How to Make Miso

How to make miso for beginners.

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Homemade miso is so delicious that you will want to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon! While it takes a long time to ferment, the process itself is actually very simple.


Units Scale
  • 2 cups dried soybeans
  • 2 cups koji rice or koji barley
  • 1/2 cup sea salt (non-iodized)
  • 1 Tbsp mature fermented miso (optional – see notes)
  • 1 tsp of sea salt (not mixed into the ferment)


  1. If this is your first time making miso, see the sections above for details on the right type of container, how to vary the recipe, and other tips.
  2. Soak the soybeans in 4 cups of water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain the water then put the soybeans into a pot with 4 more cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the soybeans are soft, about 2 hours. 
  3. Drain the beans, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water. Leave the soybeans and the reserved cooking water to cool to room temperature.
  4. When the beans are cooled, place them in a large mixing bowl with the koji rice, 1/2 cup of salt, and the reserved cooking water. (I have a video showing all the steps to making miso in the section above).
  5. Mash everything together by hand or with a potato masher. You want the rough texture of hand mashing, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Pack the mashed beans and rice into a jar or crock. I typically divide the mixture between two 1-quart jars. Make sure you have at least 1 inch of the headroom at the top of the jar because the miso will bubble up during the fermentation. 
  6. Sprinkle another teaspoon of salt on top of the pack of beans and rice. Cover the miso with a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  7. Use a weight to keep everything weighed down during fermentation. It will slowly produce a layer of dark brown liquid called tamari. This can be drained off after fermenting to be used like soy sauce. (Yum!)
  8. Place the fermentation container in a cool, dark location to ferment for 3-24 months. A basement or closet is perfect. 
  9. Store the miso in the fridge once you start using it. It should last for several years.


  • The secret to ensuring that everything ferments nicely is to sanitize the fermentation container(s) prior to use. I usually fill them with boiling water which is enough to kill any surface bacteria and mold.
  • Miso is a mold, yeast, and bacterial ferment. Adding a bit of mature miso provides the necessary yeast and bacterial culture. When making your first batch, it’s fine to use store-bought miso. Look for brands that are refrigerated as they will be unpasteurized and alive. If you can’t find raw store-bought miso, then it’s fine to skip that step. The bacteria and yeast should naturally find their way into your miso. 
  • Want to get deep into the world for fermenting? Try making your own koji rice!

Keywords: homemade, diy, vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, traditional, savory, nut free