Best Japanese mayo brands (Kewpie vs Kenko vs Ajinomoto)

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 3, 2022

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Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

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If you are looking for Japanese mayo you can count on, here are a few brands that are recommended.

I’ve personally tested these, and although the brand Kewpie is still synonymous with Japanese mayonnaise in my opinion, there are some incredibly great tasting alternatives out there.

So let’s get to the options!

Best Japanese mayo brands

Best Japanese mayo brands

Kewpie

Kewpie is almost synonymous with Japanese mayonnaise. In fact, it claims to be the originator of Japanese mayo.

The brand launched in 1925 and after nearly a century, it has established itself as one of the most trusted brands in the industry.

In spite of the fact that it has acquired many competitors over the last few years, it still remains on top with a 70% market share.

So what’s the secret?

Kewpie uses simple ingredients like egg yolk, salt sugar and vinegar brewed with apple. Some argue that it is also the MSG that makes the flavors stand out.

However, Kewpie now has an MSG free variety and still stays at the top of the heap.

This company claims its secret to success is using fresh eggs that are no more than three days old.

They also say the chickens the eggs come from are fed with premium feed that further guarantees the taste. They also stand out because they use malt vinegar which gives the mayo a unique flavor.

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What is the flavor of Kewpie?

Kewpie mayo has a unique taste. It can be described as having an overall umami flavor.

But, it is made with egg yolks only so it has a strong egg taste. Also, it has a tanginess to it from the vinegar and a slightly sweet aftertaste. I would say it is refreshing and very savory, especially if it contains MSG.

It also maintains its flavors very well even after the bottle is opened because the bottle design prevents oxygen from getting inside and thus the mayo doesn’t oxidize at all.

kewpie Japanese mayonnaise

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Ajinomoto

Ajinomoto has been around for about 30 years now and it claims about 20% of the market share.

ajinomoto-pure-select-mayonnaise

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Kenko

Kenko contains canola and vegetable oil, water, vinegar, and egg yolk. It has a light texture and a yellowish color.

The mayo comes in a flexible plastic container with a pouring hole that is shaped like a star. It tastes very similar to Kewpie but it is cheaper in price.

kenko japanese mayonnaise

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Kewpie vs Kenko mayonnaise

Kewpie is the original mayo brand here and it is a bit more expensive than the newcomer Kenko. But the young brand is trying to get a little market share by imitating everything from packaging to the taste. It’s a little oilier and less sweet, plus a lot cheaper.

Also read: this is how you make Japanese mayo from scratch

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.