Mayonnaise is the simple emulsion of oil and egg yolks, a little mustard, vinegar, spices (and herbs). With a strong arm (and a blender) you can turn this simple emulsion into creamy homemade mayonnaise. Anything from a store-bought jar pales in comparison.
Homemade Mayonnaise – Simply the Best
Over the last few months I have made batch, after batch of homemade mayonnaise for a recipe testing project. If you have never had homemade mayonnaise, you’ve never really had mayonnaise. It will be love at first bite. Homemade mayonnaise is a simple pleasure that transforms a simple recipe into amazing.
Skip Commercial Mayonnaise
I admit it’s easier to reach for a jar of ready-made mayonnaise. But those commercially prepared jars often contain ingredients like modified food starch (hidden gluten), cellulose gel, thickeners, emulsifiers, preservatives and poor quality, genetically modified oils produced with high heat and toxic chemicals.
How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
The key to making homemade mayonnaise is time and patience – two words we hate. It takes 20 minutes to make 1 cup. For simple mayo? Yes. And it is worth it.
Start by whisking the yolks, dry mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and cayenne together in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil a drop at a time. Seriously, drop by drop at the start. That sets up the emulsion. It starts to get creamy and smooth.
To stabilize the bowl so you can both pour and whisk at the same time, nestle the bowl in a twisted kitchen towel.
After you have added a small amount of oil and the emulsion is working, you can transfer it to the blender to complete the process.
So why not start in the blender? Because the small amount of yolks won’t come above the spinning blades of the blender, so the emulsion doesn’t start right. If you were making a double batch? Maybe, but I have not tried that. I make small batches, just 1 cup at a time. Small batches because freshly made mayo only lasts a few days (no preservatives), and you are using raw egg yolks. If using raw yolks concerns you, buy pasteurized eggs.
Start by hand and finish in the blender = perfect mayonnaise. And your arm will not fall off from the whisking.
Skip the Bad Oils
First, choose the right oil. You might think canola (rapeseed) or vegetable oil, sunflower oil, soybean, sunflower, safflower or rice bran oil. All I can say is no. These are not healthy oils, as marketing campaigns mislead you into believing. They should not even be in your pantry.
These oils are highly processed, highly refined and high in poor quality Omega-6 fats. Most are processed using high heat and toxic solvents like hexane, as well as neutralizers, de-waxers, de-gummers, bleaches and deodorizers before they end up in the bottle looking pure and innocent. And some are made from genetically modified (GMO) crops.
Choose the Good Oils
There are really only a few good oils for making mayonnaise. Not just good as in good tasting, but good as in healthy.
These oils are heart-healthy, unrefined or naturally refined, expeller or cold pressed, packed with antioxidants, high in vitamins A,E,D,and K, and mostly monounsaturated. Two winners are extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil. Both oils make rich, flavorful mayonnaise.
But sometimes you might want a very light, neutral tasting mayonnaise. What then? The oil I am on the fence about is grapeseed oil. Why? Because it is high in Omega-6 fats.
About Omega-6 Fats
Omega-6 fats are something that we need, just like Omega-3 fats. A healthy ratio is about 1:1.
Unfortunately, the standard American diet has a ratios of 16:1 or 20:1, way out of whack. Too much Omega-6 fats may increase the risk of inflammation, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.
If you eat a diet high in processed, fast and junk foods that are made with poor quality, industrially made vegetable oils, you are unknowingly consuming high levels of Omega-6 fats.
If you have eliminated fast, junk and processed foods from your diet and don’t use vegetable oil, you probably eat a healthy ratio of Omega-6 and 3 fats. In that case, you might be fine using a little grapeseed oil in your diet. Only you can decide. It does have nice, light clean taste.
Look for high quality, expeller pressed, naturally refined oil, produced without chemicals.. One brand I trust is Spectrum Organics.
Add the Herbs For Flavor and Color
After I make the mayonnaise, I love to add chopped fresh herbs. Here I’ve added parsley and chives. You might try dill, tarragon, thyme or whatever your favorite herb is. Parsley and chives is a nice, versatile basic. Herbs lend flavor as well as eye appeal.
What Do With Homemade Mayonnaise
- Top a burger with a dollop
- Use as a sauce for fish or chicken breast
- Use it as a dip for raw veggies as a snack
- Thin it down and use as a creamy salad dressing over crisp greens
- Use it as a dip for steamed or grilled artichokes
- Use it to make chicken salad
- Try a dollop on poached eggs
- Add finely grated or chopped garlic to make aioli
- Add Dijon for a more mustardy mayo dressing
- Try it in the broccoli-cabbage slaw recipe
How to Fix Broken Homemade Mayonnaise
If you get impatient and try to hurry with the oil , you will “break” the mayonnaise. That is, your creamy mayo will suddenly go liquid on you. It can be fixed.
In a medium bowl, whisk a fresh egg yolk until smooth, then slowly start to pour the broken mayonnaise into the fresh yolk while whisking like mad. It should re-emulsify.
Homemade Herbed Mayonnaise
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/16 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/16 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup olive oil grapeseed or avocado oil
- 2-3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs of choice parsley, dill, chives, cilantro or tarragon
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vinegar (or lemon juice), dry mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne until smooth. Place the olive oil in a measuring cup or small pitcher than has a pour spout from which you can easily control pouring.
- Twist a long kitchen towel into a circle and nest the bowl in it for stability. You can also place the towel and bowl inside a pan to hold it steady. With one hand whisk and the other hand drizzle in the oil. Start a drop at a time and whisk fast. Drop by drop, keep adding and whisking until the emulsion starts to get creamy and thick. When you have added about 2 tablespoons of oil, pour the emulsion into your blender. Scrape every bit out with a flexible spatula.
- Start the blender on low with the lid on and the center cap off. This will reduce splattering. Start adding the oil a few drops at a time, then in a fine thin stream. Keep going until all of the oil is incorporated and you have thick, creamy mayonnaise. It will take about 20 minutes to incorporate all of the oil. Be patient and go slow for thick, creamy mayonnaise. Finish by stirring in fresh chopped herbs.
If you get impatient and try to add the oil quickly, your emulsion might “break” or turn to liquid. If that happen, it can be fixed. You will need an extra egg yolk. See notes in the post.