What Is Takoyaki?

Takoyaki dish

Takoyaki is a Japanese snack that is in the shape of little round balls. It is made with a batter that has a wheat flour base and is commonly filled with minced octopus, scraps of tempura, green onions, and pickled ginger. It is usually served with a sauce that is similar to Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise.

The creation of Takoyaki dates back to 1935 and its creation is credited to a street vendor named Tomekichi Endo.  It quickly became popular in the Kansai region of Japan and then it spread to other areas as well.  Today, Takoyaki can be found in many areas of Japan being sold by street vendors, and in specialty restaurants, and it can even be found in supermarkets and convenience stores.


Making Takoyaki requires a special, cast-iron pan with half spherical molds. The half spheres in a Takoyaki pan is what makes it possible to give this snack food its round shape. There are a number of different recipes for making Takoyaki and you can even find some video demonstrations on YouTube.

Takoyaki at the night Market. (SqueakyMarmot/Flickr/Wiki)

You start by greasing and preheating your pan and mixing flour, eggs, and even possibly dashi soup in a bowl to make the batter.  You will need to cut up your other ingredients which may include octopus, ginger, green onions, and anything else you would like to add. Pour the batter into the molds of your Takoyaki pan until the molds are full. Then put all of your diced ingredients into each mold. Grill the Takoyaki balls, using a pick to flip them over and cook the other side.

When they are browned, you can remove them from the pan and put them on a plate, then add any sauces or seasonings you would like.

Takoyaki(jetalone Wiki Commoms)

Takoyaki by matsuyuki, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by matsuyuki - Takoyaki combo with Soup - Lunch Time!

If you want to make your own Takoyaki at home, you can purchase a Takoyaki pan for about $25 and a stainless steel Takoyaki pick for about $5 or $6. If you're willing to spend a little bit more money, you can also purchase a Takoyaki cooker for about $75 to $100.


A Takoyaki cooker has the molded half spheres needed to make this snack as well as a heating element so you don't need to put it on your stovetop.

Takoyakikado Pan (Chris 73/Wikimedia Commons)