How to Add Umami to Soup? 9 Ideas

How to Add Umami to Soup
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In addition to basic flavors-salty, sweet, bitter, and sour, there’s a fifth flavor called “umami.” The word “umami” comes from the Japanese language and means “essence of deliciousness,” and rightfully so. Umami is a distinct taste, unlike the rest of the four primary flavors. Many describe the umami flavor as meaty and savory, with the perfect intensity and dosage of flavors. Adding umami to your cooking can significantly improve the flavor and enrich the entire meal. You can add umami taste to everything you cook, but how do you add umami to soup?

Dried tomatoes, fresh tomato sauce, shitake mushrooms, parmesan, miso paste, fermented food, soy sauce, anchovies, and MGS (Monosodium glutamate) are very rich in umami. Therefore, they can add umami flavor to your soup. 

Having an umami soup means having an entire meal inside your soup bowl. Rich and mouth-watering our soup will transform from a simple entrée into an incredibly decadent dish. Adding umami flavor to soup is very simple, but not many are familiar with the umami ingredients. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I will explain how you can add umami taste to your soup and in enjoy it to the fullest.

How to Add Umami Taste to Soup?

Since the name of the flavor is of Japanese origin, the first thing we think of when we hear “umami” is some kind of a Japanese spice we know nothing about. However, we have all tasted umami many times as the umami-giving element, glutamate, is common in many foods. 

Therefore, to add an umami taste to the soup, we just need to add the food that contains glutamate and is appropriate as a soup addition. So, in essence, adding umami flavor to your soup is very simple and easy to achieve. 

Dried Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an abundant source of umami flavor, which is even more expressive when the tomatoes are processed in some way, such as dried. Depending on the type of soup you are making, you can add the dried tomatoes while making the soup or sprinkle some on top once it is done. 

Dried tomatoes go excellent with chicken noodle soup, French onion soup, and even cream of mushroom soup.

Fresh Tomato Sauce 

Blend the tomatoes and let them simmer for some time until you’ve made an umami bomb. Then, add the sauce to your soup while it’s on the stove, or simply smear some on the surface, watch it sink, and spread the umami through it. 

The fresh tomato sauce goes great with cream soups, especially the cheese-containing ones, as the tang meshes perfectly with the tomatoes. 

Shitake Mushrooms 

The shitake mushroom is an excellent source of umami flavor since it’s known as very healthy, nutrient-rich, and incredibly delicious. Chop them finely, or use them whole, fresh or sizzled; the world is your oyster. 

They go with any soup you might have in mind, which is a general characteristic of mushrooms in general. The shitake mushrooms will release the delightful umami flavor and give your soup an entirely different dimension. 

Although you can add them to any soup, I especially recommend adding them to noodle soup, as the noodle texture and the mushroom meatiness are exceptionally compatible.


Parmesan is a welcomed addition to any dish, soup included, as it brings a very specific flavor to the dish and makes it richer and creamier. Parmesan is also extremely rich with umami flavor; therefore, it found itself on this list. 

Although parmesan is a very specific-tasting cheese, it is not restrictive in its use at all and fits perfectly with any type of soup. It mashes exceptionally well with broccoli cream, tomato, and mushroom soup; however, it also goes perfectly with other soups. 

Miso Paste 

Miso paste is a Japanese umami seasoning made of fermented soybeans with salt. Sometimes it contains other ingredients such as rice, barley, seaweed, etc. 

Since the soybeans are fermented, the miso paste is a very rich source of umami taste and goes amazingly well with various soups. Its specialty is vegetable soups, such as broccoli and cauliflower, French onion, and mixed vegetable pottages. 

The miso paste is a versatile seasoning that handles taste experiments well. So, don’t think twice if you intend to use it. 

How to Add Umami to Soup

Fermented Food 

Fermented food is an umami bomb. Some kimchi will give your soup all the umami it needs. Because fermented food has a very particular taste, the general conclusion is that it doesn’t go with many things, but I beg to differ. 

The specificity of the taste makes the kimchi so incredibly versatile and widely used.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce has become synonymous with umami, as it is the go-to ingredient for adding umami to your food. The soy sauce is a very adaptable ingredient, which doesn’t dominate the dish, but gently elevates it to another level. 

A spoon of soy sauce added to your soup will make your soup bowl bust with umami. 

MGS (Monosodium Glutamate)

The MGS is known for the purest umami taste and is simply irreplaceable. It is used in many commercially available foods and is often used instead of plain table salt. It comes in the form of seasoning you can add to your soup. 


Anchovies are a type of fish that is used as a seasoning in many dishes, soups included. It isn’t unheard of to add them to soup, though adding fish as seasoning sounds strange. However, you don’t add the fish; the seasoning is made of them. 

You get the seasoning dry and in the form of dust, so there’s no need for worry or doubt. Anchovies are a well-known umami source, and you won’t regret adding them to your soup. 

How Do You Add Umami to Vegetarian Soup?

Adding umami to a vegetarian soup works the same as adding it to a non-vegetarian soup, as there are vegetables containing umami. 

Tomatoes are very rich in umami flavor, fermented vegetables, such as kimchi or pickled garlic, are also exploding with umami, soy sauce, and MCG is an excellent solution to add umami to a vegetarian soup. 

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