Best Takoyaki Maker for Delicious Japanese Octopus Balls

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If you have any interest in traveling Japan, you’ve likely come across several tourist sites mentioning the Japanese snack, takoyaki. You may have even tried some if you ever visited Japan, especially if you visited the Kansai region.

Takoyaki are extremely popular across Japan, and many people eat takoyaki at least once every few months. It’s most popular in the summer months, and especially during Obon, where it’s commonly eaten as a festival food.

If you want to try making takoyaki at home, there are a variety of ways of making it, but in every case you’ll need a specialized pan with the iconic round molds. Unfortunately, many pans don’t heat evenly, and it’s much more difficult to make great takoyaki that is cooked throughout without consistent heat across the entire pan. 

Luckily, there are many takoyaki makers out there that make your job a lot easier. Below we’ve reviewed some of the best options for those living outside of Japan to make takoyaki in the comforts of their own homes.

The first of the takoyaki makers to hit the list and our top pick for the majority of you guys out there is this takoyaki maker by StarBlue. It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’s effective.

It’s 100% electric and operates by simply plugging into your wall. No need for uneven heating of stovetop units, or any additional surfaces.

The StarBlue takoyaki maker is one of the easiest ways to make takoyaki. The maker features eighteen separate round molds. This means that you’ll be able to make up to eighteen takoyaki at once, which is ideal for those with families of four or more (or individuals who simply really, really love takoyaki). 

Each of the molds is coated with a non-stick surface that prevents the octopus balls from sticking on the grilling surface. You won’t have to worry about any messiness, or constantly ensuring that the molds are coated with spray.

Additionally, two metal takoyaki picks are included in the sale. These are probably my least favorite part of the entire unit. Why? They’re metal. If you’re not careful, you’ll scratch off the non-stick coating off the molds and gradually make it useless. I’d prefer getting takoyaki picks made of bamboo or other woods to prevent accidentally scratching and scraping the maker itself.

Pros

  • 100% Electric Takoyaki Maker. Simply plug the maker in and get to cooking
  • Eighteen total takoyaki molds for you to use
  • Great surface for even cooking spread across all 18 individual molds

Cons

  • Included takoyaki picks are hard metals and can scrape and scratch off pieces of the nonstick coating on the takoyaki molds

The only Zojirushi model to appear on the list, and one that makes its return appearance from our review on the best yakiniku and yakitori grills available. The Zojirushi hot plate collection is a fantastic option for any kitchen if you have any plans of cooking Japanese cuisine at all. Aside from the need of an additional rice cooker, you’ll be able to cook the majority of Japanese dishes without any issue due to the various pieces that you can swap out on the hot plate.

The first and bottom-most plate is the hot plate itself. This can be used as a simple griddle to cook anything from okonomiyaki to pancakes and bacon. 

Next, a grilling plate is included to cook and add grill marks to your meats and veggies. This is a great surface for yakitori, yakiniku, or any western steak, chicken, or pork meat dishes.

Finally, and most relevant to us on this list, the third plate is the takoyaki plate. Using the heat from the electric hot plate, you can cook up to 24 takoyaki at once. Sadly, no takoyaki picks are included, however, so you’ll have to purchase your own utensils separately.

Additionally, since this hot plate is a Japanese import straight out of Osaka, you’ll need a 100V converter to operate it safely outside of Japan. No English instructions are included either, but the hot plate has a dial to change the temperature and is simple enough to utilize regardless.

In any case, if you intend on making a variety of Japanese dishes and don’t want to shell out for all the various appliances utilized for each, this Zojirushi collection is a fantastic option to consolidate the majority of your cooking into one surface.

Pros

  • Easily make any manner of Japanese dishes ranging from yakitori, okonomiyaki, and, of course, takoyaki
  • Four different grilling and cooking surfaces to accommodate most types of Japanese cooking techniques
  • Quality, authentic appliance made and produced in Osaka, Japan

Cons

  • Expensive compared to a standalone takoyaki maker, but cheaper overall than getting various appliances separately
  • Requires US/EU voltage converter for safe operation

The next takoyaki maker is make the list is the first and only on the list to be gas-operated. Iwatani is another name synonymous with quality Japanese appliances, but the majority of their products utilize butane for their cooking. Their takoyaki maker is no different.

The most prominent feature being the fact that they utilize a direct flame via butane gas canisters, the Iwatani takoyaki maker can be taken anywhere. If you want to enjoy making a Japanese snack out in the park with your family, you can do so.

The Iwatani gas takoyaki maker also has a surface capable of making up to twenty takoyaki at once. I strongly recommend using silicone or bamboo takoyaki picks, however, as metal picks will chip away at the nonstick coating on the takoyaki molds very easily.

Like the Zojirushi above, the Iwatani is another Japanese product straight from Japan. It doesn’t include any English instructions, but is simply operated using any butane canister that fits and the dial at the front of the unit fairly easily. 

Please note that the average butane canister of gas typically lasts up to 200 or so minutes of cooking, but these can easily be replaced for a few bucks at your local hardware store.

Pros

  • Can be taken anywhere do to being gas-operated
  • Only takoyaki maker on the list to use flames to cook
  • Make up to 20 takoyaki at once from anywhere at anytime using butane

Cons

  • No English instructions
  • Will need to replace butane gas canisters over time

The next takoyaki maker on the list is this commercial takoyaki maker by Vinmax. Made from high quality stainless steel and cooking with an electric 110V coil, it’s great for anyone with large families or anyone intending to make takoyaki for business purposes.

The Vinmax commercial takoyaki maker can cook up to 28 separate takoyaki at once. Each of these takoyaki molds is coated in a nonstick surface that has held up even when using metal picks. I’d still recommend using silicone or bamboo takoyaki sticks for keeping the machine in the best quality over time, but you can tell that the cooking surface is of a higher quality than the much cheaper models through cooking multiple times on each unit.

As the machine uses the native 110V of the US, it’s great for businesses or other venues for mass-producing takoyaki, too. If you have a fundraiser, community event, or otherwise, and wish to make as many takoyaki in a short amount of time as possible, the Vinmax is one of the best options out there that won’t completely kill your wallet.

It’s also fantastic for those with large families. Most takoyaki makers typically make anywhere from 12-18 takoyaki, and this one doubles the output while also reducing the total cooking time by design.

The only drawback is that you can purchase other cheaper takoyaki machines in multiples for the same price as the Vinmax. 

Pros

  • Make up to 28 takoyaki balls at once
  • Stainless steel and excellent electric heating coil make cooking time very quick
  • Great quality compared to cheaper machines out there

Cons

  • Expensive for a machine that only can make takoyaki

The final entry of the list is this Asahikei grill. The Asahikei comes with three seprate grilling surfaces and provides a variety of cooking methods for a budget price.

To start, the Asahikei comes with a takoyaki grilling plate capable of making up to eight takoyaki balls at once. This amount is great for those living alone or as a gift for children interested in cooking different culture’s cuisines. 

Next, it has a solid grill plate that is best used for grilling meats and vegetables. Simple place small cuts of meat and veggies and grill away. There isn’t a lot of surface area, but it’s not the worst experience, and the grill itself is very cute.

Lastly, the final option is the grill rack meant for yakitori. I feel this is the worst option overall because all of the fatty juices leak all over the electric burners below and can cause quite a mess. You’re better off just using the grill plate in my opinion.

The main drawback to this grill overall is that no matter which cooking surface you use, it takes quite a lot of time to cook. For children and patient single people, this probably won’t be a huge issue, but for anyone cooking for two or more, I’d recommend another option.

Pros

  • Perfect for supervised children or single men and women
  • Cute and distinctly Japanese design

Cons

  • Fairly slow cooking time can be a problem to some
  • Not great at all for more than one person
  • Yakitori grill rack allows juices to fall right into the electric burners and can create a mess if using that option

Frequently Asked Questions Takoyaki Makers

What is Takoyaki?

In essence, Takoyaki is a Japanese snack food made of a wheat-flour batter and minced or diced octopus cooked into a ball using a special pan. The ingredients vary a lot from maker to maker, but some of the most typical ingredients are green onion, ginger, and tempura. 

Takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka, and is still regaled as a popular food for both tourists and locals in the Kansai region. In fact, some citizens of Osaka eat takoyaki up to three or four times every single week. In Dotonbori, one of if not the most iconic tourist street in Osaka, takoyaki is sold year round in stalls for everyone. 

Today, it’s not uncommon to see takoyaki even outside the Kansai region, and chain restaurants such as Gindaco sell various takoyaki across Japan throughout the entire year.

Picking the Best Takoyaki Maker for You

Made it this far and still aren’t sure what takoyaki maker is the best for you? No worries. We’ve summarized our above points on each of the full reviews above for your convenience and have our last recommendations based on the pros and cons of each briefly listed below.

And hopefully with that, you’re able to make your choice as to what takoyaki maker is best for you and your situation and start enjoying some delicious Japanese snacks.

Thanks for reading, takoyaki lovers!