Mentaiko Mayonnaise: Cod Roe Sauce Recipe and its Usage

Mentaiko (明太子)” is a Japanese food made of cod roe that’s been salted and marinated in a seasoning liquid. 

The marinade is typically made up of umami components of kombu (seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), sugar, soy sauce, red chili pepper, sake, and mirin.

Japanese people like to eat a bowl of white rice with Mentaiko and sometimes make dishes such as Ochazuke, pasta, or omelets using it. 

In addition, some people like to make a sauce with the marinated cod roe.

If I give an example, “Mentaiko Mayonnaise (明太子マヨネーズ)”, also known as “Mentai Mayo (明太マヨ)” or “Mentaiko Mayo (明太子マヨ)”, is one of the most popular sauces.

Mentaiko Mayonnaise or Mentai Mayo

Mentaiko Cod Roe and Mayonnaise

As its name indicates, Mentaiko Mayonnaise, sometimes abbreviated to Mentai Mayo or Mentaiko Mayo, is a simple sauce made from the seasoned cod roe Mentaiko and mayo.

The cod roe mayonnaise is actually a multipurpose sauce that can be used for various dishes, and because of that, the sauce has been a favorite in Japan.

How to Make (Basic Recipe)

As you can guess from the above, the basic way to prepare Mentaiko Mayonnaise or Mentai Mayo is simple.

Since today I actually made the cod roe sauce, this time, let me share the instructions with pictures.

1 First, cut open the outer skin of Mentaiko and take the tiny eggs inside out from the sac.
2 Put your desired amount of mayonnaise onto the collected cod roe.
3 Give it all a good stir with chopsticks.
4 Mentaiko Mayonnaise or Mentai Mayo Now it is ready to use. Enjoy the sauce with your favorite foods!

How to Use 

As I mentioned above, Mentaiko Mayo is a versatile sauce so you can use it in various ways as shown below.

Mentaiko Mayonnaise and Rice

Mentaiko Mayonnaise actually works well with both white rice and toast.

Grilled Fish with Mentai Mayo

The cod roe sauce can also be used as a dip for fried/grilled dishes. This time, I ate the grilled fish dipping in it.

Wakame Seaweed with Mentaiko Mayonnaise Sauce

As Mentaiko Mayonnaise tends to go well with plain/bland foods, it makes a good pair with fresh vegetables and seaweed salads as well.


In Japan, Mentaiko can be bought in most supermarkets and is almost as common as mayonnaise. So Mentaiko Mayonnaise can readily be prepared.

If Mentaiko is available near where you live, you can also make this cod roe sauce easily following the instructions above.

With Mentaiko Mayonnaise, I think your cooking repertoire will expand quickly.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

2 Responses

  1. cc says:

    Hi how long can the mentaiko sauce last in the fridge?

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for the message!
      Every time I prepare mentaiko mayonnaise, I don’t make a lot and usually eat it up in one sitting.
      Mentaiko itself doesn’t keep long, so if you make the mentaiko mayo sauce for yourself, it should be consumed as soon as possible.

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