Top 9 Best Packs of Japanese Mayo to Buy Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Americans aren’t the only ones obsessed with mayonnaise. Mayo’s a staple in most Japanese pantries and is used for pretty much anything: dips, dressings, stirfries, drizzles. But if you’ve ever picked up a bottle of Kewpie, made notorious by their commercials featuring spinning baby heads, you know that Japanese and American mayo taste quite different.

We’ll go into more detail later, but Japanese mayo’s made a little differently, most notably with a dose of MSG (though not at high enough levels that you have to worry about your health). This recipe has earned Japanese mayo an almost cult-like following: go Kewpie or go home. But Kewpie isn’t all Japan has to offer, and one has to wonder what the best Japanese mayo really is.

That’s why we ordered the 9 most popular packs of mayo off Japan’s e-commerce giants and tested them all. We also invited three certified seasoning sommeliers (professionals that have passed an exam proctored by the Japan Seasoning Meisters Association) and asked them to taste each product.  The three experts then compared the following:

  1. Acidity
  2. Savoriness
  3. Sweetness
  4. Creaminess
  5. Compatibility with Other Foods

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese mayo.

Table of Contents

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

We invited three specialists, each known for her expertise in seasonings, to help us try out all the mayo.

Etsuko Makino, Takayo Ishikawa, Megumi Yoshida
〈Etsuko Makino, Takayo Ishikawa, Megumi Yoshida〉

Vegetable Sommeliers, Seasoning Sommeliers

{Left: Etsuko Makino}
She uses her knowledge as a vegetable sommelier pro and seasoning sommelier to develop new recipes and products, introducing the charm and flavor of fruits and vegetables to all generations. She's very active, making appearances on on NHK Radio's "Saitamazu" and Television Saitama's "Machikomi."

{Middle: Takayo Ishikawa}
She's a food expert that's a certified vegetable sommelier and seasoning sommelier pro. You may see her at workshops or nutrition lectures, elucidating the relationship between housewives and seasonings. She's also well-versed in kitchen appliances and oversees the development of various condiment-related items. And to top off her wide-ranging lists of accomplishments, she also helps craft recipes for condiment brands and pens food columns.

{Right: Megumi Yoshida}
She's a food expert that's a certified vegetable sommelier pro and seasoning sommelier. She wears many hats, crafting and publishing family-oriented recipes, writing columns, teaching at a cultural center, running the Aomori Vegetable Marché, and making radio appearances.

How to Choose Japanese Mayo – Buying Guide

Mayo’s not something you think about–you kind of just go for whatever’s been on your dinner table since childhood. But there’s plenty of brands out there, both Japanese and American, so let’s talk about how to differentiate between them.

① Does the Recipe Feature Whole Eggs or Just the Egg Yolk?

Does the Recipe Feature Whole Eggs or Just the Egg Yolk?

Eggs? Pretty much always a main ingredient. But it’s important to pay attention to whether whole eggs※1 (whites and all) are used or just the yolk※2.

For reference, most American brands of mayo are made using the whole egg. Since the whites are included, the mayo itself is paler in color and lighter in flavor. On the other hand, representative Japanese brands (like Kewpie) only use the yolk, which makes the mayo taste deeper and richer.

Both kinds of mayo have their uses. If you’re planning on drizzling mayo over food that’s already rich and flavorful, then we recommend the lighter whole-egg mayo; if you’re looking for a vegetable dip or bread spread, then go for the rich yolk-only mayo.

Also, keep in mind that egg allergies don’t mean you have to renounce mayo forever. Even in Japan, you can find mayo that uses soy alternatives, and they’re not bad at all.

※1 全卵: whole eggs (usually simply written as eggs or 卵 in the ingredients list)
※2 卵黄: egg yolk

② Where was It Made and What Additives are Included?

Where was It Made and What Additives are Included?

First, let’s talk about where your mayo’s made. Japan subjects its food to rigorous quality inspections (which is why we can eat eggs raw–delicious!), so if you’re searching for high-quality, authentic Japanese mayo, look for that “made in Japan“※3 label.

Next, let’s talk about what’s in your mayo. No food’s supposed to be horrible for you, but if you’re worried about as of yet unknown effects of chemical processing cropping up in the future, then check the ingredients list to make sure there’s no artificial ingredients. By the way, some amino acids found in Japanese mayo are synthesized in labs and thus qualify as artificial additives.

You can also look for GMO-free foods–some products even will go so far as to guarantee that the chickens who laid the eggs were not fed genetically modified corn. Just keep in mind that 90% of scientists agree that GMOs※4 are safe to eat, but again, because it’s near impossible to definitively prove a food safe, you can choose to avoid them if you wish.

※3 国産: made in Japan (lit. domestically produced)
※4 遺伝子組み換え: genetically modified

③ How Many Calories and How Much Sodium is in It?

How Many Calories and How Much Sodium is in It?

If you’re on a diet, you could also try low-calorie mayo. As more and more people are watching their waistlines, more and more companies are producing mayo that cuts back on the calories without cutting back on flavor. If you’re watching your blood pressure, there’s also low-sodium or sodium-free options.

Just fyi, but normal whole-egg mayonnaise contains about 700 calories per 100 g serving; the yolk-only kind contains about 670 calories per 100 g. If you want to talk about that in tablespoons–well, one tbsp is about 14 g, so whole-egg mayo comes out to about 98 cal per one tbsp serving, whereas yolk-only mayo comes out to about 94.

Just one thing to watch out for. Actually, mayo is pretty low on sugar (naturally). However, some low-calorie or low-sodium mayo brands will sneak sweeteners into their recipes in order to make up for loss of flavor. So, if you’re really worried about your health, read not just the label but also the full ingredients list.

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

Now to introduce the 9 most popular packs of mayo that we ordered and the process by which we tested them.

{The Products We Tested}

  1. Kewpie Mayonnaise (キューピーマヨネーズ)
  2. Sokensha Fertilized Egg Mayonnaise (創健社 有精卵マヨネーズ)
  3. Kewpie Pro Use Mayonnaise Mild (キューピープロユース マヨネーズマイルド)
  4. JFDA Plus Mayonnaise Type 50 (ジェフダプラス マヨネーズタイプ50)
  5. Kewpie Half (キューピーハーフ)
  6. Kewpie Flaxseed Oil Mayonnaise (キューピーアマニ油マヨネーズ)
  7. No Table Salt Salt-Free MM Mayonnaise (食塩不使用 無塩MMマヨネーズ)
  8. Yodoran Hikari Super Rich Mayonnaise (ヨード卵・光スーパーリッチマヨネーズ)
  9. Ajinomoto Pure Select Mayonnaise (味の素 ピュアセレクトマヨネーズ)

We then tested each for the following things:

Test ①: Acidity
Test ②: Savoriness
Test ③: Sweetness
Test ④: Creaminess
Test ⑤: Compatibility with Other Foods

Finally, we looked at how all the elements worked together and gave each wasabi an overall score.

Test ①: Acidity

Acidity

Vinegar’s a must-have ingredient in all mayo–and that holds true in Japan as well, where mayonnaise tends to be tangier.

So we asked our experts to try all the mayonnaise and tell us if it had just the right amount of acidity. We then graded all the products on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: We Liked It Sour

We Liked It Sour

We were partial towards mayo that was more acidic.

After all, hardly anyone eats mayo alone (we think). Therefore, we needed the mayo to be sour enough to preserve its flavor even when combined with other foods. In addition, sourness helped whet the appetite.

Takayo Ishikawa
Seasoning Sommelier Pro, Vegetable Sommelier
Takayo Ishikawa's comment
Dense flavors and a tangy aftertaste—they're what makes mayo feel rich.

Test ②: Savoriness

Savoriness

Next defining flavor? Salt. You can’t have mayo that isn’t savory.

Our experts tested the mayo to determine which added just the right amount of saltiness to food. We then graded each product on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: We Liked It Salty as Well (to Balance out the Acid)

We Liked It Salty as Well (to Balance out the Acid)

More savory mayo was judged to be divine with vegetables.

Mayo is often used with foods with a lot of water in them, in veggie dips, for example, or salad dressings or sandwich spreads. Therefore, it’s important that both the salty and sour elements be strong and well-balanced so that the flavor of the mayonnaise isn’t lost among all the other foods.

Etsuko Makino
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Etsuko Makino's comment
When paired with food, the best-tasting mayo still comes through as a bit sour and has a savoriness that balances well with other ingredients.

Test ③: Sweetness

Sweetness

The great flavor enhancer: sugar.

Our experts tried all the mayo to find the ideal level of sweetness. We then graded all the products on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Mayo that Wasn’t as Sweet Complemented More Foods

Mayo that Wasn't as Sweet Complemented More Foods

This holds true for most seasonings, but mayo that had a more subtle sweetness tasted better. Mayo that was too sweet tended to clash with certain flavors–not like it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t compatible with as many foods.

So, to sum up, mayo with a stronger acidity and savoriness that’s well-matched to the other flavors in your dish–but with a subdued sweetness–were judged to be most delicious.

Megumi Yoshida
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Megumi Yoshida's comment
Most of the mayo I found delicious tamped down on sweetness. When I did like a sweeter mayonnaise, the sweetness was balanced out by the vinegar and salt—a bit similar in flavor to sushi vinegar, actually.

Test ④: Creaminess

Creaminess

To get a real creamy mayo, you need the perfect combination of eggs and oil.

We had our experts try all the mayo to find the smoothest and creamiest. We then graded all the products on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Creamy Mayo Best Brings out that Rich, Eggy Flavor

Creamy Mayo Best Brings out that Rich, Eggy Flavor

The perfect creamy mayo had just enough oil in it to give it the slick feel of butter and brought out the dense richness of eggs.

The mayo could be neither too thin nor too thick; it should feel just a bit oily without feeling greasy and be lush and dense without feeling like tar. When it was eggy enough, it also reminded us of a whip, which made it all the more delicious as a dip, spread, or topping.

Takayo Ishikawa
Seasoning Sommelier Pro, Vegetable Sommelier
Takayo Ishikawa's comment
Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the oil they're using. However, creamy mayo has just enough oils in it to make it melt in your mouth and a characteristic richness.

Test ⑤: Compatibility with Other Foods

Compatibility with Other Foods

Good mayo must have the ability to make anything taste better. That’s why the last thing we checked for was food compatibility.

This time around, we paired our mayo with cucumbers–a staple in many salads–and served it to our experts. They then shared their impressions, and we graded each product on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Mayo that’s Great for Dips and Spreads is Utterly Different from Mayo that’s Great for Cooking

The Big Takeaway: Mayo that's Great for Dips and Spreads is Utterly Different than Mayo that's Great for Cooking

Mayo with acidity, savoriness, and creaminess were great when paired with salads or spread over bread. But they weren’t suited for cooking.

Basically, if the mayo itself had a dense, savory flavor, then it was great as is, whether you wanted to dip foods in it or drizzle it over things; however, if it was a sweeter mayonnaise with only a hint of sourness, then it was better used for cooking.

Etsuko Makino
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Etsuko Makino's comment
Sour mayo goes well with raw vegetables. Even mayo that hasn't got salt in it—depending on what kind of food you pair it with, you can draw out sweetness and umami.

Top 9 Best Packs of Japanese Mayo to Buy Online

Now to introduce the nine best packs of mayo available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.

9. No Table Salt Salt-Free MM Mayonnaise

No Table Salt Salt-Free MM Mayonnaise

Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Price: $5.64

Runny Texture Reminds Us More of Sauce than Mayo

This was rather thin and lacked the characteristic creaminess of mayo.

Because there was no salt, we just had strong acidity clashing with sweetness, which made for peculiarly flavored mayo. If you like sushi vinegar, then you may enjoy using this product as a dressing.

Eggs Used Whole Acidity B (3rd)
Savoriness D (9th) Sweetness C (8th)
Compatibility with Food D (9th) Creaminess C (8th)
Overall Score D (9th)

8. Kewpie Half

Kewpie Half

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Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Visit PlazaJapan for more details

Price: $2.00

Half the Calories Also Means Half the Richness

This was salty and sour. We hardly got any sweetness, so if you’re just looking for salty mayo to use as a seasoning, then this one’s a good contender.

However, in order to cut down on the calories, Kewpie also had to cut down on the oils and fats; therefore, it didn’t have that richness of flavor that is such an important aspect of umami.

Eggs Used Whole Acidity B (4th)
Savoriness C (8th) Sweetness A (1st)
Compatibility with Food C (8th) Creaminess C (7th)
Overall Score C (8th)

7. Sokensha Fertilized Egg Mayonnaise

Sokensha Mayonnaise

Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Visit Tokyo Central for more details

Price: $3.78

A Strong Mayo with a Strong, Rich Egginess

This mayo came from fertilized eggs laid by chickens raised on the high fields of Oita prefecture. Only the yolks were used, which resulted in a very rich and strong flavor.

The texture itself was quite viscous, so this mayo may come off as too much for some.

Eggs Used Yolk Acidity C (9th)
Savoriness C (6th) Sweetness B (5th)
Compatibility with Foods C (7th) Creaminess A (1st)
Overall Score C (7th)

6. Kewpie Pro Use Mayonnaise Mild

Kewpie Produce Mayonnaise Mild

Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Price: $5.82

Standard Mayo that’s Easy to Swallow

Sour, salty, and sweet elements were indeed all mild. There was nothing in particular that stood out to us; it was just a very average mayonnaise.

Because all flavors were a bit weak, the mayo just felt really creamy, and its natural sweetness was more noticeable.

Eggs Used Whole Acidity C (8th)
Savoriness C (7th) Sweetness D (9th)
Compatibility with Food A (1st) Creaminess B (4th)
Overall Score B (6th)

5. Kewpie Flaxseed Oil Mayonnaise

Kewpie Flaxseed Oil Mayonnaise

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Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Price: $3.40

Kewpie’s “Healthy” Mayo Doesn’t Give up Flavor–as Versatile as Salad Dressing

Kewpie used high-quality flaxseed oil, which gave the mayo a smooth texture and rich flavor.

Flaxseed oil isn’t often used in mayo. It made the product taste and feel like salad dressing; it was pleasant though, and we thought it actually made the condiment more versatile. So it’s as worth buying for the flavor as it is for the purported health benefits of α-Linolenic acid. Kewpie recommends this product to those suffering from high blood pressure.

Eggs Used Yolk Acidity C (7th)
Savoriness B (4th) Sweetness C (6th)
Compatibility with Food C (6th) Creaminess B (3rd)
Overall Score B (5th)

4. JFDA Plus Mayonnaise Type 50

JFDA Plus Mayonnaise Type 50

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $3.10

Strong Acid that Reminds One of Dressing, Followed by a Mellow Sweetness

This was quite sour; in addition, it used about half the amount of oil found in typical mayonnaise, which made it less creamy. Overall, it was a bit similar to dressing.

The sweetness was apparent from the first bite, so this mayonnaise might taste better on richer foods like meat and fries, rather than on veggies.

Eggs Used Whole Acidity B (2nd)
Savoriness B (3rd) Sweetness B (5th)
Compatibility with Foods B (4th) Creaminess D (9th)
Overall Score B (4th)

3. Ajinomoto Pure Select Mayonnaise

Ajinomoto Pure Select Mayonnaise

Visit Amazon for more details

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Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Price: $2.60

Quite Creamy but Still Manages to Keep Acidity, Saltiness, and Sweetness Balanced

The savory and sour flavor profiles and the smooth, creamy texture helped this mayo pair well with most anything. It was reliable.

The mayo was quite oily, but that may also be why it was also so rich. As a whole, the product was well-balanced, both in taste and texture. As a condiment, it didn’t come off too strong, adding just the right amount of flavor of our food. Just try not to overeat.

Eggs Used Whole Acidity C (6th)
Savoriness A (2nd) Sweetness B (3rd)
Compatibility with Food C (5th) Creaminess B (2nd)
Overall Score A (3rd)

2. Kewpie Mayonnaise

Kewpie Mayonnaise

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Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Price: $1.91

King of Mayo! Both in How It Tastes and How It Can Rule over and Bring Together Any Dish

Take just one bite, and a pleasant sourness washes through your mouth–this is what mayo’s all about. The strong acidity and the mellow savoriness was more than a match for the juiciness of fresh vegetables.

Of course, it wasn’t so sour that it was overwhelming; when paired with other foods, the flavors were well-balanced. We could also taste the richness characteristic of yolk-only mayo. It was, however, more light than creamy. Finally, there was also a hint of sweetness that slowly unfurled–it was a flavor we don’t think we’ll ever get sick of.

Eggs Used Yolk Acidity B (5th)
Savoriness C (5th) Sweetness B (4th)
Compatibility with Food A (3rd) Creaminess C (6th)
Overall Score A (2nd)

1. Yodoran Hikari Super Rich Mayonnaise

Yodoran Hikari Super Rich Mayonnaise

Visit Global Rakuten for more details

Price: $4.05

Mayo that’s the Height of Extravagance–Taste All the Richness of Japan’s Yodoran Eggs

Yodoran Hikaru’s a popular line of premium eggs–they’re richer and just different from normal eggs (to the point that some people can taste an egg and tell that it’s not Yodoran). And this mayo was an extravagant feast made from just the yolks of those eggs; it tasted both lush and dense.

It balanced out its egginess with just the right amount of acidity and savoriness, ensuring this condiment would taste great with anything. Yet, it still maintained that mellow creaminess we associate with only the best of mayo. You could use this as a dip, or you could use this in cooking; it was a well-rounded product mayonnaise fanatics will love.

Eggs Used Yolk Acidity A+ (1st)
Savoriness A+ (1st) Sweetness A (2nd)
Compatibility with Foods A (2nd) Creaminess B (5th)
Overall Score A+ (1st)

When Does Mayo Expire, Anyways?

When Does Mayo Expire, Anyways?

The following is how long you can expect mayo to last, according to Kewpie’s official site:

“Unopened bottles and jars of mayonnaise (under 450 grams) will last about 12 months. Bottles over 700 grams will last about 10 months.
“As for opened packs of mayo–please store them in the fridge and aim to finish them in about a month.” (Kewpie FAQ)

Basically, it doesn’t matter when the mayo expires; as soon as you’ve opened it, make sure you store it properly and finish it up ASAP.

If it looks like you won’t be able to finish within time limit, then try getting creative. Make a mayo-based dressing, or use it as a cooking oil. After all, mayo’s a versatile condiment and with a bit of effort, you can ensure none of it goes to waste.

Summary

We invited three experts, purchased the nine top-selling packs of Japanese mayo, and tested them all.

In the end, Japanese and American mayo are two different beasts. It’s not like one’s better than the other–your translator personally prefers using good ol’ Best Foods mayo with heavier dishes–but rather they both have things they’re better and worse at.

Whether you’ve been a devotee of Japanese mayo for years or are just kind of curious, try picking up one of the products from our rankings and experimenting with it. You’re sure to produce some amazing flavors.

Original by Yoshiko Ito; Translation by Jasmine Li

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