What Is Japanese Mayonnaise? (Brands, Taste + More)

Many cultures around the world use mayonnaise in their recipes thanks to mayonnaise’s versatility, and there is a unique mayonnaise that comes from Japan.

Japanese mayonnaise is well-loved around the world, but what is Japanese mayonnaise anyway? I looked up the facts, and here is what I found!

What Is Japanese Mayonnaise?

Japanese mayonnaise is mayonnaise made in Japan, and Japanese mayonnaise is often eggier and richer than regular mayonnaise with less acidic flavors. Kewpie, which is the most famous brand of Japanese mayonnaise, has fruity and sweet flavors. Most Japanese mayonnaises are very smooth, rich, and yellow since Japanese mayo uses yolks instead of whole eggs.

Are you interested in learning more facts about Japanese mayonnaise? Keep reading!

What Does Japanese Mayonnaise Taste Like?

Generally, Japanese mayonnaise has a much richer and eggier flavor than most mayonnaises with less acidity and a more subdued tanginess.

One of the most popular Japanese mayonnaise brands is Kewpie, and Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise is very fruity and sweet with eggy and savory notes.

However, it is important to note that Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise is not as sweet as other brands like Miracle Whip while also being richer than Spanish mayonnaise.

How Is Japanese Mayonnaise Different?

A major reason why Japanese mayonnaise is different from other mayonnaises is that Japanese mayonnaise uses egg yolks.

Most Japanese mayonnaises like Kewpie use only egg yolks to achieve a lovely yellow color, fattier feel, and a custard-like texture whereas American mayonnaises use whole eggs.

Another reason why Japanese mayonnaise is different is that most Japanese mayonnaise brands use a mixture of acids to create the perfect balance.

For instance, American mayonnaises like Hellman’s only use white vinegar while Japanese mayonnaise brands opt for a combination of apple cider vinegar, distilled vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, etc.

Despite Japanese mayonnaises like Kewpie having a sweet taste, many Japanese mayos do not have added sugar while American variants like Miracle Whip have high-fructose corn syrup.

Moreover, Japanese mayonnaise often has MSG, which is a fantastic flavor enhancer that boosts the overall taste of Japanese mayonnaise.

How Is Japanese Mayonnaise Made?

How Japanese mayonnaise is made will depend on the brand and recipe, but most Japanese mayonnaise is made by emulsifying egg yolks with oil.

Generally, Japanese mayonnaise contains grapeseed, vegetable, or canola oil, and Japanese mayonnaise never has virgin olive oil.

How Do You Use Japanese Mayonnaise?

How Do You Use Japanese Mayonnaise?

You can use Japanese mayonnaise as you would normally use regular mayonnaise, meaning you can add Japanese mayonnaise to sandwiches, salads, etc.

Japanese mayonnaise is considered a staple ingredient in certain Japanese and Japanese-inspired dishes, such as California rolls.

Why Is Japanese Mayonnaise So Good?

Generally, Japanese mayonnaise is so good because Japanese mayonnaise has a much richer and more distinct flavor than regular mayonnaise.

Certain brands of Japanese mayonnaise, like Kewpie, have added MSG, which makes Japanese mayonnaise tastier.

Is Japanese Mayonnaise Better Than American Mayonnaise?

Deciding which mayonnaise is better will mostly depend on preference, but many would agree that Japanese mayonnaise is better than American mayonnaise.

Japanese mayonnaise has a smoother and richer mouthfeel and texture than American mayonnaise since most American mayonnaises have a somewhat gelatinous texture.

Moreover, the overall flavor of most Japanese mayonnaises is much more pleasant and distinct compared to American mayonnaise, which features a mild and tangy flavor.

For instance, Kewpie mayonnaise is sweet and very eggy with slightly savory notes whereas Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise tastes a bit bland with a mustard-like sharpness.

Is Yum Yum Sauce The Same As Japanese Mayonnaise?

Technically, Yum Yum Sauce is not Japanese mayonnaise because Yum Yum Sauce is a sauce, but Japanese mayonnaise is the main ingredient of Yum Yum Sauce.

Yum Yum Sauce’s base ingredient is Japanese mayonnaise, which is why many people assume Yum Yum Sauce is Japanese mayonnaise.

What Is The Best Japanese Mayonnaise?

Many people will agree that Kewpie is the best Japanese mayonnaise since Kewpie is one of the best-settling Japanese mayonnaises.

Generally, most people opt for Kewpie mayonnaise because of Kewpie’s flavor and color, making Kewpie a favorite choice for the majority.

Is Kenko The Same As Kewpie?

Kenko is technically not the same as Kewpie because they are different brands of Japanese mayonnaise.

However, the packaging of Kenko mayonnaise is extremely similar to Kewpie, and many people state that Kenko mayonnaise tastes like Kewpie.

Can I Use American Mayonnaise Instead Of Japanese Mayonnaise?

In some cases, you can use American mayonnaise instead of Japanese mayonnaise, but you may notice that your recipe lacks some depth that you would get from Japanese mayonnaise.

Moreover, most American mayonnaises do not have the same color or texture as Japanese mayonnaise, so expect a lighter and gelatinous outcome in your recipe.

What Can I Substitute For Japanese Mayonnaise?

Generally, most types of mayonnaise are a decent substitute for Japanese mayonnaise, especially if you only need the mayonnaise as a binding ingredient.

However, you can mix some sugar and rice vinegar into regular American mayonnaise if you want to mimic Kewpie.

Take a look at our related articles to learn if mayonnaise has sugar, if mayonnaise has gluten, and if mayonnaise has dairy.


Japanese mayonnaise is a tasty mayo because Japanese mayonnaise features a smoother and richer texture than most mayonnaises.

Kewpie, the most popular Japanese mayonnaise, is a sweet and eggy mayonnaise with a pale yellow color that will complement many recipes.

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