Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese egg recipe


There are three very commonly used Japanese egg recipes. One is tamagoyaki or atsuyaki tamago (and its variant, dashimaki tamago), a rolled omelette. Another is usuyaki tamago, a very thin omelette which is used as a wrapper or shredded and used as a topping. Ther third is iri tamago, finely scrambled eggs that are used quite a lot as a topping. It’s here because it’s such a handy ingredient for bento. If you think you need a bit of color and protein, there’s no faster egg dish you can make.

Iri tamago

  • 2 ‘large’ eggs
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. mirin
  • pinch salt

Equipment needed: a saucepan, non-stick preferred, two pairs of uncoated wooden chopsticks

Beat together the eggs and other ingredients.

Heat up your pan (it should have fairly high sides so don’t use a frying pan.) Pour in the egg. Hold 3 or 4 chopsticks together, and star mixing vigorously.

As the egg cooks, it will start to turn grainy. Continue mixing.


And continue mixing. The faster and wider you can mix the finer the grains will be.


When it’s just about done it will be very grainy. Take off the heat and continue mixing as it cools, to get fine grains.


Don’t try to make more than 2 egg’s worth at a time. You want the egg mixture to spread quite thinly over the surface of the pan so you don’t want too much in there.

This will last for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Sprinkle on top of your rice, or in fried rice, on top of vegetables, etc.

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Yum! :)

Ahhh, I will make this to go with the soboro I made from your post the other day— which is delicious!! Thank you so much for these recipes!

Thank you

I really want to thank you for all the tips you gave us. The tamago used to roll around things was a big mystery for me. I brought 3 japonese books about bento that you recommand and saw a lot off iri tamago.

This looks like a good quick

This looks like a good quick way to cook eggs for bento. But why not use a frying pan?

You need a pan with fairly

You need a pan with fairly high sides, because as you mix the egg rapidly to make the particles small, the cooked eggs tends to go flying out if the sides are too shallow. So a pot is better than a frying pan in this case.

Thanks so much for this

Thanks so much for this recipe! I just tried making iri tomago for the first time tonight and used it as a layer in bowls of chirashi zushi. It was delicious! I’ll be sure to keep this page bookmarked and try some of your other recipes, too!

Thanks again!



Is the mirin really absolutely necessary? I’ve looked at a few stores around here (I live in New Hampshire, in the States), even the two Asian markets (one is mostly Korean, the other is mostly Indian and Thai), and I can’t find it. Is there a substitute I could use? Or can it be omitted? I have rice vinegar, I don’t know if that could be used instead. Thanks!

you can omit the mirin - it

you can omit the mirin - it will taste a bit different but it’ll be ok. You definitely should not substitute rice vinegar (mirin is not vinegar).

If one lacks mirin

From one cookbook I have, you can use a 2-to-one ratio of sake and sugar, though I recommend lightly heating the sake so the sugar dissolves more readily. I don’t really use this anymore, due to being able to get mirin locally, but it was what I used for a long time.

Also, great post, maki - I was used to making this as part of what I was used to seeing called ‘Tri-color don’, with ground beef soboro and sliced steamed snow peas as the other two colors. Why it never dawned on me to make greater quantities for general bento enjoyment, I’ll never know.

Re: Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese ...

Thanks so much for all your amazing recipes! I make something from one of your sites every other week and everything has turned out really well. I'm lucky as I live in Hong Kong I can get everything really easily as we have whole department stores dedicated to Japanese food.

I have a rice cooker which can make noodles etc. and I made this iri tomago in it and it worked out really well, I think because the element doesn't get too hot.

Emma ; )

Re: Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese ...

Thank you for this delicious and easy recipe. I am going to try it as a filling in your potato oyaki instead of the beef soboro since I do not eat meat. I can't wait to taste how it comes out!

Re: Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese ...

We had a Japanese girl stay with us for a week and she taught us how to make this! Only we didn't include mirin. She called it horohoro tamago, though. I love it, it's delicious!

Re: Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese ...

This is perfect for a low-carb sushi roll!

Re: Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese ...

Hi! I was wondering if a whisk would work instead of the 3 chopsticks. I have several sets of chopsticks, but they are all coated and pretty for eating with. Thanks!

Re: Iri tamago or tamago soboro, another standard Japanese ...

You can use a whisk but the egg may not get as fine as with chopsticks. Better would be an old whisk that you cut down, so that it's a bunch of wires. That works great.

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