Mayonnaise is one of those catch-all condiments that everyone should have in their fridge. At any given time it can be called on to add body and tang to an everyday salad dressing, give a normal sandwich the moisture (or, as is the case with a mayo-swiped grilled cheese, the golden crust) it deserves, or serve as a spiced or herbed up dip for all manner of crisp-ity, crunch-ity things from golden brown French fries to crudités.
Many brands of store-bought mayonnaise are great—I’m personally a huge fan of Japanese Kewpie mayo—but homemade mayonnaise is an indisputable step above. It’s easy to make once you get the feel of it, and there’s nothing that will level up your sandwiches, dips, potato or chicken salads like fresh, creamy mayo that you made yourself. Bookmark this article for an easy peasy homemade mayo recipe, plus 5 exciting ways to spice it (or your favorite jar of store-bought stuff) up.
How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
Making mayo at home doesn’t have to be a headache and it also doesn’t require any special tools—however, a blender, stand mixer, hand mixer, or food processor will serve to help you speed the process up. Want vegan mayo? Find a great recipe for that, here.
To make about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, you’ll need 1 egg yolk and 3/4 cup of olive or canola oil. If you want a basic mayonnaise like what you might buy at the grocery store, choose canola oil or another neutral-tasting oil. If you want to go for something a little more flavorful to perhaps spice up into an aioli or rouille, choose olive oil instead.
Transfer the egg yolk to a bowl and let it come up to room temperature, about 1 hour. Very slowly start to both whisk the egg yolk and drizzle the oil into the bowl. I repeat, very slowly drizzle in the oil. It might be a bit painful to go so slowly, but it’s important, so trust me on this one.
If you’re having trouble both whisking, drizzling the oil, and keeping your bowl steady, fold a damp kitchen towel into a square and set the bowl on it as you whisk—that should help keep the bowl in place.
Once you’ve added about half the oil, it should take about 2 minutes to get to this point, you can start to drizzle it in a bit faster—whisking all the while. Once it’s very thick and all the oil is used up, season it with a pinch of salt, cover, and transfer to the fridge where it will keep for up to 3 days, or whisk in about 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar or lemon juice, taste, and season with more vinegar, lemon juice, or salt as needed before using, or covering, and storing.
If, by some small and heartbreaking chance, your mayo-making goes awry, it’s okay. You can probably fix it—here’s how: Get a new bowl and add about 1 tsp of really hot water to the bowl. Whisk really vigorously and very slowly start to drizzle in your broken, un-emulsified mayo. Keep whisking vigorously and drizzling in that broken mayo, until about half of it is added to the new bowl, then reinvestigate and see if it’s working and your mayo is becoming creamy and thick as it should be. If not, start again with a new bowl and that tiny splash of hot water, and a pinch of patience.
5 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Give Your Mayonnaise Some Heat
Once you have your base homemade mayonnaise ready to go, you’ll probably have the urge to use it right away in a variety of different ways. Do that, make another batch, and then spice it up in one of the five ways outlined below for a bit of punchy flavor and heat for sandwiches, sushi, deviled eggs, potato or chicken salads—basically, whatever your mayo-loving heart desires.
Add 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 chipotle chilis in adobo, and the juice from half a lime to a blender or small food processor. Blend until smooth and well combined. Serve immediately with French fries, nachos, or on a burger, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Add 3/4 cup mayonnaise (Japanese kewpie mayo if you have it) to a bowl with 2 tbsp Sriracha. Mix together, adding a bit of water or lime juice as needed in order to thin it out a bit. Serve immediately with sushi, on a roasted veggie grain bowl, or on a hot dog, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Add 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp buffalo sauce (or buffalo hot sauce, like Frank’s Red Hot), and the juice from 1/4 of a lemon to a bowl. Mix until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with plain fried chicken wings or celery sticks, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Garlicky Mayo (Cheater's Aioli)
Add 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 clove of grated garlic (use a microplane for this), and the juice from 1/4 of a lemon to a bowl. Mix until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately as the base for a chicken salad, swiped on a warm slice of baguette, or as a dip for anything fried, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Cheater's French Saffron and Pepper Mayo (Rouille)
Add 1/2 tsp saffron threads to a bowl with 1 tbsp hot water. Add in 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 clove of grated garlic (use a microplane for this), the juice from 1/4 of a lemon to a bowl, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately as the base for a deviled egg mixture, with bouillabaisse, or slathered on a grilled cheese sandwich, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.