Irresistible Japanese Mentaiko Spaghetti: A Buttery Spicy Cod Roe Delight

Authentic Japanese Mentaiko Spaghetti Recipe with Spicy Cod

Indulge in a mouthwatering fusion of Italian and Japanese cuisines with this creamy, spicy mentaiko spaghetti. Perfect for late-night cravings or a quick gourmet meal!

Mentaiko spaghetti is the ultimate comfort food that satisfies your taste buds with a harmonious blend of salty, spicy, and umami flavors. This dish combines al dente pasta with rich butter and mentaiko, a spicy cured pollack roe that adds a delightful pop of texture and taste. Whether you’re cooking for a date night or treating yourself after a long day, this Japanese-inspired pasta dish is sure to impress.

The beauty of mentaiko spaghetti lies in its simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients, you can create a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own kitchen. The mentaiko’s vibrant orange hue and the delicate shreds of nori create a visually stunning dish that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

Ready to embark on a culinary adventure? Let’s dive into the world of mentaiko spaghetti and discover why this unique pasta dish has captured the hearts of food lovers around the globe!

Japanese Mentaiko Spaghetti (Pasta With Spicy Cod Roe and Butter Sauce)


  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (225g) dried spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 to 3 ounces mentaiko (40 to 85g; 2 to 3 small lobes), depending on desired flavor intensity (see note)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20ml) light (usukuchi) soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Nori seaweed strips, for garnish


  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, following the package instructions for timing.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the mentaiko. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice open the mentaiko lobes and scrape out the roe. Set aside 2 teaspoons (10g) of roe for garnish. Place the remaining roe in a large heatproof bowl and mix with the soy sauce.
  3. Once the spaghetti is cooked, use tongs to transfer it directly to the bowl with the roe mixture. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) of pasta cooking water and the butter, two pieces at a time. Toss and stir the pasta vigorously until the butter melts and creates a sauce. Continue stirring and tossing until the pasta is evenly coated and a smooth, creamy sauce forms, with no excess liquid pooling at the bottom. Divide the pasta among serving bowls, top each portion with the reserved roe, and garnish with nori strips. Serve immediately, encouraging diners to mix in the nori and roe garnish with chopsticks before enjoying.


Mentaiko is spicy cured pollack roe, available at Japanese markets (often in the freezer section). Be sure to choose mentaiko, not tarako, which is only salted and not spiced. The flavor won’t be quite right with tarako.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
772 Calories
39g Fat
86g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 772
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 23g 116%
Cholesterol 140mg 47%
Sodium 2066mg 90%
Total Carbohydrate 86g 31%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 352mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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