What Is Kewpie Mayonnaise?

There's a reason it keeps selling out.

kewpie mayo
Photo: Kewpie

If you're a condiment diehard, then chances are Kewpie Mayonnaise has appeared on your radar. If not and you're curious about Kewpie Mayonnaise or the differences between American mayonnaise and Japanese mayonnaise, then you've come to the right place. Read on to find out what Kewpie mayonnaise is, the differences between Japanese mayonnaise and American mayonnaise, where to buy Kewpie mayonnaise, what you can substitute for Kewpie mayonnaise, and how to make your own version of Kewpie mayo at home.

What Is Kewpie Mayonnaise?

Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese brand of mayonnaise that's extremely popular in Asia and making strides in the West. Kewpie mayonnaise is irresistibly creamy and hits the perfect taste balance between sweet and acidic. It's thick and tangy, and the Kewpie difference is one that you can actually feel on your palate. Kewpie mayo can be applied to a variety of recipes, with uses ranging from a sandwich spread to a base for a puree or dip, and of course, it's a perfect topping for street food like okonomiyaki. We recommend using Kewpie mayo wherever you'd normally use American-style mayo.

Japanese Mayonnaise vs American Mayonnaise

Japanese mayonnaise and American mayonnaise differ in their taste, appearance, and texture, and it all boils to one thing: ingredients. While American mayonnaise is made with whole eggs, Japanese mayonnaise only uses egg yolks, yielding a richer flavor, thicker consistency, and deeper yellow color. Japanese mayonnaise contains MSG, while American mayonnaise does not. American mayonnaise typically uses distilled vinegar to add acidity, while Japanese mayonnaise uses rice vinegar, which contributes to Japanese mayonnaise's sweetness. Nutritionally, Japanese and American mayonnaise are pretty much the same, although Japanese mayonnaise is higher in sodium and saturated fat. Japanese mayonnaise is typically sold in a squeeze bottle, which makes it easier to apply. Some American mayonnaise products are now sold in squeeze bottles, too, but many are sold in jars.

Where to Buy Kewpie Mayonnaise

There are two types of Kewpie mayonnaise: the original Japanese product and the American version, which is made in California and contains no MSG. Both versions of Kewpie mayonnaise have made their way to American grocery stores, such as Walmart and Costco, and you can always find Kewpie mayonnaise in an international or Asian grocery.

Kewpie Mayonnaise Substitute

There are a few ways you can create a Kewpie mayonnaise substitute: you can either make a shortcut version using American mayonnaise, such as Hellman's, or make an MSG-free Kewpie-style mayonnaise from scratch.

  • To make a shortcut Kewpie mayonnaise substitute, combine 1 cup mayonnaise with two tablespoons of rice vinegar and one tablespoon of granulated sugar, either using a whisk or a blender.
  • To make Kewpie-style mayonnaise from scratch, mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon white sugar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar in a small bowl.


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