Kirbie's Cravings

Taiyaki (fish shaped pancakes) revisited

photo of three fish-shaped pancakes on a plate

Taiyaki are Japanese fish-shaped pancakes.  The batter is a bit different from regular pancake batter. It tends to be chewier, a little denser.  They are usually filled with something sweet like red bean or custard. You can often find them being made and sold at stands outside Japanese supermarkets.

A while back, I bought my own little Taiyaki maker from Marukai in San Diego. I first experimented with my Taiyaki maker here. Since then I’ve been wanting to play around with it some more. It’s been hard trying to find a recipe batter that tastes like the traditional Taiyaki I’ve eaten. This time around, I decided to just try using regular pancake batter.

overhead photo of a Taiyaki maker

I was originally going to make a buttermilk pancake batter from scratch but I didn’t have any buttermilk. So then I opted to just use a Bisquick mix. Last time, I filled my Taiyaki with nutella. This time I decided to try chocolate. I had some solid chocolate ganache that was sitting in my fridge. This was pretty easy to work with since I was able to scoop some out and I knew it would melt quickly in the heat. If you don’t have any chilled ganache, you can probably use a piece of chocolate or some chocolate chips.

close-up photo of Taiyaki

Every time I’m making these pancakes, I’m always doing something else at the same time. Next time, I need to just concentrate on making these pancakes. Since I was distracted, each of mine came out differently. Some came out slightly too dark, some too light.

The pancakes tasted best while they were hot. Of course, they just taste like regular pancakes filled with chocolate, but that’s not a bad thing. I don’t think they taste like traditional taiyaki batter, but they taste good and I love the fun fish shape.

When I made my first batch, it bothered me that the filling kept sticking out of the fish. The directions I had read was to put a thin layer of batter, and then put some topping and then close up the taiyaki pan. This time, I put some more batter on top of the chocolate and this really helped to keep the chocolate from seeping through.

I’ll keep playing around with my taiyaki maker and post my creations and discoveries. I hope to get a more exact timing down so that my Taiyaki all look a pretty golden brown. I also plan on trying some other things with my taiyaki maker.

Taiyaki with Chocolate Filling

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Japanese
Taiyaki are Japanese fish-shaped pancakes. The batter is a bit different from regular pancake batter. It tends to be chewier, a little denser. They are usually filled with something sweet like red bean or custard. You can often find them being made and sold at stands outside Japanese supermarkets.


  • Your favorite pancake recipe or pancake mix
  • Chilled chocolate ganache or small pieces of chocolate


  • Place taiyaki maker on stove burner. Turn stove to medium heat. Spray or oil taiyaki pan.
  • After the taiyaki maker is heated, pour in pancake batter. Put a thin layer of batter, enough to cover the bottom fish shapes that are on the stove.
  • Place small piece of ganache or chocolate in the middle of the fish. Then spoon some more batter to cover the chocolate.
  • Close the taiyaki maker, and let cook for approx 2 minutes. Then flip taiyaki maker, so top side heats on the stove. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  • At this point you can check the progress of your taiyaki by opening the taiyaki pan. If taiyaki is still very light, cook for an additional minute, making sure to cook both sides evenly. If 2 minutes is too much, you can reduce the heat or cook about 1 minute on each side and then check the progress.
  • Remove from pan and eat while still warm.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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15 comments on “Taiyaki (fish shaped pancakes) revisited”

  1. hello I seen your site about taiyaki I am interested t making business for this, but I don’t know what filling I should put in that fish cake. hope you can reply me soon..thank you!

    Regards from mary.

  2. Cute! Makes me want to own one. Knowing myself, I’ll probably fill it with savory items of course. 😉

  3. Pingback: Red bean: Is it dessert or breakfast? | NYC SNACK QUEEN

  4. Ooh, the multi sandwich toaster sounds great and so much easier to use than the taiyaki machine I have. BTw, do you have a recipe for your taiyaki batter or do you use a mix?
    Japan has so many neat gadgets. When I go visit, I plan on buying quite a few things. I’ll have to look for this toaster.

  5. You might want to try online. I know amazon had some third party sellers selling it. I don’t know what sort of online spots there are in Spain though.

  6. They are super fun to eat. BF was enjoying them like a little kid.

  7. I live in Japan so I’m familiar with taiyaki. We have a multi-sandwich toaster. I can make toasted sandwiches, waffles and taiyaki. I know when anything is done because the little light comes on. No need to guess. 🙂
    Funny thing is, my wife just said this morning after I made waffles that we should get some anko (red beans) to make traditional taiyaki. I like chocolate too, though! We might experiment with batter, but will probably go for a traditional taiyaki batter when we make them with an anko filling.

  8. Beautiful, how lucky you are to have such shops selling these type of gadgets. I wish I could get things like this in Spain.

  9. Those are amazing! I bet they are fun to eat.

  10. This pan is great. Cooks pancakes like in a regular pan, except fish shaped! And you can do so many fun fillings! I think they sell these online as well.

  11. Mini sounds soo cute! I wish there was a mini taiyaki maker i could buy…And the flavors sound so interesting! I’ll have to try out more non-traditional flavors now.

  12. These pancakes look so pretty! Never seen fish-shaped pancakes before!

  13. There’s a shop not too far from me that specializes in mini versions of these. Oh, they are so good. They do some really inventive fillings, too. I think my fave is the blueberry cheesecake.

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