Is Yum Yum Sauce Spicy Mayo?

You’ve undoubtedly tried both Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo if you enjoy Japanese food. These two sauces are frequently used in foods like sushi, seafood, and others, but are they the same thing? No, although they may have some similarities, Yum Yum Sauce is not Spicy Mayo.

Bottles of Terry Ho's Yum Yum sauce on store shelf.

A creamy and tangy sauce known as Yum Yum Sauce, Shrimp Sauce, or White Sauce is frequently served with seafood and hibachi-style grilled meats.

Mayonnaise, tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, and other seasonings are used to make it.

The plain Spicy Mayo, on the other hand, is a concoction of mayonnaise and hot sauce, typically made with Sriracha or another chili sauce.

While both sauces are creamy and flavor food, their flavors and textures differ.

So why do individuals mistake Yum Yum Sauce for Spicy Mayo? One explanation is that some eateries substitute Spicy Mayo for Yum Yum Sauce or combine the two condiments.

Due to their comparable uses in recipes and the fact that they are both creamy, some individuals may also interchange the terms.

It’s crucial to remember that they are not the same thing, though.

Is Yum Yum Sauce Spicy Mayo?

Two common condiments that are frequently used in Japanese and Asian cuisine are yum yum sauce and spicy mayo.

Japanese American yum yum sauce made with mayo

They can be mistaken for one another since they both have a creamy texture and a similar color.

They are not the same, though, and there are some obvious distinctions between the two.


The only distinction between Spicy Mayo and Yum Yum Sauce is the ingredients.

Mayonnaise, tomato paste, garlic powder, paprika, sugar, and water are the usual ingredients in Yum Yum Sauce.

Spicy Mayo, on the other hand, is created by combining mayonnaise with spicy sauce or chili paste.


While Spicy Mayo has a more potent and spicy flavor, Yum Yum Sauce has a more subtly sweet and tangy flavour.

While Spicy Mayo is frequently used to add heat and flavor to sandwiches, burgers, and fried meals, Yum Yum Sauce is frequently used as a dipping sauce for sushi, seafood, and vegetables.

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Spicy Mayo and Yum Yum Sauce are used in cuisine in distinct ways.

While Spicy Mayo is often used as a topping for sandwiches, burgers, and fried foods, Yum Yum Sauce is typically used as a dipping sauce for sushi and seafood dishes.

While Spicy Mayo is frequently used in sushi rolls, Yum Yum Sauce is also used as a salad dressing.

Nutritional Information

Due to the mayonnaise base, both Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo are very calorie and fat dense.

While a serving of spicy mayo has about 90 calories and 10 grams of fat, a serving of yum yum sauce has about 107 calories and 11 grams of fat.

In conclusion, Spicy Mayo and Yum Yum Sauce are not the same. They differ in terms of ingredients, tastes, and cooking applications.

Despite having a similar appearance, they are different condiments that can provide your dishes taste and excitement.

Origins of Yum Yum Sauce

Popular condiment Yum Yum Sauce, commonly referred to as White Sauce, is frequently used in Japanese-American cooking.

Terry Hos Yum Yum sauce side view store shelf

Although its precise roots are up for question, it is generally accepted that it came from Japanese teppanyaki restaurants using hibachi grills.

Sassy Chopsticks claims that Yum Yum Sauce was first developed as a dipping sauce for tempura in Japan in the early 1900s.

However, it began to be served as a dipping sauce for hibachi-style meals in Japanese steakhouse chain restaurants in the 1960s, which helped it gain further popularity in America.

According to legend, diners’ “Yum Yum” sounds were the inspiration for the sauce’s name.

Mayonnaise is often used as a basis for the sauce, and it is then flavored with vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, and other ingredients to give it a sweeter, tangier taste.

Yum Yum Sauce’s exact recipe varies from eatery to eatery and even from chef to chef.

Some variations could have extra ingredients like paprika, garlic powder, or onion powder.

However, the fundamental ingredients are still the same, with mayonnaise serving as the main component.

Yum Yum Sauce is frequently used as a dipping sauce for sushi, seafood, vegetables, and meats and has established itself as a mainstay in Japanese-American cooking.

Due to its popularity, a number of variants have been created, including spicy Yum Yum Sauce, which contains hot sauce or chili peppers, as well as other iterations that use diverse flavors and ingredients.

Ingredients of Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum Sauce is not Spicy Mayo, in case you were wondering.

Despite having mayonnaise as their common base, Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo have different flavor profiles.

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The following are the components of Yum Yum Sauce:


The foundational component of Yum Yum Sauce is mayonnaise. Oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon juice are combined to create this creamy, rich sauce.

The velvety and smooth texture of Yum Yum Sauce is due to mayonnaise.

Tomato Paste

Another essential component of Yum Yum Sauce is tomato paste. It gives the sauce its distinctive pink hue and slightly sweetens the flavor.


Yum Yum Sauce contains sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomato paste and rice vinegar. It also gives the sauce a mild sweetness.

Rice Vinegar

Rice is used to make rice vinegar, which is a mild and somewhat sweet vinegar.

It lends Yum Yum Sauce a tangy and slightly acidic flavor and is frequently used in Japanese cooking.


A spice called paprika is created from ground, dried peppers. Yum Yum Sauce gains a light smokiness from it, which improves the entire flavor profile.

Garlic Powder

Dried and ground garlic is used to create garlic powder. It gives Yum Yum Sauce a savory, almost peppery flavor.

Overall, these components work together to provide a distinct and mouthwatering flavor profile that distinguishes Yum Yum Sauce from Spicy Mayo.

Taste and Texture Comparison

There are some distinct differences between Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo in terms of flavor and texture. What you need to know is as follows:

Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum Sauce is a zesty sauce with a creamy, slightly sweet flavor. It is produced from tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, and a few additional components.

Because of its thin nature, the sauce is simple to drizzle over dishes.

Despite having a little flavor, Yum Yum Sauce can nonetheless improve the flavor of your cuisine. It goes well with recipes that include rice, veggies, and seafood.

The spiciness of other ingredients can be countered by the sauce’s sweetness.

Spicy Mayo

As the name suggests, spicy mayonnaise is mayonnaise that has been spiced up. Mayonnaise is combined with spicy sauce or chili paste to make it.

The sauce is excellent for dipping because it has a thicker consistency than Yum Yum Sauce.

Spicy mayo has a spicy, acidic flavor. It can give your dish a kick and is ideal for people who enjoy spicy food.

It’s crucial to remember that the spiciness can differ depending on the brand and kind of hot sauce utilized.


Yum Yum Sauce has a sweeter and milder flavor than Spicy Mayo. On the other hand, spicy mayo has a fiery and tangy flavor.

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While Spicy Mayo is thicker and better for dipping, Yum Yum Sauce is thinner and easier to drizzle.

Yum Yum Sauce has a creamier and smoother texture than Spicy Mayo. Due to its thicker consistency, spicy mayo can be challenging to spread or sprinkle.

Overall, Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo have quite different flavors and textures.

There is a sauce for everyone, whether you favor a sweet, mellow flavor or a spicy, tangy one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Yum Yum Sauce the same as Spicy Mayo?

No, Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo are not the same thing. While they both use mayonnaise as a base, Yum Yum Sauce contains additional ingredients like tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar, giving it a sweeter, tangier flavor. Spicy Mayo, on the other hand, gets its kick from adding chili peppers or hot sauce to the mayonnaise.

What are the ingredients in Spicy Mayo?

Spicy Mayo is typically made with Japanese mayonnaise, which has a richer flavor than American mayonnaise. To make Spicy Mayo, you’ll need to mix the mayonnaise with hot sauce or chili peppers, and sometimes a splash of lime juice.

Can you make Yum Yum Sauce at home?

Yes, you can make Yum Yum Sauce at home. Most recipes call for mayonnaise, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, paprika, and water. You’ll need to whisk the ingredients together and then heat them on the stove to achieve the desired consistency.

What dishes are Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo typically used with?

Yum Yum Sauce is often served with hibachi-style dishes like chicken, steak, and shrimp, as well as sushi rolls. Spicy Mayo is also popular with sushi, but it can also be used as a dipping sauce for fries, chicken tenders, and other fried foods.

Are there any health concerns with Yum Yum Sauce or Spicy Mayo?

As with any condiment, Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo should be consumed in moderation. Both sauces are high in fat and calories due to their mayonnaise base. However, if you’re looking for a healthier option, you can try making a homemade version with low-fat or vegan mayonnaise.

Key Takeaways

  • Yum Yum Sauce and Spicy Mayo are not the same thing.
  • Yum Yum Sauce is made with mayonnaise, tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, and other seasonings, while Spicy Mayo is a mixture of mayonnaise and hot sauce.
  • While they have similarities, they have different tastes and textures.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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