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The Ultimate Taiyaki Guide: Avoiding the Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake to avoid when making taiyaki

If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, you’ve probably come across taiyaki, those adorable fish-shaped pastries that are as delicious as they are cute. Taiyaki typically have a crisp exterior and a sweetened red bean paste filling, although some variations offer alternative fillings. Making taiyaki at home can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there’s one big mistake that many novice cooks tend to make. Let’s dive into the biggest taiyaki mistake to avoid and learn some tips for perfecting these delicious treats.

The Culprit: Too Much Batter

A common mistake when making taiyaki is using too much batter. It’s easy to assume that filling the fish-shaped molds to the brim will create the perfect shape, but that’s not the case. In fact, you should only fill the molds about halfway before adding the filling. This allows you to incorporate the filling and a little more batter to capture all the edges of the design. Adding too much dough will result in a shapeless pastry that doesn’t resemble the fish it’s supposed to be. If you do add too much, don’t worry! Just cut off the messy edges after the taiyaki is cooked.

Perfecting the Cooking Process

Cooking taiyaki requires some attention to detail, especially when it comes to heat control. Taiyaki is a cross between a waffle and a cake, and getting the right texture can be a bit tricky. You want the exterior to be crispy and show the signature design, but you don’t want it to burn. At the same time, you want the filling to be cooked and the dough to be fully set. The secret is to cook the treats low and slow. Because of their small size, taiyaki should only take a few minutes to cook to perfection.

Choosing the right filling

When it comes to the filling, you don’t have to spend hours making it from scratch. Store-bought red bean paste will work just fine and save you a lot of time. If you’re not sure which brand to choose, Hidenori Takada, owner of a Japanese gourmet grocery store, recommends Shirakiku red bean paste. It also comes in smooth and coarse varieties, with the smooth variety being a great option for those who haven’t tried red bean paste before.
But if you’re feeling adventurous and want to experiment with different fillings, there are exciting alternatives to try. Vanilla pudding and Nutella are two popular choices that add a unique twist to traditional taiyaki. And if you’re feeling really creative, you can even repurpose taiyaki as an ice cream cone for a chilly treat. The fish-shaped dough serves as an unconventional and delightful vessel for your favorite ice cream flavors.


Taiyaki is a delightful Japanese treat that can be enjoyed in restaurants as well as in the comfort of your own home. By avoiding the biggest mistake of using too much batter, mastering the cooking process, and choosing the right fillings, you can create taiyaki that not only tastes amazing, but also looks like adorable fish-shaped pastries. So grab your taiyaki pan, gather your ingredients, and embark on a culinary adventure to create these sweet treats that are sure to impress your friends and family.
Remember, it’s the attention to detail and the love you put into each step that will make your taiyaki truly special. Enjoy the process and the flavors of this beloved Japanese dessert!


What is the biggest mistake people make when making taiyaki?

The biggest mistake is using too much batter in the fish-shaped pans. Filling them only halfway allows for the filling to be incorporated and ensures that the edges of the design are captured.

How can I avoid ending up with a shapeless taiyaki dough?

To avoid a shapeless cake, be careful with the amount of batter you use. If you accidentally add too much, you can cut off the messy edges after the taiyaki is cooked.

What is the key to getting the perfect texture when making taiyaki?

The key is to cook the treats low and slow. This helps to achieve a crispy exterior while ensuring that the filling is cooked and the batter is fully set.

Can I use store-bought fillings for taiyaki?

Absolutely! Using store-bought red bean paste for the stuffing is perfectly fine and saves a lot of time. Shirakiku red bean paste is recommended by experts in the field.

What are some alternative fillings I can try for taiyaki?

If you want to experiment with different fillings, vanilla pudding and Nutella are popular choices. You can also repurpose Taiyaki as an ice cream cone for a unique and chilly treat.

Is it difficult to make taiyaki at home?

Making taiyaki at home is not too difficult, especially if you have the fish-shaped pan. With the right ingredients and following the tips provided, you can make delicious taiyaki that resembles those found in restaurants.

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