What Is Masago? Its Advantages And Disadvantages

What Is Masago? Its Advantages And Disadvantages

Do you know what is masago? Where does it come from? Only sushi lovers must be aware of this delicious ingredient! It is mostly known for its versatility and limitless health benefits. Many people across the globe are still unaware of this ingredient. Are you one of those people? Then get ready for the treat! Today, I will tell you all the interesting facts about masago nigiri. In this guide on what is masago sauce, I have included its pros and cons along with masago nutrition information. Without wasting much time, let us know what is masago more in detail. 

What Is Masago?

Masago is small ripped fish eggs that are usually found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and Arctic Ocean. In fact, it is the Japanese word for edible capelin roe ( Mallotus villosus) that belongs to the smelt family.

Female capelin roe starts releasing masago eggs at 2-4 years of age and continues to spawn till death. So, when female capelins are full of eggs, masago is harvested from them. But this process must be done before they begin spawning. These eggs have a pale yellow color in their natural form. To give them a more attractive appearance, they are dyed to vivid orange, red or green color.

As you have now understood what is masago made of, let’s check out how does it actually tastes.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Masago

We all know seafood is loaded with tons of benefits, masago is one of them. Here, I have gathered all the possible advantages and disadvantages of masago.


The health benefits of masago are as follows.

  • The omega-3 fatty acids present in masago play a vital role in maintaining a healthy heart.
  • It controls blood clotting and prevents inflammation of arteries.
  • Several studies have found that omega-3 found in masago helps in the development of the retina’s structure.
  • As it also has lots of vitamin D, it can be very helpful in preventing bone loss and fractures.
  • It helps in reducing arthritis symptoms to a great extent.
  • The vitamin B12 present in masago helps with our energy levels and nervous system.
  • Due to its high selenium content, it helps to maintain a healthy reproductive system for women.
  • Masago also helps in losing weight quickly.


Following are some downsides of masago that should be considered.

  • Masago has a very high content of sodium.
  • It is not suitable for people who are suffering from high blood pressure.
  • Overconsumption of masago can develop the risk of parasitic infections.
  • Sometimes, it can also cause foodborne illness.

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Taste Of Masago

Let us now see what is masago taste like in detail. The flavor profile of masago is very much similar to tobiko. In short, it is slightly salty with ocean flavor. And if you look at its texture, it has a slightly crunchy and sandy texture. As they are very mild in flavor, you can also mix them with other ingredients like wasabi, ginger, and squid ink.

Nutritional Chart Of Masago

You should know the nutritional value of masago if you are planning to add masago to your diet? Then, you must first know what is masago nutritional values. Masago is an excellent option that you can add to your diet if you want a healthy immune system. But before you directly add masago to your diet, have a look at its nutritional values.

Protein3.9 grams
Fat2.9 grams
Carbohydrates0.6 grams
Sodium 240 milligrams
Magnesium48 milligrams
Riboflavin0.1 milligrams
Pantothenic Acid0.6 milligrams
Phosphorus57 milligrams
Iron 1.9 milligrams
Vitamin B123.2 micrograms
Selenium10.5 micrograms

Apart from these vitamins, it is also rich in other vitamins like Vitamin D, A, B6, and calcium.

Note: All the above values are calculated on the basis of a single tablespoon of masago.

Masago Vs Tobiko Vs Caviar

Masago is often confused with tobiko and caviar. Though all of them look similar, there are a few differences that should be considered. Here, I have broken down tobiko vs masago vs caviar into smaller sections.

It is dull yellow in color.It is orange-red in color.It is either amber, green, or very deep black in color.
Masago has a subtle flavor.Tobiko has a smoky flavor.Caviar is slightly sweet to taste.
They belong to the smelt fish family.They belong to the flying fish family.They belong to the wild sturgeon fish family.
Masago is very cheaper.Tobiko is slightly expensive.Caviar is available at an affordable price range.
The serving size of masago is large.The serving size of tobiko is very small.The serving size of caviar is also quite small.

Uses Of Masago

Masago can easily add briny flavor and semi-crunchy texture to any recipe. But do you know how to eat masago? Here, I have listed down some great ways to utilize masago while cooking.

  • You can use them for creating masago sushi rolls.
  • It can also be used for making masago sauce by mixing up fresh masago roe with mayo, sriracha sauce, and lime.
  • A few teaspoons of masago sauce can be added to some Asian noodle dishes.
  • Masago can be useful to add a pop of color to Japanese Kani salad.
  • Lastly, it can also be served along with cooked salmon.

Cost And Where To Buy Masago

You can easily find masago in almost all Japanese grocery stores. There are also some high-end supermarkets such as Whole Foods who often sell them. If it is not available in offline stores, you can always purchase them from various sites like amazon.

It might cost you around $25.00 per pound and around $3.00 for individual packages. You can store masago in your freezer for up to 6 months.

Interesting Facts Of Capelin Roe

Capelin roe is very small about 1 millimeter in diameter and silvery-green in color. Also, they loosely resemble sardines in appearance. Capelin fish is also an important food source for other large creators such as seabirds, seals, whales, and codfish.


Is Masago High In Fat?

Like other types of fish roe, masago is low in calories but high in many important nutrients. Just 1 ounce (28 grams) of fish roe contains (2): Calories: 40. Fat: 2 grams.

Can Masago Have Parasites?

Masago is also most commonly found in sushi, a popular food that has the potential to be laden with health problems. Besides usually being filled with farmed fish, refined carbs and questionable ingredients, the raw fish found in sushi also significantly ups your risk of parasitic infections and foodborne illness.

Can You Eat Masago Pregnant?

Simply look for fish that are closer to the bottom of the food chain. Such fish contain significantly less mercury, and include shrimp, salmon, unagi, masago, octopus, and many others. Limiting yourself to such fish, a pregnant woman should be able to safely consume up to two six-ounce servings of fish every week.

What Type Of Fish Is Masago From?

Masago is the name of the roe from the capelin, which is a fish in the smelt family. Masago may refer to roe from other types of smelt as well. These fish are small and produce very small eggs.

‌Masago, also known as capelin roe, is the ripened egg of the capelin fish. Capelin is a type of foraging fish that frequents the world’s cold-water regions, namely the Arctic, North Pacific, and North Atlantic. Capelin fish are an important source of food for whales, puffins, Atlantic cod, and other ocean predators.

Can You Eat Masago Raw?

Masago is served raw, which can put some people off straight away! However, there is no evidence suggesting eating Masago raw presents any health risks. In general, it’s a very safe fish roe to try. The only people who should avoid Masago are those who are allergic to fish and shellfish.

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In the above-written article, we have studied what is masago in sushi. Masago is also known as smelt roe and is a type of fish egg that comes from capelin. Masago is generally harvested from the female capelins when they are full of eggs. It can easily add briny flavor and semi-crunchy texture to any recipe. Masago is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium, and selenium. Apart from masago, tobiko and caviar are often used in several Japanese cuisines. As you now know what is masago and how to use it, you can easily create your own recipes.

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Janet Brown

Altaf Shaikh is the QuerClubs bestselling author of They Both Die at the End, More Happy Than Not, and History Is All You Left Me and—together with Becky Albertalli—coauthor of What If It’s Us. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Adam was born and raised in the Bronx. He was a bookseller before shifting to children’s publishing and has worked at a literary development company and a creative writing website for teens and as a book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. He is tall for no reason and lives in Pune.