Miso Macaroni and Cheese

Give your classic macaroni and cheese a new layer of depth with savory Japanese miso.
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
2–4 servings
Prep Time
05 Mins
Active Time
15 Mins

Beyond soups, Japanese miso (fermented soybean paste) can be used in marinades, sauces, condiments, and even desserts. Try it out in a pasta dish, especially where a lot of cheese is present—miso and cheese share similar earthy, mildly funky flavors. Combine both of them into a sauce, and a straightforward mac and cheese transforms into something more complex.

What kind of miso should I use?

Miso comes in different colors, starting from white and darkening into different shades from the Maillard reaction. The common varieties you’ll find are:

  • White miso. A young miso with a short fermentation time, less salt content, and a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Yellow / brown miso. When people say miso, they often mean this variant. Its neutral flavor makes it suitable for everyday cooking.
  • Red miso. Red miso is fermented longer than white and yellow miso, giving it a bolder, saltier flavor.

Some cooks like to mix red and white miso to make awase miso, tweaking the ratio to suit their taste.

So which miso should you use? Yellow or brown miso is your most versatile option—it’s what we used to develop this recipe. If you’re using a milder or stronger miso, start with less than you think you need, then slowly adjust to taste.

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