1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Tamagoyaki, the slightly sweet rolled Japanese omelette, is a standby protein item for bentos. It tastes great at room temperature, is fairly easy to make (once you’ve done it a few times), and is cheap too. Plus the cheery yellow color brightens up any bento box.

There is one drawback with tamagoyaki: unless you have a tiny tamagoyaki pan (which is a single-purpose piece of kitchen equipment, something I try to avoid stocking in my not-so-large kitchen), you need to make it with a least 2, preferably 3 or more, eggs, to produce the distinctive multilayers of egg. This is fine if you’re making bentos for two or more people, but when you’re making bento for one you may not necessarily want to eat 2 eggs at a time. And tamagoyaki held in the fridge for more than a day never tastes as nice.

This method of making a 1-egg tamagoyaki in a normal small frying pan was in a recent issue of Kyou no ryouri (Today’s Cooking), my favorite Japanese food magazine. I’ve tried it out a few times now, and I’m totally sold on it. It does make a slightly flatter tamagoyaki than a multi-egg one, but it still has those nice layers.

Here’s how to make it step by step.

Recipe: 1-egg tamagoyaki

You can also use the basic tamagoyaki recipe and reduce the ingredients to one quarter.

  • 1 ‘large’ egg
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce (regular or light-colored; here I used regular, since that’s all I had in stock)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. bonito flakes (optional, for added flavor)
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Mix all the ingredients together well with a fork or chopsticks. Heat up a small (6 inch or 15cm) non-stick frying pan and spread thinly with oil (or use a non-stick cooking spray).

From this point on, it only takes about a minute and a half!

Once the pan is hot (if you put a droplet of water in, it dances and evaporates immediately), pour in the egg.


Stir gently with a fork or chopsticks until it’s half-set.


Fold in half with a spatula.


Tidy up the other side a bit with the spatula.


Fold the one third of the egg over with the spatula. Press down.


Fold the other end of the egg over with the spatula. Press the whole thing down.


Flip over, and press again. Remove from the heat before it browns too much. (If you use light colored soy sauce, it won’t get as brown.)


Cut in half and put cut side up, it is nicely multi-layered.


A 1-egg tamagoyaki is only about 100 calories and is great as a secondary protein, paired with a small piece of fish, a tiny tuna tofu burger or black bean mini burger and so on.

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tamagoyaki pan

Thanks for the great post. I’ve been looking for a tamagoyaki recipe. I disagree however with your characterization of the tamagoyaki pan as a single purpose item. I live in Tokyo and am lucky enough to be able to buy the pan at my local Seiyu. And I also live in a small space.

I use my tamagoyaki pan for many things. Hot dogs fit perfectly. I can easily cook one, or 5. I also use it to fry a single egg (or 2). It’s also just the right size for a single hamburger patty. I’ve used it to make what my sister calls “bird in the nest”, which is a slice of bread (buttered), with a hole cut in the middle, and an egg fried in the hole. While the egg cooks, the bread toasts.

My point is, it is a great little fry pan for those times when I don’t need the typical 12 inch or larger pan. It’s easy to clean, and fits perfectly on a burner.

The only thing I haven’t used it for yet, is tamagoyaki. I can’t wait to try out your recipe!

I guess it’s a matter of

I guess it’s a matter of perspective. If I lived in Japan in all likelihood I would own a tamagoyaki pan, or an atsuyaki tamago pan (the big copper lined square one), but outside of Japan we can only get very shoddily made little ones, or something expensive by mailorder. But on the other hand, a little frying pand is inexpensive and easy to buy anywhere I think. But your uses for a tamagoyaki pan are great!

You are right

You’re right. If all I could get was a shoddy piece of cr*p, I wouldn’t bother either. But it does make a great little fry pan for small quantities. in fact, I’m going to buy a couple more :D.

yeah… i bought one for

yeah… i bought one for $1.50, and every time i use it i wonder if i’ll get cancer… hahaha.

I made a lucky find

I found a 5X7" tamagoyaki pan in a local thrift store. 2 eggs are good, 3 almost overwhelms the pan, and I haven't tried it with 1 egg because 2 eggs are just fine for a meal. I was so happy the first time I created an omelette that looked like what I get at the Sushi bar instead of a mutant eggroll. Takes practice, but the result is worth it.

Re: tamagoyaki pan

I live in Western Australia so Japanese utensils are not as available as you might believe. We Have to rely upon what is here in our culture I am not trying to be too critical but I can only use what is here. To use those utensils you describe is not possible in my world I will however, accept a gift of the utensil you recommend! lol

Re: tamagoyaki pan

Thank you. I want one of those pans, now. I am in USA.

Re: tamagoyaki pan

i call that "froggie in a hole" my grandma taght my dad and my dad taght me when i was ten now i eat it almost every day

Re: tamagoyaki pan

i know this post is 3 years old, but I wanted to point out that Lodge makes a small 5" square skillet that is perfect for tamagoyaki.
you can also use it for grilled sandwiches, bacon, sausages, etc. it's only $12 at amazon.


This has no relation whatsoever to the topic, but what you call "bird in the nest" is exactly what my family calls "toad in the hole" x3

Good idea for one egg!

Good idea for one egg! I’ve made your other multi-egg recipe in a small round pan, and my husband liked it (served hot) as a change. With this new method, you could sprinkle sliced green onions or other ingredients on the top before folding. I haven’t tried them cold yet.

I loooooooooooooooooooooove

I loooooooooooooooooooooove tamagoyaki ! I eat this with almost everything (zuchhini with garlic and ginger, onigiri…). I made it with 2 eggs, for two persons.

Thanks for this. I have

Thanks for this. I have trouble finding tamagoyaki pans and I when I do find them, I have to get a huge one that I can never really make tamagoyaki in because my husband won’t eat it and I can’t down three eggs’ worth of tamagoyaki.

Now, when I was able to play with a small, cheap one I found at The Daiso, I also used it to make rectangular pancakes which fit more efficiently in some of the bento boxes I have than round ones. :-)

Thank you Maki, once again

Thank you Maki, once again you answered to our questions! It’s so great. I tried some lately and I think I don”t have the proper recipe or enough practice.

Tamagoyaki made even

Tamagoyaki made even simpler… love it! Now I won’t hesitate to put it into my bento lunch more often :) thanks a lot, Maki!

unintentional tamagoyaki

I was cooking breakfast one morning and was working on the omelet part when I decided I’d try to fold up the egg just like a tamagoyaki. I’d never done it before, but it worked beautifully! Since I wasn’t initially going for a tamagoyaki, instead of the traditional ingredients, I used two eggs, a touch of milk, a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and some freshly cracked pepper.

I’m so glad you posted the 1-egg recipe. I will try it soon. Thanks!!


Hey im new to bento making and am just wondering how long they keep in the fridge and/or freezer? im looking forward to making one :) Thanks Alot

It does depend on how well

It does depend on how well you cook through the egg. If you leave them a bit soft (which tastes better) you should only keep them for a day or so at most (e.g. make it the night before). If you cook them through thoroughly, they’ll be drier but will keep a bit longer. Freezing does rather adversely affect the texture of tamagoyaki so I don’t recommend it. Hope that helps!

Thank you for this tip

I’ve always read how fiddly a sweet omelet is to make, but I’m going to make one of these for tomorrow, since it’s perfect for one person. Thank you for passing this along!

Re: Thank you for this tip

I'll also like to thank you for this recipe, just got into actually trying to make japanese recipes at home and was looking for a katsu recipe when i ran into your blog. Looking forward to trying out the tamagoyaki and all your other recipes.

Omelet-wrapped sushi?

Hi Maki,

This is a bit off-topic, but I saw another blogger wrap some stuff in a thin omelet (like sushi but with the omelet replacing the nori: http://is.gd/NTp ). Have you covered that before in your blogs? Is there any particular trick to cooking egg that way, so that it would hold up to rolling stuff in it without crumbling into a million bits?

usuyaki tamago

That is usuyaki tamago - very thin omelettes. I have a complete step-by-step here. My favorite sushi form that uses usuyaki tamago is the chakin zushi which is the last photo in the article. Hope that helps!

It does! Thank you SO MUCH!

It does! Thank you SO MUCH! :)


this is delicious! it was so easy to make too! and even though we barely have anything in the house…>_> i made this!^o^ plus i read ur other recipes too so i can fill myu new and first bento i got from my friend!:D

Thank you~

Wow, thanks so much for sharing this with us. I live alone, and I find it difficult to cook for one (even while packing leftovers in a bento). This one-egg tamagoyaki is a huge help. Thank you again! :D

i made this last night in a

i made this last night in a tiny (7”?) teflon frying pan my old roommate left with me and i’m just about hungry enough to start eating my lunch - i’m looking forward to it! thanks for the tute and i am even thinking of getting a tamagoyaki pan from my awesome grocery store, which stocks them (about $8 i think), and would probably be great for frying gyoza, etc in the morning as well.

i made this for the first

i made this for the first time tonight and had a bit of a problem….

(^ - ^);;

I used butter instead of oil, but i think i used too much, and that might have been part of the problem. It was very runny, like, watery, not that the eggs weren’t cooked, I don’t think. It was still like that even after I microwaved it…

Also, I couldn’t flip it. (TT - TT) I have no idea what happened, but it kept breaking and stuff. Maybe i should have let it cook longer….

It was very tasty, though!! (o w o) <333 Maybe next time will be better! This is a really good recipe, I think I just havn’t done it enough.

It does sound like you may

It does sound like you may have added too much butter. Try just enough oil or butter to barely coat the pan, and a high heat under your pan. It should cook very fast.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I bought a nice copper heavy tamagoyaki pan at my closest marukai and on my first use ny tamagoyaki burnt and kept breaking when i make tamagoyaki in a regular pan it comes out perfect it is competly yellow with no brown at all I dont kno why it instantly burnt i later foundout from a japanese cookbook i have from the library that a tamagoyaki pan needs seasoning som maybey thats the problem

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)


Mmmm... I used Quick Eggs by Papetti Foods as its much healthier. No cholesterol or fat!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

This is an awesome recipe! I've always wanted to try making tamagoyaki but it always felt too complicated. The first time I made this (I had to use a circle pan D:) it came out perfect, but every time since I can't get it too be quite the same.

Everyone in my household loves these so much, I got enough courage to try making a fuller tamagoyaki. The first few times were rather messy but the last time I made one I realized it was a great square shape, that there weren't any crumbled off pieces, and absolutely no egg stuck to the pan.

They have such a great taste too, normal eggs just seem to bland but these are so addictive!

My whole family thanks you for this wonderful recipe.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Thank you for the recipe!! I just made it and is simply delicious:)

Will be trying more of your recipes for Bento in the weeks to come


Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I made this for my mom and she got a bit upset it was only one egg, so I've made it with three (to split between us) though when I first told her 'It's like an omelette with ..soy sauce and sugar!' she was a bit skeptical, but since she likes it now, I think I'm going to make it for the rest of the family.
Personally the way I like it best is with a full tsp of sugar instead of half. I'm not an egg fan, but like that it makes it almost more like a dessert (but probably alot healthier than most desserts) (..and unlike a dessert I don't feel guilty eating it at any point in the day!)
Thanks for the great recipe!
It's nice to break out of the normal routine, and I've been making more west and east asian dishes, but it's nice to have something thats so easy and quick to make for once. (not to mention the easy to come by ingrediants)

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I made this for my boyfriend's bento today...He freaked out about how good it was. I made it in a regular small frying pan and it worked great. Looks like I'll be making this a lot in the future. ^_^

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Thank you for the recipe, and especially for the pictures as well.

I have found that while these are fantastic as-is, adding some chopped scallions and a little sliced red chinese chili pepper (those real small red ones, I buy them fresh) right into the egg mixture really make these phenomenal.

A word of caution: the chili peppers are really hot! A VERY little bit goes a very long way, use caution if you haven't tried them before. Don't touch the cut parts with your bare hands ( I just put a plastic bag over my hands when I am cutting them, just in case).


This recipe is great! I'm trying to expand me and my little sister's taste palettes and this is an awesome start :)

Pretty and delicious!

I've never had tamagoyaki before, but I ran across this recipe and it looked fun. So I made one for dinner tonight as a test-run for morning bentos, and I am hooked! Your instructions were very easy to follow--it turned out perfectly on the first try, although next time I think I'll let it set a little longer before folding so the layers are distinct. The soy sauce and sugar combine fantastically with the egg. I don't think I've ever had an egg dish I liked better!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Instead of a frying pan to get the small size, I just used a smaller sauce pan on a larger eye and it turned out fine. :)

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I just tried this in a small frying pan and it came out beautifully! I'm planning to experiment with little bits of spring onion and chopped 'bell' pepper on my next try. :) (that type of pepper freezes beautifully, i chop it into tiny peices and defrost it when it's needed for cooking)

Thankyou for your recipies! The photos in the instructions are very helpful.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

ooo this looks good im going to try and make this in the moring but im going to use egg whites insted ^_^

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)


Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I finally got around to trying this one out...we got a set of pots and pans for our kitchen almost a year ago, and no one wanted to keep the little frying pan but me! I had to hide it away, or they were going to throw it away, since they only make meals for the whole household...

But this turned out really great! I ended up making a three egg though...I started making the two egg, but put in way too much soy sauce...was trying to convert teaspoons to tablespoons in my head, and accidentally added in an extra egg's worth. Definitely going to be one of the more used recipes in my book from now on! Thanks for posting it!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I love this recipe; though if you're trying to stay light don't do egg beaters. I've tried this many times, I don't know it has sort of an odd taste...

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I love it! This is my very first time cooking one of your recipes and I'm going to try onigiri next, .but I think I used too much soy sauce, it turned VERY DARK and tasted a little off, and it was a little runny, idk what went wrong T^T It didn't look anything like the ones in the picture.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Hi there!

Thanks for the 1-egg tamagoyaki recipe! I was just wondering though, what kind of sugar do you use? I'm always really hesitant to use white sugar (or like highly refined sugar), so I was wondering if I could use different types of sugar... I know it's a "sweet omlette", but I just try to avoid sugar for health reasons. I realize it's only a very small amount of sugar but, I'd rather sacrifice authenticity so that I can have larger control on my sugar intake.

Thank you!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

There is NO SUCH THING as "Highly Refined Sugar". Sugar is not refined the way oil is. It is made from juice squeezed from sugar cane which is boiled to remove some of the water, and is then spun in about the same way a salad spinner works, which removes the brown-ness (molasses) and is then dehydrated completely which results in large crystals, or Rock Sugar (which is a common form of sugar in Asia) which is usually then ground into fine crystals or powder. The process for beet sugar starts a little differently, but only slightly, and is then exactly the same. Brown sugar is just white sugar that has had some molasses added back to it, making it moist.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "RAW SUGAR"!!!!! That is simply refined in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, but they don't spin all the molasses out before drying!


There is nothing wrong with limiting your sugar. By no means should you go eat an entire 2 pound bag of it in a day.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is processed INSIDE Your BODY differently than normal refined sugar, with bad results.

They most likely won't cause cancer, but that doesn't mean it's Good for you.

Agave Syrup is processed by your body the same way white or brown sugar is.
Molasses has a very high iron content, and is a traditional cure for moderate anemia like that of young girls or women who don't get enough from their normal diet, and much easier to digest and for the body to utilize than most iron supplement pills.

If you feel so strongly about something that you decide to try to completely exclude it from you diet, I wish you'd actually take the time to get the facts first.
*sigh* Our world is full of lazy parrots paying for cable just so they can have CNN feed their opinions to them so they don't have to actually think. My faith in humanity is dwindling...

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

The person who has stated that they want to watch their sugar intake hasn't stated their reasons why, so you should probably keep in mind that this person may have specific reasons as to why they want as little sugar as possible in their tamagoyaki. I live in a house where two of the people are type-2 Diabetics, which means they have to limit the amount of sugar they eat, else they will end up with a high, unhealthy blood-sugar level.

Yes, artificial sweeteners aren't necessarily good or better for you than regular sugar, no matter what level of refining or sifting its gone through. However, for the purposes of maintaining a lower blood-sugar level, it would probably suffice in regards to limiting the sugar in the tamagoyaki.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

simple and helpful☆

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

how many calories are in this dish? that is if i use 4 eggs? I'm trying to loose weight for my incoming school year so i'm trying to count calories now. And thanks on all your tips this site is very helpful n.n

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Hello! This is an awesome site, and I'm really excited to try out this recipe! I was just wondering, I noticed that there is mirin in the original recipe and none in this one. Does anyone know if it makes a real difference in taste? Thanks! :)

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