Kewpie Mayo Is The Secret Ingredient That's Missing In Your Egg Salad

Egg salad is one of those meals you can keep super simple or add special ingredients to make into your own signature salad. With just two main ingredients — you really only need eggs and mayonnaise — each one becomes super important and can take your egg salad from mundane to a full umami flavor bomb. For the mayonnaise, if you haven't experimented with Kewpie mayo, you've been missing out; this iconic Japanese mayo can definitely take your egg salad game up a notch or two.


When you first try Kewpie, you may notice it has a deeper yellow hue compared to standard store-bought American mayonnaise. The mouthfeel is creamier and more custard-like, and the flavor is also a little different, with a stronger umami flavor. Eggs and Kewpie mayo go so well together since both have that umami taste. In the case of eggs, it's in the yolk. Kewpie highlights that richness and amplifies the eggy flavor while adding a custard-like creamy texture and a subtle dose of tanginess. The combination is delicious and punches up standard egg salad and egg salad sandwiches.

According to the Book of Kewpie Mayonnaise, founder Toichiro Nakashima was inspired by American mayonnaise and created his own version that was launched in 1925. While Kewpie tastes rich compared to many prepared mayonnaise products available now, Japanese mayonnaise at that time contained even more egg yolk. Nakashima wanted to offer a healthier alternative. While it's been around nearly 100 years, that hasn't stopped Kewpie from inspiring TikTokers and recipe bloggers to use it to glow up their egg salad and other dishes.


What makes Kewpie mayo different

So why does Kewpie have a different color, texture, and taste from the other mayonnaise you'll find at your local grocery store? It mostly comes down to its ingredient list. Most American grocery store mayos use the whole egg, while Kewpie only contains egg yolks, which makes it a little more like homemade mayo. It's also why adding Kewpie to egg salad makes it taste even eggier. Another difference is the vinegar. Instead of using one type of vinegar, Kewpie is made with a blend of red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and distilled vinegar. Plus, it doesn't contain any sugar or corn syrup; any sweetness you taste comes from vinegar and egg yolks. Finally, Kewpie has a thinner consistency and comes in a squeeze bottle. That certainly doesn't affect the taste, but we do appreciate how easy it is to squeeze onto sandwiches or into measuring cups or spoons. 


There are some slight variations in Kewpie mayonnaise for different markets. If you have a strong preference, look for "Product of Japan" on the bottle for the OG version or "Product to the USA" for the version manufactured in California. Comparing the two side by side, the Japanese version has a more earthy umami flavor; the American version is close but doesn't have quite the same taste. You can use whichever you prefer (or whichever you can get your hands on) in your egg salad.

Other ways to make your Kewpie egg salad your own

If you like the umami flavor of Kewpie, it can be a subtle way to elevate a simple egg salad, whether you add additional ingredients like chives, watercress, or crunchy celery or keep it plain. Kewpie recommends mixing its mayonnaise with other flavor pairings, including soy, avocado, ketchup, or even chili oil, per the Book of Kewpie Mayonnaise. If you want a different flavor profile, you could try one of those pairings. Or you could try your own using mustard, wasabi, garlic, or your favorite spice blend.


But you don't have to just stick to egg salad. Mayonaise earned its place in many refrigerators because it is such a versatile condiment. The same applies to Kewpie. Tokyo-based chef and author Yukari Sakamoto told Real Simple that Kewpie is "food-friendly" and "enhances a variety of dishes with its umami and soft tartness." This may be why it is equally at home topping poke bowls as it is in egg salad. 

Whether you add Kewpie to your egg salad, sandwiches, potato salad, or Asian-inspired dishes like sticky rice balls, your guests may wonder about your secret ingredient and why your dishes taste a little extra special.