- Miso is used to add flavor to soups, dressings and marinades
- Miso is by nature gluten-free
- Some types of miso may have gluten-containing ingredients
- People on a gluten-free diet should only gluten-free certified miso
Miso is a seasoning known for its sweet, salty and pleasant savory flavor. Consumers would like to know if miso is gluten free or not.
Miso is gluten-free if it’s prepared using gluten-free ingredients and in a gluten-free environment. Buying certified gluten-free miso or making yours at home using gluten-free ingredients, is the only way to be sure of gluten-free miso.
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Does Miso Have Gluten?
Is miso gluten free? Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, salt, and a type of fungus known as koji. It's commonly used in Japanese cuisine to add flavor to soups, sauces, marinades, and dressings.
Miso comes in a variety of colors, ranging from light yellow to dark brown, depending on the type of soybeans used and the length of fermentation. Some of the most popular types include white miso, red miso and awase miso.
Also known as shiro miso, white miso is the most popular one. It has a mild, sweet taste. It’s color can range from light beige to white, based on the ingredients and the fermentation period.
Shiro miso takes approximately one to three months to ferment properly. You can use it for light dressing, in soups and salads, to glaze meat or fish or in a marinade.
Red miso has a higher amount of soybeans in relation to koji. Its fermentation period is also longer than white miso, which helps to give it its darker, reddish-brown color. Its flavor is also stronger, compared to white miso, making it ideal for braises and stews.
Awase miso is more of a blend between shiro miso and red miso. Its color also falls somewhere in between the other two.
This type of miso is ideal for those looking for a stronger flavor than shiro miso but lesser salty than red miso. Awase miso is highly versatile, meaning you can use it in a wide range of dishes.
Apart from the three types of miso we’ve highlighted above, there are plenty of other varieties. They include barley miso, red miso paste, hatcho miso, genmai or brown rice miso, and inaka miso or country miso, just to name a few.
People who are living with gluten problems have to follow a gluten free diet and they should avoid gluten containing grains and other gluten foods. If they cannot get gluten free foods, they should look for a good gluten free alternative or gluten free alternatives.
If you're following a gluten-free diet, you may want to know if miso is a safe option for you. Can you take miso if you have gluten intolerance? Is miso safe for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity?
To answer these questions, we need to take a closer look at the ingredients used to make miso. Fermented soy beans is the miso’s main ingredient. Soybeans are by nature gluten-free, meaning that miso is also gluten-free.
Some miso varieties also include other grains such as barley or wheat. So, not all miso is gluten-free. It is important to check the label or ask the manufacturer about the ingredients if you have a gluten intolerance.
Miso Gluten Cross-Contamination
While miso itself does not contain gluten, cross-contamination can occur during the manufacturing process. If the miso is produced in a facility that also processes grains such as wheat, there is a risk of gluten contamination.
So, it is important to look for miso that is produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Most manufacturers will mention whether their miso has been produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility or not.
Is Miso Safe for People with Celiac Disease?
If you have celiac disease and you are looking to try this condiment for the first time, you may be wondering whether it’s safe for you. Miso may or may not be safe for you. It all depends on the ingredients used to make it.
Miso made with only fermented soybeans, koji and salt is gluten-free, meaning it’s safe for individuals diagnosed with celiac disease. On the other hand, miso that has barley as one of the ingredients isn’t gluten-free, since barley is a gluten grain.
Some of the types of miso that may contain gluten include Tsubi miso that’s made using rye and wheat as well as Mugi miso that’s made using barely. Such types of miso won’t be safe for those with celiac disease.
Besides the ingredients, miso may also be cross-contaminated with gluten either during processing, handling or storage. Again, such miso may not be safe to consume for individuals with celiac disease.
For store-bought miso, you should look for certified gluten-free brands. In case you in a restaurant, you should ask the chef or the server whether the miso they are using is gluten-free. You also need to enquire about the possibility of gluten cross-contamination in the kitchen.
Gluten-Free Miso Brands
Buying certified gluten-free miso will ensure you won’t experience any gluten-related complications for someone on a gluten-free diet.
Fortunately, finding gluten-free miso shouldn’t be a challenge, since there are numerous gluten-free miso brands out there. They include:
Hikari is one of the most popular gluten-free miso brands on the market. It’s Organic White Miso is renowned for its smooth texture and balanced taste.
All the ingredients used to make it don’t contain gluten, meaning you can safely enjoy it if you are on a gluten-free diet without any worries.
Hikari Organic White Miso is extremely versatile. You can use it to prepare marinades for meat or fish before broiling or baking, add it in shrimps or, mix it with dashi, among other uses.
You should be able to find this gluten-free miso in a grocery store near your or order online.
Roland Foods White Miso is made from fermented soy beans, water, salt, rice and gluten-free alcohol. Its considered gluten-free, since no gluten-containing ingredients have been used to make it.
You can use it in dressings, marinades, stocks, spreads and soups. It’s one of the most affordable on the market, making it ideal for those who use large amounts of miso every day or large families.
Miso Master is yet another great choice for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
It’s made with organic, gluten-free ingredients, including organic handmade rice koji, whole soybeans, koji spores, Blue Ridge Mountain well water and sun dried sea salt. You can find this miso in almost all the large grocery stores in the country.
Marukome miso is made from organic ingredients, including rice soybeans, filtered water, gluten-free alcohol, and salt.
It doesn’t contain any gluten, making it ideal for both for those on a gluten-free diet and vegans. It has a sweet, mild flavor, perfect for adding depth to your stocks and soups.
Can You Make Miso at Home?
In case you can’t find any of the above gluten-free miso brands in a store near you or you still have concerns with store-bought miso, you also have the option of making yours at home. You can easily get a miso soup recipe online.
While making miso at home may sound like a complicated or daunting process, it’s easy and worth the effort. To make gluten-free miso at home, you will need soybeans, rice koji, filtered water and salt.
You can make miso soup gluten free at home, and the same case applies to miso paste. Gluten free miso pastes, when prepared in the right way, can be very tasty. You will have a choice of the desired accompaniment, soy sauce or fermented paste for instance.
This will also give you a chance to use different flavors such as umami flavor.
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, you will proceed to smashing the soybeans, mix the paste uniformly and store it for a couple of months to allow it to ferment.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker