Shortcuts to Scrumptious Japanese Food

“Oyakodon”: The Simple Pleasure of Chicken, Egg, and Rice


Oyakodon is a healthy dish made with only egg, onion, chicken, and rice. The soft and creamy half-cooked egg combined with lightly sweetened sauce will melt in your mouth, and you’ll empty the bowl before you know it. Oyakodon is so beloved in Japan that there are restaurants specializing in it, but it is actually a very simple dish that can easily become a staple in your repertoire.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 bowls freshly cooked rice
  • About 200 g chicken thigh or breast
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 eggs
  • green shiso, to taste
  • Sauce:
    • 3 tbsp sake
    • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
    • 3 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake)
    • 3 tbsp soy sauce
    • 9 tbsp water


  1. Dice the chicken into 2–3 cm pieces. Cut the onion lengthwise into 4 mm slices.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a pan. Add the chicken and onion and place over high heat.

There should be just enough sauce to cover the meat and onions for simmering. (©

  1. When the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat. Cover and simmer until the chicken and onion are tender.
  2. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks and whites in separate bowls.
  3. Keeping the pan on low heat, add the egg whites and simmer for about 30 seconds.

The onion-and-chicken mix with the egg whites added. (©

  1. Slice the egg yolks into quarters without beating and promptly pour into the pan. Simmer for 15–20 seconds. Turn off the heat and cover for about 10 seconds to finish.

Add the egg yolks last for a dash of vivid color. (©

  1. Serve the rice in bowls and slide the contents of the pan over the rice. If available, garnish with shredded shiso as desired.

Cooking Tips

  • The name oyakodon, literally meaning “parent-and-child bowl,” derives from the use of chicken (parent) and egg (child).
  • This is a simple and healthy dish that, aside from the sauce, uses only egg, onion, chicken, and rice. The creamy consistency of the half-cooked egg is mouthwatering.
  • There are restaurants in Japan that specialize in oyakodon, where each serving is cooked in an individual little pan.
  • The key to making this dish look as good as it tastes is to add the egg yolk and egg white separately. This will ensure that the yolk retains its bright color when serving. If you are tight on time, go ahead and add the egg to the pan without separating; doing so will not affect the taste.
  • The gold standard in Japanese flavoring is the four-ingredient sauce. Simply mix together equal amounts of sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and sake, and you can create the quintessential flavor of Japanese cooking. This is a good formula to remember, as the versatile sauce can be used to make a wide variety of Japanese dishes. While oyakodon draws on the same basic seasoning, the trick with this dish is to go easy on the sugar.
  • If mirin is unavailable in stores near you, you can dissolve 1–2 tbsp of sugar in 1/2 cup white wine to create a substitute.

(Originally written in Japanese with editorial assistance by Usami Rika and published on December 4, 2017. Photos by Natori Kazuhisa, except where otherwise noted.)

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