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What Does Natto Taste Like? A Comprehensive Guide to Its Flavor Profile

Have you ever heard of natto? It’s a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans.

Despite its supposed acquired taste (or lack thereof), natto has a whole range of intriguing health benefits, from serving as a digestive aid to helping you avoid heart disease, some even say it helps reduce the risk of specific cancers.

But what does natto taste like?

Does it taste good?

Well, natto has a sticky texture, pungent odor, and somewhat nutty flavor. Some say it tastes earthy and bitter, while others describe it as a mix of old brie cheese with coffee and onion. Depending on how long it’s fermented, natto can have a lighter flavor or a very strong, bitter flavor.

While some people enjoy its unique taste, others find it too strong and unpleasant.

So, it’s safe to say that natto’s taste is an acquired one, and not everyone will enjoy it.

But with a little bit of experimentation and an open mind, you might just find that you like it.

What Is Natto?

If you’re unfamiliar with natto, it is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It has a sticky, gooey texture, umami taste, and a strong smell that can be off-putting to some. Natto is often eaten as a breakfast food in Japan, served over rice with soy sauce, mustard, and sometimes raw egg.

Natto is made by fermenting soybeans with a specific strain of bacteria called Bacillus subtilis natto. This fermentation process breaks down the soybeans’ proteins and carbohydrates, creating a unique texture and flavor.

Natto is a rich source of protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K2, which is important for bone health. It also contains a compound called nattokinase, which has been studied for its potential health benefits, including improving blood circulation and reducing blood clotting.

While natto is a staple food in Japan, it may not be as widely available in other parts of the world.

However, it can often be found in Asian grocery stores or ordered online. If you’re interested in trying natto, it’s important to keep in mind that its taste and texture can be an acquired taste for some, but many people find it to be a delicious and nutritious addition to their diet.

What Does Natto Taste Like?

If you’ve never tried natto before, you may be wondering what it tastes like. Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It has a unique taste and texture that may take some getting used to.

The taste of natto has been described as salty, earthy, and pungent. Some people compare it to blue cheese, while others say it tastes like old Brie or foie gras. The flavor may vary depending on the batch and fermentation process.

Along with its distinctive taste, natto also has a sticky and slimy texture. It may be off-putting to some people, but others find it enjoyable. The texture is due to the fermentation process, which creates a sticky substance called mucilage.

If you’re not used to the taste and texture of natto, it may take some time to acquire a taste for it. Some people enjoy it on its own, while others prefer to eat it with rice or other foods. You may also want to experiment with different seasonings or toppings to find a flavor combination that you enjoy.

Overall, the taste of natto is an acquired taste that may not be for everyone. However, if you’re open to trying new foods and enjoy exploring different flavors and textures, it’s worth giving natto a try.

How to Cook and Serve Natto?

If you want to try natto, you may wonder how to cook and serve it. Here are some tips to help you enjoy this traditional Japanese food:

Cooking Natto

Natto is typically sold in small plastic containers, and it’s ready to eat right out of the package. However, some people prefer to warm it up before eating. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the natto from the package and put it in a bowl.
  2. Add the sauce that comes with the natto or make your own sauce by mixing soy sauce, dashi, and sugar.
  3. Stir the natto and the sauce together until well combined.
  4. Microwave the natto for 20-30 seconds, or until it’s warm. Be careful not to overheat it, as it can become too sticky and slimy.

Serving Natto

Natto is often served as a breakfast food in Japan, but it can be eaten at any time of day. Here are some ways to serve natto:

  • With rice: Natto goes well with steamed rice. Simply mix the natto and the sauce with the rice and enjoy.
  • With raw egg: Some people like to add a raw egg to their natto. Simply crack an egg over the natto and stir it in.
  • With vegetables: You can add some vegetables to your natto to make it more flavorful. Some popular choices include scallions, shredded nori, okra, and nagaimo.
  • With karashi: Karashi is a Japanese mustard that goes well with natto. Simply add a small amount of karashi to your natto for some extra flavor.

Overall, natto has a unique taste and texture that may take some getting used to. However, if you prepare it properly and serve it with complementary ingredients, you may find that it’s a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.


In conclusion, the taste of natto can be an acquired taste for some people due to its unique texture and strong aroma. However, many people find it to be delicious and enjoy its earthy, slightly bitter flavor. It is important to note that the taste of natto can vary depending on how it is fermented and consumed.

If you are new to natto, it is recommended to start with a milder version and gradually work your way up to the stronger flavors. Adding toppings such as soy sauce, green onions, or mustard can also enhance the taste and make it more enjoyable for you.

While natto may not be for everyone, it is worth trying for its numerous health benefits. It is a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamin K2, which can help improve bone health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Overall, the taste of natto is subjective and varies from person to person. It is best to try it for yourself and decide if it is something you enjoy.

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.