Home Articles What Is Kewpie Mayo? (+ How to Make It)

What Is Kewpie Mayo? (+ How to Make It)

If you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably wondered, what is Kewpie mayo?

And how is it so different from what we’re used to?

Kewpie Mayo in a Clear Glass Bowl

Kewpie mayo is a popular Japanese condiment similar to American mayonnaise.

Try this stuff once, and you’ll never go back to Hellman’s. #sorrynotsorry

It’s just that good!

From the thick, custard-like texture to the unique savory notes under the eggy finish, it’s impossible to resist double dipping your fries.

Plus, it tastes incredible on everything from burgers and chicken tenders to shrimp tempura and even egg rolls (trust me on that one!).

What Is Kewpie Mayo? 

Kewpie mayo is a brand of Japanese mayonnaise invented in 1924 by Toichiro Nakashima.

He aimed to create a mayonnaise similar to the kind he tried in the States but at a higher quality with more nourishment.

He did this by using twice as many yolks, creating a richer flavor and thicker texture.

So, it’s been around since the 1920s. But it’s gained a cult following in recent years thanks to TikTok.

It’s used for dipping, in salad dressings, and as a finishing sauce for things like okonomiyaki.

The main ingredients are vinegar, eggs, oil, MSG, and salt. And as for the name “Kewpie,” that’s simply the brand.

Kewpie Mayo in a Bowl

What Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like?

Kewpie has an umami-rich and creamy taste with notes of sweet, savory, and tangy goodness.

It tastes similar to typical American mayonnaise but has more umami egginess, thanks to the higher volume of yolks. 

It’s also thicker than regular mayo but somehow lighter overall.

Mostly, the bold umami flavor is what sets it apart from American mayonnaise brands. 

Kewpie Mayo vs. Regular Mayo (What’s the Difference?)

I’ve already touched on a few ways that Kewpie mayo and “regular” mayo differ. But let’s break their differences down even further:

1. They Taste Different

As I mentioned, Kewpie mayo and American mayo taste very different.

So where Kewpie mayo has more umami flavor and tastes slightly eggy, regular mayo is a little sour and quite salty, depending on the brand. 

Furthermore, Kewpie mayo doesn’t contain water, so there’s just more of everything. As a result, it’s tangier, zestier, bolder, and more flavorful. 

2. They Look and Feel Different

Both inside the bottle and outside of it, Kewpie mayo looks different from regular mayo.

Squeeze Bottles vs Jars

First of all, the mayonnaise doesn’t come in a jar. Instead, it comes in a handy squeeze bottle for ease of use.

Of course, you’ll find a few American mayo brands in squeeze bottles. However, jars are still considered the norm.

White vs Yellow

And while both are pale cream condiments, you’ll notice Kewpie has more yellowish-brown in it.

In contrast, most American mayo brands are whiter.  


Additionally, Kewpie mayo looks thicker and creamier than regular mayonnaise. It also feels thicker and creamier.

It’s a more decadent option overall and has a smoother mouthfeel. 

3. They Have Different Ingredients

Most mayo brands contain water. Kewpie mayo does not.

Kewpie mayo also uses only egg yolks, resulting in an eggier flavor and way more richness. 

Also, Kewpie puts MSG in its mayo, which is a huge difference from American mayo brands.

Finally, Kewpie mayo boasts a wider variety of vinegar types in its ingredient list.

4. The Prices Are Different

Unfortunately for Kewpie lovers, this stunning Japanese mayo is much more expensive than regular mayo.

Depending on the size of the bottle and where you buy it, it can cost as much as $20! 

Since it’s become more popular and easier to get, the prices have gone down. It’s easier (and cheaper) than ever to buy Kewpie mayo.

Still, it’s quite a bit higher than American varieties.

Tempura Dipped in Kewpie Mayo

Difference Between Japanese and American Kewpie 

As I said above, Kewpie mayo has never been more accessible in the United States.

The prices are better now, too, because there’s a variety of Kewpie manufactured right here in the U.S. by a division of Kewpie Corp.

The original Kewpie mayo came from Japan, and most of it is still made there today. However, there’s now a version manufactured in California. 

The primary difference between the two – besides where they’re made – is one single ingredient: MSG.

The American version doesn’t have it. Instead, it contains yeast extract for that signature umami flavor.

Oh, and besides swapping out yeast extract for MSG, American Kewpie also adds a little sugar. 

So yes, they do taste a little different. Plus, you can tell them apart by how they’re packaged.

If you want the original Japanese version, look for a bottle in a plastic bag. 

Kewpie Mayo Ingredients

The following is an ingredient breakdown of the original Japanese version of Kewpie: 

  • Egg yolks. The star ingredients in Kewpie mayo are its pasteurized egg yolks. Most American brands use whole eggs. But using just the yolks gives the mayo a creamier feel and a bolder, egg-forward taste. 
  • A vinegar blend. This, too, is different from most American mayo brands. (They typically stick to only a single type of vinegar.) Kewpie mayo contains a blend of vinegar types, including rice, apple cider, and more. 
  • Vegetable oil. There’s nothing special about this ingredient. It simply adds flavor and helps keep everything mixed. 
  • Salt. Salt is an easy, inexpensive flavor enhancer for mayo. 
  • MSG. Egg yolks may be the star ingredient, but MSG is Kewpie’s secret weapon. It adds a huge wallop of flavor and makes the mayo absolutely addictive. Its absence is also why the American version of Kewpie doesn’t taste as good. 
Kewpie Mayo on a Spoon

How to Make Kewpie Mayo 

Making a DIY Kewpie mayo is simple. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it will taste precisely like the real thing.

But if you’re craving it and can’t get it, here’s what you’ll need for a substitute: 

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil 

Start by mixing the vinegar, salt, egg yolks, and MSG in a clean, dry bowl.

Then, add the vegetable oil very slowly, whisking while you pour. Once it’s smooth and creamy, it’s ready to enjoy. 

Where to Buy Kewpie Mayo

Once upon a time, getting Kewpie mayo in the United States was almost impossible.

Your only options would have been to purchase it online or at a local Asian market

And you can still find Kewpie in those places today.

Fortunately, though, most grocery stores now carry it, too. You can even find it at mass merchandisers like Walmart or Sam’s Club

Check the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store first. If it isn’t there, look for it on the condiment aisle instead. 

Be sure to look for the original Japanese version in the plastic bag. (If you want the yummy MSG-enhanced flavor, that is.) 

If you see a bagless Kewpie bottle with the label on the bottle, it’s the American version. 

What Is Kewpie Mayo? (+ How to Make It)

Prep time


Cooking time





If you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably wondered, what is Kewpie mayo? And how is it so different from what we’re used to?


  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon MSG (or 1/4 teaspoon of soy sauce + 1/4 teaspoon of fish sauce)

  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil


  • Pour the vinegar, salt, egg yolks, and MSG into a large, clean, dry bowl or a food processor.
  • Whisk or blend until smooth.
  • While whisking vigorously or with the food processor blending on low, very slowly pour the oil into the mix.
  • Keep mixing until it’s smooth, thick, and creamy.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
What Is Kewpie Mayo?

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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