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Recipe: Homemade Natto


  • Be sure the entire process, including all utensils, pots, cheese cloth, etc. are as sterile as possible. (Boil utensils for 5 minutes prior to using.)
  • The jar of natto spores comes with a special small spoon; be sure to use the small spoon to measure the appropriate quantity for the recipe.
  • The fermentation process requires the natto be kept at approximately 100 - 115°F degrees for 22 to 24 hours. Ovens with a low temperature setting can be used, as can large cube-shaped food dehydrators.
  • Natto is quite odorous while fermenting, and you may want to isolate the natto during the fermentation time.


  • Sterilized Cheesecloth or butter muslin
  • Non-reactive pot (i.e., stainless steel, enameled, etc.)
  • Large stainless steel spoon
  • 3-4 oven-proof glass containers with lids


  • 4 cups soybeans
  • 2 tsp. water, boiled for 5 to 10 minutes to sterilize
  • 1 spoonful Nattomoto Powder (use the special spoon that comes with the Natto Spores)


  1. Wash the soybeans and soak for 9 to 12 hours (longer soaking time recommended during colder months). Be sure to use approximately 3 parts water and 1 part soybeans to allow for expansion. You will end up with 8 to 12 cups of beans.
  2. Drain the beans from the soaking water. Place beans in a large pot, fill with water and boil for 9 hours.
  3. Drain the cooked beans and place in a sterilized pot. Dissolve one special spoonful of natto spores into 2 teaspoons of sterilized water.
  4. While the beans are still warm, pour the natto spore solution over the beans. Stir the beans and water mixture together carefully using a sterilized spoon.
  5. Place a thin layer of beans in each of the 3 to 4 containers. If at any point during the process some beans are spilled on the counter, etc., discard the spilled beans as they can contaminate the other beans if added back in to the batch.
  6. Place the sterilized cheese cloth over the top of the containers and place the tight-fitting lid over the cheese cloth. Preheat the oven or a dehydrator to 100°F. See our article on Incubating Tempeh for more incubation ideas.
  7. Place the covered containers in the oven, dehydrator, or warmer and allow the natto to ferment for 22 to 24 hours being sure to keep the temperature steady at 100°F.
  8. At the conclusion of the fermentation period, let the natto cool for a couple of hours, then remove the lid and the cloth, replace the lid, and store the containers in the refrigerator at least overnight. The Natto can be consumed as early as the next morning and are often served as a Japanese-style breakfast. Natto can also be aged in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Smaller portions of finished natto can be stored in the freezer and thawed for later use.


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At A Glance

PREP: 24 hours
COOK: 24 hours
TOTAL: 2 days
YIELD: 8-12 cups