It pretty much goes with anything. 

By Sarra Sedghi
April 01, 2019
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Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Blakesee Giles; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

In my opinion, there’s nothing a little fermented flavor can’t amplify. Kombucha? Fantastic. Vinegar? Oh yes. Yogurt? Don’t get me started or I’ll never shut up. There’s always room for a little more depth of flavor, and fermented soybean paste—a.k.a. miso—can add impressive complexity to all kinds of foods. Miso is inexpensive, easy, and accessible, the ultimate answer to a fatigued palate. 

You probably met miso in broth, or in context of a glaze or marinade. And while soups, noodle bowls, and various meats are some of miso’s best partners, there are so many possibilities you can squeeze out of a tub of miso. Miso can amplify a fundamental cooking element, like salt, or add a hint of umami flavor to all kinds of snacks and desserts. 

Watch: How to Make Miso-Sesame Skillet Blondies


First, though, a quick lesson: miso comes in three different colors, which each possessing a different flavor intensity. White miso, the mildest, has the shortest fermentation period and is probably the miso your recipe calls for. Yellow miso’s fermentation period is a little longer, so its flavor is more pronounced. Finally, red miso, with the longest fermentation period, has the most intense flavor. If you want to replace white miso with yellow or red, go for it. Those varieties may just become your new favorite flavor. Now, here are a few ideas for making the most of your miso. 

Mix it into homemade caramel sauce

Put it in your bloody mary

Add some warmth to banana bread

Infuse braised veggies, like mustard greens

Transform a classic, savory dish, like Chicken Piccata

Boil it into your bisque

Make comforting noodle soup with it. 

Mix it with maple syrup and butter and add pizzazz to your pancakes. 

Pair it with caramel apples in this pie

Combine it with red pepper jelly and slather it on chicken wings

Use it as a replacement (or enhancement) for salt. 

Give roasted chicken an entirely new flavor. 

Add it to a whole-grain stuffing

Pour it over green beans

Make Tahini Miso Cream and change your toast forever. 

Stir white miso into blondie batter

Coat popcorn with it. 

Marinate sliced cucumbers in it. 

Or, marinate your steak in it. 

Turn it into ranch dressing or dip.  

Stir it into mayonnaise and slather it on a burger.

Or, mix it into your burger

Combine it with yogurt for a healthier mayonnaise substitute

Give roasted cauliflower some extra depth

Put a tasty twist on deviled eggs

Add depth to vegetarian chili

Glaze salmon or fresh vegetables with it. 

Pack a surprise into white chocolate scones

Lend its flavor to vegan pesto

Transform your scrambled eggs

Work it into your pasta sauce

Mix it into cream cheese

Add savory depth to your pickling brine.

Incorporate it into vinaigrette