Japanese Sweet Rolled Omelet is made by rolling several thin layers of fried egg, on top of the other, and shaped into a log. It’s delicious as a breakfast dish, or a side for bento, or a standalone snack. Follow my tips, and you’ll learn how to make beautiful tamagoyaki in no time!
Whenever I feel there is a missing component in my meal, I often turn to Tamagoyaki. This classic Japanese side is colorful, protein-rich, and my family loves it.
Today, I’m sharing a Tokyo-style Japanese Sweet Rolled Omelet (Omelette) or Atsuyaki Tamago (厚焼き玉子).
You might have seen this omelet made by Master in Netflix® show – Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories.
You can find a version of Sweet Rolled Omelet featured in Season 2, Episode 9.
In this post, both ‘omelet’ and ‘omelette’ are interchangeably used for SEO purposes. Tamago (egg) is also written in both 卵 and 玉子.
What is Japanese Rolled Omelet (Omelette)
Japanese rolled omelet literally means ‘fried/grilled egg’, and it is made by rolling thin layers of seasoned egg mixture in a frying pan, on the top of the other, and then shaped into a distinctive log. It is then cut into smaller slices that resemble gold bars.
Tamagoyaki makes a dynamite dish. You can serve it as a Japanese-style breakfast, as a side for your bento box, or as a topping for sushi, or eat it as a snack!
In Japan, not every tamogoyaki is created equally though. Different regions have their own versions, and they go by different names too. The biggest difference is tamagoyaki made in Kanto (Tokyo) region is sweet and the ones in the Kaisai (Osaka) region is barely sweet at all.
There are also a few other variations, so let’s take a look.
Tamagoyaki 玉子焼き (卵焼き)
The name ‘tamagoyaki’ is used as a generic name for Japanese rolled omelet. Although the word implies general ‘fried egg’, most people understand tamagoyaki as a rolled omelete.
Atsuyaki Tamago 厚焼き玉子
This type of tamagoyaki is enjoyed mostly in Kanto (Tokyo) area. Atsuyaki (厚焼き) literally means ‘thick and grilled.’The characteristics are:
- Darker in color due to seasoning.
- Thick and solid in texture.
- Sweet dashi (called kanro dashi) is added to the egg mixture. This sweet omelet is made with dashi, sugar, and soy sauce.
- Often made in a square tamagoyaki pan.
Dashimaki Tamago だし巻き玉子
Dashimaki Tamago is a classic tamagoyaki enjoyed in Kansai (Osaka) area. Traditionally, it’s a rolled omelet made with just the egg and dashi (Japanese soup stock).
Depending on regions, a small amount of seasoning (sugar and soy sauce) is added. Dashimaki literally means ‘soup stock and rolled’ so if you don’t include dashi, you can’t call it dashimaki. The characteristics are:
- Strong dashi flavor.
- Light in color.
- Soft pillowy in texture.
- Made in a rectangular tamagoyaki pan.
Add-on: Variety of Ingredients
Besides eggs, dashi, and seasoning, homemade tamagoyaki sometimes includes a wide variety of ingredients such as cheese, green onions, spinach, nori seaweed, and shirasu (small white fish). It may be seasoned with mentsuyu (noodle soup base) instead of dashi or soy sauce.
Kanro Dashi – Sweet Dashi
This golden liquid is called Kanro Dashi (甘露だし) in Japanese, but let’s just call it Sweet Dashi. The soup stock is a simple mixture of dashi, sugar, soy sauce, and salt, which is used to make the Tokyo-style Sweet Rolled Omelet (Atsuyaki Tamago) that I’m sharing here.
I usually make one batch (recipe below) and use the sweet dashi throughout the week. Any leftover can be used as a base in simmered foods or braised vegetables.
If you make tamagoyaki regularly, having this sweet dashi stashed away in the pantry will get you quicker to your meal prep.
3 Helpful Cooking Tools
1. Tamagoyaki Pan
Kanto-style Tamagoyaki is made in a square tamagoyaki pan. Meanwhile, Kansai style is made in a rectangular pan, which makes it easy to roll up tamagoyaki made with more liquid (dashi).
No tamagoyaki pan?
No worries! I’ve made the rolled omelet with a round frying pan many times and it works just fine. The drawbacks are mainly appearance:
- It would be flatter – A round pan is typically wider and bigger than a Tamagoyaki pan so it will require more egg mixture to make each layer. If you use the same recipe, you will end up with a flatter rolled egg.
- It would be uneven – Because each layer of egg is rolled from a round shape, it’s natural that both ends don’t have complete layers of egg. The center of the tamagoyaki will still look nice.
- It would be looser – The curved edges of a round frying pan less ideal to “tighten up” the egg rolls.
Check out this picture below.
As you see, it’s all related to the “look” of the tamagoyaki. Even with a regular frying pan, you can still make pretty good tamagoyaki! The trick is to increase the egg mixture to create a complete look.
2. Long Cooking Chopsticks
Once you get used to making tamagoyaki, you will learn how to make it with chopsticks. Till then, there is absolutely no shame to use a spatula.
3. Bamboo Sushi Mat (Makisu)
To give your rolled omelet the final touch up, a bamboo sushi mat called makisu comes in handy.
While your tamagoyaki is still hot, place it on the bamboo mat and gently roll up to perfect the shaping.
Quick Overview: How to Make Sweet Rolled Omelet
1. Make sweet dashi
Make good dashi first, and mix with sugar, soy sauce, and a bit of salt.
The key is to make this Sweet Dashi ahead of time in a big batch. The sugar is completely dissolved, so it will distribute nicely into the egg mixture.
2. Prepare egg mixture
I made the 1:1 ratio so you will need 1 tablespoon of sweet dashi for 1 large egg. Don’t over mix the egg yolks and egg whites.
3. Start rolling!
Detailed step-by-step instructions are provided in the recipe card below.
4. Rest in sushi mat.
Wrap the hot tamagoyaki in the bamboo sushi mat to mold into a proper shape.
5. Cut into thick slices.
My tamagoyaki pan is 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm), so I cut into 1 inch thickness. Feel free to adjust the thickness.
Final Cooking Tips
- Practice, practice, practice – I can’t tell you enough. I started making tamagoyaki since middle school. Yet, when I take a long break, my rolling skill gets rusty. After making more tamagoyaki (on consecutive days), I get the cooking rhythm back. Don’t get discouraged even after trying a couple of times. You just need a little more practice.
- Figure out what works for you – Despite my tutorial and tips, the result comes down to your own pan, heating element, and skill. Each plays a role, so pay attention to the details. Be flexible and adapt my technique to what you have.
What to Serve with Tamagoyaki
Tamagoyaki is really a versatile side, but I think it is extra special when enjoyed in a traditional Japanese-style breakfast. If you’re up for a hearty Japanese breakfast, try it on a weekend! Here are some ideas to serve tamogoyaki with:
- Steamed Rice
- Salted Salmon
- Spinach gomaae or Green Bean Shiraae
- Tsukemono (Japanese Pickles)
- Miso Soup
Of course, all these dishes can be prepared ahead of time, so you’re not spending the whole morning cooking everything at once.
Japanese Sweet Rolled Omelet (Tamagoyaki)
- 4 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 4 Tbsp sweet dashi (recipe follows)
- 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (to cook the egg)
- Gather all the ingredients for Sweet Dashi and rolled omelet.
To Make Sweet Dashi
- In a small saucepan, combine dashi and sugar.
- Add soy sauce and salt. Turn the heat to medium heat and mix well together.
- When the sugar is completely dissolved, turn off the heat and transfer it to a mason jar. Let cool completely before closing the lid. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. To keep it for a long time, you can freeze it in batches. For example, my tamagoyaki pan requires 4 eggs and 4 Tbsp sweet dashi, so I'd freeze bags/jars of 4 Tbsp sweet dashi. You can also use an ice cube tray to freeze sweet dashi.
To Make Egg Mixture
- In a bowl (I like to use a liquid measuring cup with a handle so it’s easy to pour the mixture), combine 4 eggs and 4 Tbsp sweet dashi. The ratio of egg to dashi is 1:1, so you will need 1 Tbsp of sweet dashi for 1 large egg. Depending on the size of your tamagoyaki pan (or frying pan), adjust the number of eggs.
- Using chopsticks, break the egg yolks and whisk to combine with the whites, but try not to overbeat. The mixture should have a thick and elastic consistency.
Last Tip Before You Start
- Please remember the following: 1) The pan must be hot when you add the egg mixture. Otherwise, the bottom layer will stick to the pan, 2) Adjust the heat by lifting the pan, keeping away from or close to the heat, 3) Use arms and shoulders to roll the egg in a circular motion toward you instead of just your wrist. It gives you better control and momentum, 4) Only the final layer matters for the look. Don’t worry about small tears and holes until you get to the final layer. Make sure the shape is good as you can’t cover up the irregular shapes with the final layer, and 5) Make 4-6 layers for a tamagoyaki pan and 2-3 layers for a round pan.
To Cook the Egg Mixture
- Heat the tamagoyaki pan over medium heat. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel soaked in oil. Make sure to wipe off excess oil. Dip chopsticks in the egg mixture and touch the frying pan. If it makes a sizzling sound, the pan is hot and ready to cook. Note: I’ve tried using a silicone brush instead of a paper towel once, but excess oil left on the pan would create an unpleasant look on the omelet with lots of small holes/bubbles.).
- The 1st layer: Pour the egg mixture just enough to fill up the bottom of the pan. Pop the air bubbles with chopsticks and tilt the pan so they will be filled with excess egg mixture.
- When the egg mixture is just set (the mixture is not runny but not cooked through), run the chopstick around the edges of the egg to detach it from the pan. Start rolling the egg toward you from the far edge. When you roll the egg with chopsticks, lift the frying pan toward you in a circular motion. You can use a spatula to do this process, but you may need to occasionally remove the pan from the heat so the bottom of the pan doesn’t get too hot.
- Once the rolled omelet is at the edge closest to you, grease the uncovered bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel soaked in oil.
- Move the omelet to the far edge and grease the uncovered bottom and sides of the pan. Again, dip the chopsticks in the egg mixture and touch the bottom of the pan to see if it sizzles.
- The 2nd layer: Pour the egg mixture just enough to fill up the bottom of the pan. Lift the rolled omelet so the egg mixture goes under the omelet.
- Pop the air bubbles with chopsticks and tilt the pan to fill up the holes with excess egg mixture. When the egg is just set, run the chopstick around the edges of the egg to detach from the pan.
- Start rolling the egg toward you with chopsticks (or spatula). Once the rolled omelet is closer to your side, grease the uncovered bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel soaked in oil.
- The 3rd layer: Move the omelet toward the far edge and grease the uncovered bottom and sides of the pan. Dip the chopsticks in the egg mixture and touch the bottom of the pan. When it makes a sizzling sound, pour the egg mixture just enough to fill up the bottom of the pan.
- Lift the rolled omelet to distribute the egg mixture under the omelet. Pop the air bubbles with chopsticks and tilt the pan to fill up the holes with excess egg mixture. When the egg mixture is just set, run the chopstick around the edges of the egg to detach it from the pan.
- Start rolling from the far edge toward you. Use the momentum as the rolled egg starts to get heavy.
- Grease the uncovered bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel soaked in oil. Keep the rolled omelet at the far edge.
- The 4th layer: When the pan is hot, pour the egg mixture, lift up the rolled omelet, pop the air bubbles, and start rolling.
- The 5th/final layer: Grease the uncovered bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel soaked in oil. Add the remaining egg mixture, lift up the rolled omelet, and pop the air bubbles. Carefully roll the final layer of the egg mixture. This will be the outer layer so make sure not to break.
- Shape the rolled egg pushing against the edges and corner of the tamagoyaki pan.
To Mold the Omelet in Sushi Mat
- Wrap the rolled omelet in a bamboo sushi mat for 5 minutes.
- Open the sushi mat and cut the rolled omelet in half.
- Then cut each half into 3 equal pieces. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Optionally, you can serve with grated daikon drizzled with soy sauce.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days and in the freezer for 2 weeks.