A couple of years ago a good friend of mine gave me an electric takoyaki maker for my birthday. Takoyaki literally translated means octopus fried, but takoyaki isn’t just fried octopus – it’s a tiny, piping hot ball of batter filled with green onions, ginger, crispy tempura bits and octopus. It’s crisp, it’s gooey, it’s delicious.

Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s quintessential street foods. Thankfully for us, you don’t have to travel to Osaka for takoyaki – they’re basically found everywhere in Japan and are quite popular in North America too. If you ever come across a takoyaki stand stay awhile and check out the takoyaki makers. They’re mesmerizing.

Professional takoyaki makers have rows and rows of cast iron pans with half spherical molds. A dashi flavoured batter is poured into the molds and then each ball gets a piece of octopus, some ginger, and green onions. When the bottom of the balls are cooked, they’re flipped with skewers so that the inside batter flows out to create the other side of the ball. It’s amazing to watch a real takoyaki maker. They’re fast, furious and churn out the little balls like there’s no tomorrow.

takoyaki recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

I’m no takoyaki master, but I sure do like the zen feeling that comes over me while I try to make perfectly spherical takoyaki. I’ve only ever used my pan once so when my friend wanted to bring over her takoyaki pan and have a takoyaki party I was pretty excited. I even wanted to have a takoyaki off with one of my Japanese friends but he declined, saying it wasn’t a fair contest as I would no doubt win. Non-contest aside, we had a great time making individualized takoyakis. Everyone thought they tasted just like the takoyaki vendors.

Takoyaki need quite a few ingredients and a specialized pan, but I think it’s worth it. You can find a takoyaki pan on amazon.com or you can use an ebelskiver (Danish pancake) pan. As for the insides, octopus is classic, but feel free to put in shrimp, chicken, or whatever savoury filling you like. I like to do a combo of octopus, squid and shrimp. I also throw in some mozzarella cheese to get an crispy toasted cheese outside with an extra gooey cheesy inside. If you’ve never seen takoyaki being made, do a youtube search, it’ll give a good starting point for how to flip the little balls around.

What is takoyaki?

Takoyaki are a Japanese street snack that originated in the city of Osaka. They are little round balls of batter that are slightly crispy on the outside and a bit soft and gooey on the inside, stuffed with a little nugget of octopus, tempura bits, and green onions. Typically they serve them up in little wooden boats, brushed with takoyaki sauce, drizzled with Japanese kewpie mayo, and topped with bonito flakes and seaweed. They come with skewers or chopsticks to pick them up. They’re super popular and probably one of the most well known Japanese foods out there. Charmingly, you can almost always see people standing around takoyaki stands fanning their mouths because the takoyaki is too hot. Takoyaki is pure comfort food.

What does takoyaki taste like?

Takoyaki are delicious! They’re super savory and full of umami. They’re piping hot when they are served, so be careful when you eat them. The outsides are just a touch crispy and the inside batter is seasoned, soft, and kind of gooey that melts in your mouth. The little nugget of octopus inside is supposed to contrast with the softness of batter. Green onions add a bit of freshness, beni shoga (pickled ginger) adds a hint of sweet and sour, and crispy tempura bits add even more richness. The sauce and mayo on top adds another layer of flavor. Takoyaki are so incredibly full of umami. The perfect bite!

On mushiness: sometimes people are surprised by the texture of takoyaki. Is takoyaki supposed to be mushy? The answer is, yes, it’s supposed to be a little runny and gooey inside. It’s not exactly mushy, it’s more gooey like melty cheese. The gooey-ness is what most takoyaki vendors aim for because the contrast is what makes takoyaki special. But, if you’re not a fan of gooey, takoyaki can be cooked all the way through. It just means that your balls will be a tiny bit more firm and structured than the ones you’ll find in Japan.
takoyaki | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is takoyaki made of?

There are a lot of ingredients needed for takoyaki, but don’t let that stop you – it’s absolutely worth it. In fact, one of my all time favorite activities is making takoyaki at the table. I have so many fond memories of Mike and I making takoyaki and chatting the night away.

Here’s what you need:

  • Eggs. Eggs make up the majority of the batter and help it get crisp.
  • Flour. Flour binds everything together into a very loose batter.
  • Dashi powder. Dashi powder is what gives the batter it’s flavor – it’s a simple shortcut way of incorporating dashi (Japanese soup stock) into the base. You can buy dashi powder in the Asian grocery store or online. It adds a bunch of flavor and umami.
  • Soy sauce. This is just to add some extra flavor.
  • Octopus/tako. The reason why we’re here! You can buy already cooked tako at the Asian grocery store in the seafood section. Cut the tako up into cubes.
  • Green onions. These add a bit of freshness to the takoyaki.
  • Tenkasu. Tenkasu is tempura bits! They add texture and aroma. If you don’t have any (they sell them in bags at the Asian grocery store) then you can sub in rice krispies.
  • Takoyaki sauce. A thick brown sweet and savory sauce.
  • Kewpie mayo. This is essential to finishing off your takoyaki. Gives takoyaki that iconic look.
  • Bonito flakes. These flakes are what make your takoyaki look like it’s dancing! They are delicate, paper thin shaved dried fish that wave around from the hot steam of the takoyaki. They are super savory.
  • Seaweed. A little green sprinkle of powdered seaweed.

what is takoyaki made of? | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make takoyaki

  1. Mix. Mix the batter up with a whisk making sure there are no floury bits.
  2. Prep. Prep all of the fillings. Cut up the octopus, slice the green onions and make sure you have everything at the ready: a little dish of oil, all your ingredients, some skewers to flip the balls, and a plate to serve on. Heat up the pan.
  3. Pour and fill. Generously oil the pan with a brush or a paper towel dipped in oil. Give the batter a whisk then pour into the individual compartments all the way up to the top. It’s okay if they overflow a bit. Add in the fillings and let cook until the edges start to look more solid and opaque.
  4. Flip. Use your skewers to turn the takoyaki 90 degrees. If they don’t easily move, they need more time to crisp up. Once they’re at a 90° angle, pour in a bit more batter to ensure a super round ball. Let cook, stuffing in any excess batter that’s outside the ball, then turn again. You should have a round ball. Cook until the balls are crispy and brown, moving the balls around from mold to mold to evenly cook (this is because most pans will have uneven heating). As the balls crisp up, it will be easier to flip them.
  5. Sauce. When the balls are golden and crisp, pop them on a plate and brush with takoyaki sauce and squeeze on some mayo.
    Top. Finish with a sprinkle of bonito and aonori. Enjoy!

how to make takoyaki | www.iamafoodblog.com

Takoyaki tips and tricks

  • Pre-make the batter. It can hang out in the fridge, covered and the flour can really get hydrated, making the batter smooth. It’ll help the crispiness of the outsides.
  • Use a lot of oil. Oil is what is going to make the outsides crispy and easy to flip.
  • Use a generous amount of batter. Professional takoyaki vendors almost always overfill the takoyaki cavities and stuff the excess inside the ball so that each ball is perfectly round. Top up the batter if needed.
  • Move the balls around. After the takoyaki are lightly grilled and hold their shape, move them around the pan. Lots of home takoyaki pans are uneven so moving them around with help with browning.

Do I have to put octopus in takoyaki/what can you put in takoyaki?

If you don’t like tako, you’re in luck because you can put literally anything you want in takoyaki. Technically it won’t be called takoyaki anymore, but it’ll still be delicious! In Japan they have lots of takoyaki varieties. Some ideas:

  • shrimp
  • chicken cubes
  • ground beef
  • ground pork
  • sausage
  • bacon
  • tofu
  • cheese + anything else because everything is better with cheese
  • mochi + regular takoyaki ingredients
  • kimchi + cheese
  • diced ham + tomato sauce + cheese for a pizza takoyaki
  • taco meat + diced tomatoes + cheese for a taco takoyaki
  • vegetables: diced carrots, corn, peas, cabbage, zucchini, mushrooms, etc

What sauces go on takoyaki?

Takoyaki is finished by brushing on super savory takoyaki sauce and squeezing on kewpie mayo.

Kewpie mayo

Kewpie mayo is a Japanese mayo that is sweeter, a little bit acidic and so much more delicious than regular mayo. It’s made with just yolks as opposed to all other mayos which are made with whole eggs, giving Kewpie an extra rich custard like texture. It’s slight sweetness comes from rice vinegar. It comes in an iconic super soft squeeze bottle with topped off with a little red flip cap.

how to make takoyaki | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is takoyaki sauce made of?

Most Japanese people buy their takoyaki sauce at the store and I do too! Takoyaki sauce is a thick brown sauce that’s similar to Worcestershire sauce but more fruity and thick. It comes in a handy squeeze bottle with a cute octopus on it. It’s really similar to okonomiyaki and tonkatsu sauce, so if you have those in the fridge you can use them too. Takoyaki sauce is sold online and in Asian grocery stores. If you need to make a sub at home, make this easy takoyaki sauce: mix together 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 2 teaspoons oyster sauce, and 1 teaspoon sugar.

What goes on top of takoyaki?

After the sauces, a handful of katsuobushi and a sprinkle of aonori are added for the finishing touch. Katsuobushi is dried bonito flakes and they’re those little whisps that look like they’re dancing when your takoyaki is hot. Aonori is a powdered seaweed. They sell both katsuobushi and aonori online and in Asian grocery stores. If you don’t have aonori, you can use seaweed strips! Unfortunately there isn’t really a sub for katsuobushi.

takoyaki | www.iamafoodblog.com

Where can I buy a takoyaki pan?

We actually have two takoyaki pans, the one that my friend gifted me and one that we bought on amazon. You can also purchase them in Japan and sometimes in Asian supermarkets. I love the electric takoyaki pan but if you have an ebelskiver pan you can also make larger takoyaki on the stove. They also sell cast iron takoyaki pans too.

How do you make takoyaki without a takoyaki pan?

Unfortunately you can’t! You need the half-sphere shapes to really make that round ball shape.

How to store takoyaki?

You might be wondering, how long does takoyaki last in the fridge? If you happen to make extra, you can keep it in the fridge in a covered container for a day or two and heat it up in the microwave but it won’t taste as good as fresh, especially if it has all the sauces on it. What you should do, if you have extra batter is just put everything in the fridge as is and then make takoyaki again, fresh, the next time you want to eat it. The batter and toppings should last up to two days in the fridge.

Takoyaki Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Takoyaki Recipe

How to make the ultimate Japanese street snack in your own home.
Serves 8
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients

Takoyaki Mix

  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 4.25 cups cold water
  • 2 tsp instant dashi
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour about 300g

Takoyaki Filling

  • 1/2 lb boiled octopus 0.5" cubed
  • 1 bunch green onions sliced
  • 1 cup tempura bits or rice krispies
  • beni shoga/pickled ginger if desired
  • shredded or cubed cheese if desired

Takoyaki Toppings

  • mayo preferably Japanese/Kewpie Brand
  • takoyaki sauce
  • bonito flakes
  • aonori or seaweed strips

Special Equipment

Instructions

  • Beat the eggs and add the water and stock granules. Add the egg-water-dashi mixture to the flour and salt and mix well. Heat up your pan and oil the individual compartments with a oil brush or use a paper towel dipped in oil.
    takoyaki pan | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • When the pan is hot, pour the batter into the individual compartments up to the top. Don’t worry if the batter over flows a bit.
    how to make takoyaki | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add green onions, your protein, tempura bits/rice krispies, ginger, and shredded cheese (if using).
    what is takoyaki made of | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • After a while, the bottom of the takoyaki will be cooked through. At this point, you can use a skewer or two to turn them over 90 degrees. If you can’t turn the takoyaki easily, it probably needs to cook for a bit longer. If needed, add a bit more batter to the balls to fill them up. Let cook for a minute or so and then do another 90 degree turn. The balls will become easier to turn the more they cook.
    how to make takoyaki | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • The takoyaki are done when they’re lightly brown and crispy on the outside and they turn easily in their holes. Overall I’d say it takes about 10-15 minutes per batch, from start to finish, depending on how crispy or soft you like your takoyaki.
    takoyaki recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • To serve, place the takoyaki on a plate and drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce. Genrously sprinkle on the bonito flakes and aonori. Enjoy, but be careful, the insides are hot!

Notes

Makes approx. 64 balls

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Takoyaki Recipe
Amount Per Serving (4 balls)
Calories 159 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 0.8g5%
Cholesterol 60.5mg20%
Sodium 373mg16%
Potassium 186mg5%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 0.55g2%
Sugar 3.3g4%
Protein 9.7g19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

68 Comments

  1. Never had octopus, but if anything will convince me to try it, it’s frying.
    Nice photography, as usual!

  2. Amy D says:

    YAY! More uses for my aebleskiver pan. Huge fan of your blog :)

  3. Wow, that last shot looks like a professionally made takoyaki maker plated it up! ;-) So nice you can make these for yourself at home. I have to wait for the street fairs in Japantown!

  4. Joanne says:

    5 stars
    It looks exactly like the ones we ordered at the restaurant! Yum!

    xo Jo

  5. Takoyaki says:

    I am crispy,
    I am octopus filled,
    I AM TAKOYAKI!

    <3

  6. Asolutely gorgeous!! First time here. Love it.

  7. When we lived in the Philippines (such a long time ago), we usually vacationed in Japan…Japanese street food is one of my faves, and it doesn’t cease to excite me! Takoyaki is one of the snacks I remember having! So yummy! And that machine is just so cute! The Japanese really have spmething for evertything! Hehehe…Did I already tell you that I love your blog?!!!!

  8. Umiy says:

    Now I feel like I must have them…Have you visited Gindako? They lightly fry by pouring small amount of oil with the squeezer on top of them and it is the best thing on this planet…<3 they have many different kinds of mayonase too!

  9. Jacob says:

    Hi Stephanie, 
    I’ve been so inspired by your photographic style and blog layout ever since I started silently reading your blog months ago. I always wondered where you got your beautiful fonts from?

    I love takoyaki, and would love to make some at home, but getting a takoyaki machine here in Singapore is quite difficult

  10. Ames says:

    This looks awesome! I want to get a takoyaki machine now :D

  11. Takoyaki says:

    5 stars
    Just got my takoyaki pan today and tried out your recipe, it is the absolute BOMB! <3 Love it so much!! Thank you!!

    1. Vilma says:

      Love your blog on takoyaki. Where did you buy takoyaki machine?

  12. Vickyb says:

    I love takoyaki, and have been desperately trying to justify fitting such a specialist piece of equipment into my tiny kitchen. Totally impractical, but I may well fold soon and purchase! Think I’ll keep it traditional with octopus, however – hot dogs and cheese seem anathema to me! Plus, then they’d have to be called hotdogyaki or cheeseyaki!!

    1. Maria A says:

      You can make (small) Danish aebleskiver, and Dutch Poffertjes in it too. And you don’t need to buy a machine, there is pans too!

  13. GastroStu says:

    Great post, I’ve eaten these before but didn’t know how they were made. Really interesting to see, thanks for sharing.

  14. Chester says:

    Where do you find the dashi stock granules? Is this similar to the instant hon dashi you can find?

  15. TAKOYAKILOVERS says:

    Looks delicious!
    I want to eat it!

  16. Mak says:

    Hey,

    Its a very nice post you share with us. It looks delicious, I will defiantly try it.

    Thanks.

  17. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I have tried it today and it worked perfectly. Thank you for sharing it. It was a delight. I will try some of your other recipes in the near time.

  18. Doris55 says:

    5 stars
    Takoyaki is a favorite. The way they are flipped over one by one is hypnotic! I have tried squid filling instead of octopus. I love your idea of adding cheese. Sounds pretty yum yum yum!

  19. Chj says:

    I know it’s quite absurd to ask but COULD YOU TELL ME WHERE U GOT ALL THESE AMAZING FONTS? And if you made them yourselves, will you let me have some ?

  20. wee wee says:

    hi, any idea where to buy the maker in singapore?

  21. Ernie says:

    Hi,is there an english name for the kombu and kautso dashi? Please reply fast. Looking forward on making this!! :)

  22. John Clifton says:

    You mention that the Takoyaki cookers are available on amazon.com .I have checked and yes there are lots for sale , most seem to come directly from Japan and shipped , my big question is the voltage is not compatable with ours ,I was told by a vendor in Toronto that they don’t meet North American standards.How did your machine work or what did you have to do to make it work on our voltage ?

  23. Christan says:

    lovely! i can’t wait to return to japan one day.. until then i will have to try and make these :D

  24. Steph says:

    i LOVE takoyaki and had it all the time in Shanghai (i know, not Osaka, but delicious nonetheless). I’ve tried, unsuccessfully to find it in Boston but have had no success. Maybe this recipe will have to do for now. Thank you for sharing!

  25. Firoz says:

    World has infinitive dishes but takoyaki can beat most of it , I visit japan very often and takoyaki is their to serve me right after sashimi. I spend some of my time watching at chefs turning the takoyaki balls at incredible speed to serve dozens of people in the queue. In fact I bought that pan from japan and tried it but I think , I need to attend school in japan to learn make takoyaki for not less than 2years. But amazing , yummy and delicious.

  26. Iris says:

    Yummm. I don’t even know where to begin to find these ingredients, but I have an ebelskiver pan (close enough) and I love takoyaki so I’m going to give this a try!

  27. Linda says:

    Question: Roughly how much octopus did you use?

  28. Yummm…this is fantastic!

  29. crystal says:

    i m gonna try this takoyaki grill pan tonight,wish me luck!!

  30. BLACK cosplayer says:

    5 stars
    Oishii!! Thanx for sharing the ingredients and tips on making it. Arigatogo & oyasuminasai. ^ ^

  31. Mushypeas says:

    5 stars
    OISHI DESU!

  32. Dara says:

    This is awesome!! I keep your post in favorite
    Excellent job :)

  33. nuraini says:

    wawwwwww
    delicious,,,

  34. Jeff says:

    5 stars
    Discovered a cake-pop maker does a wonderful job at Takoyaki! Might be a little bigger than tradional, but does the trick! Made the kids some omelet-Yaki this morning…yum. Scrambled eggs with whatever filling you want.

  35. Mike says:

    How has that Takoyaki pan been working for you? I saw it on Amazon and it got mixed reviews.. just curious how its been for you.

  36. Lhen says:

    Hi where can I buy takoyaki sauce and dashi stock? Thanks

    1. steph says:

      Hi Lhen,

      You can usually find takoyaki sauce and dashi at Asian food stores. Hope that helps!

  37. azah says:

    Where can i buy this tako pan. Can i buy it online?

    1. steph says:

      Yes, they sell them on amazon.

  38. 5 stars
    Wow, I am really impressed. Tried this ones in Tokyo during a party night and have immediatley the taste in my mouth when I saw your pictures!

  39. John Lose says:

    For Angela and the cast iron pan: the pan needs to be seasoned as you would any other cast iron Dutch oven or fry pan.

  40. June Tan says:

    You’ve got some really great recipes and photos to match..will definitely be trying a few of these.

  41. tara says:

    5 stars
    This is so darn beautiful and I’m so dang into it.

  42. MoseMose says:

    Only a month ago that I’ve tasted this food. Thanks to my dear cousin Mac I’m now a fan and even willing to learn how to make one. So thanks for sharing this one :-)

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike