How to Make Miso at Home (Soy or No Soy!) : Excerpt from “Cultured: Make Healthy Fermented Foods at Home”

Sunday Sep 25 | BY |
| Comments (12)

chickpea miso
You can make miso with chickpeas if you’re sensitive to soy!

This recipe is just one of the 70+ found in our new fermented foods recipe book called “Cultured: Make Healthy Fermented Foods at Home.” To get your copy today, visit here:

I’ve always wanted to know how to make miso…

Now I know and I’m going to share with you!

The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s made with chickpeas, instead of soy. If you want to make it traditionally (with soy) you can just replace the garbanzo beans with soy beans.

Here it is…

Homemade Garbanzo Miso Recipe

5 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight (traditional soy is used, see side note*)
1 cup sea salt
3 tbsp unpasteurized miso
5 cups koji
1 cup cooking liquid


A one gallon glass jar or a crock of similar size
Plate, lid or wooden disk that fits snugly inside the jar
Heavy weight or clean rock
Thick cotton cloth to cover everything

Cook the beans until soft. Strain and save 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Allow beans to cool and dry in a strainer for an hour or two. Process beans in a food processor for desired texture.

Dissolve 3/4 cup sea salt into 1 cup cooking liquid to make a brine. Mash the 3 tbsp unpasteurized miso into 1 cup brine. Mix brine (containing salt and 3 tbsp miso) with the koji.

In a big bowl, add processed beans to this brine mixture. This is your miso.

Packing for Fermentation: (I often do this part first while the garbanzos are cooling.)

Wet the sides of the jar slightly with hands dipped in water. Place some salt inside the side of jar, put the lid on or cover, and shake it around, coating all sides and bottom of jar or crock with a salt layer. Pack the miso into the crock/jar with clean hands, press down firmly. Spread a generous layer of salt over the top. Place the flat object on top and put the weight on top of that. Cover with cloth and secure well with a tight rubber band, string or tape.

You have the option to continue the fermentation process, and like with fine wine, it only gets better with time. If you decide to continue fermentation for another year it is good to test it out and repack it again with salt.

Miso years are calculated by the number of summers it has aged. So, if you have gone through one summer of fermentation, then you have one year old miso. I like to start my miso projects in the spring time, so they are ripe and ready to experience the warmer temps of summer when they tend to be more active.

*You can make this recipe using soy beans as well. Just be sure to use organic soy, since there is less chance of genetically modified contamination.

What is koji and where can I find it?

Koji is a Japanese rice on which koji mold spores have been cultivated. This process allows for the fermentation of koji rice, which is the primary ingredient in sake. Although koji spores can be bought, they usually have to be bought from specialty importers. However, fermented koji rice that has already been inoculated with the spores can be found at your local Asian grocery.

Helpful Tips:

It is important that your miso is packed tightly, free from oxidation and protected by the salt layer. The cloth will also help to keep out impurities and unwanted bacteria.

Label your crock/jar with the date. Store the jar in a cellar, basement or other cool, dark spot where it will remain undisturbed. Have patience and ferment for one year. (See “miso years” above.) Open, scrap off top layer and celebrate with family and friends… your very first batch of homemade miso!! It should smell rich and savory like tamari. Pack it in clean, glass jars with plastic lids and refrigerate or store in a cool place.

This recipe is just one of the 70+ found in our new fermented foods recipe book called “Cultured: Make Healthy Fermented Foods at Home.” To get your copy today, visit here:

Contributed by Shira Locarni (

Shira Locarni’s passion and love for fermenting foods, like miso and tempeh, began over a decade ago in pursuit of healthier cooked food alternatives. Shira created the website, Superfoods for Superhealth, “a how-to resource and motivational health guide” incorporating all the many components to diet she has personally found to be extremely beneficial in her own life and those she counsels.

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Debbie says:

    Who won the Ferment caption contest ???????????????????????????

  2. Gina LaVerde says:

    OOOOOHHHH La La. This is one I will certainly be making and soon too. It’s very much miso season. Sounds so Yum and can’t wait for the book.


  3. LynnCS says:

    I love miso and always wished I could make it. I have been told that eating soy is like eating poison, which I am still studying. At this time I prefer to find replacements for soy and this just foots the bill. I do have unpasturised miso on hand and wonder if it is appropriate to use it as a starter. (3 T miso) How would it change the outcome and future batches. Probably fine, but for the purist, I’d like to hear opinions. I also love garbonzo beans. It sounds like a perfect miso. My mouth is watering. Until recently,I didn’t realize the beans were cooked, but it makes such a healthy condiment and base for broths, that it is ok with me. I am not stuck on perfection, perfection, perfection, Oops! needle stuck there. Have a great Sunday. Love, Lynn

  4. Mirella says:

    Just wondering about the koji rice and radiation contamination from the fukashima disaster. How can we be sure it is safe?

    Are the foods coming out of Japan tested for radioactive particles?

    Thanks for motivating me to ferment again.

  5. Irina says:

    Yippeeee! Overly excited -I love fermenting and always wanted to try my hand at making miso at home Thank you guys!

  6. Mia says:

    I really want this book!

  7. Dasha says:

    The recipe sounds great but I want to know how I can make my own miso, from scratch. If I need to buy miso (3tbs) to start my miso, I might as well just buy the garbanzo miso that’s made by Miso Master. Is it possible to grow my own koji cultures? If anyone has any insight about this, would appreciate it. Thank you for all the other awesome recipes!

  8. […] miso recipe I posted last week did in fact have koji rice (here) as an ingredient and I can understand why you’re […]

  9. sethya MALAY says:

    I’m interest a Japan traditional food “MISO” for along time ago but I can’t make this food.
    So I’m not sure, how to make the MISO ?
    My wonder are : 1-v are cook the Koji or not. 2-how long to storage (day n temperature) the MISO after cooking.

  10. Gerald says:

    Hi Kevin, please tell me what is unpasteurised miso?

  11. Mindy says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks much for the recipe! I am new to the Raw food lifestyle so I’ve much to learn. I am wondering what I am to use for the “3T. Unpasteurized Miso”? I don’t want soy in my diet, so do you know of somewhere that I can purchase RAW non-soy miso??


  12. Pat says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Is the “3 Tbsp unpasteurized miso” required or is there a substitute that I can use?

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