Are you looking for a new light and easy snack or the foundation for a delicious meal that won’t take up much space in your kitchen cupboards? Instant miso soup may just be the thing you need, particularly if you are a fan of the flavours associated with food from the Far East.
What makes instant miso soup a great choice? For one thing, if you invest in a good quality instant miso soup from a reputable manufacturer you can benefit from all the taste you would get from a homemade recipe, without all the hassle and time required to make it. Like the traditional cuppa soups, you are probably familiar with, instant miso soup just requires the addition of hot water and then you have a fragrant, tasty soup full of dried seaweed and tofu cubes that are rehydrated and brought to life almost immediately.
If your taste buds are dancing at the prospect, you may be wondering you pick out the best instant miso soup. Especially when all the manufacturers claim theirs are better than the rest. You could spend a lot of money trialling and erroring them all. Yes, you could do that. Or you could simply let Internet Eyes do all the hard work for you and pick out one of the top 10 we have shortlisted in this guide to the best instant miso soup.
Along with our look at the top 10 best instant miso soups, we also have provided a handy buyer’s guide that looks at what miso soup is and what you can expect, as well as other important things you should consider when choosing the right one for you.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Best Instant Miso Soup UK 2020
Clearspring Mellow White Miso Instant Soup with Tofu
First up in our guide we have this very subtle entry into the world of instant miso soup provided by Clearspring. A light and delicate, but still by all accounts tasty, white miso soup, this is made from a mixture of soya beans and fermented rice. We wanted to highlight this not just because of how easy it is on the palate and how easy it is to make (you simply empty a sachet and 200ml of hot water into a cup or bowl and then stir it well), but also because it does not contain any nasty, unnecessary and unhealthy extras.
Made in Japan, it is completely free of artificial flavourings, additional sugar and MSGs. The addition of tofu and green onions gives it an extra bit of texture and a delightful taste that will make for either an exotic and quick lunch or form the part of a larger and more elaborate main meal.
Marukome Shirakiku Miso Soup Sachets
In light of current events, while we would not like to be seen to be encouraging stockpiling unnecessary, it may be a good idea to buy some items in bulk. That is why this deal, consisting of 3 packs containing 12 sachets of Shirakiku miso soup paste might be a great investment.
Why? Well, for one thing. You are getting a lot of soup for a relatively low price, considering. What’s more, Marukome, the manufacturer behind this Shirakiku miso soup paste, is a reputable brand known both here and in Japan for making traditional and highly authentic food.
Therefore, you can be sure you are investing in the real thing when you part with your hard-earned cash for this pack. Rather than being a powder (you will find that many miso aficionados frown at instant miso powder and swear that you should only get miso paste for the real thing), this is a genuine miso paste. You simply add boiling water, stir and within 3 minutes you have scrumptious and deliciously full-bodied miso soup.
What you do with it is up to you – whether you use it as a meal in its own right or add it as stock for something more decadent.
Yutaka Japanese Wakame Miso Soup, 5 x 18g Sachets
Another traditional Japanese instant miso soup, this time from Yutaka, is this Wakame Miso Soup. This does not contain any additional ratification additives or MSG and is made to a classic soya recipe.
In addition to the wakame seaweed flavour, this has the added taste of fish thanks to the bonito, otherwise known as tuna flakes.
As with all options in our guide, just add water and stir well to bring this soup to life. Perhaps you could use it as a salty stock base for a seafood dish, whether it’s a very Japanese noodles-centred affair or something a little more adventurous with pasta, potatoes or something similar.
Obviously, if you are looking for a vegan or vegetarian option, then you will want to look elsewhere.
Marukome Luxury Restaurant-Style Miso Soup 4 Flavours
Next from Marukome, we have this large money-saving, value pack of 42 packets of miso soup paste and 32 packs of flavours/garnishes to use with the basic paste.
You get 8 of each flavour and the flavours include wakame seaweed, fried tofu, tofu and green onion. The one thing we will say about this particular product is that a quick scan over the reviews on Amazon shows that you may have to wait a while for the delivery (to be honest, it is likely that this is going to be the case in the current climate)
However, the resounding opinion of this collection of different flavours of miso soup paste is that it is extremely tasty and despite there being no English ingredients, is relatively easy to make. You simply add around 160ml of hot water to the basic miso paste and add the garnish to flavour. They also benefit from coming in very easy to open and dispense packages, that don’t even need scissors, making them ideal for taking to work (unless you are working now from home).
Marukome Instant Miso Soup With Wakame Seaweed, 12 x 18g
Another great product from the globally popular Marukome is this instant miso soup with wakame seaweed. Available in a pack that contains 12 sachets of 18g of miso paste, this is as easy as you would hope and expect it to be to make. It contains lots of lovely fish flavours including Spanish mackerel, tuna and sea bream along with the soya beans to give it a strong but satisfying taste.
The one thing we want to point out about this instant miso soup though is that it does contain MSG, so if you are trying to avoid that for whatever reason or just don’t like foods with it, we would suggest you look elsewhere.
However, if that doesn’t put you off and you are interested in a quick and easy way to get that delicious taste of japan that you only get from instant miso soup, you could do a lot worse than choosing this product.
Its Miso’Easy Traditional Instant Miso Soup Sachets, 12 packs of 5 sachets
For another traditional option, this time from the Nagano Valley which is just a short journey on the train from Tokyo, you should consider this Itsu Traditional instant miso soup. The name of the company is translated into English as “whenever” and that is basically the sentiment of this instant soup. It is available whenever you want it.
Two things you should note about this when comparing it to the others in our guide – this is completely gluten-free and vegan-friendly. Therefore, whether you are vegan by choice or have a gluten intolerance, this is the instant miso soup paste for you.
If you are looking to get great value for money, then this is a great option. For the price, you get 12 packs, each containing 5 sachets. This will keep your lunchtimes quick and easy for a good few weeks. Even if you decide to use it as the starter for a fuller, mean meal at dinner time, you will still have a good supply in your cupboard that will keep you occupied for some time.
Marukome Instant Miso Soup Paste with Wakame Sachets, 2 Packs of 12 x 18g
Back with Marukome again for this next product, this is a 2 pack and each pack contain 12 sachets of 18g instant miso soup paste containing wakame seaweed. There isn’t much really to say about this particular product. If you like the taste of wakame miso and want a quick and easy way to have it for lunches or like the idea of using it as a base for other dishes, then this is a great option.
There is a reason Marukome are so popular around the world and this pack is yet another good example of why.
Hikari Instant Miso Soup with Tofu, 2 Packs Wit 8 Sachets
We would suggest that if this is your first-time trying miso soup and you do not have an exceptionally adventurous palate, that you might want to try one of the subtler flavoured options in our list before giving this a go. From Hikari, whom we are reliably informed is a reputable and genuine Japanese company, comes this instant miso soup paste pack. In each of the 2 packs you get, there is a total of 8 servings, and they benefit from being completely free of GMO soya beans and there is no added MSG. They contain bonito, or tuna/fish flakes and have a very strong flavour, according to other reviewers. People who love miso soup, though, love this product.
Yutaka Instant Miso Soup, Bonito, Pack of 10
Yet another from the renowned and popular brand Yutaka, this is a very delicious and genuinely Japanese bonito flavoured miso soup paste. Featuring yummy ingredients like wakame seaweed, fried bean curd, tofu and green onion, just add boiling water as directed for a taste sensation in your mouth.
We love the fact that this is gluten-free, so if you have allergies or intolerances, this is ideal.
Marukome Instant Ryoutei-No-Aji Miso Soup with Tofu Chunks
We thought we would finish up our guide with another selection from one of the best producers of instant miso soup paste when you want that genuine and authentic Japanese flavour – Marukome. It’s worth noting that according to the packaging, this is low carb, low cholesterol and low fat and is gluten-free and contains no added MSG.
Flavouring in this instant miso soup paste includes sardines, bonito fish and soya beans and it takes just a few minutes to come to life once you add 160ml of water. A great staple of Japanese cuisine to have in your cupboards, especially in this time of uncertainty when we are all being told to stay indoors where possible. However, even outside of lockdown life, this would still be a great addition to your arsenal of hot and delicious meals, whether you use it as a lunchtime snack or the starting point for a rich and deep flavoured dish inspired of the Far East.
Best Instant Miso Soup UK – Buyer’s Guide
If you are already familiar with miso soup, you probably don’t need much more than the reviews above to help you choose the right products. However, if you are a miso soup novice, we know this may feel like you are swimming or sailing in unchartered waters and may need a helpful guide so that you don’t get caught unaware by unexpected surprises. In our buyer’s guide we are going to first give a little background into what miso and miso soup are and the different types of miso soup you will come across. Crucially, we will also cover the subject of flavour and taste and what can have the biggest impact on that, as well as discussing the different brands you should be looking out for.
What Actually is Miso?
You may have come across the word miso or even miso soup if you have ever visited a Japanese or fusion restaurant, café or market. If you have never stopped to ask or found out what it actually is, we are here to enlighten you. Miso is a paste that is produced by fermenting rice inside a large steamer that derives its heat from burning wood. Once the rice has been successfully cooked, a special powder, called Aspergillus Oryzae is sprinkled over the rice. The rice is then taken and stored inside wooden boxes overnight to give it a chance to ferment. Soya beans are then added to the freshly fermented rice and then the mixture is left to continue to ferment longer. In the end, miso paste is what is left.
What, then, is Miso Soup?
Miso soup, along with tempura and sushi, is probably the most well-known and popular Japanese dish. Miso Soup generally consists of miso paste mixed with dashi (a special soup stock made to a Japanese recipe) and served with tofu and wakame seaweed.
Instant miso soup is, therefore, a premade version that just requires the addition of boiling/hot water to bring all the flavours and ingredients to life to create a tasty dish.
Different Types of Miso
Now that you understand what miso and miso soup are, it’s worth discussing the fact that there are a variety of different kinds of miso. While some are darker in colour, others are white, or even yellow, which is probably the most well-known, popular and therefore, most widely available. Miso is a fundamental part of Japanese cuisine and is used in the vast majority of all nutritional meals made in the country. You can actually add it to just about anything, even more, Western-inspired dishes, to give it a wholesome, healthy and exotic twist.
Let’s look at the different kinds of miso briefly before we go any further.
Akamiso or Red Miso
Akamiso is the proper name for what is more often referred to as red miso. This is by far the variety with the highest concentration of salt. This is ideal for use as a marinade for vegetables and chicken and consists of rice, barley and soya beans, This miso requires fermentation that takes several years and is very high in protein.
Shiromiso or White Miso
Shiromiso, otherwise known as white miso, is a combination of soya beans and white rice but has a higher percentage of white rice than soya beans, which is why it has a much whiter colour. It has a very sweet flavour and is most commonly used in soups, salad dressings and other similar applications.
Awase Miso or Mixed Miso
Another kind of miso known as either Awase Miso or Mixed Miso is a combination of red and white miso and has a much milder taste than other varieties. This is used in a wide range of dishes, including soups.
Barley miso is yet another kind of miso that is easy to find in Japan and very inexpensive. This does not contain any rice but is instead made from soya beans and barley. As it is very salty and rich it is usually only used as a seasoning.
Taste is an important consideration to make when you are new to miso and looking for the best instant miso soup. Many different factors can have an impact on the taste, including:
- The vessel used for fermentation
- Salt levels
- How long fermentation took
We would suggest that you use the above as a helpful guide to finding the miso that is strong or mild enough for your particular palate and personal preference.
What Are the Most Popular Brands Who Make Instant Miso Soup?
Just as the case with any other food product, some brands are closely associated with making the most popular and best instant miso soup. You will find that most of these either sell their instant miso soup freeze-dried or in single-serving sachets. If you are completely new to miso soup, we would suggest sticking to one of the most well-known brands to ensure the quality is there and you are not ripped off.
All brands produce miso soup that tastes slightly different from the others. It may be a good idea to experiment a little with each so that you can avoid choosing one that too salty or strongly fragranced.
It is worth pointing out that while we have done our best to pick out only instant miso soup products that are free from MSG, there may be one or two that do contain this. We know this won’t be a big problem for everyone reading, but if you are looking to avoid harmful additives, then we would advise you try to read the labels on the Amazon listings before purchasing just to be sure. Normally, if they are not in English, you can find helpful information in the questions and answers section or even the customer reviews.
And that brings us to the end of our comprehensive look at the best instant miso soups available right now. We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed researching and writing it. If we are completely honest, we are really fancying some instant miso soup ourselves right now.
If you are already familiar with miso soup and the instant variety that’s readily available, then we hope this has still proven to be a helpful guide for picking out the best of the best.
Whereas if you are completely new to instant miso soup, then we hope it has been a truly enlightening read. We have given you a bit of background and insight into miso soup, so you know exactly what to expect from it and you now have 10 great products to trial and error, if you are feeling especially adventurous.
Whether you are looking for an alternative to the cuppa soups you normally have for lunch and want a taste of Japan or are trying your hand at cooking Japanese dishes, any of the products we have highlighted above would be worth considering.