Food

Easy Frozen Takoyaki Balls for You Lazy A**’s to Making Your Own on a Takoyaki Pan/Grill Cuz You Go H.A.M.

Featured image: my visit to Gindaco takoyaki across from Harajuku station in Tokyo, Japan.

If you want a mouthful of octopus balls, you have come to the right place because I have the easiest ways to make all your takoyaki fantasies come true (plus a ton of pics of takoyaki pans, makers, mix, to picks, to visualize everything you need).

Thank you alien being aka the octopus for sacrificing your eight arms to be chopped up into tiny bits to be enclosed into hot balls of goodness. Except, before your mouth is filled with octopus balls, you have to decide on either:

  • The Easy Way (requires an oven to a microwave): frozen takoyaki just requires a way to heat it up (well, a freezer too, but I shouldn’t have to tell you that).
  • The Hard Way (requires specialized equipment): not only is it the hard way, but also the most rewarding way because you are making it all partially from scratch.
Photo Description: finished takoyaki with bonito flakes, negi (green onions), takoyaki sauce in Osaka Japan.
The hard way or the easy way, regardless which you opt for, hopefully your end result looks like this (if you took the easy way and it doesn’t, I’m secretly judging you). Image by ZMTomako.

What You Need for Frozen Takoyaki (Easy)

  1. An Oven, Deep-fryer, to a Microwave: surprise, surprise.
  2. Toppings: negi (green onions), katsuobushi (bonito flakes), Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise), ao nori (green seaweed flakes), kizami beni shoga (pickled ginger), to takoyaki sauce (Otafuku is a popular and common brand).
Photo Description: finished bare takoyaki on a grill.
These are the types of balls you would want to flaunt, I would if these were mine. Image by Marco Verch.

Where to Buy (Beyond Just Amazon)

Like my many other posts, I try to support all the other businesses out there because I try not to be an Amazon affiliate ho’bag -one reason why that is, is because I do not make a single cent directly from any of my content, and my sole objective is to provide information that I would utilize.

Description/BrandPrice/Seller
Frozen Takoykai Octopus Balls 40 pcs, 28.2oz$10.80 (MTC Kitchen)
MTC Frozen Takoyaki Octopus Balls, 40pcs, 1.2kg$18.60 (MTC Kitchen)
Photo Description: frozen microwavable takoyaki balls.
Octopus balls for the entire family.

I’m a huge fan of MTC from a restaurant customer to a retail customer, and they are the ideal Amazon alternative.

Description/BrandPrice/Seller
Otafuku Takoyaki Sauce, 10.6oz $5.50 (Umami Insider)
Otafuku Takoyaki Sauce, 300g – $9.90$9.90 (Japanese Taste)
Otafuku Takoyaki Sauce, 10.6oz – $5.95 $5.95 (Yummy Bazaar)
Otafuku Takoyaki Sauce, 10.6oz – $7.99$7.99 (Walmart)
Otakfuku Takoyaki Sauce, 10.6oz – $7.90$7.90 (Amazon)
Photo Description: takoyaki sauce by Otafuku.
Americans love our sauce (well, we go crazy for salsa bars too, and if you don’t believe me, check out Baja Fish Taco’s on 17th in Costa Mesa/Newport).

What You Need to Make it From Scratch (Hard)

  1. The Batter: you can make it from scratch, but why bother, buy a bag of pre-mixed batter (I said “harder,” not the hardest way).
  2. Octopus: super easy to find if you are in Los Angeles or in a coastal city because you can purchase it from any number of Japanese markets to Asian markets.
  3. Toppings: green onions (negi), bonito flakes (katsuobushi), Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise), ao nori (green seaweed flakes), kizami beni shoga (pickled ginger), to takoyaki sauce (Otafuku is a popular and common brand).
  4. A Takoyaki Pan/Grill: I will be listing the brands and types of takoyaki pans below.
  5. Additional Tools (Optional): if you want to go as pro as possible, a takoyaki pick is a must, along with an optional oil brush.
Description/BrandPrice/Seller
Otafuku Takoyaki Flour Mix (16oz/453.59g)$5.70 (MTC Kitchen)
Otafuku Japanese Takoyaki Set 4 Servings $12.99 (Japanese Taste)
Otafuku Flour (453.59g)$9.99 (Yamibuy)
Otafuku Takoyaki Mix (ball-shaped Japanese snack) 16oz$7.99 (Walmart)
Otafuku Takoyaki Mix (ball-shaped Japanese snack) flour, 16oz $9.49 (Amazon)
Photo Description: Otafuku takoyaki flour.
Hey, I’m all about doing things from scratch, but I am promoting the pre-mixed route.

Types of Takoyaki Pans and Grills

Two configurations from pans to an all-in-one electric grills.

Cast Iron and Aluminum “Half-Sphere” Pans

Description/BrandPrice/Seller
Iwatani Non-Stick Aluminum Alloy Takoyaki Pan$29.50 (MTC Kitchen)
Photo Description: Iwatani aluminum alloy non-stick takoyaki pan that fits on a butane/gas burner. There are notches that allow you to "fix" the pan into place with no fear of it falling off.
This is or the electric grill/takoyaki makers by Zojirushi are my go to buys (the latter you can prepare okonommiyaki to doing yakiniku on).

I have high-praise for Iwatani products, so I lean towards this pan because it’s also made for butane burners which I would want the Iwatani brand (I use a Iwatani torch for torching my chashu), except unlike my $15-$25 burner, Iwatani has one that is upwards of $90 (they have more affordable models, but this one has got to be the Cadillac of butane stoves? I have always had the cheapest ones, so one day I will have the Caddy of butane burners… wait till the ladies see me cooking on that one).

Hinomaru Cast Iron Takoyaki Pan (14pc Round Pan) – $29.99 (Amazon)
Photo Description: a cast-iron takoyaki pan by Hinomaru. It's a round pan for your typical round stovetops. It fits 14pcs.
As stupid as this sounds, but they ought to be more explicit with how this pan is supposed to be used (where’s that thinking emoji 🤔).

I know how this works, but if you are so smart, why don’t you tell me how it works (since I already know, FYI).

Oigen Takoyaki Plate Cast Iron (16pc Square Pan) – $89.72 (Amazon)
Photo Description: These images look heavily photoshopped although it's of a square pans with handles and radius corners.
This looks like the filter a lot of the cougars are using on Tinder to Instagram.

All-in-One Electric Grills

Photo Description: This is how it's done, a person producing takokyaki with a Yamazen round electric 18pc takoyaki maker.
Somebody ought to do this with pancakes although it’s cool to see so much variety being done with “takoyaki.” Image by Mokeneco.
Electric Japanese Takoyaki Pan (18pc) – $47.50 (Amazon)
Photo Description: the round Yamazen takoyaki pan that looks the coolest because it is also the only one that has an illustration of an octopus on the top of the grill (this one also comes with the red translucent grill).
I would buy this one, just because of the illustration of the octopus (yes, I’m that superficial…don’t get me started on the power of a good booty).

I have included three models by Yamazen because they seem to be THE brand to buy in Japan and the world if you’re looking for a takoyaki specific maker/grill.

Yamazen Takoyaki “Device” (20pc) – $49.99 (Amazon)
Photo Description: Yamazen "oval" electric grill has a red plastic looking outer finish. There's a very noticeable power switch on the front of the unit. A dark cover also comes with this grill.
650w of pure hot balls power.

The one downside even to these takoyaki specific makers by Yamazen, is that you will have some users touting “instances of uneven cooking.” Although out of 986 reviews, they have a 4.1 out of a 5 (most of the negative reviews are by Japanese consumers complaining about irrelevant silly things such as the packaging method).

YOA-240
Yamazen Takoyaki Grill (24pc) – $40.00 (OMGJapan.com)
Yamazen Takoyaki (24pc) – $48.90 (Amazon)
Photo Description: a rectangular grill with with radius corners, their power switch which is black vs. the a translucent red switch.
800w because you have mouths hungry for your saucy 24 hot balls.
Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric, EA-BDC10 – $115.99 (Amazon) + Takoyaki Plate EA-YBC01, For use with Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle EA-BDC10 only – $55.06 (Amazon)
Photo Description: Zojirushi grill which is all black.
Lets see the George Foremen grill make takoyaki balls.

Why Zojirushi? Power, that’s why. It might not matter much for takoyaki, but after doing several restaurant pop-ups where I initially utilized propane, I ended up switching to electric power. That move had a ton of pros and cons, but the cons were a host of issues that involved breakers popping to finding out 1,800 watts is not a whole lot of power to heat a 10-30qt stockpot which is why wattage matters (the model below is 1,500w, the above is 1,300w).  I point out wattage because these two products are grills (high heat cooking), so power does matter if you have a nice thick steak you want to grill up, unlike the takoyaki specific makers, which do not require a whole lot of power, although do you only want to do takoyaki?

Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill – $124.99 (Crate & Barrel)
Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill – $101.24 (Amazon)
Except good luck trying to find just the takoyaki plate for the EB-DLC10, and you probably have to spend uupwards of $500 for A-GV35-TD
Photo Description: one of the nicest looking electrical grills because it is an all purpose grill that requires you have the optional takoyaki accessory.
If you have the money, this is well worth the buy because I have the model below it (I said “below it” because I did not have the money when I bought it, but I threw down because it’s worth the buy).

You probably were not expecting Crate & Barrel on this list, but that is why I do these resources (why would you want to limit yourself to just Amazon, and I want to welcome you to the world of Volvo’s, Dockers and the penny loafer crowd and where they shop).

Takoyaki Tools You Should Get Cuz You Want to Get Down

Takoyaki Pick

Takoyaki picks 1x1x2 Pick Set, Soft Type 32877, $7.00 (Amazon)
Photo Description: takoyaki picks that have an orange handle and a hole at the end, so that you can put it on hook or that you can tie it to something. The actual pick color is black.
To pick and flip your balls till your content.

Oil Brush

Oil Brush for Cooking Takoyaki/Teppanyaki Grill – $4.87 (Amazon)
Photo Description: a stubby little brush with a cloth looking brush and a whood handle. This brush is intended for takoyaki and yakiniku grills to brush oil onto.
In case you fancy, you get all the accessories to brush oil onto your grill.

Enjoy your balls!

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