What Is Ikura?

If you are someone who is curious to know what is Ikura, you’ve arrived at the right place! Japanese sushi chefs welcomed Ikura with open arms during the 1980s. Even today, people enjoy Ikura at a local Japanese restaurant or at home. There are certain details that you should know before you take the first bite of Ikura Sashimi. In today’s post, I will tell you what is Ikura sushi. Here, you will know about Ikura, how it is produced, different types of Ikura, and other factors. Without wasting much time, let us now check out what is Ikura.

What Is Ikura?

Ikura is a caviar that is made from salmon eggs or the roe of salmonid fishes which has an intense reddish hue. Ikura is also known as red caviar and is part of Russian and Japanese cuisine. The name Ikura was derived from the Russian word “ikra” which means caviar or fish roe. In fact, Ikura is considered one of the healthiest ingredients you can enjoy eating.

The process of Ikura production starts by obtaining the egg pouch inside the belly of the salmon. The eggs from the salmon are removed and treated in a mild warm saline solution. After this step, the eggs are then separated and rinsed. This process requires a steady hand and delicate technique. Therefore, this task is reserved for the most highly trained chefs at a restaurant. 

Do you know what is Ikura roll? Ikura roll is a salmon roe that is served in gunkan-style wrapped in roasted nori with a bed of Shari. These large eggs are loaded with essential amino acids, vitamins, high protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. You can easily find Ikura in the retail market that is already ready to eat. Well, the quality and taste of Ikura can be easily determined by the fish species, processing methods, packaging, and storage conditions.

Usually, you can find salmon roe in the late summer and fall from fish that are still in the ocean. Processed Ikura is pasteurized and is soaked in a saturated salt solution to extend its shelf life. This also helps to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. However, Ikura Japanese can also be pickled in soy sauce and alcohol.

After knowing what is Ikura salmon roe, do you what does it taste like? This large egg has a soft texture, a briny flavor, and a mild fishiness. Pickling or pasteurizing reduces the fishlike taste and softens the texture. Ikura is of high quality only if it is of bright color, full of gloss, and wrinkle-free. When its freshness begins to vanish, Ikura becomes cloudy or milky.

You can keep reading to learn more about what is Ikura and its varieties.

Types of Ikura

Once you know what is Ikura, let us now see the different types of salmon roe. As Ikura is widely available everywhere, the type of salmon it comes from is rarely listed. Here, I’ve given the most popular types of Ikura.

  1. Chum Salmon Roe 

The Ikura of Chum has the richest flavor and is light orange in color. Chum salmon is also called keta salmon and dog salmon. The flesh of the chum is very soft but deteriorates rapidly. You can usually find this type of Ikura in Hokkaido, Alaska, British Columbia, and Russia.

  1. Pink Salmon Roe

The flavor of Ikura from pink salmon is quite sweet and golden in color. Pink salmon are smaller Pacific salmon that are also known as humpback salmon. They usually have small to medium-sized eggs.

  1. Coho Salmon Ikura

The Ikura of coho salmon is orangish to dark red and is small to medium in size. This type of Ikura has a mild, bitter-sweet flavor compared to other roe. Coho or silver salmon is a species of Pacific salmon that is tougher to find.

  1. King Salmon Ikura

The Ikura of king salmon is orange in color and has a rich flavor. This type of Ikura is very tasty but is very hard to find. King salmon or chinook is the largest and rarest species of Pacific salmon.

  1. Sockeye Salmon Roe

Sockeye salmon is prized for their lean meat and their Ikura is very delicious. The Ikura of sockeye salmon is small and deep red in color. This type of Ikura has a mild, slightly sweet flavor.

Ikura Vs Tobiko

Many people among us get confused between Ikura and Tobiko. Tobiko is the roe of a flying fish that is generally red-orange in color. Sometimes, Tobiko can also be green, red, or black. It is usually served as a garnish or can be served separately. Tobiko is more crispy and has a more distinct taste as they are larger. 

On the other hand, Ikura has a unique flavor and taste is sweet, salty, and fishy. It is mostly served as a garnish on various varieties of sushi either alone or as part of a meal.

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What Is Ikura Fish?

Ikura is the Japanese word for salmon roe. Salmon roe is much larger than many other types of roe. Ikura also has an intense reddish-orange color due to specific pigment compounds in the egg.

Which Ikura Is Best?

Our top ikura recommendation is the King Salmon Caviar and Pink Salmon Caviar.

Can Kids Have Ikura?

Children and adults alike love the taste of Ikura as it goes well with pasta, rice, chawanmushi, and practically anything you can think of!

Is Ikura Tasty?

Ikura is technically salmon roe (salmon eggs) and is harvested from Alaskan salmon like king salmon, pink salmon, coho salmon, and sockeye salmon. It has a rich and briny taste.


In the above post, I’ve explained what is Ikura in sushi. The Japanese word Ikura means the roe of salmon that are large, plump, orange eggs. Ikura is very pleasing to the eye when prepared correctly. While eating, each egg bursts open delivering a rich umami flavor. Most of the Ikura found in the retail market is ready-to-eat. The classic way to eat Ikura is in a simple seaweed wrap with a foundation of sticky rice. You can even add a scoop of salmon roe on top. Chefs use Ikura in salads, soups, cooked meat, and other items. Once you know what is Ikura, you can enjoy eating this ingredient.

What does ikura taste like