Mayonnaise is the simple emulsion of oil and egg yolks, a little mustard, vinegar, and spices. With a strong arm and a blender, you can turn this simple emulsion into creamy, dreamy homemade mayonnaise. Anything from a store-bought jar pales in comparison. Add fresh chopped herbs for extra delicious flavor (optional).
If you have never had homemade mayonnaise, you've never really had mayonnaise. It will be love at first bite. It is a simple pleasure that transforms any simple recipe into something amazing.
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.
- Egg yolks
- White wine vinegar or lemon juice
- Dry mustard
- Sea salt
- Ground white pepper (no black specks)
- Cayenne pepper
- Finely chopped fresh herbs (optional)
The key to making homemade mayonnaise is time and patience - two words that make us cringe. It takes 20 minutes to make 1 cup. For simple mayo? Yes. And it is worth it. My technique is to start by hand and finish it in the blender.
Start by Hand
Begin 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.
Chef's tip - To stabilize the bowl so you can both pour and whisk at the same time, nestle the bowl in a twisted kitchen towel.
Ingredients for mayonnaise in a bowl.
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. Maybe if you were making a double batch, 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 equals perfect mayonnaise. And your arm will not fall off from the whisking.
Mayonnaise made in a blender.
Skip 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.
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.
If you eat processed, fast and junk foods, manufacturers generally use poor quality, industrially made vegetable oils. You are unknowingly consuming high levels of Omega-6 fats. The risk? Increased inflammation, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.
Choose 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, quality mayonnaise.
If you are not happy with only extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, look for high quality, expeller pressed, non-GMO, naturally refined oil produced without chemicals. One good brand is Spectrum Organics, for limited use. Buy small bottles.
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.
Ways to Use
- 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
Homemade herbed mayonnaise in a jar.
If it Breaks
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 because you've lost the emulsion. 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.
Because of the raw egg yolks, fresh homemade mayonnaise will only last 2-3 days at the most, so make small batches like this and enjoy it.
Homemade Mayonnaise (with optional herbs)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/16 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/16 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 2-3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs of choice, optional 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 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. Finish by stirring in fresh chopped herbs if desired.