What Are Bonito Flakes?

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A staple ingredient in many of Japan’s most authentic recipes, bonito flakes will bring a big umami impact to any dish. Known as Katsuobushi in Japan, these dried fish flakes are incredibly popular, not just in Japan, but all across Asia.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the fishy world of bonito flakes. By the end, you’ll be so inspired and excited to use bonito flakes in your next meal that you’ll be heading down to your local Asian grocery store to sniff some out today. 

What Are Bonito Flakes?

Bonito flakes are tiny wisps of dried skipjack tuna that can be found at any Asian or specialty grocery store. They are used in Japanese cooking to add a smoky, intense taste to dishes. They are similar to anchovies but more delicate.

They are usually dried and sold as a snack food or seasoning. The name bonito comes from the Japanese word for tuna, which is also called “bonito.” Bonito flakes are often used to season sushi dishes.

What Is Bonito?

Bonito is a type of fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It has a mild flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked.

What Do Bonito Flakes Taste Like?

Bonito flakes have a smokiness and savoriness that comes from the smoke and the dried bonito. Umami is the fifth basic taste.

Glutamic acid and inosine are two compounds that give umami flavor. Smoked bonito flakes contain more inosinic acid than any other kind of bonito.

This gives them a unique savory flavor. Aromatic compounds such as 2-methylbutanal and 3-methylbutanal contribute to the aroma of smoked bonito flakes.

How To Use Bonito Flakes?

Bonito flakes are used as an ingredient in dashi. Dashi is a flavorful broth made from kelp (kombu) and bonito flakes.

Kombu is a type of seaweed that is often found dried and salted. Bonito flakes are dried fish scales that are ground into powder form.

What Are Bonito Flakes’s Health Benefits?

Bonito flakes are rich in protein, iron, and vitamin B12. They may help with brain health, metabolism, and heart health. They may help lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Types Of Bonito Flakes

Bonito flakes are usually made by adding salt to dried fish. Saltwater fish such as tuna and mackerel are used to make bonito flakes.


Bonito flakes are pieces of dried fish that are used as an ingredient in many dishes. They are usually sold in packages or cans, but sometimes you may see them fresh in markets. They are usually very salty.


Karebushi is dried bonito which is made by shaving off fat from the surface of Arabushi and applying mold several times.

After drying, it is ready to be used as dashi or soup stock. It has a richer taste than Arabushi bonito but is less bitter.

It also creates an aroma and flavor that plays well with other ingredients. It is more expensive than Arabushi bonito.

How Are Bonito Flakes Made?

Bonito flakes are made of dried bonito fish. To make them, the fish is cut into three pieces. These pieces are put into a boiling basket, and they’re boiled for about an hour.

After they’re boiled, the bones are pulled out by hand or with special tools. Finally, they’re smoked over cherry blossoms or oak wood.

Bonito flakes are made by shaving the dried bonito with a special shaver, then drying them out in the sun.

The process takes a very long time, but the result is worth it! You get delicious bonito flakes, which you can eat as an appetizer or snack.

Bonito flakes are dried fish flakes that come from Japan. They are used as a seasoning in Japanese cuisine. To prepare these flakes, you need to soak them in water overnight.

Then you boil them until they become soft and transparent. After this step, you remove the bones and then dry them. You can use them to season foods such as rice, noodles, soups, etc.

What To Do With Used Bonito Flakes?

You can use bonito flakes to make dashi, a Japanese stock made from kombu (kelp) and bonito (dried tuna). The leftover bonito flakes can be reused to make a tasty topping for rice or a filling for onigiri.

Bonito flakes are dried, salted tuna flakes used as an ingredient in sushi. Wet bonito flakes are soaked in water, then fried until crispy.

Pan-fried bonito flakes are made by soaking bonito flakes in water, then pan-frying them until crispy.

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning mix containing sesame seeds, nori seaweed strips, and spices. Sushi rice is cooked sticky rice seasoned with vinegar and salt.

Soy sauce is a salty brown liquid condiment commonly used in Japan.

What Are Some Bonito Flakes Substitutes?

Bonito flakes are used as an ingredient in Japanese cuisine. To make a delicious bonito flakes recipe, you can use any of the following substitutes:

Dulse Flakes And Nori

Dulse is a type of seaweed that tastes great when fried or dried. It is also used as a seasoning for sushi rolls.

Nori is a type of seaweed that tastes great when fried. It is also used in various recipes. It is a great alternative to Katsuobushi.

Kombu Or Konbu

Dashi (pronounced “dah-shy”) is often used to make miso soup or stock. It is made by simmering fish bones in water with a kombu.

Kombu replaces bonito flakes in recipes because it adds the same umami flavor. Glutamate is found in meat, vegetables, and seaweed.

Mackerel Powder

Mackerel is a type of fish that tastes similar to tuna. Its powder is very popular and used for many different dishes.

You can buy mackerel powder in stores around the world. If you can’t find bonito flakes, then you should use mackerel powder instead.


So there you have it. You now know what bonito flakes are, how they came to be, and most importantly how to incorporate them into your cooking.

Whether you’ve never tried them before or had them at a restaurant and are eager to bring them into your kitchen, we hope this article got your creative cooking juices flowing and bonito flakes are on the menu tonight.

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