How to Make Natto Taste Good: The Japanese Breakfast of Champions

plate of Natto

If you love Japanese food, then perhaps you’ve seen natto. These fermented soybeans are an acquired taste, though. And it’s a little hard to dig in, with its unusual odor. Keep reading because we are going to show you how to make natto taste good.

Natto has a stringy yet sticky consistency, so people tend to love it or hate it. It’s so good for you, though, so you might be wondering how to make natto taste good. Here’s how to make it more appealing!


How to Make Natto Taste Good

Package of Natto


Mix It

You can’t simply open a pack of natto and dig in. This stuff needs to be mixed up at least 50 times. You’ll want to mix quickly, drawing air into that filmy coating. This renders the beans light and fluffy while also releasing a deep umami flavor.


Put Natto on Rice

After stirring, adding natto on top of a hot bowl of steamed rice will definitely help it taste good. It makes the flavors and aroma much less overpowering. But don’t stop there, for adding toppings and sauces is how to make natto taste good!


Topping and Sauce Ideas for Natto

Now that you know the basics, you can add some toppings or sauce to make natto more appealing to your palate.


Tempura Crunch

For a crunchy contrast, add some tempura bits, and natto will have a snack-like flavor. Just a spoonful is all it will take to change things up.


Daikon Radish

A simple way to make natto more refreshing is by grating daikon radish on top. Just mix it in, and you’ll be good to go.


Pickled Daikon

Since natto’s scent and taste can be off-putting to some, adding sweet and sour flavors is a great way to fall in love with it. With pickled daikon or even any pickled veggies from your local Asian market, you get a bit of crunch and dynamic flavors. Mix in a few tablespoons for a great sensation!


Chili Oil

If you like things spicy, drizzle on some chili oil as you mix up your natto. It creates a spicier profile that definitely takes natto to the next level.

Cubed Avocado

Creamy cubes of avocado work beautifully on top of natto. If you love avocado, this may help you become a natto fan!



While kimchi is a Korean staple, it’s definitely a great topping to add when you need to make natto taste good. And it’s healthy, too, since it’s fermented, the perfect way to get more probiotics into your system. The spicy flavor and the great texture will ensure you start to love eating natto.


Sesame Oil

If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, perhaps you have sesame oil stashed in your pantry. Trot this one out and give it a drizzle onto your natto just before serving. Even better, add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top and get ready for a delicious meal!


Green Onions

A quick way to jazz up the taste of natto is to chop up some green onions. Just use the green part for this, ideally when adding in other sauces. It perks things up with a fresh taste.


Crushed Pita Chips

Salted pita chips are a simple way to top your natto for a crunchier experience. If you want to know how to make natto taste good, crush some up and sprinkle them on top. You get more salty flavors and a good crunch out of it too!



Do you have some nori or seaweed paper snacks? Crush them or cut them into strips to put on top of your natto. The texture and saltiness are a wonderful match, especially if you’re having your natto on top of hot rice.



Chances are that if you have nori, you likely have wasabi from when you rolled some sushi. And if you have that wasabi, go ahead and mix it in with your natto. If that’s too much, spicy mustard would also do the trick.


Tabasco Sauce

The hot yet sour flavors of tabasco sauce are a good way to go when you want to make natto taste good. If you like shaking hot sauce on top of most of your foods, you’ll definitely like it here!



With a little leftover pesto from last night’s pasta dinner, you’ve got an unusual pairing for natto. The basil and parmesan in pesto is a fascinating way to elevate natto’s strange taste. Add in a little high-quality olive oil, too, and you’ll be all set.


Bonito Flakes

Bonito flakes are dried fish flakes, which you may have bought for making other Japanese dishes. If you’re stuck on how to use them up, sprinkle them into the natto and stir it all up. It creates that nice, fishy flavor to bring balance to the natto.



Do you dip your fries in mayonnaise? Then grab this condiment out of the fridge. You’ll add it on top along with freshly ground black pepper, and then you’ll be amazed because you won’t believe how good natto will taste with this addition!


Grated Parmesan

Just like pesto seems a bizarre addition to natto, take some parmesan or another hard cheese and grate it into your natto. Give it a hearty mix, and then add a little fresh black pepper if you like. The aged cheesiness really goes so well and makes natto taste good.


Ponzu Sauce

Another great Japanese sauce you may have on hand for when you make tofu or other dishes is ponzu sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon, too, and voila! Delicious natto!

natto with ponzu


Curry Powder

Curry powder is an old standby on your spice rack that can really bring a unique flavor profile to the picture. However, if you’re not normally a fan of things with curry powder, this might not be the way to go.

Now that you know how to make natto taste good, you can go ahead and give it another try. Perhaps with these suggestions, you’ll want to start eating it more often!



Is Natto Keto-Friendly?

Yes! Natto is considered keto-friendly, as it is low in carbohydrates and rich in proteins. A serving of 50 grams of natto contains roughly 5 grams of carbs and 11g of proteins, making it suitable for those following a keto diet.


Does Natto Go Bad?

Like most foods, natto can go bad over time. To ensure its quality, consume it within a few days of purchase. If it has an off smell, changed color, or shows signs of mold, it’s best to discard it.


Can You Microwave Natto?

You can microwave natto, but be cautious; microwaving too long can affect the texture and taste. To warm up natto, transfer it to a microwave-safe container and heat it on low for 10-15 seconds, stirring between each interval.

Does Natto Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, it’s best to refrigerate natto to maintain its freshness.


Is Natto Gluten-Free?

Natto is naturally gluten-free since it’s made from fermented soybeans. However, the soy sauce packet that often comes with natto may contain gluten. Make sure to read the labels to ensure its gluten-free status.


How Does Natto Taste?

Natto has a distinctive taste, described as nutty, earthy, and slightly salty.


What Makes Natto Sticky?

Natto’s sticky consistency is due to a specific type of bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, used in the fermentation process. Don’t worry; this stickiness is a sign of a healthy and authentic product!


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Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.