With egg salad tucked between slices of white bread, Japanese Egg Sandwich (Tamago Sando) is a timeless snack you can find in every convenience store in Japan. The creamy filling is bursting with a rich egg-yolk flavor and the shokupan slices are soft and pillowy. Some claim it‘s the absolute best egg salad sandwich they’ve ever tasted!
Sandwiches are not a new thing in the world of Japanese cuisine, but they seem to be having their moment right now. One particular sandwich that makes it to international stardom, which honestly took me by surprise, is Tamago Sando (たまごサンド).
It is basically the grab-and-go Japanese egg sandwich that is sold everywhere at conbini (sometimes spelled as konbini; コンビニ; convenience stores) in Japan. Have you tried it before?
I finally understood its popularity when I found out the legendary Anthony Bourdain glorified Tamago Sando over Twitter. “Inexplicable Deliciousness” were his words. Now, let’s take a look at how to make the best egg sandwich at home!
Table of contents
- What is Tamago Sando?
- What’s the Difference between American and Japanese Egg Sandwich?
- Key Ingredients for Japanese Egg Sandwich
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- Overview: Cooking Steps
- The Secrets to Making Perfect Egg Sandwich At Home
- More Japanese Sandwiches You’ll Love
What is Tamago Sando?
Japanese egg sandwich Tamago (たまご) means eggs and sando is short for san-doh- itchi (サンドイッチ)—sandwich in Japanese. You probably heard of both words from Onsen Tamago, Tamagoyaki, Tamagotchi (the nostalgic toy!), and Katsu Sando or Wanpaku Sando from my blog.
The egg sandwich is pretty much a homey snack to the Japanese because we all grow up eating it. It is a modest, low-maintenance, convenience store sort of food. I don’t exactly know when tamago sando became so popular internationally, but I’ve been seeing it on the menu of trendy cafes and restaurants in the U.S.
Even Just One Cookbook readers tell me how much they miss the egg sandwich from 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson convenience stores in Japan. Only $2 for each sandwich! You can’t beat that.
What’s the Difference between American and Japanese Egg Sandwich?
In comparison to American-style egg sandwiches, Japanese egg sandwich is a lot simpler. Usually just mashed boiled eggs between the bread. There is no cheese, no mustard, no onions or lettuce, no ham or bacon. It’s as pure as an egg salad sandwich can get. I actually do like the American-style egg salad sandwich too and I’d say both versions have their own unique flavors.
Key Ingredients for Japanese Egg Sandwich
So what’s all the fuss about the Japanese egg salad sandwich? I think you can say it stands out because of these characteristics:
1. Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread)
Tamago sando always uses soft and pillowy Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread). The sandwich bread is sweet, milky with a nice bounce, and the crust around the Pullman is completely removed so you get the perfect soft texture of a sandwich.
2. Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise
And of course, the mayo. Tamago sando uses Japanese mayonnaise (with Kewpie mayonnaise being the most recognizable) which gives the egg filling an extra tang and creaminess. If needed, you can use American mayonnaise, but the flavor complexity can be quite different. Many Just One Cookbook readers told me that they won’t go back to American mayonnaise after trying Japanese mayo.
Needless to say, eggs are the main ingredients in the egg salad sandwich, and the taste of eggs totally shines through. There is something about Japanese eggs. They are fresh and the yolk is almost orange, and they are so darn delicious. In the US, you can certainly procure some quality eggs from your local farmers’ market or good-quality free-range eggs.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Quality eggs
- Shokupan (Japanese milk bread)* – homemade or store-bought from Asian bakery/grocery stores
- Salted butter
- Seasonings: sugar, salt, black pepper, milk, Japanese mayonnaise
*Substitution: If you really couldn’t find Japanese milk bread, you could use brioche or soft white bread.
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Boil the eggs (can be prepped in advance).
- Peel and mash the eggs. Add all the seasonings and mix well.
- Assemble the egg mixture over the bread slices.
- Cut the crust off for the standard presentation and serve.
It’s really as simple as that.
The Secrets to Making Perfect Egg Sandwich At Home
I want to throw in a few cooking secrets to make the perfect tamago sando at home. You may think the 7-Eleven egg sandwich is perfect, but if you look at the label on the sandwich, the ingredients are full of preservatives. To make the truly perfect and healthy homemade Japanese egg sandwich at home, here are my tips:
- Use older but quality eggs, not the freshest eggs, if you want to peel the shells easily.
- Add milk for a creamy and smooth texture
- Don’t be afraid to add salt. For a simple dish like this, salt plays an important role in bringing out the flavors.
- If you want your sandwich to taste very much like the 7-Eleven version, add a tiny bit of sugar for some sweetness. Otherwise, you can skip it.
- Don’t skip the butter. It acts as a waterproof barrier so the bread stays dry, not soggy.
If you are used to eating the 7-Eleven egg sandwich in Japan, this homemade recipe will make you very happy. It is good with coffee or tea, but even better if you enjoy it with a cup of royal milk tea.
More Japanese Sandwiches You’ll Love
- Japanese Fruit Sandwich (Fruit Sando)
- Wanpaku Sandwich (The Ultimate Layered Sandwich)
- Katsu Sando (Pork Cutlet Sandwich)
- Egg Salad Sandwich
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Japanese Egg Sandwich (Tamago Sando)
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp milk
- 2 Tbsp Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise
- 4 slices shokupan (Japanese milk bread) (or make homemade Shokupan; the same thickness as those from a square shokupan loaf cut into 8 slices)
- salted butter
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make the Egg Salad
- Put 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell) in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring it to a boil on medium heat. Once boiling, cook for 12 minutes.
- Once it’s finished cooking, transfer the eggs to iced water to stop the cooking. Let them cool completely and peel the eggshells.
- Transfer the peeled eggs to a bowl and mash with a fork. Try to mash the egg whites into small, same-sized pieces.
- Add ¼ tsp sugar and ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt to the eggs.
- Add ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp milk.
- Add 2 Tbsp Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise and mix very well. Taste and sprinkle more salt and pepper, if needed.
To Assemble the Tamago Sando
- Set out 4 slices shokupan (Japanese milk bread). Spread salted butter on top of each slice. For each sandwich, spread the egg salad on one of the slices.
- Put the other slice of bread, buttered side down, on top of the egg salad. Place the sandwiches between two plates to compress slightly. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Cut the crusts off the bread. Tip: Don‘t throw away the crusts. Repurpose them to make Shokupan Crust Rusks. These crunchy, buttery snacks are so delicious! You can make them now or freeze those crust strips and make them later.
- Cut the sandwiches in half. They‘re now ready to serve.
- You can keep any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 1, 2019. It’s been republished with additional blog content on April 5, 2023.