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Miso Caramel

If you love sea salt caramel — and let’s face it, who doesn’t? — then Miso Caramel is for you. Miso paste adds an intriguing hit of saltiness and a wallop of umami to the classic caramel.

A jar of miso caramel with a hand lifting a spoonful of the caramel out of the jar.

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You’ll be surprised how easy Miso Caramel is to make, and you’ll love how well it pairs with desserts — you’ll want to put it on everything from vanilla ice cream to brownies and apple galette.

Caramel is a classic flavor that’s hard to resist — it’s sweet, rich, and just plain delicious. But what happens when you take that classic flavor and add a little twist to it? Enter Miso Caramel, which combines the salty umami flavor of miso paste with the sweet richness of caramel. It’s a flavor combination that might sound strange, but the bottom line is that it works.

A dish of ice cream with caramel being drizzled over.

What Is Miso Paste?

Miso paste is a fermented paste. It is a thick, flavorful, umami-rich ingredient that is used extensively in Japanese cooking, mostly in savory dishes. It ranges from white to dark brown and from mildly salty and slightly sweet to very salty and intense.

Most people think of miso soup when they think about miso. While miso soup is excellent (particularly on a cold day), miso paste is useful for so much more. You can use it in marinades and sauces, as a glaze for salmon or ribs, and as a flavor base for Ramen. But more surprising, you can even use it in desserts.

White miso (also called shiro miso) is relatively mild, salty, and also slightly sweet, making it an ideal complement to rich caramel.

Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make miso caramel.

Ingredients You Need

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

You only need 3 ingredients to make Miso Caramel, and you can make it with dairy or make it vegan using coconut milk or cream. Here’s what you need:

  • White miso paste: Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans (and sometimes other grains like rice or barley) and has a salty, slightly sweet flavor. It comes in varying intensities from light to dark, with the darker miso pastes being the saltiest and most powerfully flavored. You want to choose a mild-flavored miso paste for caramel, so go for the white miso (also called shiro miso).
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar as the base for your caramel.
  • Cream: You can heavy cream or use coconut cream or coconut milk for a vegan version. The fat in these ingredients gives caramel its rich, creamy texture.

How To Make It

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

Miso Caramel is easy to make — just as easy as a classic caramel sauce. Here’s how:

  • Combine the sugar and water and heat over medium-high heat, without stirring or swirling the pan, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture turns deep golden brown.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream until the mixture is thick and thoroughly combined.
  • Return to low heat and whisk in the miso paste until fully incorporated.
A plate with 3 slices of a cream pie stacked up and caramel being drizzled over from a pitcher.

How To Serve It

Miso Caramel is incredibly versatile. You can use it the same way you’d use a classic caramel sauce but with the added umami to take your desserts over the top. Here are my favorite ways to use it:

  • Drizzle it over an Apple Galette or fudgy brownies.
  • Spoon it over vanilla or Pumpkin Ice Cream.
  • Drizzle it over Air Fryer Bananas and add a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Add it to your morning coffee for a sweet and savory twist.
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for fresh fruit like apples, strawberries, or pears.
  • Use it to sweeten a Matcha Milk Tea.
  • Use it as a glaze for roasted vegetables (trust me, it’s delicious!)
  • Use it to replace some or all of the sugar in your favorite cookie or brownie recipe.

Other Ways To Use Miso Paste

After making your Miso Caramel, you may wonder how else you can press that tub of miso paste into service. It’s an umami-packed ingredient that has the power to transform savory dishes with its deep, intense, and delicious flavor. Here are a few ways to use it:

  • Miso Ramen Tare: This is a flavor base that gives ramen broth its flavor.
  • Spicy Miso Ramen: A hearty and comforting noodle soup that uses spicy miso tare for flavor.
  • Miso Glazed Salmon: A quick and easy way to eat salmon.
  • Miso Eggplant: A savory and satisfying vegetable side dish.
2 brownies stacked on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top drizzled with caramel.

The Final Word

Miso Caramel is a unique and delicious twist on a classic flavor. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create an incredibly versatile sauce, and you can use it in a variety of different ways. It’s an added benefit that you can make it with either regular cream or all vegan products.

While the flavor combination might sound a little strange at first, once you try it, you’ll be hooked. The salty umami miso flavor perfectly balances out the sweetness of the caramel, creating a unique and delicious taste. So next time you’re in the mood for something sweet, why not try miso caramel? I promise you won’t be disappointed.

2 brownies stacked on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top drizzled with caramel.

Miso Caramel

Robin Donovan
Miso Caramel is a unique and delicious twist on a classic flavor. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create an incredibly versatile sauce that you can use in various ways. You can make it with either regular cream or all vegan products.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 127 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup heavy cream coconut cream, or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste

Instructions
 

  • In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Swirl to wet all of the sugar, then set over medium-high heat. Brush the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush to wash down any stray grains of sugar. Do not stir or swirl the pan.
  • Watch the mixture carefully as it begins to boil and then slowly starts to darken in color. It will take 4 to 8 minutes to achieve the right color, but beware that once the mixture darkens, it can go quickly from perfectly brown to burned, so watch it the whole time. Once the mixture turns a light amber color, reduce the heat to low and swirl gently until the mixture is uniformly deep golden brown.
  • Remove from the heat and add the cream. The mixture will sizzle and bubble, and the caramel will seize up. Whisk until it is liquid again and thoroughly combined. Place over low heat and whisk in the miso paste until fully incorporated.

Notes

If your miso is very stiff or firm, soak it in warm water for a couple of minutes and then drain it before adding it to the caramel.
 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 84mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 221IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 0.1mg
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By on March 1st, 2023

ABOUT ROBIN DONOVAN

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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