Q: Why on earth would someone make their own mayonnaise?
A: Because it tastes really good + it’s probably healthier + it’s pretty easy + it can be much less expensive.
Go to your refrigerator and grab that jar of mayonnaise tucked behind the ketchup and the weird jar of jelly you can’t remember buying.
Check the expiration date.
Unless you regularly use a lot of mayonnaise at your house, you weren’t sure if it was expired or not until you checked the date. A lot of us just threw that jar away and it wasn’t anywhere near empty. I hate that! (And then we pulled it back out, washed the jar, and recycled it, of course.)
Last time I checked, the country’s most popular and best-selling mayonnaise had the following ingredients:
But that’s not an organic product, so let’s check one of those.
Okay, I guess that’s better. Organic, non-GMO, expeller pressed vs. chemically extracted, no chemical additives, nothing hidden under the name natural flavor. Of course, it’s more expensive and it has a shorter shelf life.
Most of the time when I need mayonnaise, I only need a little bit — by which I mean a cup or less.
Before we start, if whisking for 3 minutes is a challenge for you, no worries, this can easily be done with a hand mixer with a whisk attachment. Keep it at a speed which is closer to a fast whisk and less of a whipping cream speed. Here’s the Cuisinart model I use — notice the whisk!
I start with an egg yolk, a dab of Dijon mustard, pinch of salt and pepper, and either a splash of white wine vinegar or a splash of lemon juice. It kind of depends on the flavor I’m shooting for. Tuna salad is lemon juice, potato salad is vinegar, and so on.
By the way, tartar sauce is this mayo plus some pickle relish, a little more lemon juice, and a dash of salt. It’s outstanding. (You can get more complicated using capers, mustard, shallots, and herbs. If company’s coming. Try the Extra Tangy Tartar Sauce Recipe over at SeriousEats if you’re curious.)
Whisk that for a full minute. It will start to get frothy.
Then drizzle a scant cup of oil over the next two minutes while you keep whisking. Slower at first.
By the way, I prefer mostly canola oil but sometimes I use a little good olive oil too.
But it’s a bit yellow?!
I know. We’re used to very white. The commercial manufacturers use high-speed mixing machines which lets them cut costs by using very little egg and a bunch of water. They also more often than not use soybean oil, which is a bit lighter, and egg whites. I prefer a good canola.
It’s so good. Taste it. See?
As a side note, I guess, technically speaking with the addition of the mustard this is a rémoulade. But notice the two labels we looked at earlier both had some in it. However, if you don’t like the tang of the mustard, feel free to leave it out or use a little less of it — I’m not the mayonnaise police.
If you have one of these not work, for whatever reason — it sometimes happens at first, then please try it again. You probably added the oil too fast or too much at once. You can do this.
3 Minutes to Mayonnaise
Making your own mayonnaise is quick and easy. Make sure you keep whisking and drizzle the oil, not pour, or the mayo will "break" and be watery.
- 1 egg yolk Use good eggs with yolks that are more orange than pale yellow. It's so worth it.
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup light oil I use mostly canola.
Whisk everything except the oil in a medium-sized bowl (to give you some room to whisk) for 1 minute.
While whisking, drizzle the oil into the bowl over the next 2 minutes. Slower is better than faster until you get a feel for it.
Using an Immersion Blender
If you own one, an immersion blender makes even shorter work of this. Some people call it a hand blender, or a stick blender, or as Chef Emeril Lagasse likes to say, a boat motor. I use this KitchenAid model.
I included a picture of the jar I use too. It’s important that it be just a bit larger in diameter than the blender end itself. If it’s too big, like a bowl for example, it won’t work because it doesn’t draw the ingredients into the blender itself. Also, make sure to use the high speed if yours is adjustable.
Put all of the ingredients in the jar and put the blender at the bottom of the jar. Start blending and after the mix starts to emulsify (or thicken) raise the blender up to incorporate anything left at the top.
Do NOT overblend it.
Quick tip: if it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of water and re-blend for a couple of seconds.
It looks like this when you stick a spatula in it LOL.