Masago Sushi (Everything You Need to Know)

Masago Recipe ingredients

What is Masago?

Masago are the tiny, vibrant eggs of the capelin fish, a small member of the smelt family. Often used as a topping in sushi and Japanese dishes, masago adds a burst of flavor and a delightful pop in your mouth. It’s like the confetti of the ocean, making your sushi rolls and dishes not only taste amazing but also look festive and inviting. So, next time you savor sushi, remember that masago is the little secret that adds a big burst of joy to your plate!

masago image

What Does Masago Taste Like?

The taste of Masago is slightly salty with a hint of sweetness, while its texture is crunchy yet smooth. It’s a bit like taking a bite of the ocean, without the overwhelming fishiness that you might expect. Instead, it provides a delicate, nuanced flavor that adds depth and complexity to any dish it graces.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

In addition to its remarkable flavor and aesthetic appeal, Masago is a powerhouse of nutrition. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and cognitive function. Moreover, Masago is a great source of protein, amino acids, Vitamin B12 and minerals, especially selenium.

However, it’s important to note that while Masago is nutrient-dense, it’s also high in sodium and cholesterol. Therefore, like all things, it’s best consumed in moderation.

In short, Masago isn’t just a feast for your taste buds and eyes, it’s a healthy choice too, providing a range of essential nutrients.

Risks of Eating Masago

While Masago does offer several health benefits, there are some potential risks associated with its consumption:

  1. Allergies: People with fish or seafood allergies should avoid Masago as it may trigger allergic reactions.
  2. High in Sodium: Masago is high in sodium. Overconsumption of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other heart-related issues.
  3. High in Cholesterol: Masago is also high in cholesterol. While dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect everyone the same way, those with certain health conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, should consume it in moderation.
  4. Pregnancy Concerns: Pregnant women are often advised to avoid raw seafood, including Masago, due to the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Masago Sushi Ingredients

Making Masago sushi at home is easier than you think. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

For Sushi Rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice (short grain sushi rice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons optional sushi vinegar or mixing 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Masago Sushi

  • 4 oz of imitation crab
  • 1 tablespoon of Masago
  • 2 sheets of Nori seaweed
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin slices
  • Soy sauce, for serving (optional)

Ingredient Notes:

Avocados: Fresh, ripe avocado slices add creaminess to your sushi. You can substitute with mango for a sweet twist.

Imitation Crab: Imitation crab sticks are a budget-friendly option. For a seafood twist, use real crab or cooked shrimp.

Cucumber: Crisp cucumber strips provide a refreshing crunch. You can also choose bell peppers or pickled radishes for variation.

Masago (Fish Eggs): Masago adds a burst of flavor. Tobiko or sliced cooked egg omelet (tamago) can be used as alternatives but Masago makes the best sushi.

Cooked Rice: Sushi rice is the base of this recipe. It elevates the entire dish. You can use brown rice for a healthier choice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.

Roasted Seaweed Sheet: Nori sheets wrap your sushi. Consider soy wrappers for a different flavor or lettuce leaves for a fresh twist.

Vinegar: It is required to make the tangy seasoning. Simply season the vinegar with sugar and salt. To replace the vinegar mixture, you can use pre-made sushi seasoning for convenience.

Mayonnaise: This forms the base of the Wasabi Mayo sauce. It makes it creamy and thick. You can replace it with Greek yogurt or vegan mayo to adjust your dietary preferences. Adjust wasabi to your spice preference. Try sriracha instead of wasabi for a spicy kick.Tip: You can also use store-bought wasabi mayo sauce for an original flavor.

How to Make Masago Sushi?

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Approximately 4 servings

Prepare the Ingredients:

Slice the avocado and cucumber into thin strips. Shred or cut the imitation crab sticks into thin pieces. Mix in mayonnaise.

Make the mixture of Vinegar, salt, and sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, mix wasabi mayo sauce, mayonnaise, condensed milk and sugar. Mix well. 

Preparing the Sushi Rice

Japanese sushi rice

Rinse the sushi rice under cold water until the water runs clear.

In a saucepan, add 1 cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water.

Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

When the rice is done, transfer it to a large bowl, and gently fold in the vinegar dressing. Let it cool.

Assemble the Sushi:

Masago Recipe ingredients

Lay a bamboo sushi rolling mat on a clean surface and cover it with plastic wrap. Place a sheet of roasted seaweed (nori) on the mat.

Wet your fingers to prevent sticking, and spread a thin layer of sushi rice evenly over the nori, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top edge.

Arrange avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, and a sprinkle of masago in the center of the rice.

Roll the Sushi

Using the bamboo mat, lift the edge of the nori closest to you and start rolling it over the filling, applying gentle pressure to shape it into a cylinder.

Continue rolling until you reach the exposed edge of the nori. Wet the edge with water and press to seal the roll. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

Slice and Serve: Use a sharp knife dipped in water to slice each roll into bite-sized pieces. Serve your masago sushi with a side of the wasabi mayo sauce for dipping.

Storage and Freezing Instructions:

Storage Instructions: To store Masago Sushi properly and maintain its freshness, follow these guidelines:

  • Refrigeration: Place any leftover Masago Sushi in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It is recommended to consume the sushi within 24 hours to ensure the best taste and texture.
  • Avoid direct exposure: Keep the sushi away from direct exposure to air, as it can cause the rice to dry out and the ingredients to lose their freshness. A tightly sealed container or wrapping the sushi in plastic wrap will help prevent air contact.
  • Proper temperature: Set your refrigerator to a temperature between 32°F (0°C) and 41°F (5°C) to maintain the quality and safety of the sushi.

Freezing Instructions: While sushi is best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze Masago Sushi if needed. Follow these steps to freeze it properly:

  1. Individual wrapping: Individually wrap each sushi piece tightly in plastic wrap. This helps prevent freezer burn and maintains the quality of the sushi.
  2. Airtight storage: Place the wrapped sushi pieces in a freezer-safe container or a freezer bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing it.
  3. Label and date: Label the container or bag with the date of freezing to keep track of its freshness.
  4. Freezing time: Masago Sushi can be frozen for up to 2 months for optimal quality. However, it’s recommended to consume it within 1 month for the best taste and texture.
  5. Thawing and consuming: When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen Masago Sushi, transfer the desired number of pieces to the refrigerator and let them thaw overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as it can lead to moisture loss and affect the taste and texture. Once thawed, consume the sushi promptly.
masago sushi roll

Tips to Make Masago Sushi

  • Use quality ingredients: Choose fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture. Fresh seafood and ripe avocados will enhance the overall taste of your Masago Sushi.
  • Proper rice preparation: Rinse the sushi rice thoroughly to remove excess starch, as this helps in achieving the desired texture. Cook the rice according to the instructions and season it with sushi vinegar or the homemade vinegar mixture for authentic flavor.
  • Roll tightly: When assembling the sushi, make sure to roll it tightly using the bamboo mat. This helps keep the ingredients intact and prevents the roll from falling apart.
  • Sharp knife: Use a sharp and moistened knife to slice the sushi roll. This ensures clean and even cuts, preserving the presentation of the sushi.
  • Experiment with fillings: While the recipe calls for imitation crab and avocado, feel free to customize the filling according to your preferences. You can add cucumber, cooked shrimp, or even raw fish slices for variation.

Masago vs. Tobiko, Tamago, Ikura Caviar, Salmon Roe and Ebiko

masago vs tobiko

Masago vs. Tobiko

Masago and Tobiko are often confused due to their similar appearance, but they are indeed different. Both are fish roes used in sushi, however, they come from different species. Tobiko is the roe from flying fish and is slightly larger than Masago. In terms of flavor, Tobiko has a more pronounced, almost smoky taste, while Masago is milder with a subtle sweetness. Tobiko is often more expensive due to its superior taste and the fact that flying fish roe is less abundant.

Masago vs. Ikura Caviar

masago vs caviar

Ikura is another type of caviar that comes from the roe of salmon. In contrast to the tiny eggs of Masago, Ikura is characterized by its larger, marble-sized roe. The taste of Ikura is also different; it has a rich, robust, and intensely salty flavor, quite distinct from the mild, slightly sweet taste of Masago.

Masago vs. Tamago

Tamago is quite different from Masago. While Masago is capelin fish roe, Tamago refers to a sweet Japanese omelet often used in sushi. The primary difference here is not just in the ingredients, but also in the taste and texture. Tamago is sweet and has a fluffy texture, whereas Masago has a salty taste and a unique popping texture.

Masago vs. Salmon Roe

When comparing Masago to salmon roe, size is the most noticeable difference. Salmon roe is larger and has a more gelatinous texture, while Masago is smaller with a crunchy texture. In terms of flavor, salmon roe is more pronounced with a strong, fishy taste, while Masago offers a milder, slightly sweet flavor.

Masago vs. Ebiko

Ebiko and Masago are quite similar; both are small, orange, and have a similar taste profile. However, they come from different species of fish. Ebiko is the roe of shrimp and is often used as a cheaper alternative to Tobiko. Ebiko has a slightly firmer texture and a less complex flavor than Masago.

While each of these ingredients brings unique characteristics to the table, my personal favorite remains Masago, with its delicate balance of sweetness, saltiness, and oceanic flavors.

Masago Sushi recipes

Alternative Recipes:

If you’re not interested in Masago Sushi or want to explore other options, here are a few alternative sushi recipes you can try:

  1. California Roll: This classic sushi roll features crab, avocado, and cucumber. It’s a great option for those who prefer a milder flavor profile.
  2. Spicy Tuna Roll: If you enjoy a bit of heat, try a spicy tuna roll. It includes fresh or canned tuna mixed with spicy mayo, along with other fillings of your choice.
  3. Vegetable Roll: Perfect for vegetarians and vegans, a vegetable roll can include a variety of colorful and crunchy vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and avocados.
  4. Tempura Roll: For a delightful crispy texture, consider making a tempura roll. It involves deep-frying battered vegetables, shrimp, or even sushi rolls.

FAQs About Masago

1. How to store Masago?

Masago should be stored in a refrigerator at temperatures below 38°F (3°C) and consumed within a few days of opening. If you need to store it longer, consider freezing Masago. It can last up to 6 months when properly stored in a freezer.

2. How to make sushi with a Masago topping?

To make sushi with a Masago topping, first, prepare your sushi roll with your chosen ingredients. Once rolled, gently press Masago onto the outside of the roll. The moisture from the rice will help the eggs adhere to the roll.

3. Is Masago raw?

Yes, Masago is typically served raw in sushi and other dishes. The roe is pasteurized before being sold, which helps to kill any potentially harmful bacteria.

4. Is Masago safe to eat?

Yes, Masago is safe to eat. However, due to its high sodium and cholesterol content, it should be consumed in moderation. Pregnant women and those with seafood allergies should avoid eating Masago.

5. What is Masago in sushi?

Masago is the roe, or eggs, of the capelin fish. It is often used in sushi as a topping or filling due to its unique texture and subtle flavor.

6. Is Masago actually fish eggs?

Yes, Masago is indeed fish eggs. It is specifically the roe of the capelin fish, a small species found primarily in the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic.

7. Is Masago a caviar?

Yes, Masago can be considered a type of caviar. However, it is not as luxurious or expensive as traditional caviar, which comes from sturgeon.

8. Does Masago taste fishy?

Masago has a mild oceanic flavor, but it is not overly fishy. It is slightly salty with a hint of sweetness, adding a delicate taste to dishes.

Can I use real crab instead of imitation crab in Masago Sushi?

Yes, you can use real crab in Masago Sushi. Simply cook and shred the crab meat to use as a filling. The taste and texture will be slightly different but equally delicious.

Can I substitute Masago with other types of fish roe?

While Masago is commonly used in sushi, you can substitute it with other types of fish roe like Tobiko or Ikura. Each variety has its own unique flavor and texture, so feel free to experiment and find your favorite.

Can pregnant women eat masago?

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid eating masago, or any type of raw seafood, due to the risk of bacterial or parasitic infection, such as listeriosis, which can have serious implications for the developing baby.
Masago is a type of fish roe often used in sushi and is typically served raw. Even though it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for fetal development, the potential risks associated with its raw consumption usually outweigh the benefits.
However, if the masago is thoroughly cooked, it may reduce these risks. Still, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before including masago or similar foods in a pregnancy diet.

masago sushi roll

Masago Sushi

Adalynn Ward
Masago is truly a hidden gem in the sushi world. If you haven’t tried Masago Sushi yet, you’re in for a delightful culinary adventure.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Assembling Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 24 Pirces (3 rolls)


For Sushi Rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice (short grain sushi rice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ tbsp sushi vinegar (optional)

For Masago Sushi

  • 4 oz imitation crab
  • 1 tbsp Masago
  • 2 sheets Nori seaweed
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin slices
  • Soy sauce, for serving (optional)

How to Make?

  • Rinse the sushi rice under cold water until the water runs clear to remove excess starch.
  • Cook the rinsed rice in a rice cooker or saucepan by adding 1 cup of water. If using a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed.
  • While the rice is still warm, gently fold in sushi vinegar or a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Allow the seasoned rice to cool to room temperature.
  • Lay out a sheet of Nori seaweed on a bamboo sushi mat with the shiny side facing down. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice evenly over the Nori, leaving a small gap at the top for sealing.
  • Place the imitation crab, Masago, and avocado slices horizontally across the center of the rice-covered Nori sheet.
  • Using the bamboo mat, firmly roll the sushi from the bottom edge up, tucking the ingredients inside the roll. Apply gentle pressure to ensure a tight and compact roll.
  • Moisten the exposed edge of the Nori sheet with water and press it onto the sushi roll to seal.
  • Use a sharp, moistened knife to cut the sushi roll into 8 equal pieces. Wipe the knife clean and wet it again between cuts for clean, neat slices.
  • Arrange the Masago sushi pieces on a serving plate and serve with soy sauce for dipping, if desired.


Serving: 24sushi rollsCalories: 48kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 38mgPotassium: 47mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
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Hello!! My name is Adalynn I love to eat, travel, and eat some more! I am married to the man of my dreams and have a beautiful little girl whose smiles can brighten anyone’s day!