I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of kewpie mayo substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
Can’t find a kewpie mayo? You can make it from scratch instead (it’s really easy). And if you already have regular mayo, simply mix it with a bit of rice wine vinegar and sugar to get some makeshift kewpie. For a vegan alternative use tofu and cashews as a base.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I whipped up a batch of fried calamari rings to put different kewpie mayo substitutes to the test.
Kewpie mayo is a famous brand of Japanese mayonnaise. It’s made from just two ingredients – egg yolks and rice vinegar, which gives it a prominent sweet-tangy flavor.
And it has a super creamy consistency.
Here are the substitutes I tested and the verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade Kewpie Mayo||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Other Japanese Mayo Brands||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Mayo + Rice Vinegar + Sugar||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Yum Yum Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Vegan Japanese Mayo||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Avocado Mayo||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
Homemade kewpie mayo
Homemade kewpie mayo is easier to make than you think.
All you need are pasteurized eggs (all the eggs in the US are required by law to be pasteurized), vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar, canola oil, and an immersion blender or food processor to blitz everything up.
But the true secret to boosting the umami in this DIY Kewpie mayo lies in a special ingredient – dashi powder!
The original recipe I used didn’t call for it, but it’s a nifty trick I picked up from Just One Cookbook.
Pro-tip: only make the amount you need – homemade kewpie mayo doesn’t keep well!
How to substitute: Replace Kewpie mayo in a 1:1 ratio with homemade Kewpie mayo.
Other Japanese mayo brands
It’s definitely the most famous, but Kewpie isn’t the only player in the Japanese mayo game.
In fact, the Japanese market has loads of alternatives that offer unique twists on the beloved creamy condiment.
Consider trying brands like Ajinomoto Pure Select or Kenko Mayonnaise.
They use whole eggs in their recipe, making them a tad less rich than Kewpie but they still have that sweet and tangy flavor profile we all love.
For a spicy variant, Wafu Mayonaizu is a fantastic option.
How to substitute: Replace Kewpie mayo in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with another Japanese mayo brand.
Mayo + rice vinegar + sugar
Don’t have time to make your own mayonnaise from scratch?
You can whip up a quick Kewpie mayo substitute using regular mayo.
Just add some rice vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Yes, it’s really that easy!
And if you crave that extra umami kick, go the extra mile and add a dash of MSG or powdered mushrooms.
This blend might not exactly replicate the taste of Kewpie, but it tasted fabulous with my fried calamari rings.
Pro-tip: if you’re using Duke’s mayonnaise, skip the extra sugar – it’s already sweet enough on its own.
How to substitute: Replace Kewpie mayo in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with a mixture of regular mayo, rice vinegar, and sugar.
Yum Yum Sauce
Although Yum Yum sauce isn’t a direct match for Kewpie mayo, it’s a delicious condiment to jazz up your dishes.
The main ingredients are regular mayo, tomato paste, vinegar, and sugar, making it tangy, sweet, and savory all at once.
It tasted delicious with my calamari, and I also tried it with my takeout sushi rolls. YUM.
You can find a bottle of this condiment in most grocery stores or try making it yourself with Daring Gourmet’s easy recipe.
How to substitute: Replace Kewpie mayo in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Yum Yum sauce.
Vegan Japanese mayo
Your search for a vegan Kewpie alternative is over with Okonomikitchen’s recipe!
It still calls for rice vinegar and sugar to replicate Kewpie’s flavor profile, but this recipe uses a blend of pureed cashews and soft tofu to mimic the creamy consistency.
This vegan substitute won’t hit the same level of richness as traditional Kewpie mayo, but it gets the job done.
How to substitute: Replace Kewpie mayo in a 1:1 ratio with Vegan Japanese mayo.
Not a fan of tofu? This avocado mayo may be your saving grace.
You can create a tasty and creamy condiment by combining ripe (make sure they’re ripe), mashed avocado with water, oil, and some basic seasoning.
Its tang is sharper than Kewpie mayo’s, but you can add a pinch of sugar to balance this out.
And as a bonus, it’s packed with healthy fats and nutrients!
How to substitute: Replace Kewpie mayo in a 1:1 ratio with Avocado mayo.
Mayo ramen – substitute to avoid
I saw this suggested as a substitute on several websites, but after further research, it turns out it’s not exactly a mayo substitute.
It’s a viral hack that involves using kewpie mayo as a base for instant ramen broth!
The other blogs suggesting it obviously never actually tried it.
6 Best Kewpie Mayo Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- electric blender
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Separate the egg yolk from the whites.
- If you are using a non-pasteurized egg, crack the egg into a container and leave it in a hot water bath with a 140°-160°F for five minutes.
- Combine all ingredients except oil in a small mixing bowl. Transfer the egg yolk and the mixture of other ingredients into an electric blender.
- Turn on the blender and slowly add the oil. Continue blending until your mixture turns creamy.
- Transfer the mayo into a sterilized container and use within a couple of days.