Doenjang vs Miso: What Is the Difference? - Carving A Journey (2022)

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In both South Korean and Japanese cultures, they have a condiment made from soybeans. On one hand, in South Korea, they have doenjang. On the other hand, in Japan, they have miso. While both products are made from soybeans, are fermented, and are used in cooking, they are incredibly different. Here, we will explore the difference between the two! So, doenjang vs miso: what is the difference?

What Is Doenjang Paste?

Doenjang, known as soybean paste in English, is a type of fermented paste used in Korean cooking made from soybean and brine. In Korean eating culture, they use doenjang in many different ways. For example, doenjang can be mixed with other ingredients to be eaten as a condiment A popular mixed condiment is ssamjang, a dipping sauce served with Korean barbecue. Doenjang can also be used as the base in soups and stews, as well as a sauce for braising fish and meat.

How to Make Doenjang (Doenjang Production Process):

The earliest records of soybean fermentation in Korea dates back to a time before the Three Kingdoms era. Known documents and writings about doenjang go back as far as the 3rd century A.D.

In Korea, people make soy sauce and doenjang during the same process. Actually, doenjang is the byproduct of making traditional Korean-style sauce sauce! To make doenjang, you start by making ‘meju,’ a soybean brick. First, the soybeans are soaked overnight. Then, they are boiled in saltwater before finally being pounded in a mortar or millstone. These pounded soybeans are then shaped into the meju soybean bricks and left to dry.

Doenjang vs Miso: What Is the Difference? - Carving A Journey (1)

Once washed and dried, the meju bricks are placed in onggi crocks (jangdok). Then, brine and further ingredients are added to the crocks as well. After some time, once the brine and meju bricks have aged and fermented, the brinks are broken down into chunks to become doenjang. The brine is then boiled to become Korean-style soy sauce.

(Video) Korean soybean paste stew (Doenjang-jjigae: 된장찌개)

So, with this style of fermentation, Koreans make two products they use in everyday cooking!

Doenjang Ingredients:

While the most traditional Korean doenjang uses only a few ingredients, the commercial and heavily processed versions use a lot of additives.

Traditional Ingredients May Include:

  • Soybeans
  • Water
  • Sea Salt
  • Dried Chili Peppers; And
  • Dried Jujubes

Commercial Ingredients May Include:

  • Soybeans
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Koji Starter; And
  • Wheat

If you want to buy commercially made doenjang, but are on a gluten-free diet, I recommend checking out our blog post for ‘Gluten-Free Doenjang Brands.’ There, we have lots of recommendations.You can find some of these recommendations below in my Amazon picks!

Unfortunately, there isn’t a soy-free substitute for doenjang at this time.

(Video) Doenjang, Becoming the Health Food of the World [Arirang Today]

Doenjang Flavor (What Does Doenjang Taste Like?):

If you place doenjang on a spoon and take a bite, you will automatically taste salt. If you are unfamiliar with doenjang, you may not be able to detect any other flavor by itself. Doenjang really shines when combined with other ingredients and flavors. Once combined with other ingredients (such as with water as a soup base), you will find that doenjang tastes rich, savory, and earthy.

Doenjang vs Miso: What Is the Difference? - Carving A Journey (3)

Honestly, there isn’t a comparable flavor in the Western culture. Finally, though also made from soybeans, Japanese miso does not taste anything remotely like doenjang. So, now that we have learned about doenjang, let’s learn the history, taste, and uses of Japanese miso!

What Is Miso Paste?

Miso is a traditional Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans. The paste is used for sauces and spreads, as well as for pickling vegetables, braising fish and meat, and as a base in soups and stews.

How to Make Miso (Miso Production Process):

Like doenjang, miso is made through fermentation. Though that is the case, the process of fermentation is quite different. To make miso, you go through a two-step process. The first step is making koji, a type of fermentation starter culture made using a grain such as rice, barley, and/or rye. Traditionally, to make koji, you must introduce the mold ‘Aspergillus oryzae’ onto your grain. The mold ferments creating the starter for the miso. Then, you complete the second step– add the koji to the soybeans and other ingredients to ferment and age. Letting everything ferment turns the soybeans into miso!

The type of miso produced depends on the koji starter, the treatment of the soybeans, and the further ingredients.

Doenjang vs Miso: What Is the Difference? - Carving A Journey (4)
(Video) Doenjang, an exceptional Korean condiment

Miso Ingredients:

Miso can have a variety of different ingredients! These ingredients help define the type of miso being produced. The production of miso can include:

  • Barley
  • Whole Wheat
  • Brown Rice
  • Chili Peppers
  • Hemp Seed
  • Buckwheat
  • Highland Barley
  • Millet
  • Soybeans; And So On…

While doenjang keeps the same basic ingredients, the ingredients of miso changes depending on the type of miso desired. To learn all about the different types of miso, I recommend checking Nami’s blog Just One Cookbook! She has an in-depth article on the subject.

Many types of miso can be free of certain major allergens such as gluten. I enjoy and recommend buying the Hikari Organic Miso paste. They sell different types of gluten-free miso. You can find recommendations below in my Amazon picks!

Unfortunately, like doenjang, miso is a soy-based product and does not have a good substitute at this time.

Miso Flavor (What Does Miso Taste Like?):

Like I stated above, the flavor of miso is dependent on the koji starter, the treatment of the soybeans, and the further ingredients. While some miso pastes taste incredibly sweet, others have a bolder and richer taste.

You can have miso that tastes sweet, fruity, earthy, savory, and so on… Just know, miso will always have a strong taste of saltiness from the aging, preserving, and fermentation process!

Doenjang vs Miso: What Is the Difference? - Carving A Journey (5)
(Video) Bok Choy doenjang muchim (청경채 무침)

In Summary, Doenjang vs Miso: What Is The Difference?

  1. Origin: On one hand, doenjang is a Korean invention made from soybeans. On the other hand, miso is a Japanese condiment made from soybeans.
  2. Ingredients: The most traditional and basic ingredients for Korean doenjang include salt, water, and soybeans. Japanese miso can potentially contain many different types of ingredients depending on the variety of miso!
  3. Production Method: While Korean doenjang is made from fermenting bricks of dried and aged soybeans, Japanese miso is made from fermenting soybeans with a mold starter.
  4. Flavor: Korean doenjang always has a salty and earthy flavor that is bold and savory. On the other hand, Japanese miso has a variety of different flavors depending on the ingredients!

So, there you have it! Do you now know the answer to ‘doenjang vs miso: what is the difference?’

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Doenjang vs Miso!

We hope you enjoyed learning about doenjang vs miso! If so, let us know in the comment section below. Also, we would love to hear about your favorite Korean and Japanese recipes using these specialty ingredients!

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further articles like these, as well as recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey articles and recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Carving A Journey Comparison Articles:

  • Kimbap vs Sushi: What Is the Difference?
  • Tamari vs Soy Sauce: What Is the Difference?
  • Moon Pie vs Choco Pie: What Is the Difference?
  • Frittata vs Quiche: What Is the Difference?

Carving A Journey Food and Drink Recipes:

  • Tteokkochi Recipe (Korean Rice Cake Skewers)
  • Bibimmyeon (Spicy Korean Cold Noodles)
  • Andong Jjimdak (Korean Braised Chicken)
  • Korean Strawberry Milk Recipe
  • Brown Sugar Iced Latte (Korean Burnt Sugar Latte); And
  • Korean Banana Flavored Milk

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.

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(Video) Smelly Korean Food - Soybean Paste Stew - DOENJANG JJIGAE (된장찌개)

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FAQs

Is there a difference between doenjang and miso? ›

Doenjang has a much saltier, funkier flavor than miso so should be used in smaller quantities when substituting it for miso. By the same token, miso has a gentler, smoother quality that makes it a better choice for a dish like traditional miso soup.

Can doenjang be substituted for miso? ›

Keep in mind that there are a few differences between red, white, and mixed miso, and you should use red miso if you want to substitute Doenjang. The taste might be slightly sweeter so you will have to adjust other ingredients.

What's the difference between miso and soybean paste? ›

You're probably wondering what the difference is between miso paste and soybean paste these are both

Is doenjang a girlfriend? ›

Q-Rapha Premium Doenjang (Korean Soybean Paste) is an authentic premium quality, gluten-free, naturally aged, and fermented. It's 100% All-Natural, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO soy paste. It could greatly enhance the flavor of Korean jjigae, stew, soup, dishes, ssamjang, and many other domestic or international foods.

Do you need to refrigerate doenjang? ›

Keep your container in the fridge, the same way you would with miso. Most commercial brands will keep for about a year. This doenjang-based ssam sauce just might become your new favorite condiment.

Can I use Korean soybean paste for miso soup? ›

It's also called Korean soybean paste stew, soybean stew, Korean miso stew, or soybean paste stew. Its flavor is similar to Japanese miso but with more intense, rich, savory flavor. If you like miso soup, you'll love doenjang jjigae!

What is doenjang in English? ›

Doenjang (된장; "thick sauce") or soybean paste is a type of fermented bean paste made entirely of soybean and brine.

Do Koreans use miso? ›

Korean miso soup or doenjang Jjigae uses the Korean form of miso doenjang (aka dwenjang, aka dengjang). Doenjang is similar to Japanese miso but it also contains some uncrushed beans giving it more texture. This soup also contains gochujang which is similar to miso and has chilis in it.

Is doenjang the same as gochujang? ›

While gochujang's primary flavor profile is dominated by red chile peppers, doenjang pushes fermented soybeans to center stage. Both pastes are thick and hearty, especially when gochujang also contains soybean paste, but doenjang is more forgiving.

Does doenjang have probiotics? ›

The majority of microorganisms in doenjang are Bacillus paralicheniformis, which is tolerant to 10% NaCl [46]. Furthermore, probiotic microorganisms, including Bacillus strains, may have exerted health benefits. The consumption of probiotics may improve blood pressure control.

Can you eat expired doenjang? ›

DOENJANG may also develop white mold but like GOCHUJANG, you would just scrape it off the top. It may also develop a darker coloured crust which can happen once exposed to air. That's simply due to exposure to oxygen which dries it out and changes the colour but is still safe to eat.

What is the difference between Japanese and Korean miso? ›

Production Method: While Korean doenjang is made from fermenting bricks of dried and aged soybeans, Japanese miso is made from fermenting soybeans with a mold starter. Flavor: Korean doenjang always has a salty and earthy flavor that is bold and savory.

How do you pronounce doenjang? ›

"Doenjangjjigae" (Korean fermented soybean paste stew) - YouTube

What is the difference between ssamjang and doenjang? ›

Ssamjang is basically gochujang and doenjang combined, with some sesame, garlic and other lovely ingredients in between that just make it have that texture that is almost similar to that of a peanut butter.

Is doenjang the same as Doubanjiang? ›

Doenjang (된장): another Korean soybean paste, doenjang is made from soybean and brine only, and is traditionally made into a brick, known as meju. It is less salty than doubanjiang, and is never spicy, with a flavour that is sometimes compared to Japanese miso.

How long does opened doenjang last? ›

Commercially prepared doenjang is safe to consume 3 to 4 months after opening as long as it is refrigerated in an air-tight container, and could be good for up to one year.

What does doenjang taste like? ›

Doenjang is a Korean paste made with fermented soybeans and brine. It offers deep and complex umami taste with a subtle hint of sourness which is a common taste in Korean dishes. It's one of the essential fermented seasonings in Korean cuisine, alongside gochujang or red pepper paste and ganjang or soy sauce.

Can I use expired Korean soybean paste? ›

Without contamination, refrigerated soybean paste can last for years, but both the flavor and color change over time. When unrefrigerated, don't expect anything more than a few weeks to two months at the most.

Can I use doenjang for ramen? ›

This beef ramen recipe uses Korean soy bean paste (doenjang), a fermented soy bean blend that is pretty similar to regular Japanese miso paste.

How do you make ramen with doenjang? ›

[korean food] doenjang ramen (soybean paste)
  1. Onions, peppers and slice diagonally.
  2. Put in a pan and fry the spice paste ingredients. Please roasted spices not burn.
  3. Water, boil and put the geonsaewoo.
  4. Minced garlic, cotton, if released into the soup and simmer gives 1/3 volume.

Is miso soup Korean or Japanese? ›

Miso soup (味噌汁, misoshiru) is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a dashi stock into which softened miso paste is mixed.

Does doenjang have protein? ›

Soybean Paste Doenjang (1 tbsp) contains 5g total carbs, 5g net carbs, 0.5g fat, 3g protein, and 35 calories.

Is doenjang same as natto? ›

The Koreans have a number of different soybean ferments that are also bacillus-based, but the most common one is doenjang, which is more or less natto, although the method of fermentation makes a product that doesn't have the sticky, gooey aspect natto does because it's a dried-down paste.

Is doenjang halal? ›

Doenjang

So if you want to achieve that umami-rich taste that transforms dishes and makes them distinctively Korean, then make sure to stock your kitchen with some halal doenjang! ?

Is red or white miso better? ›

Best overall red miso

Because red miso is fermented for longer, it usually has a stronger, saltier flavor compared to white and yellow misos. Therefore, they say, it should be reserved for heartier dishes, since it can easily overwhelm simpler food.

How do you eat doenjang? ›

Heres' my list of 7 Recipes Using Doenjang!
  1. Lettuce Wrap Sauce (Ssamjang)
  2. Boiled Pork Belly Wrap (Bossam)
  3. Cabbage Soybean Paste Soup (Baechu Doenjang Guk)
  4. Radish Soup with Soybean Paste (Mu Doenjang Guk)
  5. Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang Jjigae)
  6. Spicy Pork Bone Stew with Potatoes (Gamjatang)
  7. Instant Pot Gamjatang.
13 May 2019

How long is miso paste good for? ›

Miso is a “preservative food,” that can be kept for a long period of time due to its salt content. If kept in your refrigerator, miso itself does not go bad. In terms of the quality of the taste, miso should remain relatively consistent for up to one year.

What can I use in place of doenjang? ›

1. Miso: Due to its similar flavor and texture, Japanese miso paste is the best substitute for doenjang. Keep in mind that doenjang has a saltier, funkier flavor than miso, so you may need to use additional miso in your recipe or supplement it with salt or soy sauce.

Can you make gochujang from doenjang? ›

In a small sauce pot, combine together the gochugaru (chili powder), hot water, doenjang (soybean paste), rice syrup, mirin, garlic paste, salt, barley malt powder and rice flour. While stirring, bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.

What do you eat with doenjang jjigae? ›

When your stew is ready, serve it piping hot with a bowl of hot rice and a side of kimchi—it's pretty much one of the simplest, most satisfying Korean meals you can make. And if you have leftover doenjang jjigae in your pot from, for example, breakfast, just keep it on the stove and boil it again for lunch or dinner.

Is Doenjang Jjigae good for weight loss? ›

As a primarily vegetable based stew, doenjang jjigae makes a low-calorie meal 3. A 1-cup serving of the stew contains about 90 calories. As a low-calorie food, the stew makes a good choice if you're trying to limit your calorie intake for weight loss.

Does doenjang have sugar? ›

contains 50 calories per 30 g serving. This serving contains 1 g of fat, 4 g of protein and 6 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 2.4 g sugar and 0.2 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate.

Is doenjang stew healthy? ›

Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개) is made with a fermented soy bean paste called doenjang (된장). This paste is one of the staple condiments found in almost every Korean household. It is healthy and rich in minerals, vitamins, and gut-healthy probiotics. The Japanese miso paste is similar, but a bit sweeter and milder in taste.

Does miso paste need to be refrigerated before opening? ›

There is no need to refrigerate unopened miso.

Once you open the package, make sure it's always sealed tightly when not in use. When it comes to where opened miso should be stored, there are two options. The fridge is the best place because miso retains quality best at low temperatures.

What is Tojang? ›

☑ WHAT IS 'TOJANG' : 'Tojang' is a delicious soybean paste, fermented and aged in combination with soy sauce, making it even more savory and rich in flavor than doenjang.

How long does Doenjang Jjigae last in the fridge? ›

The stew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, then reheated when ready to serve.

What is Korean soybean paste used for? ›

Similar to hot pepper paste (Gochujiang), fermented soybean paste is a very thick and concentrated condiment. It can be added to stir-fries, stews, and soups for adding savory flavor. A few tablespoons' worth usually goes a long way.

Do they use miso in Korea? ›

Both miso and Korean beanpast were made by fermenting soybeans, but there is a difference between the two. Miso is one of the essential fermented foods for Koreans. The soybean fermented soybean paste is different from the smile, except that only the pure soybean is fermented.

Is Korean miso and Japanese miso the same? ›

Production Method: While Korean doenjang is made from fermenting bricks of dried and aged soybeans, Japanese miso is made from fermenting soybeans with a mold starter. Flavor: Korean doenjang always has a salty and earthy flavor that is bold and savory.

Do Koreans use miso? ›

Korean miso soup or doenjang Jjigae uses the Korean form of miso doenjang (aka dwenjang, aka dengjang). Doenjang is similar to Japanese miso but it also contains some uncrushed beans giving it more texture. This soup also contains gochujang which is similar to miso and has chilis in it.

What is doenjang used for? ›

Soybean Paste Stew (Doenjang Jjigae)

The Doenjang serves as a great foundation to any ingredients you throw into the stew – vegetables, seafood like shrimp, shellfish and even squids, mushrooms, beef and more. Koreans love to pair it with BBQ and jeon. Savor the taste and aroma!

Does doenjang have probiotics? ›

The majority of microorganisms in doenjang are Bacillus paralicheniformis, which is tolerant to 10% NaCl [46]. Furthermore, probiotic microorganisms, including Bacillus strains, may have exerted health benefits. The consumption of probiotics may improve blood pressure control.

Is red or white miso better? ›

Best overall red miso

Because red miso is fermented for longer, it usually has a stronger, saltier flavor compared to white and yellow misos. Therefore, they say, it should be reserved for heartier dishes, since it can easily overwhelm simpler food.

Can you eat expired doenjang? ›

DOENJANG may also develop white mold but like GOCHUJANG, you would just scrape it off the top. It may also develop a darker coloured crust which can happen once exposed to air. That's simply due to exposure to oxygen which dries it out and changes the colour but is still safe to eat.

Can you eat doenjang raw? ›

Doenjang can be eaten as a condiment in raw-paste form with vegetables, as flavored seasoning or even as a dipping condiment.

Is doenjang the same as gochujang? ›

While gochujang's primary flavor profile is dominated by red chile peppers, doenjang pushes fermented soybeans to center stage. Both pastes are thick and hearty, especially when gochujang also contains soybean paste, but doenjang is more forgiving.

Is miso just soybean paste? ›

What is miso paste and how is it made? It's a mash of cooked soybeans, a grain—usually rice, barley, or soybean—that's been cultured with a mold called koji, a bit of miso from an earlier batch thinned with water, and salt.

How long is miso paste good for? ›

Miso is a “preservative food,” that can be kept for a long period of time due to its salt content. If kept in your refrigerator, miso itself does not go bad. In terms of the quality of the taste, miso should remain relatively consistent for up to one year.

Does Korean soybean paste expire? ›

Without contamination, refrigerated soybean paste can last for years, but both the flavor and color change over time. When unrefrigerated, don't expect anything more than a few weeks to two months at the most.

What is the difference between Ssamjang and doenjang? ›

Ssamjang is basically gochujang and doenjang combined, with some sesame, garlic and other lovely ingredients in between that just make it have that texture that is almost similar to that of a peanut butter.

Does doenjang have protein? ›

Soybean Paste Doenjang (1 tbsp) contains 5g total carbs, 5g net carbs, 0.5g fat, 3g protein, and 35 calories.

Is doenjang same as natto? ›

The Koreans have a number of different soybean ferments that are also bacillus-based, but the most common one is doenjang, which is more or less natto, although the method of fermentation makes a product that doesn't have the sticky, gooey aspect natto does because it's a dried-down paste.

How do you pronounce doenjang? ›

"Doenjangjjigae" (Korean fermented soybean paste stew) - YouTube

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3. Doenjang Jjigae: Korean Soybean Paste Soup Recipe(된장찌개 만들기, 味噌チゲ レシピ)
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