Japanese food is famous all over the world for its presentation, balance of flavor and color. The most famous example of Japanese cuisine might be sushi, a tasty dish made of raw fish and vinegared rice. Yet when it comes to Japanese food, the egg dish, tamagoyaki is my children’s favorite.
The famous Japanese omelet is a regular breakfast item in our home. Unlike the Spanish or Italian omelets, this is a rolled omelet, which makes for an interesting texture. It’s also a neat way to cook eggs and pack them in a lunch box.
Of course, if you want to cook a decent tamagoyaki omelet you need the best tamagoyaki pan to do it with. I’ve reviewed the five best ones on the market to help you make a choice.
Japanese Rectangular Frying Pan or Tamagoyaki Frying Pan?
Japanese food is becoming ever more well known worldwide. It’s easy to find recipes like tamagoyaki on the Internet. And it’s perfectly possible to prepare Tamagoyaki with a regular round skillet. Yet, it’s such a joy to be able to cook authentic Japanese tamagoyaki with a traditional pan.
All about Tamagoyaki
Tamagoyaki is so easy to make with the right pan. You simply cook the eggs in (thin) layers.
- Cook the first layer
- Put it to the side of the pan
- Pour more egg mixture for the next layer
- Roll the first layer so it “picks up” the second one
- Rinse and repeat several times
Here’s a visual guide:
As you can see, you don’t actually need a rectangular tamagoyaki pan. But I can tell you that for me it’s much easier with a square or rectangular pan, and the omelets come out a lot neater. When I’ve tried with a round pan, they come out all raggedy and just don’t look the same.
But that’s me – there’s nothing stopping you trying with a round pan before spending money on a square one. If you get it to work – let me know!
The Original Japanese Square Egg Pan
During my research I’ve noticed that the tamagoyaki pan has quite a few different names, both in English and in Japanese. Here’s some of them:
- Japanese square egg pan
- Square omelette pan
- Japanese rectangular pan
- Japanese omelet pan
- Japanese square pan
- Tamagoyaki frying pan
- Makiyakinabe (Japanese)
As you can see by those names, some versions of the pan may have a rectangular shape. Others may be square. None are round.
Use Authentic Cookware
As I’ve mentioned, a good cook can still prepare a fine example of Japanese tamagoyaki without a dedicated pan.
But, if you don’t have an authentic tamagoyaki pan, you might feel that something is missing. If you look at the shape of a genuine tamagoyaki omelet, you will see that it has straight sides. It’s not so easy to achieve that when the pan is round. (You could just cut the ragged edges though.)
Does using authentic Japanese cookware help make the tamagoyaki omelet more authentic? Maybe not. But cooking with a square pan is just a bit more fun for me.
Procuring Authentic Japanese Cookware
These days it’s easy to order authentic Japanese cookware online.
Yet, there’s one thing you should bear in mind. Some Japanese cooks will tell you that you would be better off going to Japan for your cookware.
That’s because, in Japan, you are more likely to find cheaper tamagoyaki pans and a better selection.
Clearly you aren’t going to be saving money once you factor in the cost of a ticket to Japan! But … if you are going to Japan soon anyway, maybe wait until you get there? You can practise your Tamagoyaki in a regular skillet meanwhile.
As for those who aren’t lucky enough to be visting Japan anytime soon; hopefully this guide will help.
Best Tamago Pan – Non stick Or Cast Iron?
Now the most authentic and traditional tamagoyaki pans are made from cast iron. Once you get used to it, it offers amazing cooking performance.
Or you can get non stick. Actually, I think nonstick is great for beginners as it makes it easier to learn and cook with. But nonstick isn’t for everyone, some people are concerned with the health aspects.
I’ll take a look at pans made from both materials – it’s up to you which you prefer!
Best Tamagoyaki Pan – Reviews
I’ve reviewed five great tamagoyaki pans. You could make a decent omelet with any of them. But read the reviews to find the best tamagoyaki pan for you.
Accessibly price this looks like a very good buy. Made in Korea, the pan has a pleasing appearance and an attractive aubergine color. The best thing about it is that it works for a lot of different dishes besides tamagoyaki.
It has a slight incline, ideal for tamagoyaki cooking, and resulting in stellar performance.
It is made from Teflon if that concerns you. I think Teflon non stick is probably the right choice for cooking eggs, but not everyone will agree.
The biggest downside is that the outside is prone to scratching.
That isn’t a showstopper though. This is a decent pan, at a good price that is easy to use.
- Great performance
- Attractive appearance
- Affordable price
- Teflon non-stick if that bothers you
- Reports of the exterior scratching easily
This is certainly quite a pricey product. But it’s high quality and decent size still make it value for money.
If you’re looking for a strong model to last for a few decades or even lifetimes, this is could be your first choice.
It’s made of durable cast iron that lasts long and holds heat. It also has a smart, pleasing appearance. I wouldn’t feel ashamed to bring out this cookware in front of guests.
The wooden handle is completely removable, giving you a replaceable cool to touch handle. The pan arrives pre-seasoned which will save you work.
This pan is also a decent size at 7.5 inches (19cm) by 6 inches (15cm) wide.
So this product is definitely worth the price. But I wouldn’t recommend it for Tamagoyaki newbies.
If you are prepared to put in a little bit of extra work to look after it, and have experience cooking Tamagoyaki this could be the pan for you.
- High Quality Product
- Excellent performance
- Cooks with no oil
- The food doesn’t stick, with no need of a non-stick chemical
- A decent size for cooking Tamagoyaki
- The price is rather high
- Cast iron is more work
- Not ideal for Tamagoyaki newbies
This is one of the most affordable pans. Unfortunately the low price is reflective of a small size and low quality.
It’s one of the smallest pans and there are reports of the nonstick wearing off after a while.
It does give a credible performance though. Its rectangular shape is perfect for making tamagoyaki. It has a slope to help with rolling the omelet as well as for flipping pancakes.
It is suitable for all stove types, including induction.
If you are occasionally going to make a small amount of Tamagoyaki and don’t want to spend a lot of money, this pan might work. But if you use it a lot, it will wear out quickly.
- Affordable price
- Suitable for both gas and induction cookers
- The non-stick coating doesn’t last long
- Smaller than a typical pan
- Non stick is likely Teflon or similar
You know those really small egg pans you sometimes get in a cookware set? The ones that are only big enough to fry a breakfast for one (if that)? Well this is the cast iron, square Tamagoyaki version of them. It’s just so small!
Yet it’s the perfect shape for tamagoyaki!
And of course the small size also translates into an affordable price from this reputable manufacturer.
A cast iron skillet made in the USA, you can use this pan for preparing many types of food, tamagoyaki being one of them. This pan reaches you pre-seasoned and ready to work. It’s always a good idea to add a couple of seasoning layers of your own though.
This cookware works just as well over a campfire as on a stove. If you are looking for a cast iron Tamagoyaki pan, don’t have much budget and are just cooking for yourself this pan might do the trick. It’s not really ideal for cooking family meals.
- Very Affordably priced
- High quality, reputable manufacturer
- Durable – should last lifetimes
- Cook anything, anywhere
- Although seasoned, it needs a light coating of vegetable oil before initial use.
- Small – a one person Tamagoyaki job
- Cast Iron is more work
You can use it on virtually any stove.
Its slope shape makes cooking easier, for flipping and rolling Japanese omelets. You can cook other foods with it too. Take care of it and it will look as good as new for a long time.
Since the manufacturer doesn’t say if it is PTFE free, I’d assume it contains PTFE. This means that it is basically the same type of product as Teflon.
- Affordable price.
- Ease of cleaning, ease of use
- Versatile in terms of stoves and food
- Nice range of color options
- The handle is wood-painted plastic
- Handle can melt if you don’t take care
- Likely contains PTFE (i.e. Teflon)
- A little on the small size
Best Tamagoyaki Pans
Best All Round Tamagoyaki Pan
If in doubt I would suggest the TeChef Tamagoyaki Pan. It’s a decent size and easy to use for beginners. Not everyone likes nonstick, but it is easier and this is essential if learning how to do Tamagoyaki.
Even seasoned chefs could use this affordably priced pan to make excellent Tamagoyaki.
It’s a shame that the outside is prone to getting scratched. But this isn’t the end of the world.
Best Cast Iron Tamagoyaki Pan
If you want to produce as authentic Tamagoyaki as possible then a good cast iron pan, like the Iwachu Iron Tamagoyaki Omelette Pan, is ideal. Yes it’s more work, but it’s worth it. Plus your kids might end up cooking Japanese omelets in the exact same pan you taught them with!
If you are a beginner and like this pan, don’t let that stop you. Just be aware it will take a bit longer to get the knack of it!