What Is Japanese Mayonnaise And How Is It Different From American Mayo?

Japanese Mayo in a dish

Mayonnaise is one of the most popular condiments in the world and it is widely used in a number of different countries. Of course there are some differences in the way mayo is made from one country to another and on this page we are going to examine the differences between Japanese mayonnaise and American mayonnaise.

Japanese mayonnaise and American mayonnaise are very similar and share some of the same ingredients but there are some different ingredients that give Japanese mayonnaise a different flavor and texture than that of American Mayo.  


The question is how much does it differ? Could you blindly swap one for the other and will you notice a taste difference? Are both used differently for different types of food?

Well first off, American Mayo is usually made from a soy-based vegetable oil along with water, eggs, distilled vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Some brands will add their own seasonings or even some lemon juice and dijon mustard but those are the primary ingredients.

Japanese Mayos Ingredient list understanding

Japanese mayonnaise also uses soy-based vegetable oil and many of the same ingredients. They don't add water however and Japanese mayo uses apple or rice vinegar rather than distilled vinegar. Japanese mayonnaise also uses egg yolks rather than whole eggs.

Using egg yolks and apple or rice vinegar and eliminating water gives Japanese mayonnaise a thicker texture than American mayonnaise and it is a rich and slightly sweet condiment. Some makers of Japanese mayonnaise also use monosodium glutamate which is a flavor enhancer that makes everything taste better.

Bamboo shoot with Japanese mayo by yummyporky
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by yummyporky - Japanese Mayo on Bamboo Shoots

American mayonnaise is typically used on sandwiches or hamburgers, mixed in with a can of tuna fish, used to make chicken salad, and is also used as a base for a number of other sauces. Japanese mayonnaise can be used in all of the same ways and it is commonly used to coat cooked vegetables and is often used as a side to a number of different Japanese dishes.

Read more on "The Story behind Kewpie and its Ingredients for Mayonnaise"

Kewpie Japanese MayonnaiseKewpie Japanese Mayonnaise 1 Gallon

Japanese mayonnaise, pronounce in Japanese as Mayone-zu” or simply “mayo” (with a short “a” sound instead of the more familiar long “a”), is used in a number of other ways as well and some people think the Japanese might have an obsession with mayonnaise.

In Japan you can find mayo flavored ice cream, mayonnaise flavored snacks and potato chips, it can be used as a spaghetti sauce and it can be used as a topping for toast, noodles, even pancakes. If you think it will taste good, you really can put it on just about anything.

Japanese Mayonnaise on Takoyaki

Portable Japanese Mayo Squeeze Bottle?

This ubiquitous condiment has become so beloved by the Japanese that Kewpie, sells personal-sized squeeze bottles that the Japanese called “my mayo.” 

My mayo is meant to be carried around everywhere so that you have mayonnaise to add to whatever you are eating wherever you are.

Mayo carry on by Kewpie