6 Best Miso Paste Brands – Price & Authenticity
One spoon of Miso Paste can transform many dishes in an instant.
Aged Miso Paste also contains a probiotic bacteria called Aspergillus Oryzae that is said to have benefits for the gut.
At the end of this guide I'll be sharing what the science says for this unique probiotic strain.
It was incredibly difficult to choose my final top 6 Miso Pastes, but here they are.
6 Best Miso Brands 2022
1) Miso Miko Brand Soybean Awase Paste
It's hard to find any information in English on this mysterious brand from Japan but the flavor in this red and white miso in my opinion is the most flavorful! With this paste I can make the most delicious miso soups that have just the right amount of salt.
One spoon of Awase Miko Brand Miso Paste dissolves easily in warm water and provides enough flavor for soups, stir fries, seasoning and noodle dishes.
This paste contains Water, Soybean, Rice, Alcohol and Bonito which is a type of mackerel fish so it's not suitable for vegans. It is however gluten-free, dairy-free and non-gmo.
The only negatives I can mention are that if you live in a hot climate this paste may melt during delivery but it should still be edible. At $9.09 / $0.52 per ounce I think the price is fair for what might just be the best miso paste.
2) MisoBoom Miso Soybean White Paste
I was close to placing MisoBoom Miso Paste in the number 1 position and maybe on another day I would. I can't fault the flavor of this miso paste provided you get the right paste.
There were a lot of issues with customers receiving dark brown paste when paying for white / red paste and I found the miso paste quite hard to store after opening the packaging.
For me the flavors were well balanced and not too strong or sour. I haven't visited Japan yet but I would imagine this $12.89 / $0.37 per ounce miso paste has quite an authentic Japanese flavor. It has no msg added and is non-gmo.
The ingredients are miso soybean paste, Tofu, Dried Wakame Seaweed, Green Onions and Water. I don't see any animal products listed so it should be vegan.
3) Hikari Organic Miso Paste
This Hikari the company behind this organic miso paste proudly proclaims on their website to be "Japan's #1 Organic Miso". They also claim to be "world's most authentic miso", whatever that even means?
The Hayashi family from Nagano Japan, are said to be behind this number 1 most authentic miso brand. I may be writing in jest a little bit but their miso products do seem to be loved by thousands with some backing up the bold claims from the Hayashi family.
They sell organic miso, non-organic miso and miso soup incase you don't want to make your own. They also have refined sodium miso and all of their pastes are USDA organic, gluten free, non-msg.
One tub of Red Organic Hikari Miso on the Walmart website is $24.99 and over on Amazon $14.99 / $0.85 per ounce. Both options cost a little bit more than some other Miso Pates but don't forget guys, they are Japan's number 1 organic miso paste.
4) Organic Aged Miso Paste by Namikura Miso
This miso paste is imported from Japan and they don't have any english language company website which is already a good sign. I would say that definitely give's it more "Japan's number 1 authentic brand" points on the imaginary most authentic Japanese miso score board.
The Japanese family behind this miso paste claims to still source ingredients locally and still work on the day to day production. The miso paste is a dark red and is fermented for 6-months making it is quite a strong option for those looking for probiotic bacteria.
I personally loved the taste and texture in this Miso Paste and it's makes a delicious gut loving miso soup. It's priced at $9.99 for 2.2lbs on IGourmet which I think is fair. It is a little bit pricer on some other retailers so definitely shop around.
I am considering placing this miso paste in a higher position but they have only recently started selling in the USA and there isn't a lot feedback yet. If you have tried Namikura Miso Paste please let me know your thoughts.
5) Marukome 2-Year Fermented Miso Paste
Marukome proudly display on their website that they are "Home of the #1 Miso Japan". I wonder what the Hayashi family have to say about that?
The Marukome company claims to have 486 employees, have a HQ in the USA and to be founded in the year 1854. They have even created their own push button Miso dispenser (looks like an instant espresso machine). I believe they can claim the world's number 1 miso dispenser trophy because there only is one.
They currently have a miso paste that has been fermented for 2-years in the country side of Nagano, Japan. shockingly it is only $11.98 for 300 grams and only available on their website. It's no doubt packed with billions of good probiotic bacteria and I imagine it packs a strong unique flavor. I would love to try it eventually.
It also comes in a wooden box lol.
6) TETSUJIN USDA Organic Deep Red Miso
This Miso paste is said to be made in Japan but is actually made in China and I couldn't find any more information on the history of if they are actually a Japanese company or not. Some customers have complained with the packaging leaking during shipping.
This red miso paste has water, organic soybean, organic rice, salt. Those are the listed ingredients but in the supplement label says it contains 2g of sugar per 1 tbsp.
It's currently $10.95 / $0.31 per ounce making it one of the cheapest options. It is only available on amazon so you will be covered by their refund policies if you have any issues. It contains no alcohol, is vegan and no added msg.
What Is Miso Paste?
According to Misotasty.com (I love that website name), Miso Paste originated from China and then introduced to Japan through mainland china by Buddhist Monks over 1,000 years ago.
It was in Japan that Miso Paste took on different forms and evolved into that unique special flavor that we know of today. Most people will have tried Miso Soup at some point in their lives and if not they have missed out.
The ingredients in Miso Paste do vary but the main ones are:
Miso paste can either be red, white, somewhere in the middle and even yellow according to some. The darker the Miso paste the longer the fermentation period has been and that means the miso paste will be more likely to contain millions and billions of probiotic bacteria. Different regions of japan also have their own unique miso and it can all get quite complicated.
The darker the miso paste, the stronger the taste will be white white colored miso paste tends to have a more sweeter and lighter taste.
Miso Paste Recipe Ideas
Okay, to be honest you can eat it with almost anything. You can even just eat straight out of the tub with a spoon if you are crazy enough. If you want want to cook yourself then they are plenty of ready made miso soups available at your local store or you could even buy your own instant miso espresso dispenser soup machine.
Aspergillus Oryzae Gut Benefits
Fermented Miso made with Koji will contain the Aspergillus Oryzae probiotic fungi strain and is one of the reasons that Miso Paste is so healthy. (1)
According to the GatroJournal the A. Oryzae probiotic strain may assist with IBD symptoms in some people. (2)
The Oryzae strain hasn't been studied as much as the Lactobacillus strains for example but have a gut flora diverse with many difference probiotic bacteria could potentially strengthen the immune system according to this study. (3)
The Japanese have an average life expectancy of 84.36 years old (2019 worldbank data) which is one of the highest in world. The gut microbiome of an average Japanese individual is diverse and healthy according to this study (4)
Aspergillus Oryzae Side Effects
For me personally when I eat white-miso I can handle it quite well but when it comes to red-miso paste in soups and stir-frys I often experience an upset stomach and cramps that lasts for 24-hours. This seems to correlate with how strong and fermented the Aspergillus Oryzae fungus is.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Allergic Pulmonary Aspergillosis is an allergic reaction to the aspergillus fungus. This allergy can cause inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs and the airways. If you have asthma it's best to not eat Miso Paste and to consult with your doctor before eating or if you experience any issues after eating Miso Paste.
According to Canada.ca, Aspergillus oryzae strain ATCC 11866 is not considered to be harmful to human health or to the environment at current levels of exposure. Miso Paste has been enjoyed safely by millions of people already and may be good for you.
I hope my 6 Miso Paste choices were helpful to you in your quest to find the best option. You can absolutely get an authentic Japanese miso paste at a good price delivered to your door the next day through Amazon.
If you have tried any of the pastes in this guide please let me know your thoughts or if you have a suggestion for the list also let me know.