Mayo vs Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise.  Once you have tried it, you will never look at processed mayonnaise the same again.  In fact, they are so radically different it is difficult to even refer to the copycat as “mayonnaise”. Maybe ‘mayo’ makes sense after all.

Sadly, when it comes to taste, the typical processed ‘mayo’ is  comparatively flat and lags far behinds in the characteristic flavor points of real mayonnaise.  It lacks any of the fruitiness supplied by olive oil, the eggy richness provided by real eggs, the bright piquant notes given from fresh lemon juice, or any nuanced mineral undertones contributed by fine mustard.

Mayonnaise is the result of the exquisite bonding process between the egg and oil.  An emulsion forms when air is introduced via the whisking motion which suspends and stabilizes the oil in the eggs/yolks.

MayoIf there is a blender or food processor in the house a homemade mayonnaise takes 10 minutes or less.  A handheld immersion blender also achieves good results.  The whisk is an obvious option, but be prepared for a serious workout.

It is not necessary to use only olive oil when making mayonnaise.  Any type or a combination that includes neutral oil works well.  Since olive oil has so much flavor I often substitute part with canola or other vegetable oil; I’ve had good luck using part walnut oil, too.

Once you have mayonnaise on hand, other items can be introduced to change it up.  For sandwiches I like to add a little chopped pepperoncini or capers.  Minced basil or other fresh herbs are a nice addition when used with cheeses or salamis.  Add a clove or two of garlic for a quick and fabulous aioli.  It is an instant sauce for asparagus, broccoli, artichokes and other vegetables; if necessary just thin down the mayonnaise a tad with a bit of warm water.

 Egg Salad

egg salad and mayoWhen making egg salad, homemade mayonnaise has so much flavor little else is necessary.    Mash three hard cooked eggs with a fork to desired consistency.  Add a tablespoonful of mayonnaise, a teaspoonful of fresh minced thyme, parsley, perhaps a bit of diced celery, green onion, or a few capers for added crunch and zest, plus a few grinds of salt and pepper.  Makes two or more sandwiches, or as a dip with fresh vegetables or crackers.

To save a broken mayonnaise

Using a clean food processor or blender blend 2 egg yolks and 1 tsp cold water until smooth (an immersion blender also works here).  Very slowly drizzle in the broken mayonnaise until an emulsion forms. Slowly add the balance to form a thick mayonnaise.  It may not take all of the broken sauce.  A very helpful tip from Mark Bittman.

Here is Mark Bittman’s Homemade Mayonnaise using a food processor.  The same method can be applied when using a whisk or an immersion blender. Try as I might, I can’t improve upon it:   it is delicious and nearly foolproof.

Homemade Mayonnaise

From How to Cook Everything and Food Processor Mayonnaise, by Mark Bittman


1        large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1        Tbsp  lemon juice or sherry vinegar
2        tsp Dijon mustard
1/2    tsp salt, or to taste
1        cup olive oil or a combination with canola or other mild oil, approximately


  1. In container of blender or food process place the eggs, lemon juice, mustard and salt; blend until smooth.
  2. With machine running slowly add the oil in dribbles until it begins to thicken (If using food processor pour about 1/4 cup into the food pusher and allow to drip in until it thickens.)
  3. Once an emulsion forms slowly pour in remaining oil until a thick sauce forms, and it absorbs no more oil.
  4. Store well covered in refrigerator up 3 days. Yield: 1 cup.

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