What Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like? In-Depth Japanese Mayo Taste Guide!


A good sauce is the key ingredient of any meal. Not everyone has heard about kewpie mayo, but everyone should try it. Kewpie mayo is the king of mayo. You can easily recognize it for the logo with a baby and the soft-squeeze package. So what is so special about this legendary Japanese sauce? Let’s find out in this article.

What does Kewpie mayo taste like? Kewpie mayo has a sweet, fruity, eggy, and umami taste. It is sweeter than usual mayonnaise and has a richer taste. The Kewpie mayo’s taste in Japan and the USA slightly differs because of monosodium glutamate (MSG) that is added in Japan but not in the USA. 

What Is Kewpie Mayo?

Kewpie mayo recently became viral on social media, particularly TikTok. Kewpie mayo was invented in Japan almost 100 years ago. It is distinctive from usual mayo with a richer taste and an atypical package with a baby on a logo. 

Kewpie was first introduced in Japan in 1925. The idea of mayo itself was not new since the founder of a company created it after visiting the USA. The purpose was to introduce this sauce to Japan. The logo with a baby also appeared in 1925 but was created earlier – in 1909 by American illustrator Rose O’Neill.

The package is also distinctive since it is packed not into a plastic or glass bottle but it goes in a soft-squeeze bottle. Here is what it looks like:

What Is Kewpie Mayo Made Of?

Kewpie mayo is made of eggs, oil, and vinegar. The recipe contains only yolks which give mayo its yellow color and creamy texture. For a sweeter taste, Kewpie mayo uses apple cider or rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar used for regular mayo.

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Why Is Kewpie Mayo So Popular?

Kewpie mayo has been popular in Japan for years but recently became popular far beyond its borders. Its rich taste, together with convenient packaging with a baby, made it quite popular in Asian countries and other parts of the world. 

Chefs often use Kewpie mayo for its sweetness and balanced acidity. The original recipe, in addition to yolks, oil, and vinegar, uses MSG. The U.S uses yeast extract instead since it is believed that MSG creates health issues such as headaches or dizziness. However, recent studies show that MSG does not cause any health problems. Moreover, this ingredient gives Kewpie mayo a unique, delicious umami flavor.

In 2020 the producer sold 531 billion Japanese yen worth of Kewpie mayo. Sales slightly decreased compared to 2017, for example, when net sales exceeded 500 000 yen. However, despite the decrease, Kewpie mayo is still trending around the world.

Kewpie Mayo Flavor Profile – What Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like?

Kewpie mayo has unique umami and eggy taste with a note of sweetness and rice or cider vinegar. The main characteristic feature is its umami flavor which originates from adding MSG.

Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Different?

Kewpie mayo does taste different from regular mayonnaise. Overall, it is slightly sweeter and less sour than usual mayonnaise.

The yolks provide a rich egg flavor and creamy texture. MSG adds a hint of umami to Kewpie mayo. Also, Kewpie mayo differs in different countries. In Japan, Kewpie mayo has MSG, but in the U.S., you will find yeast instead. There it is still considered harmful, despite the research showing otherwise.

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Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like Regular Mayo?

Kewpie mayo does not taste like regular mayo. It is more creamy, eggy, and sweeter than the mayo we all are used to. The color is more yellow due to the yolks in the recipe, and the consistency is thicker.

If we compare, for example, Kewpie with Hellmann’s mayo, the first one is sweeter even though it does not contain sugar, which Hellmann contains. Kewpie mayo has stronger umami flavors and a thicker texture.

Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like Miracle Whip?

Although Kewpie Mayo and Miracle Whip have similar tastes, they still differ. Thus, Miracle Whip is sweeter because of the corn syrup and sugar. Also, it has a more pronounced vinegar taste and spicy notes.

Miracle Whip is not actually mayonnaise. It was developed in 1933 as a cheaper alternative to mayo. However, the ingredients are almost the same, but Miracle Whip has less oil, sugar, water, and some spices. Since it has less oil, it is lower in calories and fats. Overall, it contains around half the calories of mayo. Therefore, Miracle Whip is healthier than mayo.

Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like Salad Cream?

The list of ingredients for Kewpie Mayo and Salad Cream is similar, however, the taste is slightly different. Kewpie Mayo has richer egg flavor and stronger umami notes compared to Salad Cream. Salad Cream also has mustard notes, which Kewpie does not have.

Ingredients are indeed similar in both sauces, however, the proportions are different. Kewpie mayo has more egg yolks and a smoother, sweeter flavor than Salad Cream.

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Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Good?

Kewpie mayo tastes good. It has a well-balanced taste with eggy and umami notes. Even though it contains MSG in the original recipe, it does not have a chemical taste that such ingredients can sometimes add.

The taste of Kewpie mayo can complement any dish – from omelet and sandwich to potato salad and Cesar salad. It goes well with everything.

Kewpie Mayo vs. Regular Mayo Difference

Kewpie mayo includes egg yolks, whereas regular mayo contains the whole egg. Therefore, the consistency of Kewpie is thicker, and the taste is richer.

However, eggs are not the only difference. Kewpie uses different vinegar. The regular one is made with white vinegar, but Kewpie uses a mix of several kinds of vinegar – rice vinegar and apple cider. Another important ingredient that cannot be found in regular mayo is MGS. It adds the tasty umami flavor.

More Kewpie mayo vs. regular mayo differences can be found in the table.

Kewpie mayo Regular mayo
Taste Sweet, eggy, umami Tangy, sour, less sweet than Kewpie
Ingredients Yolks, oil, apple cider, rice vinegar, MSG Whole eggs, oil, white vinegar
Uses Sandwiches, salads, burgers, sushi rolls, etc. Homemade French fries, mashed potato, chicken soup, sauces, stews, etc.
Calories (100 g) 700 calories 658 calories
Carbs 4.7 g 6.44 g
Fat 76.2 g 70 g
Protein 1.6 g 0.9 g

Can I Use Kewpie Mayo Instead of Regular Mayo?

The choice between Kewpie mayo and a regular one depends on a person’s preferences. They are different, but still similar, and you can interchange them. However, there are some dishes, for example, sushi, with which Kewpie mayo serves better than ordinary mayo.

Since the use of both types of mayo is similar, however, if you still want to taste the Kewpie mayo, you can grab regular mayo and add a bit of rice vinegar and sugar to make a substitution.

How to Use Kewpie Mayo?

Kewpie mayo can be used in different ways, just like regular mayo – like a sauce for French fries, sandwiches, vegetable sticks, and salad dressing, such as Caesar salad. Also, Kewpie goes well in marinades and glazes for fish, meat, or chicken. 

Kewpie mayo is used not only with Asian food. This is just a list of examples of dishes with Kewpie mayo, but you are free to experiment and create your dishes:

  • Mini okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes)
  • Teriyaki salmon skewers
  • Garlic butter fried rice
  • “Eggs Benedict”
  • Grilled cheese sandwich

How to Make Kewpie Mayo?

If you cannot find Kewpie mayo at the store, you can always make it at home. For that, you need:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of dashi (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup of canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions: 

  1. In a small saucepan, add cider vinegar and dashi
  2. Keep it simmering for about 3-4 min till the amount reduces to 1 tablespoon
  3. Then add the egg yolk and mustard and whisk them together
  4. While whisking, constantly drop oil slowly. The mixture shall become thick
  5. When it is all mixed together, add sugar and salt.

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Kewpie Mayo Nutrition Information – Is Kewpie Mayo Unhealthy?

Here you can find Kewpie mayo nutrition facts.

100 g Per serving (2 tablespoons)
Calories 686 kCal 220 kCal
Carbs 0.6 g 0 g
Fat 74.6 g 22 g
Protein 2.5 g 0 g
Sodium 630 mg 210 mg

Is Kewpie Mayo Unhealthy?

Kewpie mayo is completely healthy as it is made from egg yolks, oil, and vinegar. However, it is high in calories (1 tbsp contains 110 calories). It also contains MSG, which some claim causes dizziness and headaches, but such an effect has never been proven in any studies.

MSG or monosodium glutamate, which is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, gives the mayo its precious umami taste and, in a reasonable dose, is not dangerous. So, Kewpie mayo contains a healthy amount of MSG and cannot be called unhealthy. Also, some brands provide MSG-free mayo.

How to Store Kewpie Mayo?

Once the bottle of Kewpie mayo is opened, it is recommended to keep it in the refrigerator for up to one month. Before that, it is fine to keep mayo in a cool place without direct sunlight. 

If Kewpie mayo is stored under the temperature of 0 degrees Celsius, the ingredients will separate. Therefore, before the preparation, the ingredients should not be cold.

Does Kewpie Mayo Need to Be Refrigerated?

After the bottle is opened, the mayo should be stored in the fridge. It is recommended to use Kewpie mayo within 30 days after the bottle is open. Also, to prevent the separation of ingredients, the bottle should be kept on the tray of the door of the fridge.

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Kewpie Mayo FAQ

Is Kewpie Mayo Vegan?

Traditional Kewpie mayo is not vegan. However, there is egg-free Kewpie mayo which is completely vegan. Its taste can hardly be distinguished from the original, even though it contains zero eggs!

Is Kewpie Mayo Dairy-Free?

Kewpie mayo is dairy-free since it contains no milk or other dairy ingredients. Kewpie mayo is made from egg yolks, oil, and vinegar.

Does Kewpie Mayo Have Alcohol?

Kewpie mayo does not have alcohol among the ingredients. The producer claims it to be an alcohol-free product.

Is Kewpie Dressing Halal?

Kewpie mayo is halal. Kewpie produced in Malaysia, for example, is halal-certified, which means that the ingredients were prepared following the principles of the Islamic religion.

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Does Kewpie Mayo Have Gluten?

Since the list of ingredients can vary from country to country, some may contain gluten. Therefore, before buying Kewpie mayo, check the information on the bottle. Gluten-free bottles have a special mark on them.

Is Kewpie Mayo Used for Sushi?

Kewpie mayo is used for various dishes, primarily for Japanese cuisine. Therefore, it can be added to various Japanese dishes, including sushi. You can often find it on the sushi rolls or within.

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