What is the difference between caviar, tobiko and ikura?

Answer 1:

The sturgeon provides the caviar.

Ikura salmon with tobiko tobiko tobiko tobiko tobiko tobiko tobiko tobiko tob

I’ve never had tobiko or kura before.

Answer 2:

The distinction between caviar, tobiko, and ikura is that they are all fish eggs with varied flavors, textures, colors, and sizes. Apart from flavor, the most noticeable distinction is that tobiko and ikura are more commonly seen in Japanese restaurants, whereas caviar is more commonly found in gourmet restaurants.


“Traditionally, the name caviar refers solely to wild sturgeon roe from the Caspian and Black Seas,” according to Wikipedia [1].

When I see caviar, it’s usually as a garnish on a meal (so don’t expect to see people spooning it out). The eggs are tiny and black in appearance. Caviar may also refer to a type of fish roe; the size of caviar varies based on the type of fish. The majority of caviar I’ve seen is black.


Tobiko are the eggs of flying fish. Sushi restaurants are the most common place to find them. They are often red-orange in hue (as opposed to masago, which are smaller and brighter), although they can also be green, red, or black. Tobiko is often served as a garnish or as a stand-alone item. If there is no Japanese name next to “flying fish eggs,” you can order either tobiko or masago, depending on the eatery.

Tobiko Omelet Reciep (with Fly Fish Roes!) image

Tobiko is my preferred tobiko over masago. The tobiko is somewhat crispier, and the eggs add more to the texture and flavor since they are slightly larger.


Ikura is a kind of salmon milt. Fish roe has a more unique flavor than tobiko or caviar, in my opinion. I’ve tried ikura that was sweet, salty, and fishy. They remind me a little of popping boba on a lesser scale.

PUCCI SEAFOODS Blog is the source of this image.

Salmon roe is slightly larger than tobiko or caviar, and I used to refer to them as “giant fish roe” when I was younger. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of ikura and caviar: