The Unexpected Ingredient That'll Make Hot Chocolate Even Richer

Whoever coined the maxim "desperate times call for desperate measures" probably didn't intend it as an excuse for Swiss Miss and hot water, but it might as well be. Once you've had creamy hot chocolate with Dutch-processed cocoa powder, there's no going back to the method listed on the back of a packet (unless you're into that, in which case, we're happy for you).

After you've mastered the basics, there's no need to stop there. There are countless ways to doctor up your hot cocoa, whether you're following a time-honored recipe for spicy Mexican hot chocolate or inventing your own version with the denizens of your spice cabinet. But have you considered checking out the funky condiments populating your fridge?

The next time you're craving a cup of liquid chocolate, try reaching for an unexpected ingredient: miso. The fermented bean paste, which has been used in Japanese cooking for centuries, lends an umami richness so satisfyingly complex you'll forget all about marshmallows.

Salty, sweet, and umami

Miso hot chocolate wasn't invented on social media, but like so many spins on classic treats, we learned about it from TikTok, in a video that calls for two teaspoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of instant coffee, a drizzle of maple syrup, a square of dark chocolate, and ½ teaspoon of miso. Of course, you can add more or less depending on your desired umami-ness.


MISO 🤝 HOT CHOCOLATE no but seriously you need to try this combo because it’s soooo fire you need: – 2 tsp cacao (I use dutch process cacao) – 1/2 or 1 tsp of instant coffee (depends how much you like coffee but it brings out the choco flavour even more) – 1 tbsp maple syrup or any sweetner but feel free to sweeten to your taste – 1 square of your fave chocolate I used 100% dark chocolate – 1/2 tsp of miso (depending on the saltiness and the type of your miso this might vary it’s better to start by adding a little and then increasing if needed because it can also depend on the type of miso you have. I suggest shiro miso because it’s the lightest and sweetest miso) – a lil bit of hot water (not boiling more so french press (180-200C) you don’t want to destroy the probiotics in the miso – your plant milk of choice I used sweetened soy from costco because I loveeeee this milk I hope you enjoy this comforting rich umami sweet and salty balanced hot chocolate recipe 🍫💞 #hotchocolaterecipe #misohotchocolate #shiromiso #chocolate #comfortingdrink #vegan #healthy #refinedsugarfree #plantbased #drink

♬ Push Up (Original Mix) – Creeds

As you might imagine from miso's supreme saltiness, whisking bean paste into your hot cocoa is sort of like putting flaky salt on your chocolate chip cookie to offset the sweetness. (On that note, you're probably not adding enough salt to your chocolate cake.) 

If you've spent time in Canada's densest city, you may have jumped on the miso hot chocolate bandwagon a few years ago. Back in 2018, The Georgia Straight noted that Vancouver chocolate shop Koko Monk served a white miso hot chocolate with matcha tea and sake. If you don't do dairy, you might want to check out Lindt's vegan hot chocolate recipe, which uses barista-style coconut milk and coconut cream. 

White miso is your best bet for desserts

A little experimentation is always welcome in the hot chocolate department, but if you want to play on the safe side, choose white miso. Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn, a self-proclaimed "dyed-in-the-wool brownie traditionalist," learned about the merits of white miso in sweets from Nicole Bermensolo, who sold Japanese-style desserts and baked goods at the NYC bakery Kyotofu. 

She was convinced after tasting one of Bermensolo's miso brownies for the first time, writing in the Wall Street Journal, "Biting into the dense, fudgy little confection revealed a salty, buttery flavor with a powerful chocolate punch, all the familiar brownie hallmarks taken to their natural limits." The same could be said for white miso chocolate chip cookies, a wildly popular treat that may owe credit to the version that once appeared on the menu of Marcus Samuelsson and Tina Gee's Harlem speakeasy Ginny's Supper Club. 

Luckily, white miso is super accessible — you can find it in most supermarkets, and certainly at your local Asian grocery store. If you love sweets, spring for the big tub. You might find yourself adding it to every chocolate dessert you make.