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While sweet, salty, bitter, and sour can hit you like a punch, umami—the fifth taste, often described as a round, rich, savory flavor—is the key to achieving a perfectly balanced bite. Umami is the superstar that lifts and amplifies other flavors: It literally makes other things taste better. To really explore what umami is—the history and science behind the taste—and discover its many applications in the kitchen, we talked to some experts and tasted a whole bunch of dishes. Check out our stories and recipes below, and stay tuned for more to come.

Stories & More

Umami: The 5th Taste, Explained

To dig into why umami is so craveable, we're going back to the basics. Whether you and umami are old pals or you're just getting know each other, here's everything you've ever wanted to ask. Read the story here »

Cooking with Umami Ingredients

What’s the best way to put umami to work in your kitchen? Try cooking with these umami-rich vegetables, meats, sauces, and more. Read the story here »

The Cultural Journey of MSG in America

How is it that a seasoning became so controversial? We did some digging to answer a few questions we've had on the topic. Read the story here »

5 Things I Learned About Umami, at a Forum Dedicated to the 5th Taste

We're all about umami, but never really understood the science or story behind it. So we attended the World Umami Forum, a two-day event featuring presentations from chefs, food writers, and academics, and learned a ton about the fifth taste. Read the story here »

Your Roasted Holiday Vegetables Deserve This Puckery, Crunchy Topping

Instead of making the roasted vegetables on your holiday spread heavier with cream, butter, and cheese, make them lighter and brighter with a crunchy topping and perfectly balanced seasonings. Read the story here »

Watch: All About Umami

Enter your most umami recipe into our contest!

Submissions are open for our latest contest—our most savory one yet. It's all about the fifth taste, umami, that rich savoriness that lingers after you eat something like jammy tomato sauce or a juicy steak. Lucky for you, umami can come from countless places. Think seaweed and miso, cooked meat and aged cheese, anchovies and tomato paste. And if you use more than one umami-rich ingredient? All the better. Enter here, and read about all the details (including a great prize!) below.

The Umami-Richest Recipe, Right This Way
The Umami-Richest Recipe, Right This Way

Umami Recipes

Easy, Lemony Chicken & Rice Soup with Dill

Easy, Lemony Chicken & Rice Soup with Dill by Judy Haubert

Roasted Vegetables with Bright & Crunchy Herbed Topping

Roasted Vegetables with Bright & Crunchy Herbed Topping by Ali Slagle

Umami Meatloaf Burger

Umami Meatloaf Burger by mrslarkin

Peach, Bacon & Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Peach, Bacon & Bourbon BBQ Sauce by Ali Slagle

Springtime Bacon and Egg Fried Rice

Springtime Bacon and Egg Fried Rice by The Spiced Life

Mint & Prosciutto Grilled Shrimp

Mint & Prosciutto Grilled Shrimp by hardlikearmour

Tomato, Cucumber, and Fresh Herb Salad

Tomato, Cucumber, and Fresh Herb Salad by Food52

Molly Wizenberg's Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Sea Salt & Ground Coriander

Molly Wizenberg's Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Sea Salt & G... by Genius Recipes

Beef With Asparagus & Stir-Fried Mushrooms

Beef With Asparagus & Stir-Fried Mushrooms by Hsiao-Ching Chou

Chicken Tsukune

Chicken Tsukune by Nami - Just One Cookbook

Momofuku's Pork Buns

Momofuku's Pork Buns by Merrill Stubbs

Seaweed Salad with Kale and Cucumber

Seaweed Salad with Kale and Cucumber by Kendra Vaculin

Tomato Sandwich with Anchovy Aioli

Tomato Sandwich with Anchovy Aioli by fiveandspice

Ina Garten’s Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Ina Garten’s Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli by Genius Recipes

Allen Miglore's Caesar Salad

Allen Miglore's Caesar Salad by Genius Recipes

Shaved Cauliflower, Fennel, and Beet Salad with Parmesan Dressing

Shaved Cauliflower, Fennel, and Beet Salad with Parmesan ... by Emma Laperruque

Slow-Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup

Slow-Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup by foxeslovelemons

Nobu's Fried Asparagus with Miso Dressing

Nobu's Fried Asparagus with Miso Dressing by Genius Recipes

Steak with Arugula, Lemon and Parmesan

Steak with Arugula, Lemon and Parmesan by Merrill Stubbs

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