Miso sauce is our all-time favorite, all-purpose sauce! It's loaded with umami, made with 7 simple ingredients, and great on everything from noodles and rice, to salads and stir-fries! Miso sauce also makes an excellent salad dressing and can even be used as a dip for veggies.
As a fermented food, miso is well known for its health benefits and incredible flavor, and this 5-minute sauce makes it easy to include miso in your diet.
What is Miso
For an in depth look, be sure to check out this article: What is miso?
In short, miso is a fermented paste made from soybeans, salt, and koji (rice or other grain that has been colonized with Aspergillus oryzaea, a particular type of fungus).
There are many different varieties of miso and the flavors vary depending on several factors, like how long it was fermented and the exact type of koji used.
This traditional Japanese seasoning dates back to the 7th century, when a similar process is believed to have arrived from either China or Korea.
The main flavors you can expect from miso are: umami, saltiness, tanginess, and in some varieties, a mild, grain-like sweetness.
Miso is becoming more and more popular around the world as people discover its unique flavor and the many ways it can be used to enhance and add flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
Why You'll Love It
With ginger and garlic, this miso sauce has flavors reminiscent of other Asian-inspired sauces. But the richness of miso and almond butter take this recipe over the top!
You'll love it because:
- miso sauce is deeply flavorful and can transform even the most boring meal into one worth craving!
- it couldn't be easier - just stir everything together in a bowl
- and unlike store-bought miso dressings and sauces, this one is free from gums, thickeners, added starch, and refined sugar
- miso - look for a mild or "mellow" white miso for this recipe; we also tested it with red miso, which was good but not as good as the slightly sweeter and nuttier, white miso sauce.
- almond butter - gives the sauce more body, richness, and flavor; I used raw, smooth almond butter, but roasted should taste amazing, too. Tahini is a great substitute if you avoid almonds.
- maple syrup - a small amount goes a long way in this sauce to really round out the flavors; feel free to sub agave syrup
- rice vinegar - this is one of the key ingredients; look for plain, not seasoned rice vinegar, which is sweetened.
- garlic and ginger - if possible, use fresh for the best flavor; dried could work in a pinch.
- soy sauce - you may find you don't even need this ingredient, but we did feel the sweetness of the miso needed a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce to amp up the savory notes. For gluten-free, look for a certified GF tamari instead.
How to Make Miso Sauce
- In a small bowl combine the miso, almond butter, rice vinegar, and maple syrup. Whisk until the miso and nut butter are dissolved.
- Use a spoon to gently scrape and peel the ginger. Zest the ginger with a microplane and add it to the bowl (about 1 tsp). Peel and zest the garlic, and mix into the sauce.
- Whisk in a tablespoon of water and taste for seasoning. Add black pepper, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil, if using, and taste again. For a thinner, pourable sauce and dressing, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
What to Serve With Miso Sauce
The versatility of this miso dressing and sauce will win you over after one bite! It tastes especially great on:
- roasted vegetables - roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts are personal favorites
- brown rice - drizzle on a simple rice bowl made with beans or lentils and veggies
- noodles and pasta
- spring rolls
- baked tofu and tempeh
- fresh salads - including kale salad
- raw veggies - like carrots, snap peas and cucumber; or make an Asian-inspired veggie tray for your next party!
- and as a spread for sandwiches and wraps
Made with white miso, the sauce has a slightly nutty flavor balanced by salt and acidity (from rice vinegar). It's not excessively sweet, though there is a slight sweetness from maple syrup that complements the strong savory flavors. You'll also notice the zesty flavors of fresh ginger and garlic.
It can easily be made gluten-free by choosing a gluten-free miso and using tamari instead of soy sauce.
Store miso sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Use a microplane to grate the ginger and garlic (just be careful not to grate your fingers!). The microplane releases more of the juices and flavor and creates a much more flavorful sauce. This also ensures no one bites down on a big piece of either ingredient.
- If there's an ingredient in the sauce you're hesitant about or not sure you enjoy, start with a lesser amount and taste as you go. You can always add more of something, but it's difficult to tone down an ingredient in recipes like this.
- The flavors in miso sauce improve overnight. So if you have time, make it in advance and let the flavors mingle and chill in the fridge before serving.
I hope you enjoy this savory, umami-packed miso sauce as much as we do. If you try the recipe be sure to comment below and let us know!
Miso Sauce and Dressing
- 3 tablespoons white miso - any mellow or "sweet" variety; see Notes.
- 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted almond butter - or tahini
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger root, peeled - about 1 tsp grated
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce - sub tamari for GF
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, optional
- In a small bowl combine the miso, almond butter, rice vinegar, and maple syrup. Stir with a fork until the miso and nut butter are dissolved.
- Grate the ginger and garlic with a microplane zester and add to the bowl along with freshly cracked black pepper. Stir to combine. Whisk in 1 tablespoon water and taste for seasoning.
- If desired, add the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, and taste again. For a thinner, pourable sauce and dressing, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Store in a covered jar or container in the refrigerator until ready to use. The flavor improves as it sits.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.