September 5, 2009

Condiments: Mayonnaise


Mayonnaise is deliciously simple to make and tastes nothing like the stuff you buy in a jar. All you need to make it is a bowl, a whisk, a squeeze bottle, and a few ingredients. It's really handy to have a soft silicone pad that will keep the bowl from moving while you whisk. Alternatively, form a damp towel into a ring and set the bowl into it.

1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
1 teaspoon water (optional but useful)
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (optional)
4 ounces (approximately) extra virgin olive oil (optional)
4 ounces (approximately) canola oil (8 ounces without olive oil)

Mayo 1Whisk together the yolk, lemon juice, and water. Then use the squeeze bottle filled with oil to add just a few drops of oil so that you can begin the emulsion. I find that pouring oil from a can or bottle doesn't work well for me--too much oil comes out to start the emulsion.

Once you have the emulsion well started, you can squeeze the bottle to squirt a stream of oil into the mixture. If it looks a little oily, or starts to break up, stop adding oil until it smooths out. If that doesn't work add a splash more cold water and whisk until it comes back together.

Mayo 2After adding about four ounces of olive oil, add the mustard and salt, then switch to canola oil and continue whisking until you've added about 8 ounces total of oil. You can use all canola oil if you wish, I just prefer the more pungent flavor of olive oil. When you've added as much oil as you dare, taste and adjust the seasoning.

That's it. No real fuss, just a bit of work, and you've got a great tasting cup of mayonnaise. Use it immediately, or refrigerate for a day.

Some people use a food processor to make mayonnaise. For whatever reason, I've never succeeded with a food processor. Since I'm quite happy with the result of doing it by hand, I don't really care.

There are lots of options you can use to extend this mother recipe. Try adding a pinch of chipotle powder or minced chipotles in adobo for a spicy mayo. Some freshly ground wasabi makes a very nice twist on the classic. In fact, almost anything you think might taste good in mayonnaise works just fine. Have fun!


  1. S excited about the BLT challenge - we picked our first tomatoes today and are having friends over next Sat for our "reveal" dinner. We are going to have to be VERY creative, methinks!

    Bread baking tomorrow and Monday and then mayo testing all next week...

  2. I had no idea a mayonnaise base was so easy to make! I'm definitely going to have to try this - thanks for sharing!

  3. Someday I hope to be as creative and successful as you. Your mayo looks better than any I have ever seen. I am excited to try it.

  4. Gareth, that squeeze bottle tip is priceless. Your mayo looks divine. Love your town.

  5. I love making homemade main problem where I live is the humidity. If it's too humid the mayo inevitably fails. I've found that my wrists simply cannot take all that whisking and so I've found a use for that weird and wonderful food processor attachment that whips stuff.

    4 egg yolks
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1 tsp salt
    1-2 twists of a pepper grinder (mixed pepper)
    1 TBSP whit wine vinegar
    1/2 Cup Sunflower oil
    1/2 Cup canola oil

    Place egg yolks, salt, pepper, and Dijon into processor, turn on med-low for 30 seconds. Slowly add oil. Once 1/4 cup of oil has been added (it should be starting to firm up to look like mayo by now) add the vinegar....continue mixing at the same speed. The vinegar thins it a bit but start adding the oil again slowly and it will firm up. Continue until all oil is added only stopping occasionally to push the thin bits down the side of bowl with a spatula.

    This makes the best mayo I've ever tasted. If you don't have a whipper attachment the normal cutting blade can be used but the mayo consistency will be something like miracle's very, very fluffy. The whipper attachment allows the mayo to come to a thick pudding like consistency. If you don't like it that thick then add some water or milk to thin. Will keep in covered container in fridge for 1 week.

  6. Thanks for the details! I'm glad someone else succeeds with the food processor.