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Is Miso Gluten Free? | A Cookie Recipe

May 5, 2021
At a Glance

Summary

Is miso paste gluten free? Yes, if it’s made from fermented beans and any grains are gluten-free, like rice. Its rich, savory flavor makes surprisingly delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookies, too.

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Prep / Cook Time

15 minutes / 14 minutes

Rating

 5/5 (1 votes)
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Is Miso Gluten Free? | A Cookie Recipe

Miso paste, a savory naturally gluten free blend of fermented beans and a grain like rice, can also be used to make rich, flavorful gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

Two rows of chocolate chip cookies lined up on a large white round platter on a white cloth

Why add miso paste to make gluten free miso chocolate chip cookies?

Savory miso paste, made from fermented rice and soybeans, has an earthy, umami flavor. When you add it to soup, like our gluten free won ton soup, adds flavor complexity and depth.

When my children were small, I would make them chicken soup without miso, and then add some miso paste to my serving. Eventually, they asked to taste mine, and we ended up making plenty of gluten free ramen noodle soup with miso paste for everyone.

Since miso paste is made from soybeans and it’s a thick paste, it reminds me a bit of peanut butter. I had heard of miso chocolate chip cookies, and we have a recipe for gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, made with gluten free flour (not flourless).

I started with that peanut butter cookie recipe, rebalanced a few ingredients, and ended up with these gluten free miso chocolate chip cookies. They’re smoother and richer than classic gluten free chocolate chip cookies, but they’re still thick and chewy like many of the best cookies are.

Two chocolate chip cookies leaning against a round container of mellow white miso paste on a white cloth

What is miso?

Japanese in origin, according to Miso Tasty, miso was created as a fermented blend of soybeans, grains, and salt. It was first created to preserve the food during the warmer months, when food spoiled more easily without refrigeration.

The first grain the Japanese used to make miso paste was rice, which is naturally gluten free. Modern miso paste is sometimes from other beans, like chickpeas and lentils.

According to Shihoko of Chopstick Chronicles, it’s possible to make your own miso paste using soybeans, koji rice, which is steamed rice that has been treated with the fermentation culture, Aspergillus oryzae or “koji-kin.”

Miso paste can differ according to ingredients, color, and taste. The colors are white, red, and mixed; the flavors are sweet or savory/salty. The final color is determined by the length of fermentation.

Open container of miso master organic mellow white miso paste with miso paste inside

Is miso paste gluten free?

Like most other prepared foods that don’t contain flour, miso paste is gluten free if it’s prepared in a safe, gluten free environment and is made without gluten-containing grains. Miso paste, when made from any sort of beans and fermented rice, is gluten free.

If you don’t plan to make homemade miso, which I never have (although I’m intrigued!), you’ll need to source a safe gluten free miso paste. The brand of miso paste that I like to buy is Miso Master, which you see in the photos above.

Miso Master is made with organic ingredients, and I always have a container in my refrigerator. The ingredients in their mellow white miso paste are: organic whole soybeans, organic handmade rice koji (organic rice, koji spores (aspergillus oryzae)), sun dried sea salt, Blue Ridge Mtn well water.

Miso paste tends to be available in larger grocery stores, and in natural food stores. You’ll find Miso Master in the refrigerated section of the store. Since it’s a fermented food, it has a long shelf life. Eden brands miso paste, which is also gluten free, is not refrigerated until it’s opened.

Be mindful that you’re buying miso paste, not concentrated miso soup. If the label says that you can make miso soup by just adding water, that’s not miso paste.

Chocolate chip cookie dough in a large mixing bowl with a black handled spatula

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy

In place of the butter in this recipe, I recommend trying vegan butter.  My favorite brands are Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen.

Since the cookies are nice and thick, you might even be able to use Earth Balance buttery sticks. They’re very salty, though, so skip the salt in this recipe.

Eggs

There are two eggs in these cookies. You might be able to replace them with 2 “chia eggs.”

A “chia egg” is made by combining 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water. Mix, and allow the mixture to sit until it gels.

Two baked chocolate chip cookies with salt on brown paper on tray

Corn

If you’re using a higher starch blend, like Cup4Cup, in place of cornstarch, use an equal amount of additional flour blend. The same applies if you’re using my mock Cup4Cup blend.

If you can’t have corn, you can try using arrowroot or even potato starch in its place.

Soy

If you can find savory white miso paste made from chickpeas or lentils, rather than soy beans, you can make this recipe without soy. I don’t know if soy-free miso paste tastes different, though, so don’t go this way unless you know you like the taste of that miso paste.

Chocolate chip cookies on flat round white platter on white cloth

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 16 to 18 cookies

Ingredients

1 5/8 cups (228 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I like Better Batter here; click the link for full flour blend info)

¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

¼ cup (36 g) cornstarch (See Recipe Notes)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon wasabi powder (optional)

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate disks or chips

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup (120 g) mellow white miso paste

½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar

½ cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line large baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and optional wasabi powder. Whisk the ingredients together, then add chocolate pieces, mix to combine, and set the bowl aside.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the butter butter, miso paste, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, and beat until very well-combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate pieces, and mix until just combined. The cookie dough will be thick, but soft and sticky.

  • Scoop the dough into portions about 1 1/2 tablespoons in volume, and place about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. With moistened fingers, pat down the dough into 1/2-inch thick disks and smooth any rough edges.

  • Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set and lightly golden brown all over and set in the center, about 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet or until firm before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Love,
Nicole

  • Ann
    May 5, 2021 at 12:37 PM

    I will try these. Altering the recipe.
    Have a problem when there is so much white or brown sugar in a recipe. I also eat GF, but I don’t use white or brown sugar.
    Like the idea of the miso. And wasabi.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 5, 2021 at 1:00 PM

      I don’t recommend reducing the sugar, Ann, or replacing it with anything other than an alternative granulated and alternative light brown sugar. Sugar isn’t just a sweetener, but also a tenderizer and the brown sugar adds flavor.

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