How to make natto

How to Make Natto: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you curious about how to make natto at home? Look no further! In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of making this traditional Japanese superfood from scratch. Whether you’re a seasoned natto lover or a newbie, making homemade natto is easier than you might think.

There are three methods you can choose from: making natto from scratch with a bacteria starter, using frozen natto as a starter, or using natto from a previous batch. Regardless of the method you choose, the process involves soaking soybeans, cooking them, sterilizing utensils and containers, mixing in the starter or previous batch, and fermenting the mixture for 24 hours at 40°C. Once fermented, the natto is refrigerated for another 24 hours before it is ready to enjoy.

Ready to dive into the world of homemade natto? Let’s get started with our step-by-step guide!

Health Benefits of Natto: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Natto is not only delicious but also packed with nutrition. It is a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Natto is particularly high in vitamin K2, which is important for bone health and may have benefits for heart health as well. It also contains a unique enzyme called nattokinase, which has been studied for its potential to support cardiovascular health. Additionally, natto is a probiotic food that promotes a healthy gut microbiome. Its fermentation process enhances the bioavailability of nutrients and increases the digestion and absorption of soybean proteins.

The high protein content in natto makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for plant-based protein sources. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, and it also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. The fiber in natto adds to its nutritional value, aiding digestion and promoting healthy bowel movements. The vitamins and minerals found in natto, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc, contribute to overall health and well-being.

In addition to its nutritional profile, natto has been shown to have potential health benefits. The vitamin K2 in natto is known for its role in bone health, as it helps transport calcium to the bones and teeth, promoting strength and density. Some studies have also indicated that nattokinase, the unique enzyme found in natto, may have anticoagulant properties and could help support heart health by preventing blood clots. However, further research is needed to fully understand and confirm these benefits.

Natto health benefits

Overall, incorporating natto into your diet can provide you with a range of health benefits. Whether you enjoy it as a standalone dish, add it to salads or noodles, or get creative with unique recipes, natto can be a nutritious addition to your meals. Its rich nutritional profile, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, along with its potential cardiovascular and bone health benefits, make it a nutritional powerhouse worth considering.

Tips for Making Perfect Natto at Home

For those eager to embark on their homemade natto journey, following a few key tips can help ensure successful fermentation and a flavorful end result. These tips will guide you through the natto making process, from preparing the soybeans to fermenting the mixture to perfection.

Soaking the Soybeans

Start by soaking the soybeans overnight to ensure they are fully hydrated. This step is crucial for achieving a consistent texture and even cooking. Once soaked, drain the beans before moving on to the next step.

Activating the Bacteria

Next, it’s time to add the starter or previous batch to the hot soaked soybeans. This activates the bacteria and kickstarts the fermentation process. Whether you’re using a bacteria starter or natto from a previous batch, this step is essential for creating the distinctive flavor and texture of natto.

Sterilizing Utensils and Containers

Before mixing in the starter or previous batch, be sure to sterilize all utensils and containers to minimize the risk of contamination. This includes boiling or using hot water to sanitize your equipment. Proper sterilization is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the fermentation process and ensuring safe consumption of the final product.

Fermentation and Refrigeration

When it comes to the actual fermentation process, shallow containers are preferred as they allow for better heat distribution and a more consistent fermentation. Maintain a temperature of around 40°C throughout the fermentation period, typically 24 hours. After fermentation, refrigerate the natto for an additional 24 hours to further develop its flavor and texture.

By following these tips, you can increase the likelihood of achieving perfect homemade natto every time. Experiment with different variations and find the natto-making method that suits your taste preferences best.

Natto fermentation process

Natto Making TipsDescription
Soak the Soybeans OvernightEnsure the soybeans are fully hydrated for even cooking.
Activate the BacteriaAdd a starter or previous batch to kickstart fermentation.
Sterilize Utensils and ContainersPrevent contamination by thoroughly sanitizing all equipment.
Use Shallow ContainersAllow for better heat distribution during fermentation.
Maintain a Temperature of 40°CEnsure optimal conditions for fermentation.
Refrigerate After FermentationDevelop the flavor and texture by chilling the natto.

Exploring Different Ways to Enjoy Natto

Natto, with its unique flavor and texture, can be enjoyed in a variety of delicious ways that go beyond its traditional use as a rice topping. Let’s explore some creative and mouthwatering ways to incorporate natto into your meals.

Natto Monjayaki:

A popular dish in Japan, Natto Monjayaki combines natto with cabbage, flour, and other ingredients to create a savory pancake-like dish. It’s a fun and interactive meal that you can cook on a hot teppan grill or in a regular frying pan.

Natto Kimchi Don:

If you’re a fan of spicy flavors, Natto Kimchi Don is the perfect dish for you. Simply mix natto with kimchi, a fermented Korean side dish, and serve it over a bowl of hot rice. The combination of the tangy kimchi and the creamy natto creates a burst of flavors in every bite.

Natto Bibimbap:

Bibimbap is a popular Korean rice dish that features an assortment of vegetables, meat, and a fried egg served over a bed of steamed rice. Add a generous serving of natto to your Bibimbap for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition.

Natto Mochi:

For a unique twist on traditional Japanese mochi, try incorporating natto into the filling. The sticky and chewy texture of the mochi pairs perfectly with the creamy and slightly pungent taste of natto.

Natto Jiru:

Natto Jiru is a comforting and hearty soup that combines natto with vegetables, tofu, and dashi broth. This nourishing dish is perfect for cold winter days or when you’re craving a comforting meal.

These are just a few examples of the many ways to enjoy natto. You can also get creative and mix natto with other ingredients to create your own unique dishes. Add it to salads, stir-fries, or even use it as a topping for pizza. The possibilities are endless!

Natto dish

With its versatility and nutritional benefits, natto is a superfood that can add a flavorful twist to your meals. So why not explore the world of natto and discover your favorite way to enjoy this traditional Japanese delicacy?


Making your own homemade natto is a rewarding experience that allows you to fully customize the flavor and enjoy the numerous health benefits of this traditional Japanese superfood. By following the step-by-step guide and implementing the helpful tips provided, you can confidently embark on your natto fermentation journey.

Remember, proper hygiene practices are essential throughout the process to ensure a safe and successful fermentation. Give the natto enough time to ferment and develop its unique flavor by maintaining a consistent temperature of around 40°C. The patience and attention to detail will be well worth it when you finally taste your delicious homemade natto.

Whether you choose to enjoy natto as a rice topping or get creative with various dishes, the possibilities are endless. Homemade natto opens up a world of culinary exploration and experimentation. Savor the taste of this nutritious delicacy and take pride in knowing that you made it yourself.

So, why wait? Start your natto fermentation adventure today and enjoy the satisfaction of creating your own homemade natto that is bursting with flavor and goodness.

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