How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
With only four ingredients that you probably already have around the house and five minutes of your time, you can make homemade mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is simply an emulsion of oil and egg yolks, with a little acidity and salt added to brighten the flavors. Here's the basic recipe:
How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
Time: 5 minutes | Makes: 1 cup
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (or vinegar)
- 1 cup of neutral-flavored oil (like light olive oil, grapeseed oil, walnut or sweet almond oil)
- A pinch of good quality fine grain sea salt
- Sturdy wire whisk
- Bowl (with high sides to prevent splashes)
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Set aside the egg whites for another purpose (like making meringue) and place the egg yolks in the bowl.
- Pour the fresh lemon juice into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk them well.
- Slowly, a few drops at a time, pour the oil into the bowl while whisking constantly. Once the mayonnaise has started to thicken, pour the oil in a slow and steady stream. If the oil starts to build up at all, stop pouring and whisk the mayonnaise briskly until the oil has incorporated.
- If the mayonnaise starts looking too thick, add enough water to thin it to the consistency you like. Add about a teaspoon of water at a time.
- Once all the oil has been mixed in, the mayonnaise should be thick and fluffy, with your whisk forming ribbons through the mixture. Season it carefully with fine grain sea salt. Add a small splash of water if you would like a thinner mayonnaise.
Store your homemade mayonnaise in the fridge in a covered container for three days.
VIDEO: Watch Chef John make Homemade Garlic Basil Mayonnaise from scratch using a stick blender:
Top Tips for Making Mayonnaise
- Use pasteurized eggs if using raw eggs is a concern. Raw eggs can contain salmonella bacteria which can cause a dangerous foodborne illness. Pasteurized eggs have been cooked to a temperature that destroys the bacteria without fully cooking the egg.
- Use room temperature eggs. Cold eggs will often result in mayonnaise that does not thicken.
- Always add the lemon juice first. Lemon juice helps break down the protein in the egg yolks so they emulsify better. Egg yolks contain a natural emulsifier — lecithin — which helps thicken sauces and bind ingredients.
- Start with a VERY slow stream of oil. A few drops at a time is best until you notice the mayonnaise starting to thicken. Once it has started to thicken you can pour the oil in a little quicker.
- Season the mayonnaise with good quality sea salt and add only a tiny pinch at a time. Mayonnaise can become too salty very easily.
- Only use fresh squeezed lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice will give your mayonnaise a funny flavor.
Homemade Mayo Troubleshooting
- My mayo is too thick: If the mayonnaise starts looking too thick, add enough water to thin it to the consistency you desire. Add about a teaspoon of water at a time.
- My mayo is too thin: If you're still partway through the process and your mayonnaise is still very thin, you can save the emulsion by adding another egg yolk, whisking vigorously. Add in the remaining oil, plus extra for a double recipe, and adjust the seasonings. However, if it never thickens, and you're left stirring a puddle, you may need to start over.
Customize Your Mayo
Because of its neutral flavor, basic homemade mayonnaise is a great base for making many different flavored mayonnaises. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Garlic Aioli: Add finely minced garlic and an optional dab of Dijon mustard.
- Tarragon Aioli: Add minced garlic and fresh tarragon.
- Sriracha Aioli: Add sriracha and lime juice.
- Remoulade: Add cornichons, fresh dill, capers, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, galic, and cayenne pepper.
- Lime Mayo: Add minced red onion, garlic, and lime juice.
- Chipotle Mayo: Add chipotle chilies and adobo sauce.
- Vegan Mayo: Blend soy milk, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and sunflower oil.
Check out our collection of Condiment Recipes.