make to give your marinade a bunch of interesting flavors.

  • Spicy miso marinade: Add red pepper or togarashi to give your recipe a hot kick. This works best if you are using it as a dipping with your favorite dishes.
  • Intense miso marinade: For a more dominant miso flavor, substitute the white miso with red. However, don’t be too generous with it. Since it has a robust, salty flavor, too much of it can be overwhelming.
  • Punchy miso marinade: If you use this paste to marinate your favorite proteins, perhaps adding some ginger will give it the much-needed fresh and pungent spice for some exciting flavors.
  • Smoky miso marinade: A pinch of dried bonito flakes will give your miso marinade much-needed smokiness with a touch of fishiness, making it perfect for dipping and marinade alike.

How to use miso marinade

Although you can use it in many ways with little tweaks, the basic recipe I have shared is purely for marinating pork, fish, poultry, beef, and tofu.

All you need to do is to put the marinate and the protein in a bag, squeeze out all the air, zip seal it, leave it for the required time for the flavors to infuse fully, and cook as you like.

If you want to use it as a dipping sauce or salad dressing, perhaps you would like to add some additional ingredients to the marinade to give it more depth in terms of flavor.

You could add some sesame oil for example, for a full and slightly nutty flavour.

For some more acidity (as this marinade can be on the sweet side), as some rice wine or apple cider vinegar to brighten it up.

How to store miso marinade

If you have any leftover miso marinade, or you have made some extra to use in the future, keep it in an airtight container and refrigerate it immediately.

It will remain good for over 2 months, ready to use whenever you want to whip up a delicious dish.

Similar sauces and marinades

If you like sweet and savory, umami-rich sauces, here are some other similar-tasting sauces and marinades you would like to try:

Unagi sauce

Like miso paste marinade, unagi sauce is easy to make and prepares in less than 10 minutes. Although it is traditionally served with unagi, you can also try it with other proteins. It will taste as delicious as ever.

Spicy kewpie mayo

Have some sriracha, togarashi, mirin, and sesame oil lying around?

Combine them with kewpie mayo, and you have a super spicy marinade, dipping sauce, and dressing sauce. The creaminess of this sauce is just another thing you will love.

Learn all about the amazing Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise here

Yuzu Ponzu

Deriving its freshness from yuzu juice, saltiness from katsuobushi, and umami-ness from soy sauce, Yuzu Ponzu hits the perfect balance between each flavor and results in a delicious sauce and marinade that is mouthwatering.

Wasabi mayo aioli sauce

While this sauce doesn’t serve as a good marinade, it is surely one of the best and most versatile.

You can serve it with fries, vegetables, and all the proteins you can find. The main ingredients, such as garlic, wasabi, and soy sauce, make a great combination of flavors.


Is miso marinade healthy?

While this recipe is not super healthy, we wouldn’t call it unhealthy as well. It doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to health benefits, with just a few nutrients to its profile.

Is miso sauce gluten-free?

For the most part, no! Miso sauce is not gluten-free. The miso paste itself contains some gluten.

However, there are also miso marinade recipes that use gluten-free ingredients. However, gluten-free miso is hard to find.

Find out what brand of miso is best to use if you want to cook gluten-free (there are options!)

Is miso marinade spicy?

No, miso marinade is not spicy. It is mainly sweet, with some umaminess coming from the miso paste. However, you can still add spices of your choice for interesting flavors.

Can I reuse miso marinade?

You can reuse miso marinade for more fish, chicken, and pork. However, we wouldn’t recommend using it after the second time, as it gets really fishy after that.

Can you freeze miso marinade?

Yes! In fact, if you don’t plan to use it again for an extended duration, freezing is the only way to keep it from changing the flavor.


Miso marinade is a delicious and easy way to add flavor to your protein. This recipe is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

The smoky miso flavor is perfect for pork, fish, poultry, beef, tofu, and even your favorite veggies when served as a dipping sauce.

It’s super versatile, and the unique flavor clicks with everything.

Read next: Your Complete Guide To Miso Soup (Wait? There Are Types?)

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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.