How to Make Miso Soup From Scratch

What Japanese meal would be complete without miso soup? Sure, you could make it from prepackaged stock but it’s more fun to do it from scratch!

Miso Soup From Scratch

miso soup from scratch

Updated 3 Dec 2009
Originally posted 10 March 2007

My son loves miso soup almost as much as he loves Mac and Cheese. Whenever we are at a Japanese restaurant, it’s so easy to feed him. Get him a bowl of miso soup and a bowl of rice. He would take that bowl of rice and proceed to dunk it all into the bowl of miso soup, treating it almost like rice soup! Then, in less than 10 minutes, he would’ve slurped up the whole bowl and many times, would ask us to get him another one. We always watched in bemusement because it’s so simple and so cheap (compared to our love for sushi which costs a gazillion times more!) to make. Happily I’ve learned to recreate miso soup at home for him.

Miso Soup-er Easy

And miso soup is so easy to make! Not only that, it’s fast. It’s not like making chinese bone soups which require hours of simmering for it to taste really good. Miso soup requires only a dashi to make. And dashi is not something you simmer for long. It’s a quick cook which yields a yummy soup. Of course, you could go the easier route by using instant dashi packs or even instant miso soup packs but do give this a try. The flavors, when making your own, are more subtle and will contain less MSG than the instant ones.

Once you have the dashi made, it’s just a simple process of prepping some tofu, green onions and wakame seaweed. Then a few spoonfuls of miso and – tada – miso soup! One good trick I’ve learned from watching my friend make miso soup is when adding the miso paste, place it into a strainer and rub the miso paste in the soup base through the strainer. This will prevent clumps of miso paste from sinking to the bottom of your pot and also strains out the larger bits of beans that makes the soup gritty.

Another lesson I learned is to never bring your miso soup to a hard boil. It should just barely come to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. This preserves the flavors of the soup without making them harsh.

Give it a go if you’ve never made miso soup from scratch!

Miso Soup Recipe

adapted from The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo

2 quarts dashi
3-4 Tbsp miso (use any type you like but traditionally, it’s white miso)

Shiro (White) Miso Paste for Miso Soup

shiro miso for miso soup

6oz soft tofu, cut into cubes (more if you like your miso soup to have more tofu)
2 Tbsp wakame seaweed, soaked in some water to soften

Wakame Seaweed for Miso Soup

wakame seaweed for miso soup

2 stalks of green onions, sliced thin

1. Heat up dashi to near boil.
2. Add miso paste and mix till dissolved in dashi. Use a small strainer to mix the miso paste into the dashi.
3. Bring to simmer. Add tofu, wakame that has been softened and green onions. Serve immediately.

Miso Soup From Scratch

miso soup from scratch closeup


Cheers, Annie

For the use of wakame seaweed, I am entering this dish in the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup, administered by Cook Almost Anything and hosted by Just Making Noise

12 thoughts on “How to Make Miso Soup From Scratch”

  1. >If I make this recipe and stop after I drain the bonito flakes, do I end up with dashi stock? I’m not very good with Japanese food and terms. Please bear with me! Thanks!

  2. >@Mrs Ergul – thanks for commenting! Yes, you’ll have a dashi after straining out the bonito and the kombu.

  3. >Thanks for the tip on the strainer. I didn't know that. I usually just whisk it in, but I can see that a strainer would do a much better job. Will try it the next time I make miso soup.

  4. >Miso soup is my oldest daughter's favorite breakfast! She's also spoiled–if I cut corners and make miso soup with dashi granules instead of making dashi from scratch she tells me it tastes funny. 😀

  5. >for some reason i've never been a fan of miso soup, thinking that its just some MSG laden soup served at restaurants.
    but you make it sound so easy to make, i'm itching to give it a go since i do love seaweed and tofu! need to source for wakame seaweed here in pg now! 🙂

  6. >@Carolyn – the straining actually cuts down on the amount of stirring you have to do. Let us know how it works out for you!

    @Mrs. L – it's so easy!

    @Fuji Mama – your daughter has good taste!

    @Lingzie – Wakame is an optional ingredient, though I'm pretty sure you can find it in Penang.

    @Rachel – welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I have a question. Sometimes it’s just easier to buy dashi already made. Sometimes. So if I use that from the container, how much of it would I add to the miso paste if I want say, four servings?

    1. Mokihana –

      our friend Akiko says that, according to the instructions on the Ajinomoto website, it’s 1 heaping teaspoon of hon-dashi with 600 ml of water to make 4 servings. If your miso already comes with dashi, then put less.

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