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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Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Mirin will make a difference in the flavor, but both versions taste good! This is just an alternative recipe for tamagoyaki, for people who don't have mirin around.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

this dish is soo amazing. i only tried to do it once and worked. but im wondering if i can put other ingredients in it. i want it to have more flavor even though its just an omelette. hehehe.

Just 1 (ONE) Egg!? Cool!

I never thought you can make tamagoyaki with just 1 egg! Cool!

And about the real deal pan, where I'm from, it costs a fortune! That's why I make tamagoyaki in round pans and just trim off the edges, the middle ones look like they were cooked using the square/rectangle pan.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Hi, I came here from Reddit after asking there about Tamagoyaki. I gave your recipe a try, here are the results http://twitpic.com/21pfzw and http://twitpic.com/21pgqp

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

great job!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I tried making this today.Tasted good,but on problem.I couldn't fold it properly!!It falling apart and eventally fell on top of my glass top stove.Any tips on folding it?

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

hm... maybe you should try to bake it until it is a tad bit firmer so it wont fall apart that easily,
using a minimal amount of oil/butter also helps

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I made this as part of my husband's bento lunch this morning and he said it was really good.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I actually tried this recipe today, but honestly it did not turn out great and tasted gross. I followed the instructions but it came out very brown and tasted more of the soy sauce. It didn't taste as sweet and fluffy like other recipes I tried in the past.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Maki, I have just started making bento lunches and this is already a favorite! I make it almost every day because I love it so much, lol! Thank you so much for posting it!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I'm hoping to make this in the morning for a bento to be eaten at night for dinner. I'm assuming it wouldn't keep all day at room temperature. Should I put the bento into the fridge, and then let the bento come up to room temperature before eating, or would that dry out the egg? Would it be better to just use an ice pack?

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I love this recipe sooo much, although sometimes I do make a variation with salt and pepper (and sometimes a bit of garlic powder) in stead of the sugar and soy sauce. because for some reason, I don't always like sweet eggs, but the structure of tamagoyaki is sooooo good :D

Sooo delicious!

Thank you, thank you, thank you~! I love this recipe, I just tried it out and my tamagoyaki came out perfectly! Or atleast I think so, hehe ^^ it definitely looked like the photos!
I'm going to try to make my own bento boxes for college :3

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I just tried making this for the first time, and I just want to say this is the best thing I have ever eaten! I didn't have a square pan, so I just made it in the smallest round pan I have (probably about 6 inches wide). I think my egg was a little smaller than yours, so it looked a little more watery in the pan and it didn't fold as beautifully as yours, but it still tasted AMAZING. ♥ I'm hooked!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

That omelette looks Oishii so desu!

My Japanese wife makes this a lot. I'm always amazed how it is made up of so many thin layers, all folded together. Unfortunately she is in Japan at the moment. I tried making a tamagoyaki myself (from memory) and it was awful. But I'll give you recipe a go.
Arigato Gozaimasu!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Does anyone else use a loaf pan....I just use one of those with a pair of looking tongs, presto square frying pan. it works well enough.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Bonito flakes - I dont get these in Bombay. what would you suggest as an alternative flavouring?

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Thank you for posting this! I made it for lunch and it was delicious! it was the perfect size for me along with some veggies, and there was very little washing up to do after (the bane of my existence, haha) I'm definitely going to have to make this again!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Thanks to you my girlfriend has a new favorite snack...and I'm the one that has to make it all the time.

Seriously, though, it's easy AND delicious. Best of both worlds.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I'm going to try this recipe this weekend. I have a question, though. As an American, I've had the fear of food poisoning drummed into me to the point where I'm terrified of eating food that's been held at room temperature, especially eggs. I really want to start packing bentos for lunch and I don't want to go the insulated route. Any suggestions for how I can overcome this?

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

You may want to take a look at the safety articles here, starting with Keeping your bento lunch safe - they should answer a lot of questions!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

This is great! I love eating tamagoyaki and would eat it every day if I could. Although, I substitute the water with skim milk in order to make the egg lighter and more fluffy. Have you ever thought of adding some vegetables into it? I'm thinking of putting in some spinach next time I make it. The very thought makes me mouth water haha.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Again thanks for the fantastic egg usage! We often give away chicken eggs because we have so many, so it is great to find more uses for them!

My First Attempt

I did this but used two eggs for mine because I used the microwave, which well worked but couldn't get it set right to roll so it's kind of in a lot of pieces but still tastes good. Need to make it night before though, took me an HOUR to make my first full fledged bento of white rice with a bit of soy sauce, red curry powder and the tamagoyaki with plums for the fruit since I'm out of anything else. I'm blind here so microwave cooking is how I do a lot of stuff until I can learn to cook on a stove top again. Still, amazed at how a cup of rice can fit into a 350 ml box so tightly with room for the egg tamagoyaki next to it. The top part has my plum slices in it.

Ooops long but I am SO excited about this, can't wait for lunch, stomach grumbling already.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I tried Tamagoyaki several years ago and it has been my favorite way (not the only way) to have eggs since I tried it several years ago. My partner knows how much I love Tamagoyaki and will always offer me her portion or half portion, I feel guilty for eating her portion but it tastes oh so good!, thank you.

When in Japan ordering at a restaurant or buying from a Bento shop, Tomagoyaki seems more fluffy, same great taste. I am curious if they steam to get the thick extremely fluffy Tamagoyaki?


Tip: Japanese cookbooks advise that the eggs shouldn’t be mixed too much. If the eggs are overbeaten, they can develop a rubbery consistency. - lunchinabox

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Cool, I love this! I'm always looking for new ways to make standby fried eggs!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

i tried your recipe for the tamagoyaki today using a small round frying pan and a touch of butter in place of the oil - it came out fantastic! thank you so much for sharing! =)

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Perfect, exactly what I'm looking for. Just by looking at the pictures makes me wanna eat it so much:) Thank you for sharing - TAMAGOYAKI rocks

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I was wondering how long tamagoyaki (and most bento items) last without refrigeration. I am a teacher and I don't get to eat until about 7 hours after I arrive at school. My school won't let me have a mini fridge and the "teacher's lounge" is on the opposite side of the school (that's what I get for being a theatre teacher >_<).

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I tryed making it... (I used Tamari insted of the soy sauce, because of a gluten intolorence, used brown shugar becuase I was out of white, and I dubbled the recipie) it turned out ok... it seams a little dark... and it did not flip right... but other than that, it tasts pretty good! :) love the recipies here

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

I love this recipe, it's very yummy and takes only about a few minutes to do (subtracting the time it takes for the pan to heat up). I was actually surprise at how easy it was. Thanks so much.


Thanks for this! This is the easiest tamagoyaki recipe I've seen so far. I'll definitely try this tonight. All your recipes are making me hungry. I love Japanese food and I love your site!

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

This is the first recipe I've tried from your website--I love it! Thanks for the quick, easy, small, simple, and completely delicious intro to Bento box cuisine.

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Hello. ^^

I enjoy your blog. Thank you for taking the time to share.

I have looked through the internet a couple of times, and I have never found a comment on the addition of sugar in eggs. Such an idea had never even entered my mind. I first came across it at a small Japanese restaurant (the owner was from Okinawa). I ordered an Oyakodon dish. I was in for a complete surprise when I bit into the eggs and found them sweet. I confess, I was unable to eat the dish, a situation I felt bad about, because I have been profusely taught to not to waste food.

With a little research, I discovered adding sugar to eggs was the norm in Japanese cuisine. I guess it wouldn't occur to anyone to warn someone than it might for an American to warn that apple pie is sweet. However, when I read comments by Americans, it doesn't seem to be strange to them either. Is adding sugar to eggs common in every other region but mine?

My children and I love tamagoyaki. I suppose Japanese might not think mine, without sugar, is real tamagoyaki, anymore than I consider cornbread with sugar to be real cornbread! ;) I commonly make mine with a light amount of spices and cheese. Sometimes I will roll spinach and/or cut up broccoli in it too. :)

Re: 1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

Adding sugar to savory foods is pretty common in Asian cooking in general. And also, typical "American" foods also have sugar added, even if they are considered to be savory, and not dessert. Ketchup for example, or barbeque sauce, baked beans, etc.

There are also tamagoyaki recipes with no sugar added too. (I think I added some in the variations to tamagoyaki in the book.) Spinach or broccoli tamagoyaki seems perfectly legit to me!

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