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How to Choose the Best Ikura for Your Dish: A Guide to Buying Quality Salmon Roe

April 23, 2023

How to Choose the Best Ikura for Your Dish: A Guide to Buying Quality Salmon Roe

Ikura Sushi with Salmon Roe

Ikura, or salmon roe, is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine that adds a burst of flavor and texture to sushi, rice bowls, and other dishes. However, not all ikura is created equal, and choosing the wrong one can ruin your meal. In this post, we'll provide you with tips on how to choose the best ikura for your dish and elevate your culinary experience.

What is Ikura?

Ikura is the Japanese name for salmon roe, the eggs of salmon. Salmon roe is typically orange or red in color and has a slightly salty, fishy taste. It's commonly used as a garnish for sushi, but can also be served on its own or with other dishes.

How to Choose the Best Ikura

  1. Look for Freshness

When choosing ikura, freshness is key. Fresh salmon roe should have a firm texture and a bright, translucent color. If the ikura looks cloudy, mushy, or has a grayish hue, it's likely not fresh.

  1. Check the Expiration Date

Always check the expiration date on the package before purchasing. Ikura has a short shelf life, so make sure you buy it within a day or two of its expiration date.

  1. Consider the Grade

Ikura is graded based on its size, texture, and color. The highest grade of ikura is called "ikura tarako," which has large, firm eggs with a bright orange color. The next grade down is called "ikura," which is still high quality but may have slightly smaller eggs or a softer texture.

  1. Choose the Right Type

There are different types of ikura available, including wild-caught and farmed. Wild-caught ikura is generally considered to be of higher quality, as the salmon feed on a natural diet of plankton and krill. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, may be fed a diet that includes additives and chemicals, which can affect the taste and texture of the roe.


Q: Can ikura be frozen?

A: Yes, ikura can be frozen, but it may affect the texture and flavor. It's best to consume fresh ikura within a day or two of purchase.

Q: How is ikura typically served?

A: Ikura is commonly served as a garnish for sushi, but can also be served on its own or with other dishes.

Q: Can ikura be used in cooking?

A: Yes, ikura can be used in cooking to add flavor and texture to dishes such as pasta or risotto.


Choosing the right ikura can take your dish to the next level. By following these tips, you'll be able to find high-quality salmon roe that will enhance the flavor and texture of your sushi, rice bowls, and other dishes. Remember to always look for freshness, check the expiration date, consider the grade, and choose the right type of ikura for your needs. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to create delicious and memorable dishes that will impress your guests.

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