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Posted on Jul 10, 2007 in Eggs, Equipment, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Recipe, Tips, Tutorial or How-to, Vegetarian | 56 comments

Tutorial: Making tamagoyaki or Japanese rolled egg

Tutorial: Making tamagoyaki or Japanese rolled egg




Japanese rolled omelette (tamagoyaki or dashimaki tamago) is a classic dish in Japanese bento lunches, popular with children, flexible (you can add things to it like tarako, green onions, nori or sauteed broccoli stems), shapable (hearts, triangles, etc.). But it can be challenging to make until you get the hang of it. I’ve picked up tips and troubleshooting advice from Japanese cookbooks to guide you along the way, and detailed them below in a step-by-step tutorial.

I prefer the flavor of dashimaki tamago (rolled egg with dashi — bonito stock) to plain tamagoyaki as I like the nuance that dashi adds. The dashi does make the uncooked egg mixture more liquidy than with tamagoyaki, so it’s a little more delicate to form. The basic techniques are the same for both, though.

Japanese rolled egg (tamagoyaki) tutorial

Click for full tamagoyaki tutorial and recipe…

There’s an inspirational video of advanced dashimaki-making techniques by Itasan (Japanese restaurant chef and amateur videographer) here on YouTube. Itasan’s got many other Japanese cooking videos up — have a look. Another thanks to reader Corgi for pointing these out!

Dashimaki Tamago Ingredients Tamagoyaki Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • 105cc dashi (a scant 1/2 cup American) (1/2 of a 210cc Japanese cup, smaller than a 240cc American cup) (you can substitute an equal amount of water and 1/4 tsp hondashi — bonito stock granules)
  • 1 Tb sake (you can substitute an equal amount of mirin and cut back on the sugar, or omit the sake and increase the dashi)
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce (light soy sauce for yellower eggs, regular soy sauce if you don’t mind the darker color)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 Tb dashi
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

(Click any photo to see a larger version.)

070626a For best results, use a rectangular nonstick pan made especially for tamagoyaki. The small pan on the top holds a max of three eggs, the medium pan underneath can cook four to five. The small pan on top is actually very thin and poor quality (bought for US$1.50 at Ichiban Kan in SF, but I see the same one sold for $10+ on eBay), and offers poor heat control. Seek out a nonstick pan with a thick bottom. Some new pans have a textured nonstick interior so that less oil can be used during cooking.
070626b If appearance is less important to you or you just want to try it out without a rectangular pan, you can also use a regular round nonstick frying pan. Inexpensive, slick, relatively new, heavy, nonstick pans perform better with eggs than really high-end pans like All Clad, which are too textured to release eggs easily (tip from Alton Brown’s show on eggs, borne out by my experience). The trick then is to make three thick layers of egg (instead of more) and use a bamboo sushi mat to force the result into shape. The middle will be thicker than the ends because of the shape of the pan, so you can trim the ends after cooling. There’s an illustrated how-to here at JustHungry.
070626f Japanese cookbooks advise that the eggs shouldn’t be mixed too much. If the eggs are overbeaten, they can develop a rubbery consistency. Use a left-right circular motion sweeping around the sides of the bowl instead of an up-and-down motion that would incorporate air. Briefly stir up the eggs in a bowl just enough to break up the yolks, then stir in the mixture of dashi, sake, sugar, salt and soy sauce.
070626d For beginners, the heat should be on low.
070626c If you’re more advanced, you can turn up the heat to medium and be prepared to move quickly.
070626e (If you have a nonstick pan, skip to the next step.) Yes, this is the scary shot with all that oil!! If your tamagoyaki pan is regular metal (no nonstick coating), you’ll want to liberally coat the bottom and sides with vegetable oil and drain the excess. You can also dip a folded paper towel into a bowl of cooking oil and use this to mop the pan as below. See the YouTube video here for an example.If using a regular metal pan, oil it first, then put it on the heat. If the pan gets too hot, just remove it from the heat for a moment to cool, then re-oil and proceed.
070626g If you’re using a nonstick pan, heat the pan first, then dip a folded paper towel in vegetable oil and wipe the bottom and sides to coat. If the pan gets too hot, just remove it from the heat for a moment to cool, then re-oil and proceed.
070626h SPEED TIP: Pour about 1/4 of the egg mixture into the pan and scramble as you would lightly cooked scrambled eggs.
070626i Cook the first 1/4 of the egg mixture like scrambled eggs. I find that a rubber spatula is easier to use for cooking and shaping than the chopsticks shown in Japanese cookbooks. Use whichever you’re more comfortable with.
070626j Push the first mass of scrambled egg to one side of the pan with your rubber spatula. Don’t worry about what the egg mass looks like at this point — it’ll be buried inside the tamagoyaki.
070626k Use a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil to thoroughly oil and clean the surface of the pan. When done oiling one side of the pan, slide the egg mass over to the other side and oil the remaining surface. This oiling is crucial to ensuring that following egg layers will release and roll properly.
070626l Start building thin layers of egg. Pour a ladleful of egg mixture into the pan and rotate the pan so that it coats the entire bottom. Quickly lift the cooked egg mass up and let the egg mixture flow underneath before putting it back down. This step is crucial in getting the layers to adhere.
070626q When the new layer of egg is almost cooked through but still a little wet on top, it’s time to start rolling.
070626m Use the spatula or chopsticks to gently flip the egg mass over into the middle, then once more until it hits the end. I find it helpful to let it sit for a couple of seconds after the first flip — it seems to adhere to the egg mass better and makes it easier to make the final flip. If you’re having trouble getting the egg to release from the pan, it may help to gently shake the pan from side to side or to run the spatula around the edges of the pan. If you’re using chopsticks to roll the egg mass, stick one chopstick down into the egg mass lengthwise to roll it neatly, using the second chopstick along the outside. This way you’ll be pulling it onto the egg layer, rather than trying to push it with chopsticks, marring the appearance.
070626n For the next layer, be sure to clean and oil the pan thoroughly (including the inner sides) with the oil-soaked paper towel to help the egg release from the pan.
070626o After oiling one side of the pan, slide the egg mass over and oil the other side before starting on your next layer. Repeat the process until all of the egg mixture is used.
070626p Use the rubber spatula to press the egg mass into shape against the side of the pan. You can also use a small wooden cutting board for the same effect.
070626r This is after rolling the final egg layer. I’m using the spatula to neaten up the shape.
070626s If the roll seems undercooked or unstable, you may want to turn the roll on its side and cook briefly to firm things up. It doesn’t even have to look perfect at this point! Your safety net is waiting…
070626t Turn the finished roll out onto a bamboo sushi mat to neaten up the shape as it cools. You can also use plastic wrap, paper towels, or a Silpat-type baking sheet in place of the bamboo mat (‘makisu’).
070626u Use your hands and the wrapping (makisu, plastic wrap, paper towels, Silpat, etc.) to forcibly shape the roll however you like. This particular roll’s shape is already fine; a better example of shaping can be seen in the YouTube chef’s video demonstration. If you want round dashimaki, you can put rubber bands around the sushi mat, then let it cool like that.
070626v Cool the roll to allow residual heat to cook any undercooked egg and adhere the layers. The benefit of using a bamboo sushi mat (‘makisu’) is its ability to let steam escape while it retains its shape — even when suspended over a bowl here for speedy cooling. If you don’t have a makisu, allow it to cool on a cutting board, wrapped for shaping if necessary.
070626w When cool, slice and serve. If the eggs are still runny when you cut into it, microwave briefly on medium power to finish cooking. Dashimaki tamago is usually served with a side of grated daikon (Japanese radish) and soy sauce, but I don’t bother when packing it in a lunch. It’s nice when hot, but allow it to cool completely if packing in a lunch to avoid condensation inside the bento box for best packed lunch food safety.

I made a big dish of dashimaki last year for my husband’s 40th birthday party. It was actually a pretty good make-ahead dish as I was able to knock out 10 rolls the day before, refrigerate them in Tupperware, then just slice and plate them right before the party. It was a big hit — our friends dubbed it “Japanese French toast” and polished it all off in no time.

Dashimaki tamago
With tips from Japanese cookbooks Kihon no Washoku Recipe (基本の和食レシピ)、Washoku no Kihon (和食の基本)、Non-No Washoku Hyakka (NON-NO和食百科)。



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  1. AWESOME tutorial biggie! I am going to try to make this again - I have tried twice before and failed miserably. I have the pan from Daiso - I think perhaps I’ll try it tonight using a regular nonstick pan (round) to get the hang of it. Then once I feel good about the whole thing - I’ll try the cheap Daiso one again and see if I can regulate the cooking better on it because I’ll know what I’m doing. Thanks again this is very kind of you to put this up for us!!!

  2. Fabulous tutorial! you’ve inspired me to actually give this a try — i’m going to pick up a pan the next time i’m over at my asian market.

  3. Hey biggie - thought you might find this interesting? Its in San Francisco.

  4. I have the thin little tamagoyaki pan, I bought it at eBay two years ago for $5, but I’m also a bit disappointed with the quality. Nevertheless, I get an awesome tamagoyaki every time.

  5. You’re the bestest. Thanks for a great tutorial. I’ve been making this for years, never have I used the scramble technique. I’ve been using my bottled soba noodle (no msg) dipping sauce to flavor my tamagoyaki. (fast. and seems like the same ingredients?) Great make-ahead tip!


  6. I have that thin pan, too, and I think it’s quite good, when heated with caution. Then again, I don’t have gas to cook on, I have a glass cheramic stove and it may behave different?

    It’s a great tutorial, nicely showing how easy it really is to make a tamagoyaki. Thanks for the recipe, too. ^_^

  7. This is a great tutorial! I tried making tamago before but have failed. I didn’t have trouble rolling the egg but it tasted awful! I think I put in too much sake. I will surely try your recipe & try out my new tamago pan. Thank you.

  8. @3 from VanillaCupcake:
    Hey, thanks so much for that link — my husband and I are now talking about going together. I think I could get a lot out of the Saturday sessions.

  9. @2 from ECB:
    Thanks ECB! Hope it works out for you. Practice makes perfect.

  10. @4 from amvn:
    I can coax nice-looking tamagoyaki from that little pan as well, but I find it more challenging than my better-quality pan (so maybe not such a good entry-level pan for a beginner).

  11. @6 from TrekkieGrrrl:
    It’s still possible to get good tamagoyaki from the cheap, thin pan, but I find with gas burners that it gets definite hot spots because of the thin bottom. Definitely more challenging than my better-quality pan (so maybe not such a good entry-level pan for a beginner?).

  12. @7 from Macky:
    Hey, if you managed the rolling okay you’re 95% of the way already! Too much sake sounds yucky — hope you have better results next time.

  13. You know, I have a decent square pan, made just for this, but have always been too scared to try and make it. Hm. Maybe I will try it now.

  14. Ok, this was so cool I had to try it.

    I used a round pan and didn’t take the time to cool or shape them (The hubs wanted to eat NOW), so they looked a little funky (the middle looked pretty good, the edges were off), but they tasted good.

    I found that using two spatulas to flip works better. I used one spatula to loosen the egg that stuck while I turned the egg with the other.

  15. @16 from Callista:
    Come on in, the water’s nice and warm! If you’ve already got the pan, may as well try it out…

  16. @17 from EvilXylophone:
    Good feedback on using two spatulas! Hope that helps others who’re starting out and have trouble rolling the egg.

  17. ooh this is better than the other tutorials i’ve seen for this! thank you so much!
    once school starts again and i start with my bentos again i’ll be making this!

    thanks for such a wonderful site!

  18. @21 from Tala:
    Thanks, Tala! I spent a lot of time on this; hope it pays off for you. :-)

  19. @20 from kian:
    Good timing, then — great! Hope it works for you. If you don’t have dashi, I suppose you could try another kind of stock (chicken, veggie, etc.), but I haven’t tried them out and think the flavor of the dashi is quite nice. Instant granules (hondashi, by Ajinomoto I think) are convenient to have on hand if you don’t want to make your own.

  20. Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial. I really appreciate the time and effort (and money) you put into sharing and helping others make better-looking, better-tasting, and interesting lunches!

  21. @24 from Sithean>
    Hey, thanks for the kind comment! I still have only scratched the surface of speed tips and techniques, though…

  22. @26 from Jenny:
    Woo hoo, looks great! Way to go, Jenny!

  23. Augh, how’d I miss you posting this! [flails]

    Your scrambled egg techique is an interesting idea - good way to get the roll started, I can tell. It’s also good having pictures of what the ‘still wet, start rolling now’ look of the egg is supposed to be.

    I need to get some makisu, the one I got years ago is lost in action somewhere. I tried rolling my rainbow attempt in a heavy towel with some plastic wrap, but didn’t feel like I had much control over it that way - too much wiggle. (Next paycheque, I think.)

    I think I might have told you that the Joyce Chen’s also available on the shelf at Cost Plus World Market. It’s smaller in area than I expected, but a nice weight. I’ve got electric, and it seemed to heat evenly and do a good job — except for me not moving fast enough.

    BTW, dashi’s so easy to make - instant seems nearly like a waste of money.

    Must try out more tamagoyaki [looks determined], even if the kitchen makes me melt.

  24. @28 from Corgi:
    I had forgotten about the Joyce Chen tamagoyaki pan at Cost Plus World Market — thanks for the reminder. I seem to remember that it was reasonably priced there, too. Good luck with the tamagoyaki, and let me know how it works out for you!

  25. @30 from zyna:
    I think it’s terrific that you attempted making tamagoyaki for the first time — I like to push myself in the kitchen to try new things too (not with every meal or anything, but often enough that I don’t get bored). Don’t sweat the appearance too much; you’ll get better with practice. And even many of my Japanese mom friends find it difficult to make a presentable tamagoyaki, so you’re in good company!! ;-)

  26. Hi Biggie! Thanks so much for this tutorial, and the video links… I made my first dashimaki tamago this morning. :)

    I wanted to share this link with you, that has a video of how to make this in a round frying pan:

    Basically, instead of moving the omelet to the rounded side of the pan, you keep it dead center. If you fold it neatly, the sides stay straight, and you’re utilizing the full diameter of the pan.

  27. @32 from Elaine:
    Hey, that’s a pretty nifty link and slideshow — thanks for posting it!

  28. Fantastic directions! But my first tamagoyaki experience still didn’t turn out quite right (as expected!). Well, it tasted good though!

  29. @35 from Sunshine: Try it a few times and I’m sure you’ll get the technique down. Then again, you could always try the cheater’s version (with no rolling, made in a round frying pan) that I just posted here.

  30. I bought the $10 ebay pan, so I hope it’ll be good to practice on before getting my hands on a better quality version! Looking forward to trying your tutorial soon!

  31. @37 from Chinchillin: I’m sure the pan’ll work out for you, you may just want to be cautious with the temperature. Hope the tutorial works out for you; let us know!

  32. How long can you keep tamagoyaki?

  33. @39 from snappiness: I haven’t tested the outer limits in the fridge, but I’d try to eat it up within a day or two. You can also freeze tamagoyaki or frittatas — wrap each slice individually, freeze in a container or freezer bag, and defrost naturally. Convenient for crazy mornings!

  34. @42 from Manuela: Glad that you liked the tamagoyaki, Manuela, and thanks for the kind words! I think you must have a good nonstick pan if the rubber spatula & oil did the trick — I find the oiled paper towel helps more when my nonstick pan starts to get a little dinged up (or when I’m using a lot of eggs or higher heat).

  35. This was fun to read…can you tell me where you found your more substantial tamagoyaki pan? I’ve seen the lighter ones, but want to buy a good one ^__^

  36. Your tutorial is great!I just got the cheaper pan and I am looking foward for testing your recipe!But the omelets seem a bit big is there trick Ican use to make this dish for one person?

  37. @44 from tania: I got my heavier tamagoyaki pan at Kamei (in San Francisco, on Clement Street). I’ve also seen them locally at Nijiya Market sometimes, but a couple of them on Amazon look like they’d be heavier weight than the cheapo ones. (Sorry about the delay in answering your question — it slipped through the cracks on me!)

  38. @45 from Nadeshiko: Thanks! I have two sizes of pan for this — the smaller one produces a smaller omelette for one person. If you only have the large pan, you can just make fewer layers with fewer eggs, producing a skinnier omelette. Remember that you can always make a large omelette, and store the remainder wrapped in the refrigerator for a day or two (or wrap the individual slices and freeze).

  39. Well, I just tried for the second time. I have a cheapo small pan from Daiso, but I can’t get anything else in my city.

    My first was a complete failure! The second was better but still too wet I think. I’ve wrapped it in cling wrap in a bamboo mat hoping that it will firm up in the fridge overnight.

    On try number 3, I’m going to turn up the heat a little (as a beginner I started on low) in the hope that egg won’t stick as badly.

  40. As a postscript to my earlier message, the roll firmed up nicely in the fridge, and I then cooked it gently this morning before cooling it to pack. Worked a treat! I think I just need to practise… :)

  41. @52 from alioc: Good to hear that worked out for you. You’ll work the kinks out with time, I think. :-)

  42. My tamagoyaki tends to come out slightly brown in each layer and I was wondering how japanese sushi restaurants make their tamago nigirizushi such a nice yellow. Now I see that you are capable too, am I rolling too late?

  43. @55 from Joyc: Try turning down the heat; this’ll give you more time for each layer to cook and provide a cushion for rolling time. If that fails, roll the layers earlier — the brown means it’s overcooking on the bottom.

  44. can you please explain/clarify a little further about using hondashi? i bought some today and it is like bonito granules. i don’t know how much to use and i don’t know how much water to add… thanks!

  45. thanks for the recipe

  46. I just used this recipe, thank you for posting such an easy-to-follow guide!

    And my mom loved the sweet taste that the mirin adds :)

  47. Biggie, thanks for this tutorial-I used it last night! The shape wasn’t anything to be proud of (I used a round pan) but it did actually roll. I was surprised at how forgiving the stuff was, actually.

    And as a postscript, I found a Western-style pancake flipper more useful for rolling than either chopsticks or a rice paddle ;)

  48. Hey, Biggie :) I’m wondering how we could store this? We’re starting a new routine that involves eating a bigger breakfast everyday, but we don’t have a whole lot of time in the mornings. I’m trying to find ideas for foods I can make ahead and prepare in the morning pretty quickly. Does this freeze well? I think I’ve read or heard somewhere that freezing egg isn’t a good idea..

  49. I have always wanted to make proper tamagoyaki. If it wasn’t for this tutorial, it never would of worked out for me! I did make one, but the pan was to thin and shallow. it came out to narrow, but I could fit it into my bento!

  50. Just wanted to link a shoutout to one of the best video’s on tamagoyaki. Motokchi has an amazing youtube collection (esp his omurice, amazing). Eggs are among the hardest foods to cook and done well is the mark of a true master, so don’t defeated at the first try.

  51. i love makeing thes eggs ^_^, but when i make them i use egg white or egg subs lol, i love makeing theis eggs with see weed lol

  52. Thanks for such an awesome tutorial. I watched a couple videos on youtube but they were in Japanese and I don’t speak it. I have watched (with subtitles) a ton of Korean Dramas and they all seem to eat the rolled egg and as much as I love eating it at my favorite sushi restaurant I figured I could make it. All I need to get is the dashi at the Asian market tomorrow and I am ready. What a fabulous site!!!!!!

  53. Dear Biggie, love your blog!!!

    I´m a huge fan of Bentos, that´s way…

    I use linked thos post in my blog because i made my first TAMAGOYAKI, inspired on this post!

    Do you mind? If so, please tell me and I’ll remove it!

    Kisses and thank you for this fantastic post!!!

  54. Me again… I used the tecnic, but i didn´t put the sugar neiter the dashi!!!


  55. I never saw soyu sauce added to the egg mixture before. It usually makes the tamagoyaki colour grey rather than yellow. Often tamagoyaki is served with grated white radish and the soyu sauce is added to that.

    Nice blog.



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