Miso Powder vs. Miso Paste | When and How to Use Each

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 12, 2020

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

If you are looking to make a miso-based recipe and you don’t have miso paste on hand, you might consider using miso powder instead.

The powder has a similar flavor profile to the paste but some prefer it because it lasts longer and is more versatile.

On the other hand, some prefer the paste because it is fresher and comes out smoother when mixed.

Miso paste vs powder

This article will review both miso products and provide information on how you can use each in your recipes.

What is Miso Paste?

Miso paste is a Japanese spice, and you can make it by fermenting soybeans. The fermentation process uses salt and koji and things like barley, rice, and even seaweed are sometimes used. But this depends on the brand.

The result is a thick paste that can be used for spreads and sauces. It is also often mixed with dashi to make miso soup.

Miso is a favorite due to its rich umami taste and its nutritional value.

It’s high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Because it is fermented, it works as a probiotic and is beneficial to digestive health.

Don’t confuse miso paste with soybean paste. We explain the difference between those two here in Miso Paste vs. Soybean Paste | Differences & How To Use Both

What is Miso Powder?

Miso powder is a powdered form of miso.

Most buy it in the store as is but you can also make it at home.

Make your own Miso Powder

Baked miso powder recipe

Great as a spice on a salad or your meat, and very easy to make!
Course Sauce
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword Miso
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 4 people
Author Joost Nusselder
Cost $1

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup miso paste preferably yellow miso, or red for a sronger flav

Instructions

  • We're going to make the miso paste into a powder so that means baking it on low heat for a long time. Set the oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and let it warm up.
  • Next, spread the miso paste out onto a baking sheet or parchment and lay it out on a baking tray.
  • Bake it until you can easily take it off from the paper, this is usually after an hour or so.
  • Fold the sheet of miso over and bake it for another hour.
  • After around 2 hours in total it should be crisp enough to be able to grab a food processor or spice grinder and pulverize the pieces into a powder.

This process makes it easy to use miso as a spice.

It can be used instead of sauce to enhance the flavor of meats, vegetables, pasta, soup, chili, whole grains, and more.

Cooking with Miso Powder

You can also use miso powder as a soup base. However, some chefs say that it is difficult to get the texture smooth.

If you make miso yourself it may retain some of its nutritional value.

However, the kind you buy at a store is basically devoid of any nutrition. It has trace amounts of protein and is high in sodium.

The dehydration and extra processing can also make the powder taste unnatural.

On the upside, the processing of the powder increases the shelf life of the miso so it can last for years.

Traditional Japanese Dishes with Miso Paste

Miso paste can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

Good buys are this Fig Miso by Namikura Miso, or this red Hatcho miso from Maruya for an organic option.

Miso paste is commonly combined with dashi to make miso soup but here are some other dishes you can use it in.

Read more: Can Miso Expire? Tips on storage and how to tell.

Traditional Japanese Dishes with Miso Powder

As stated earlier, miso makes a great substitute in any dish you would normally flavor with salt.

It great to always have some at hand. We like this Organic Miso Powder from Marukome.

To make the most of the Japanese flavor try it in an authentic dish like salted salmon.

You can also add it to other ground ingredients to make a Japanese style seasoning.

Nori sheets, sesame seeds, tangerine or lemon zest, Sichuan peppercorns, ground ginger, paprika, toasted poppy seeds, and cayenne pepper are examples of ingredients you can mix it with.

Miso Paste vs. Miso Powder: Go For Both!

Miso paste and miso powder both make tasty additions to Japanese style meals.

Which will you be adding to your dishes?

Don’t have miso at hand, paste or powder, but a recipe calls for it? Find 5 Miso Paste Substitute options you could add to your dish instead here.

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.