miso soup in red bowl in front of black bowl of white rice next to chopsticks on a wood board

Simple Miso Soup


Author: Lisa Childs

Comments: 1

Asian Recipes

Published Date: February 22, 2022

Updated Date: November 16, 2022

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Miso soup is a healthy Japanese staple dish that can be found at almost any meal. Here’s a simple recipe for beginners without any complicated processes.

miso soup in red bowl in front of black bowl of white rice next to chopsticks on a wood board

Simple Miso Soup is my ultimate comfort food. Give me a bowl of hot, steamy rice with it and I’m transported back to my childhood. I love making miso soup when I’m not feeling well or when it’s super cold.

There’s limitless ways and varieties to make miso soup, but here’s my super easy and simple version. Let me answer some frequently asked questions about miso soup first.

Miso Soup Recipe that’s Easy

Traditional miso soup is made with homemade dashi (dah-she) stock, miso paste, and fillings like silken tofu and wakame (seaweed).

Dashi is a clear stock made from kombu (kelp) and bonito flakes. It is used in so much Japanese cooking. My recipe doesn’t use homemade broth, but instead used two “shortcuts” for dashi.

ingredients for miso soup including seaweed, tofu, green onions, and dashi miso soybean paste

Ingredients for Simple Miso Soup

The typical ratio for miso soup is 1 tablespoon of miso per cup of liquid.

Additional add-ins for Miso Soup

Since miso soup is enjoyed with almost every meal in Japan, people find tons of creative ways to mix it up. Very simple miso soup is usually just wakame and tofu, but you can customize it to your taste.

If you’re using any hard ingredients that require boiling to soften, add them with the dashi and let them boil until tender.

If you have soft ingredients like tofu or spinach, add them in after boiling so they don’t break up.

top view of miso soup in red bowl next to chopsticks in front of black bowl of white rice on a wood board

My favorite combination my mom always made was peeled potato cut into sticks, sliced onion, and sliced carrots.

  • Green onions (I almost always add in a small handful to each bowl)
  • Aburrage cut into strips (fried tofu)
  • Sliced onions (boiled with the dashi until soft)
  • Potato sticks (boiled with the dashi until soft)
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach (added to wilt at the end with miso)
  • Or any other vegetable!

Miso Soup without Dashi

This recipe contains dashi, but not homemade dashi. You cannot really make real miso soup without it and I do not recommend any recipe that substitutes this with vegetable broth or chicken broth.

The flavor is wildly different, and you won’t get the same results.

What can I use instead of Dashi in Miso Soup?

I use one of two “substitutes” for homemade dashi: miso paste with dashi added, or dried dashi powder. 

Dashi powder is much easier to find, and you can use it for multiple things. I recommend a Japanese brand (over Korean or Chinese) and to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the ratio of dashi powder to water to make dashi stock.

Ajinomoto brand’s HonDashi is my favorite.

If your local Asian market has it, an even EASIER version is to use miso paste that has dashi stock added to it. These packages will probably be in English (vs. Japanese) so you’ll be able to identify it.

It’s not as common, but it’s much easier and more accessible for those making miso soup at home for the first time.

miso soup in red bowl in front of black bowl of white rice and another black bowl of soup next to chopsticks on a wood board

What can I use instead of Dashi Powder?

To make “real” miso soup, you really can’t substitute one of the main ingredients.

If you can’t find the powder, make homemade, or find miso with dashi, I recommend ordering it online for best results.

How Long Does Miso Last in the Fridge?

Miso is a fermented paste that lasts FOREVER in the fridge. It can literally last a year in the fridge.

I recommend using it within a couple of months with a piece of plastic wrap pressed up against the miso powder to reduce exposure to the air. 

Which is Better? Red, or White Miso?

There are thousands of varieties of miso and every region in Japan has different specialties. I personally prefer a red miso, which is actually brown.

It has a richer, saltier flavor than white miso. If you’ve ever had miso soup before, this is probably what you’re used to. 

Of course, if you like white miso, use that.

close up of two bowls of miso soup, one in a red bowl and another in a black bowl on a wood board

Can you eat miso paste raw?

Yes, you can eat miso paste raw. It can be used in all sorts of applications from cold dishes to desserts.

The only important thing to remember is to NEVER boil miso paste.

Boiling miso is a big no no because it kills all the healthy probiotic bacteria (it’s fermented, after all). Boiling the miso paste also damages the flavor and aroma.

Miso paste is always dissolved or stirred in at the end of the cooking process.

Is miso vegan?

Miso by itself is fermented soybeans mixed with salt and a special kind of mold called Koji rice. These ingredients ferment together and create this ultra umami, healthy paste called miso. 

Miso is vegan, but miso soup when made with dashi is not vegan as dashi is made from fish and/or shellfish.

close up of miso soup in a red bowl

Other Asian Dishes

Graphic of The Best Miso Soup with a picture of a bowl of miso soup next to chopsticks and a bowl of rice.
top view of miso soup in red bowl next to chopsticks in front of black bowl of white rice on a wood board

Simple Miso Soup

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Miso soup is a healthy Japanese staple dish that can be found at almost any meal. Here’s a simple recipe for beginners without any complicated processes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dashi stock, prepared (see notes)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried wakame
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 heaping tablespoons miso paste
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu, cubed

Instructions

  1. Boil the dashi, then add wakame and green onion.
  2. Turn off the heat, then using a spoon or fork, gently dissolve the miso paste into the dashi. Do not boil the soup after adding miso.
  3. Add tofu, then let stand for about 5 minutes to warm through.

Notes

If you do not have homemade dashi (most people will not), use dashi powder in water or miso with dashi already included.

Dashi powder is much easier to find, and you can use it for multiple things. I recommend a Japanese brand (over Korean or Chinese) and to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the ratio of dashi powder to water to make dashi stock.

If your local Asian market has it, an even EASIER version is to use miso paste that has dashi stock added to it. These packages will probably be in English (vs. Japanese) so you’ll be able to identify it. It’s not as common, but it’s much easier and more accessible for those making miso soup at home for the first time.

Add any combination of vegetables to your miso soup to your taste.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 1006mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g

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  1. Love the Japanese content, Lisa! As always, your recipes are easy to follow, not too complicated, and I look forward to making this!

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Hi! I'm Lisa!


I founded Tried, Tested, and True in 2019 to help moms like me develop confidence and joy in the kitchen.

Since then, I have taught millions of home cooks around the world through our tried and true recipes and Youtube tutorials.

In 2021, I wrote my first book called, “I Love My Instant Pot: Cooking for One”!