Mentaiko Mayonnaise: Cod Roe Sauce Recipe and Uses

“Mentaiko (明太子)” is a Japanese food delicacy that is relatively well-known in many countries.

As you may already know, Mentaiko is made of cod roe, salted, and marinated in soup stock consisting of umami ingredients of kombu seaweed and katsuobushi dried bonito flakes, sugar, soy sauce, red chili pepper, sake, and mirin.

We Japanese like to eat steamed plain rice with Mentaiko and sometimes make a bowl of Ochazuke rice with the seasoned cod roe. Other than these, the Mentaiko roe is also used in dishes such as pasta and omelets.

As another use of Mentaiko, some Japanese like to make a sauce with the marinated fish roe. For example, “Mentaiko Mayonnaise (明太子マヨネーズ)”, also called “Mentai Mayo (明太マヨ)” or “Mentaiko Mayo (明太子マヨ)”, is one of the most popular sauces using the cod roe.

Mentai Mayo (明太マヨ)

Mentaiko Cod Roe and Mayonnaise

As you can guess from the name, Mentaiko Mayonnaise, sometimes abbreviated to Mentai Mayo or Mentaiko Mayo, is a simple sauce made from the Japanese roe Mentaiko and mayo.

Actually, Mentai Mayo is known as a multipurpose sauce, and because of this, the cod roe sauce is popular in Japan.

Basic Mentaiko Mayonnaise Sauce Recipe

The basic way to prepare Mentaiko Mayonnaise, or Mentai Mayo, is really simple and easy. This time I actually made the cod roe sauce, so here let me share the instructions with photos.

1 First, cut open the outer skin of Mentaiko and take the tiny eggs out from the sac
2 Put a proper amount of mayonnaise onto the collected cod roe
3 Stir well with chopsticks
4 Mentai Mayo Ready to use

How to Use Mentaiko Mayo Sauce

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

Mentaiko Mayonnaise and Rice

The Mentaiko sauce works well with both plain white rice and toast.

Grilled Fish with Mentai Mayo

The cod roe sauce can be used as a dip for fried or grilled foods. This time, I enjoyed the grilled fish dipping in the Mentaiko Mayo sauce.

Wakame Seaweed with Mentaiko Mayonnaise Sauce

Since Mentaiko Mayonnaise tends to go especially well with plain foods, it makes a good pair with fresh vegetables and seaweed salads. This time, I enjoyed the boiled wakame seaweed with the Mentaiko sauce.


Mentaiko is a common food in Japan that is available in most supermarkets, so if you are interested in the Mentai Mayo sauce, just go there, prepare Mentaiko and mayonnaise, and let’s make the sauce.

With the cod roe sauce, you will be able to expand your cooking repertoire!


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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