A Beginner’s Guide to Miso Soup

Updated: Feb. 09, 2023

You've likely seen it on restaurant menus, but what is miso soup? We're here to tell you all about the traditional Japanese dish.

If you’ve ever dined at a Japanese restaurant or ordered takeout, chances are you’ve spotted miso soup as an appetizer. But what is miso soup? We’ll teach you all about this popular dish, plus show you how to make it at home.

Find more of our favorite Asian-inspired soups here.

What Exactly Is Miso Soup?

The base of traditional miso soup is a simple combination of dashi and miso. Dashi is a basic Japanese soup stock, made with dried bonito flakes, kelp and anchovy. Dashi is used extensively in Japanese cooking. Miso is a fermented paste created from a mixture of soybeans, sea salt and rice koji. It’s a go-to Japanese ingredient often used in soups, marinades, glazes and condiments. Other ingredients, such as tofu, vegetables and seaweed, can be added, too.

This combination of ingredients gives the soup a comforting, savory flavor with a variety of textures.

Find out what makes miso paste such an awesome ingredient.

How Do You Make Miso Soup?

Miso soup is easy to prepare and fun to eat. The ingredients are widely available in most grocery stores, but some of them—particularly miso paste—can be found in specialty Asian stores or the international aisle of your local supermarket. You can also buy the ingredient online.


  • 2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) fresh enoki mushrooms or 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup miso paste
  • 1 package (16 ounces) firm tofu, drained and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Thinly sliced green onions

Yield: 5 servings


Step 1: Saute Vegetables

Start by prepping your vegetables. Slice the mushrooms, chop the onion and mince the garlic and ginger root. Then, in a Dutch oven, combine the vegetables and oil, and saute until tender.

Step 2: Create the Broth

When the vegetables are tender, add the water and miso paste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Tofu

Drain the tofu and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the tofu into 3-4-inch cubes and add it to the soup. Cook until heated through.

Step 4: Garnish and Serve

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the green onions. Enjoy! If you like this, learn how to make miso ramen.

How Healthy Is Miso Soup?

In addition to being delicious, miso soup has many nutritional benefits. Miso has been used for centuries in Asian cultures as a probiotic to strengthen the immune system, lower bad cholesterol and provide beneficial B12 vitamins. Miso also contains all 20 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, and is abundant in antioxidants.

Find out how miso soup can become your BFF this flu season… and all year long! For more about miso, learn more about what miso is and how you can use it in other dishes.

Next time you make miso soup, try making Japanese pickles along with it.

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