how to make mayonnaise
the main ingredients & 2 easy alternative traditional recipes
My own journey
healthy & vegan alternatives
top 10 ways to use it, & even make it into something better!
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By traditional, we mean egg and oil based. More recently though, I´ve gotten into the habit of making a healthy no oil alternative with yoghurt, but at a recent bbq dinner I had special guests – so I wanted my coleslaw to be silky and creamy, mustard, and luxurious, so I had to make the real thing again. It had been a while and the first batch didn´t work out… the second was a beauty! I was using the first method below. But it didn’t work out because I was sure I made mayo before, with my Bamix hand blender, without having to drip the oil so I didn’t do the drip method. I found the Bamix recipe and it’s foolproof so I use it all the time now – see it in recipe no. 2
And I decided to record everything here so that I had a go-to recipe sheet for both
1. Best yellow creamy mayonnaise
2. A fast and foolproof method
plus some favourite recipes, methods, and tips you need to remember along the way.
the main ingredients
1. the EGGS
You need a good egg yolk to emulsify the mayonnaise. I love making the real stuff, but isn´t it annoying when it doesn´t work out – even when the eggs are not off! Why does that happen?
Eggs can be elusive. I remember even the best chef in our hotel in Morocco would get caught off guard every now and again by an egg! So I´ll give you all the tips we´ve found to make this as fool-proof as possible. First, it’s best to use room-temperature eggs. I tend to keep my eggs out of the fridge, but if they have been refrigerated I like to make sure they have been at room temperature for at least 10mins before I use them.
how can you tell a good egg from a bad one?
Test your eggs to see if they´re good or bad. Here´s the rule of thumb I use ( source: https://thewhoot.com/tips/test-egg-freshness-water-technique)
Fill a bowl of water and gently drop your egg in to see how it lands and lays.
– If it slowly sinks and lays horizontal on the bottom it´s at its most fresh point.
– If it floats up a little, it´s probably still okay.
– If it stands on its small end (vertical) on the bottom its NOT ok, probably it´s several weeks old and going off
– If it floats to the top its BAD. Why? Because as time goes on, the egg inside loses mositure and shrinks and because the shell is porous a big air pocket forms which makes it float.
We may be well past the days of unsafe salmonella-style eggs, but let’s be belt and braces about it. Raw eggs are in so many yummy dishes, so if your eggs are not already pasteurized, you can do this yourself at home. In fact many store bought eggs already are pasteurized – it’s worth checking.
To pasteurize them, you are essentially heating them up to a point that will kill any possible bacteria in them, without actually cooking them. The easiest method is to use the sous vide method. Set your sous-vide to 57.2℃ / 135℉ for at least 1 hour and 15mins. My sous vide is so small and easy to carry on my travels so I can cook and play anywhere that has a power outlet!
Then chill them in an ice bath before drying them off and repacking them in their box for use later.
2. the oil
Generally, mayo uses a bland/neutral oil, like sunflower oil. But you can make it with a mild groundnut or avocado oil too.
I’ve also heard that canola or grapeseed also works. Sometimes I see half and half of different oils.
I made the mistake of making it completely with olive oil once and it tasted too bitter. I have seen people make it with half olive oil and half avocado or sunflower oil (check out the vegan recipe using that at the bottom of the page.)
Many say that the French mayo came from the Spanish ailioli in the first place. It was invented by a French chef on the Spanish island of Menorca during the French occupation hundreds of years ago. The more traditional Spanish ailioli sauce is just a garlic and salt mix emulsified with olive oil.
The French Aioli is essentially garlic mayonnaise, so olive oil is needed to balance the garlic. So now we know that Spanish mayo and French aioli use olive oil! Now that I’m in Spain though, I notice cafés often serve something more like a garlic mayonnaise than the traditional Alioli.
When making it with olive oil, use a good one, but not unrefined extra virgin olive oil as the taste is too strong and doesn’t bind together as well.
3. the flavour
Mayonnaise is essentially made from eggs, oil, and a little acidic ingredient like lemon or vinegar. Seasoning is the usual salt and pepper.
Mustard is one other ingredient though, that is often added whilst making it. It’s optional but it gives the mayo depth and we love it!
Adding more yolk should make it creamier. Play with adding more herbs and spices. Cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne. Add herbs, cheeses, I’ve even seen a mix with thai curry spice! The choices are endless for a creamy dip, sauce, dressing or spread. If you’re adding other foods though try to use it up straight away and certainly don’t keep it more than 2 days.
A lot of variations are then made by adding something to the mayonnaise once it has been made – see my list of 10 ways to use mayo below.
Did you know it will only last up to 7 days in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar. Apparently, if you add a tablespoon of yoghurt whey to the mix before you let it sit for 6 hrs at room temperature will allow it to start to ferment and will help it last longer. – apparently up to 2 months! I have yet to try this.
You need to be aware that if you are adding anything else to it, like garlic, then it will only 2-3 days.
- Make sure you start with everything at
- Add more oil and blend, if you need to thicken it.
- When freshly made, leave it out of the fridge for about 6 hrs ( no more than 8) to allow the acid to work on any bacteria just incase!
- Then store it on an upper shelf in the fridge in an airtight jar.
- Did you know it will only last up to 7 days in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar. Apparently, if you add a tablespoon of yoghurt whey to the mix before you let it sit for 6 hrs at room temperature will allow it to start to ferment and will help it last longer. – apparently up to 2 months! I have yet to try this.
- You need to be aware that if you are adding anything else to it, like garlic, then it will only 2-3 days.
The journey started in France, making real mayonnaise as a teenager working in a children’s holiday camp, but now my fast, foolproof method is known as American mayo.
We never really encountered local mayonnaise styles in Asia or N.Africa (please leave a comment if you know different) but there are plenty of modern variations to spice it up.
Currently we’re in Spain where alioli is most popular. Aioli is a garlic mayonnaise that hails again from France ( Provence) but some say it was all started by a French chef in our neighbouring Spanish island of Menorca. Why? Because he decided to find a French way of making the most similar thing to the Spanish alioli which actually is simply made from garlic pounded with coarse sea salt with a mortar and pestle and then olive oil is slowly added to emulsify it. It’s more of a paste than a creamy sauce.
the 2 best traditional mayonnaise Recipe
For those that don’t make their own already, or who don’t own a food processor, it probably seems tricky, and for those that do, it’s just like whipping up a simple salad dressing. In fact, you only need a whisk to make mayonnaise along with a lot of elbow power!
I could give you lots of ways to make it but it essentially has 4 ingredients plus optional mustard. The number of eggs or yolks can vary and some put the lemon and seasoning in at the beginning, some at the end.
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
Put everything into the beaker or processor- except the oil.
Then add the oil last, using one of the following two methods.
Traditonal Drip method
power handblender whisk method
With the hand blender method, let everything sit for a minute then gently add the oil. Use the whisk blade and blend on high – start at the bottom and as it begins to thicken / emulsify, then pull the blender up and down. 10 seconds should do it.
Use the egg yolks only and drip the oil in…
remember – start with everything at room temperature, and drip the oil in slowly whilst the blender is on.
3 egg yolks
a teaspoon of dijon mustard
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper (freshly ground if possible)
1 1/4 cups of flavourless cooking oil
Put the eggs and mustard in and start blending, slowly pouring the oil in for 30seconds. Then you should see it emulsifying and you can start to speed up the oil pouring. Stop blending when all the oil is in. Then season and add the juice of half lemon. Stir in and leave it maybe 20 seconds before you taste.
throw it all in (nicely!) and blend
remember – start with everything at room temperature
It’s known as American mayonnaise because it uses the whole egg, not just the yolk ( so it won’t be as thick or yellow as a yolk only mayo.)
Crack 1 egg into a nice tall narrow beaker or jar that you can get your stick blender into.
add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
add 1 teaspoon mustard ( dijon or grainy)
about 350ml sunflower oil (start with 250ml, add more to thicken it)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
season it (salt & pepper)
Put everything except the oil in a tall, narrow jar or jug. Let the acid start to work on the mix for 5-10seconds whilst you attach the whisk blade to your Bamix blender.
Attach the whisk blade to your blender, pop it on high speed, and insert it to the bottom of the jug and turn on. Start counting to 10. Let the vortex action start to emulsify the blend at the bottom of the jug then raise the hand blender up toward the oil on top and continue. Blend up and down to mix.
You’ll see an amazing mustardy mayonnaise form in about10secs.
My journey started the first time I saw it being made in the kitchens in France, offering me a real alternative to the old salad cream I hated as a child, to never being able to finish a jar of Hellmans before it went off, to now finding the easiest recipes, the history and science behind it and substitutions to make it healthier.
My journey with mayonnaise actually started the traditional way, in France, as a teenager – offering me a welcome alternative to the salad cream I hated, but my mother loved! Then it continued to the English way – a jar of Hellmans – the best you can get in a jar because you´re too busy, and my introduction to a mustardy mayo! Then to the healthy way, when you trying to break free from the mixed up, bad for the planet, commercial world that we´re all living in! Back to the French way ( recipe 1)… and now the foolproof American way ( recipe 2) . And so the journey now continues on to good egg bad egg tips, fermenting it, easy pasteurizing with sous vide, variations on the theme of mayonnaise, and non-dairy, and healthy alternatives and so on…
It all started in France
I was working for one month at a children’s holiday camp in France ( ¨colonie de vacance¨), with the sole purpose of learning French because I was the only foreigner, and no english was spoken – at all! So, at 17yrs, as well as coming home fluent in French ( I knew I nailed when my dorm-mates told me I was talking in my sleep… in French yay! ) , three other learning memories stick in my mind.
- I learned about how bats panic and go round in circles and grab at girls’ hair when they´re trapped in a room – especially if silly boys are also in the room.
- I learned to be more aware of strange men as you go through customs ( as I arrived in England, a bit distracted as I tried to remember how to speak English again to my excited parents waving on the other side of customer, I was sure I found a man suddenly by my side stating he was with me as we walked through customs… wow that was weird.
- I was meant to be monitoring the children playing but often found myself curious in the kitchen so I got the useful job of adding the oil slooowwwwly into the big processor making mayonnaise. So that´s all I knew about mayonnaise making. Add the oil slowly ( but now I have found a way to just put all the ingredients in on go… and it works!) After that, I was never made it myself for at least a few decades.
Hellman’s mustard mayonnaise
I was thrilled when Hellmans started producing a mayonnaise. I was brought up with salad cream on the table and hated it – t was too tarte for me.
Ask anyone English, and they´ll say Hellmans is probably the nearest mustardy shop-bought jar you can buy. I liked it because it tasted a little mustardy. So now I always add mustard into my home-made mayo.
I started buying it because I neither had the courage nor the tools to make real mayonnaise, then as I started on the career ladder I didn’t give time to cooking.
But I stopped buying it! Why? Because I couldn’t use enough of it so it sat there in the fridge, looking at me, making me feel guilty that I should be using it up. But I would tell myself it´s probably too fattening to use, and then I ask myself how long has it been there?
Was still safe to use? People do say that opened commercial mayo jars can last for months and months so then I start to think if that’s the case then it must be full of preservatives and wonder if it’s full of processed E numbers that aren´t good for me either !
So we went without mayo for many years… until I discovered chips with mayonnaise, which Paul adored.
So now we both love it and in our new life we make our own mayo all the time. The basic mayo recipe generally lasts anything from 3 to 7 days in the fridge, and I’ve built a little list of ways to use it all up so none ever goes to waste!
More than mayonnaise
Read on to find how mayonnaise is now the base of so many new sauces and dressings for me. Check out my 10 great ways to use it below.
More healthy than mayonnaise?
I do love a more tarte yoghurt based mayo style sauce but sometimes you need the sweeter, creamier version. So I still want to make the aquafaba vegan version of mayonnaise but haven’t gotten round to it. So I’ve gathered some recipes below for you. In fact, in my research I found a lot of recipes used soy milk rather than the aquafaba. I think it sounds like it will be a little thinner than an egg based mayo. Is it healthier? Well it still uses all that oil, and these recipes all add a little sugary something to taste It’s just eggs that are not included.
10 great ways to use Mayonnaise
Put a dollop of mayo on your boiled eggs, fish or alongside crab cakes. Serve with roasted veggies, chips or roast potatoes. Or simply replace butter on a sandwich with a spread of mayonnaise ( I like to do one half butter and one half mayo ).
Or, use the mayonnaise as a base to make any of the next 10 dips, dressings or cooking aids.
Perfectly crispy seared steak
For something else… add the following ideas to 2 tablespoons (30ml) of fresh mayonnaise.
1. Lemon Mayonnaise dip
Add another good splash of lemon and a few big pinches of zest if you want it to have that citrus burst. Serve with fish goujons.
2. Pesto mayonnaise
Add 1.5 teaspoons of pesto for a green pesto mayo. Serve with breadsticks ( garlicky, cheesy ones even better!)
3. Piquant lime
Add some lime juice and black pepper to make a nice fresh dip for crudités. Serve with carrot batons.
Add to a fresh mix or shredded white and red cabbage and red onion, grated carrots and apple. Serve with bbq, steak or burger.
5. garlic mayonnaise
For a simple garlic mayo, add a grated garlic clove, a half teaspoon of lemon juice, and season to taste. This is not the same as the French Aioli or Spanish Alioli (which is made with olive oil and mashed garlic). Serve on steak, with fish, or chips.
6. smoked paprika mayonnaise
Just add a quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika. We love the Spanish smoked piquant pimento ( spicy paprika) – the Pimenton de la Vera you get in those cute little red tins. Serve with crisps or crudités – goes best with red pepper or cauliflower florets.
7. pan alioli / pan mallorquin
Serve with olives and sourdough bread – pan aioli as it’s called in Mallorca. The more modern creamy egg based mayo style version is served in lots of cafés so this is a bit of a cheat – but the real traditional alioli is thicker and is just made from a mash of salt and garlic cloves emulsified with olive oil ( some old recipes add vinegar). It’s more like a paste.
8. Perfectly seared steak
After you pat your steak dry, smear mayo on both sides and pop into your super hot heavy based frying pan or griddle and sear both sides as you would normally. You’ll get a crispier sear with the help of the mayonnaise.
9. Steak sauce options – easy blue cheese sauce
Now for something to go on top of that nicely seared steak! Add 4 tablespoons of sour cream to the 2 tablespoons of mayo. Add 80g blue cheese, a good squeeze of lemon ( 1 teaspoon or more to taste) + salt and pepper to taste – and an option plop of worcestershire sauce if you have it.
10. Tartar sauce
Add 1 tablespoon each of finely chopped gherkin ( dill pickle) and capers and chopped fresh dill. Use 1 teaspoon if it is dried, not fresh. Use parsley if you don’t have dill ). Squeeze 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice in. Add 1/8 -1/4 Worcestershire sauce (optional), and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard perhaps if you haven’t already added it to the mayo when you made it. Finally – add flaked sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and maybe more lemon juice to taste.
Easy tartare sauce
For a simple, wholesome sauce, just add to your mayo 3 tablespoons each of chopped capers, gherkins and parsley, plus a finely chopped shallot to 200ml mayo. Mix it up. Season to taste with pepper and lemon to taste. Job done. i made this one to go with a fishfinger sandwich 🥰
Healthy mayonnaise alternative
Apart from using a healthier oil, you could lighten up your mayonnaise load by mixing half mayonnaise and half yoghurt when serving.
Or, I make a simply healthy alternative mayonnaise with just yoghurt and salt, lemon, minced garlic. you can add 1,2 or all 3 ingredients to suit your taste… makes a fresher, more tart coleslaw.
Bonus 11th variation!
I like to add add some freshly grated garlic and ginger and citrus peel (lemon) and optional citrus juice to a yoghurt or half yoghurt mayo when serving with smoked salmon. Yummmmm! Add chopped pistachios for even more yummmmmm.
Dairy-free, Vegan mayonnaise
I know you’re expecting me to say cashew cream or nutritional yeast here but no. Why not just try the old fashioned alioli ( ok and maybe add some vegan cashew cream or aquafaba into it to make it looser).
Most vegan recipes however, simply replace the eggs with aquafaba – the gloopy liquid that comes with a jar or tin of beans like chickpea/garbanzo beans or butter beans etc. Or you can also use a good ( fatty) unsweetened soy milk as an egg replacement.
Here’s a few recipes I found for you. I have yet to try them out, so feel free to comment and let me know what you think!
Interesting that they all add a sweetener, I wonder what my home made stevia liquid would work here.
I also want to try adding ground powdered mustard here to see how it works too. That way I can carry the powder with me and make it more easily whilst travelling.
Apparently, it thickens up in the fridge, and should also last up to 5 days in the fridge.
½ cup (120 ml) room temperature soy milk
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar, can substitute apple cider vinegar + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, optional
¼ to ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup neutral oil like sunflower, grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard or substitute ½ teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cane sugar or maple syrup, optional
½ cup unsweetened soy milk (120ml)
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup avocado Oil (240ml) + 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ cup aquafaba
¼ tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1-3 tsp brown rice syrup (or substitute stevia, cane sugar or maple syrup to taste)
¾-1 cup sunflower oil (a neutral oil is important here for flavour, avocado also worked well and we’ve heard canola does)
½ cup unsweetened soy milk (125mL)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lime juice or white vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard
1 cup any neutral oil (not coconut oil) (250mL)
More mayonnaise based recipes
I want to make a ranch dressing. I got this recipe off a friend that goes by ‘mini moreless’ . Thanks ;;)
4 tbsp MAYONNAISE
2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tbsp ranch seasoning
1 tbsp dried tarragon
1tbsp dried chives
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp dried dill
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ tbsp ground black pepper
Easy Bearnaise sauce
An unbelievably easy-to-make, silky creamy bearnaise sauce. You can’t usually reheat it so check out what made the leftovers a real winner the next day 😋
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Thank-you to Tengyart from Russia for this sad to mad eggs image.
Eggs can be the most difficult things to cook well, and I feel this image represents all the emotions from cook to chef.
Makes us giggle.