How to Eat Natto (10 Ways to Enjoy)

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Natto has a strong smell and a sticky texture, which can be off-putting to some people.

However, it is packed with nutrients and has a variety of health benefits.

Eating natto tips
How to eat natto

If you’re traveling to Japan, don’t miss out on the chance to try this unique dish!

What Is Natto?

Natto is made from soybeans that have been fermented with bacteria.

The bacteria used to ferment natto are Bacillus subtilis, which is also known as Bacillus natto.

Natto food
Natto explained

This fermentation process gives natto its characteristic smell and sticky texture.

Natto is usually eaten for breakfast or as a side dish. It is often served with rice, Miso soup, and pickled vegetables.

Health Benefits of Natto

Natto is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

It is an excellent source of vitamin K2, which is important for bone health.

Natto also contains protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied after eating.

In Addition – The fermentation process that natto undergoes makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients in the soybeans.

How to Make Natto

Making natto is a simple process that only uses a couple of ingredients.

How to make natto
Make your own natto

You’ll need 400g of soybeans, and 0.1g of Bacillus bacteria starter.

  1. Completely submerge the soy beans in a bowl of water and allow them to soak overnight. 
  1. Drain the soybeans and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them.
  1. Bring the pot of soybeans to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
  1. Simmer the soybeans for about an hour, or until they are soft.
  1. Drain the soybeans and place them in a heat-safe container with a lid.
  1. Add the Bacillus subtilis bacteria to the soybeans and mix.
  1. Place the mixture somewhere warm, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, for 24 hours. Putting the contents in a yogurt maker is great, but an oven will also work.
  1. Move the mixture to the fridge and allow it to ferment in the cold for another 24 hours.

How to Eat Natto

There are many different ways to eat natto.

You can enjoy natto as a snack, a side dish, or even a meal.

Eating Natto Plain

You can eat natto just the way it is out of a bowl.

If the flavor is a little too strong for you, you could add soy sauce, wasabi, or green onions to taste.


Nattokinase is an enzyme found in natto that has many potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

To make nattokinase, mix natto with water and drink it on an empty stomach.

Nori maki

Nori maki is a type of sushi roll that contains natto rolled up in seaweed paper.

Nori maki eating natto
Nori maki

To make nori maki, simply spread natto on a sheet of nori paper and roll it up like a sushi roll.


  • 1/4 cup natto
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed


  1. Mix the natto, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  1. Place the nori seaweed on a sushi mat or piece of parchment paper.
  1. Spread the natto mixture over the nori, leaving a 1-inch border.
  1. Roll up the sushi tightly, using the mat or parchment paper to help.
  1. Slice the roll of nori maki into 8 pieces and serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger (if desired).

Natto with Rice

One of the most popular ways to eat natto is mixed with rice.

Eating natto with rice
Natto rice

You can simply add natto to a bowl of rice and mix it together, or you can try making natto fried rice.


  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup natto
  • 1 egg
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Mix the natto, egg, and green onion in a bowl.
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat then add the rice and cook until it is crispy.
  1. Add the natto mixture to the pan and cook for a few more minutes, until everything is mixed together and heated through.
  1. Add soy sauce to taste.

Natto Soup

Natto can also be added to a soup.

Natto eat with soup
Natto soup

This dish is particularly popular in the winter months.


  • 1/2 cup natto
  • 4 cups dashi or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1/4 cup miso paste


  1. Mix the natto and dashi or chicken broth in a pot.
  1. Add the onion and carrot and bring the soup to a boil.
  1. After it reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  1. Add the miso paste and stir until it is dissolved into the broth.
  1. Serve hot.

Natto Onigiri

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls that are often filled with natto.

Natto onigiri dish
Natto onigiri

They make a great snack or light meal.


  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup natto
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed (optional)


  1. Mix the rice and natto in a bowl.
  1. Form the mixture into small balls.
  1. Wrap each ball in a piece of nori seaweed, if desired.
  1. Serve with soy sauce.

Natto with Noodles

Noodle dishes such as soba or udon are often served with natto on top.

Eating Natto noodles
Natto with noodles

This is a great way to get your natto fix if you’re not a big fan of the taste.


  • 1/4 cup natto
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dashi powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces soba or udon noodles


  1. Mix the natto, soy sauce, dashi powder, and sugar in a bowl.
  1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
  1. Drain the water from the noodles and add your desired amount to a small bowl.
  1. Top with the natto mixture and serve.

Natto Tacos

Tacos eating natto
Natto tacos

This is not a traditional way to eat natto, but is there anything better than foods you can eat with your hands?


  • 1/2 cup natto
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 8 small tortillas


  1. Mix the natto, Sriracha sauce, mayonnaise, lime juice, and cumin in a bowl.
  1. Place the lettuce in a separate bowl.
  1. In a pan over medium heat, warm the tortillas slightly until they are pliable and easier to fold.
  1. Assemble the tacos by adding the natto mixture and lettuce to each tortilla.
  1. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Natto Pizza

natto pizza eating
Natto pizza

Pizza is one of those foods that is good no matter what you put on it.


  • 1/4 cup natto
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pre-made pizza crust
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Mix the natto, tomato sauce, Sriracha sauce, and sugar in a bowl.
  1. Spread the mixture over the pizza crust.
  1. Top with shredded cheese.
  1. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Natto Breakfast Bowl

Natto with rice in a bowl

With high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protein, this simple dish is a great way to start your day.


  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup natto
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 sheet nori, shredded


  1. Mix the rice and natto in a bowl.
  1. Fry the egg in a pan and add it to the bowl.
  1. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  1. Top with shredded nori.

Final Thoughts

Natto is a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans that has a strong smell and sticky texture.

Some people are put off by its appearance or smell, but it is packed with nutrients and has a variety of health benefits.

If you’re traveling to Japan, don’t miss out on the chance to try this unique dish!

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