A quintessential street food in Japan, Taiyaki is a fish shaped waffle snack filled with sweet red bean paste. Learn how to make this popular Japanese street stall snack fresh at home with this easy Taiyaki recipe!

(Vegan, Eggless & Gluten Free)⁣

IT’S HERE! My vegan taiyaki recipe I’ve been working on for the past few weeks now. I am so excited to share with you one of my favourite childhood snack: Taiyaki.

What is Taiyaki?

Taiyaki is a Japanese fish shaped snack, like a cross between a waffle and a pancake. Crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside and traditionally filled with a red bean filling. Very popular at festivals, street fairs and yatai (mobile food stall) streets among adults and children alike.

Origins of Taiyaki

⁣Tai-yaki translates to “sea bream baked” which is where it gets its name. Originally round in shape (Imagawayaki- which still excists!), during the Meji-era, Tai were considered a celebratory fish & a symbol of luck— so shops began to reshape it to provide a more affordable option to celebrate. ⁣

The Inspiration

Taiyaki holds a special place in my heart because my grandma used to say ‘medetai medetai!’ which means happy— every time we took our first bite. Medetai sounds like tai, so she told us that’s why it made us so happy every time we had it. When we were upset or not having the best day, she would take the train to our favourite stall just to pick up taiyaki for us and it always instantly made us happy.

The texture of taiyaki vary from thin and crispy to almost like a fluffy pancake. I tested these Taiyaki over 5 times to mimic the ones I grew up eating and loved, so my version is somewhere in between: a light crispy exterior, but soft and cake-like on the inside.⁣ However, If you prefer a more crispy texture, a more cake-like texture or even a more mochi-like texture I’ve shared some tips to achieve that texture below. As well, a gluten free version that is just as delicious so everyone can enjoy!

Now, let’s get to it- shall we?

How to Make Taiyaki

The Ingredients (& Substitutons)

The ingredients used for Taiyaki are very basic and standard:

  • Cake or pastry flour: A low gluten flower is key for that soft texture. If using all purpose, substitute 2 tbsp of all purpose flour for corn or potato starch. For a gluten free version, rice flour is used. See the recipe below!
  • Sugar: Cane sugar and honey (not vegan) are the most common sweeteners used. However, you can also use maple syrup or agave.
  • Soy milk: I found soy milk be the best non-dairy milk for making taiyaki because of it’s higher fat and protein content which helps produce that fluffy moist texture.
  • Salt: To enhance the sweetness! Since eggs are usually added to the batter it has that slightly egg-y flavour so I also added in a pinch of black salt but that is totally optional.
  • Baking powder: For the fluffy texture.
  • Baking soda: Helps with the browning and for texture.
  • Red bean paste: The most traditional filling but see below for more options!

Taiyaki Filling Options

  • Sweet white bean paste
  • Custard
  • Matcha bean paste
  • Nutella
  • Fruit jams
  • Kare
  • ‘Meat’ sauce

The Directions

  1. Add the soy milk, oil, cane sugar and salt to a bowl and whisk together. Sift in the pastry flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well until a smooth batter comes together (some clumps are okay). It should be slightly more viscous than pancake batter. 
  2. Optional resting: Cover, place in the refrigerator and rest for 30 minutes (15 minutes for gluten free version). Remove from refrigerator and gently mix. Resting helps smooth out the batter and give it more of a fluffier texture. 
  3. Heat taiyaki pan over medium and brush with a little oil. Reduce heat to medium low and spoon or pour batter into the taiyaki mold a little more than half way (it will start to expand as it heats). Add 2 tbsp of red bean filling (35-40g) and then cover with more batter. Close the mold and flip. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and then cook for another 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Each side takes anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes to cook from the moment the batter hits in the pan. 
  4. Repeat with remaining batter and red bean filling. You should get about 7-8 total depending on the size of the molds and how much batter you use. If you do have some overflow, cut excess bits off. 
  5. Place on wire rack to briefly cool. Serve hot and enjoy!

Taiyaki Variations

SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓

If you recreate this Taiyaki recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Taiyaki


Description

A quintessential street food in Japan, Taiyaki is a fish shaped waffle snack filled with sweet red bean paste. Learn how to make this popular Japanese street stall snack fresh at home with this easy Taiyaki recipe!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp soy milk (270ml)*
  • 4 tsp neutral oil (20ml)
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar (48g)**
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of black salt*, optional
  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup pastry flour (200g)***
  • 2 tsp baking powder (10g)
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda (1.5g)
  • 1 cup red bean paste (240g)****

Instructions

  1. Add the soy milk, oil, cane sugar and salt to a bowl and whisk together. Sift in the pastry flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well until a smooth batter comes together (some clumps are okay). It should be slightly more viscous than pancake batter. 
  2. Optional resting: Cover, place in the refrigerator and rest for 30 minutes (15 minutes for gluten free version). Remove from refrigerator and gently mix. Resting helps smooth out the batter and give it more of a fluffier texture. 
  3. Heat taiyaki pan over medium and brush with a little oil. Reduce heat to medium low and spoon or pour batter into the taiyaki mold a little more than half way (it will start to expand as it heats). Add 2 tbsp of red bean filling (35-40g) and then cover with more batter. Close the mold and flip. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and then cook for another 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Each side takes anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes to cook from the moment the batter hits in the pan. 
  4. Repeat with remaining batter and red bean filling. You should get about 7-8 total depending on the size of the molds and how much batter you use. If you do have some overflow, cut excess bits off. 
  5. Place on wire rack to briefly cool. Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

  • *You can use unsweetened, sweetened or vanilla soy milk. I prefer to use soy milk over other plant based milks for this recipe. 
  • ** any sweetener of choice can be used. If using maple syrup or agave, use 2 tbsp (40g)
  • *** Also known as cake flour. If using all purpose flour, substitute 20g for potato or corn starch. For a gluten free version, use rice flour. Since rice flour requires more liquid for hydration, add about 1-2 tbsp more liquid if needed to achieve pancake-like batter consistency.
  • *** I used homemade red bean paste but you can also use store bought. Koshi-an and Ogura-an are my favourite for taiyaki. For Ogura-an, you can use it as is or blend until smooth. 
  • Helpful Equipmenttaiyaki pan, spatulamixing bowlswhisk
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: snacks
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, japanese

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 222
  • Sugar: 22.5g
  • Sodium: 211mg
  • Fat: 3.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.9g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 3.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: taiyaki

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Konnichiwa

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.


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12 Comments

  1. Muchas gracias por la receta, luego de haber probado muchísimas recetas veganas, esta es la que logra la mejor textura, esponjosa por dentro y tostada por fuera.
    Saludos!

  2. Perfect taiyaki recipe! I’ve watched my husband prepare and eat the store-bought frozen ones and one day I decided I need to buy a taiyaki pan and make some for myself! These turned out better than the non-vegan ones. So fluffy. Plus there’s more love in them when you make them yourself!

  3. I made the gluten free version of this recipe and it was amazing. I’m so happy to finaly found good japanese recipes for my vegetarien gluten free mom. Thank you so much!

  4. Soo soo good! I have always wanted to try taiyaki and once you posted this I was really wanting to make this, but had to wait until I could get the taiyaki pan, I found the same one you used for £23 on UK Amazon. So happy I ordered it as we made them today. Can’t seem to get that flour in Scotland so did the substituted version with adding the cornstarch. This was really simple to make and the pan is great as I wasn’t sure if the taiyaki would stick to it, but they came out easily. These are so delicious! Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are sweet, but not sickly sweet. Recipe was really clear to follow and I will definitely be making these more. Thank you x

  5. This recipe is excellent. It is easy to follow, and the end product is a delicious vegan taiyaki that is nostalgic of the ones I used to eat while growing up in Japan. It was wonderful to be able to share this treat with my husband and children who also enjoyed it!!
    I bought the fish mold that Lisa linked via Amazon and it worked well. I used it on my gas range using the power burner with double flame at the lowest setting for about 1.5mins. And I found an anko recipe online.

  6. The recipe was so easy to follow, and the end result was exactly like getting a hot taiyaki from a stall. The shell is nice and crispy and light, and the filling options are really up to you. Thanks for recreating this awesome treat, Lisa!!

  7. I tried this recipe, and the result was sooo good. My family loved it and even my daughter bragged and showed it to her Japanese friend who were impressed. Thanks for the recipe Lisa.

  8. I’ve been on the hunt for a decent vegan taiyaki recipe and I finally have it thanks to Lisa <3 no other vegan recipe has come this close to the non vegan version to me …. This recipe is actually fluffy it’s just delightful. Definitely rest the batter !!