Miso vs Tofu: how they’re made, differ, and how to use them

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 15, 2020

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Although miso and tofu are both made from soybeans, these two ingredients differ in many ways.

Although tofu is used a lot in miso soups:

Miso vs tofu

Read below to find out the different qualities of miso and tofu.

Miso and tofu: how do they differ?

In general, these two ingredients differ in how they are being processed, consistency, and flavor. Miso is a thick soybean paste, fermented with yeast and salt, while basic tofu is a solid white block of soybean curd formed after coagulating soy milk.

Miso is known for its salty umami taste that adds richness to an Asian dish, while tofu has a more neutral flavor, almost tasteless, perfect for soaking up the flavor of any dish.

These two have contrasting flavors.

Miso can be categorized as

The color varies depending on the period it is fermented. Red miso is a lot saltier, richer umami flavor, and takes a longer time to ferment compared with white miso, which tastes sweeter.

Also read: these are the differences between saiyko miso and white miso

Tofu can be classified as

depending on the amount of coagulant and how long the curd is pressed.

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Soft tofu has a tender, custard-like consistency, while firm tofu has a denser, more pressed texture.

How to use miso and tofu

Miso highlights any Japanese cuisine and is famous for the Japanese-style miso soup. This paste can be mixed into sauces, salad dressings, and soups.

It elevates ramen and vegetable dishes because of its savory flavor. It can even add flavor to any tofu dish. Tofu, in contrast, is very popular with health enthusiasts, as it has become the mother of all meat substitutes, especially in the vegan diet.

Soft tofu can even be an egg substitute for baking or making soups. Firmer tofu is added as the main ingredient to soups, stews, and curries and is often found in miso soup.

Nutrition and Benefits

Miso contains carbohydrates, proteins, multivitamins, and minerals that help boost your energy, immune system, and improve brain function.

It is also known to promote a healthy gut flora because of the presence of probiotics, or the good bacteria, which in turn, fight against the bad bacteria in the gut and allow healthy digestion.

It also has antioxidant properties that improve cell function, fight stress, and lower the risk of cancer.

On the other hand, tofu contains protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well as dietary fiber, calcium, and iron necessary for our body’s daily function.

Tofu is proven to reduce some health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Bottom line

Miso and tofu are very much different. Both are different forms of soy ingredients, which can even be mixed together to create a solid flavorful dish.

Also read: what can I use to substitute white miso paste?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

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.