Is Miso Ramen Spicy?

Miso Ramen is a classic Japanese dish that’s been around for over half a century. But let’s get to the question that’s been plaguing many foodies’ minds: does miso ramen have a spicy side?

Miso ramen is usually mild in flavor. However, depending on the region and the ingredients used, it can be quite spicy. To customize the spice level of miso ramen, one can use a range of ingredients, including chili peppers, garlic, sake, and red pepper flakes.

In the rest of the blog, I will reveal the reason behind the spicy misconception surrounding miso ramen.

And, of course, I’ll also share tips on how to order your miso ramen according to your spice tolerance. Buckle up and get ready for a spicy adventure.

(Hopefully, without the actual spice, because let’s be real, some of us can’t handle it.)

What Makes Miso Ramen Spicy?

Miso ramen is basically a bowl of happiness, consisting of noodles swimming in a delicious miso-flavored soup. It’s no wonder this dish has taken over the world and become a staple on menus in ramen restaurants everywhere.

The delicious Miso Ramen noodle dish warms our souls and sometimes sets our mouths on fire! So, what’s the deal with the spiciness? Let me break it down for you.

  • Location: The soup itself is made with either red or white miso paste, depending on where you are. And, of course, the level of spiciness varies depending on the type of miso used. Red miso is the bolder, spicier cousin, while white miso is the milder, sweeter sibling.
  • Chili Peppers: Just like people, chili peppers come in all shapes, sizes, and heat levels. From mild jalapeños to fiery habaneros, there’s a chili pepper for every level of spice tolerance. And when it comes to miso ramen, some recipes like to throw in a few of these bad boys to give the broth a bit of a kick.
  • Garlic: Sure, garlic is delicious. But if you go too heavy on the garlic, you might end up with a broth that’s more pungent and spicy than you bargained for. 
  • Red pepper flakes: These tiny flakes might seem innocent, but don’t be fooled. They can pack quite a punch and add a good amount of spice to your miso ramen.

And let’s not forget about sake, the rice-based alcoholic drink that can add a little heat to the mix. Just remember, when it comes to chili peppers, garlic, sake, and red pepper flakes, a little goes a long way. Unless, of course, you’re a spice warrior – then go ahead and crank up the heat!

Why Do Some People Think Miso Ramen Is Spicy?

There’s a common misunderstanding about miso ramen that we want to clear up – it doesn’t always have to be spicy! It’s true that some miso ramen recipes include spicy ingredients like chili peppers or garlic. But many others don’t. Miso pastes itself can vary in flavor and spiciness depending on the type used. So it’s always worth asking your server about the spiciness level of their miso ramen.

Now, some people might assume that miso ramen is spicy because of its association with gochujang and other spicy condiments. But that’s not always the case. In fact, in Japan, where it originated, miso ramen is often made with soy sauce or fish broth instead of spicy ingredients.

But if you do want to spice up your miso ramen, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to do so – from adding chili oil or hot sauce to adjusting the amount of seasoning to your liking. And if you’re making miso ramen at home, you have complete control over the spiciness level. So go ahead and experiment – there’s no wrong way to enjoy miso ramen!

Can You Customize the Spice Level in Miso Ramen?

At some restaurants, you can customize your spice level like a boss. Just order your ramen “spicy” and prepare to feel the heat. But beware, sometimes what the server thinks is “spicy” is actually a whole new level of fire that will have you reaching for the nearest glass of milk.

If you’re making miso ramen at home, don’t be afraid to experiment with the spice level. Start with a little bit of chili paste and seasoning. Gradually add more until you’ve found the perfect level of heat for your taste buds. But don’t forget to use high-quality ingredients. Because, let’s be honest, nobody wants a soup that’s bland.

Now, before you go all hot-headed and start pouring in the chili paste like it’s nobody’s business, remember to exercise some restraint. It’s easy to go overboard and end up with a bowl of soup that’s so spicy it’ll leave your tongue feeling like it’s on fire. 

So, start slow and gradually build up the heat until you’ve reached your perfect level of spice. That way, you’ll impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills. And you won’t have to deal with a bowl of soup that’s hotter than the sun.

How to Make Miso Ramen Less Spicy?

If you’re a fan of miso ramen but find the heat too much to handle, fear not! There are plenty of ways to make this delicious dish milder. Here are some tips to help you tone down the spice level:

1. Cut Down on the Red Pepper Flakes

Cut back on the red pepper flakes, gochugaru, or chili powder in the recipe. These ingredients are often responsible for the fiery kick in miso ramen. So reducing them will help to make the dish milder.

2. Add Sour Cream

Add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche to your bowl of miso ramen. The tangy, creamy taste will help to balance out the spiciness and create a delicious flavor profile.

3. Swap Out Miso Paste

Swap out some of the miso paste for soy sauce. This will add a savory, umami flavor without the heat.

4. Add Some Sugar

Add a touch of sweetness with a tablespoon or two of sugar. The sweetness will help to counteract the spiciness and provide a pleasing balance of flavors.

5. Use Doenjang

Consider using doenjang instead of gochujang. Doenjang is a Korean fermented soybean paste that has a rich, earthy flavor but is much less spicy than gochujang.

6. Choose Milder Varieties of Chilies

If you’re using fresh chilies, choose milder varieties like jalapeños or poblanos instead of super-spicy ones like habaneros or ghost peppers.

Just remember, when you tone down the spice level, you may sacrifice some of the unique flavors and aromas that make miso ramen so delicious. So, adjust your seasoning as needed, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect balance. Enjoy!


The answer to the question is not black and white. Although miso ramen is typically mild, it may actually be spicy. It all depends on where you are having it and the amount of chili pepper, garlic, sake, and red pepper in it. 

But f you’re looking to experience a little bit of heat in your life, miso ramen is the way to go. Just be sure to start with the mildest version. Because we wouldn’t want you to actually enjoy your meal without setting your taste buds on fire, now would we? And let’s not forget to have a “cooling” side dish on standby in case things get too hot to handle.