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What Are the Best Miso Paste Brands for Soup?

28 Feb 2024
What Are the Best Miso Paste Brands for Soup?

What Are the Best Miso Paste Brands for Soup?

Miso paste, a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (a type of fungus), is the heart of many Japanese dishes, most notably miso soup. This umami-rich ingredient varies in color, flavor, and texture, depending on its fermentation process and the specific grains used alongside soybeans, such as rice or barley. With its growing popularity worldwide, the market is now flooded with various brands, making it challenging to choose the best one for your miso soup. This article aims to guide you through some of the top miso paste brands that can elevate your miso soup, ensuring a rich and authentic flavor.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Miso Paste

Before diving into the brands, let's consider what makes a miso paste great for soup:

  • Type of Miso: There are several types of miso, including white (shiro), yellow (shinshu), and red (aka). White miso is sweeter and milder, perfect for delicate soups, while red miso has a deeper flavor, ideal for heartier dishes.
  • Ingredients: The best miso pastes are made with quality ingredients and minimal additives. Traditional miso paste contains just soybeans, water, salt, and koji.
  • Fermentation Process: The length of fermentation affects the taste and nutritional value of miso paste. Longer fermentation times typically result in a richer flavor and higher levels of beneficial probiotics.

Top Miso Paste Brands for Soup

1. Hikari Miso

Hikari Miso is one of Japan's leading miso brands, known for its organic and non-GMO products. Their white miso is particularly popular for miso soup due to its smooth texture and balanced sweetness. It dissolves easily in broth, making it a great choice for those new to miso soup preparation.

2. Marukome

Marukome is another reputable brand that offers a wide range of miso pastes, including options with added dashi (Japanese soup stock), which can enhance the umami flavor of your soup. Their miso pastes are rich and authentic, providing a depth of flavor that can make any miso soup taste professionally made.

3. Miso Master

Miso Master is an American brand that produces organic, artisanal miso pastes using traditional Japanese methods. Their long fermentation process ensures a high-quality product with complex flavors. Their mild white miso is excellent for a subtle, yet flavorful, miso soup base.

4. Kikkoman

Kikkoman, well-known for its soy sauce, also offers high-quality miso pastes. Their Aka (red) miso paste is ideal for those who prefer a stronger, more robust flavor in their miso soup. It's also versatile enough to be used in marinades and glazes.

5. Namikura Miso Co.

Namikura Miso Co. is a fifth-generation, family-owned company that has been producing miso paste since 1911. Their miso pastes are aged for up to three years, resulting in an exceptionally rich flavor. For an authentic miso soup, try their Shiro Miso, which offers a perfect blend of umami and sweetness.


The best miso paste for soup depends on personal taste preferences and the type of soup you're aiming to create. Whether you prefer a light and sweet miso soup using white miso or a more intense and savory soup with red miso, the brands listed above offer high-quality options that can cater to various culinary needs. By selecting a miso paste from one of these reputable brands, you can ensure your miso soup has a depth of flavor and authenticity that truly stands out.

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