Confident home cooking
mayo
Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Homemade Mayo

by Nick

Why did this have to happen? My life was so very simple a week ago. I was a mayo hater. I didn’t like it on sandwiches. I thought the texture and flavor were both pretty gross. I didn’t know how it was made or what the deal was with it.

So I didn’t like it. It was that simple.

But somebody, and I can’t remember who, told me that I couldn’t call it quits on mayo until I tried it homemade.

I said, “Ok. Sure. Whatever dude.” That was a long time ago and I just continued disliking Mayo.

But seriously. That wise person, whoever that was, was correct. Homemade mayo is a delicious creation. Whoever first made it should win an award of some sort.

It takes only a few minutes to make and I hereby swear that if I have my way than mayo companies across the world will start going out of business very soon.

Yield
1 cup
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg yolk, preferably farm raised or organic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt or a scant 1 Teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon water
  • 1 Cup oil (I like 1/2 vegetable oil and 1/2 olive oil)
  • 2 Teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

Helpful Equipment

  • - Nerves and forearms of steel.

Directions

1) Whisk yolk, water, and salt together in a large bowl.

2) Drizzle in a few drops of oil while whisking.  Do this a few times until the yolk mixture starts to lighten in color.

3) Continue adding oil, drizzling in a bit more each time while whisking.

4) As the sauce firms up, you can drizzle in more oil each time.

5) When the oil is all mixed in, the mayo should be very thick.  Serve with whatever you can put it on!

The method I used is from Ratio.

Basic Ingredients

What I do love about this recipe is how utterly simple it is… in theory. While there are pretty unlimited possibilities, it really only requires 4 ingredients: eggs, oil, salt, water. If you don’t regularly have these things in your kitchen, then I can’t help you.

basics

Normal stuff.

I love this recipe so much because it sort of embodies what I love about cooking.

If I told you that I’m going to take an entire cup of oil, add only two other things to it, plus a bit of water, and you will want to eat it with a spoon, you’d call me loony.

Because a cup of oil is kind of a lot of oil and oil, generally, is not something people want to eat with a spoon.

oil

I like a mix…

The Method

The method to make this stuff is really pretty simple. Start-to-finish I can do it in about 2-3 minutes. It does involve some serious whisking though, so get ready for that.

It’s important to think about what you’re trying to do here when you make mayonnaise. Technically, it’s called an emulsion and it just means mixing two ingredients (in this case oil and water) that under normal circumstances hate each other.

But with a tiny amount of egg yolk and some serious whisking, you can get these two things to combine beautifully and stay stable. The key though is to start slowly. If you pour a cup of oil into a bowl with some egg yolk and water, it’s never going to work.

So starting slow is the key.

Start by whisking your yolk with your tiny amount of water and salt in a large bowl. Pretty basic so far.

yolk

This is not the hard part.

Then keep whisking while you add a few drops of oil.

Now, when I say a few drops I literally mean 2-3 drops of oil. If you add even a teaspoon, it’s probably not going to work.

Add a few drops and whisk whisk whisk. Add a few more drops and whisk whisk whisk. Eventually you’re egg yolk mixture will start to lighten up. This is good news.

oil

Literally a few drops.

Once you’ve done the drop-by-drop addition of oil a few times and your mixture is looking lighter, then you can start adding a bit more oil. At this point I start drizzling in a teaspoon at a time, whisking while I add the oil.

After I do this a few times, the mixture will start to firm up a bit.

keep going

Still whisking!

As the emulsion starts, you can add your oil more liberally. At this point, you can start adding it a tablespoon or so at a time, drizzling it in as you whisk and whisking furiously.

When you get down to about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of oil left, you’re mayonnaise should be getting really thick.

almost

About 2/3s done.

At this point you can just drizzle in the remaining amount of oil as you whisk because the emulsion should be pretty stable. Don’t stop whisking though and drizzle in a constant slow stream.

After all your oil is gone, your mayo should be very sturdy and stiff.

This was my finished version!

Finished.

When it All Goes Wrong

Sometimes emulsions don’t work. I made this mayonnaise recipe twice in the last two weeks and one time it worked beautifully and one time it didn’t. I swear I did the exact same thing. You’ll now when it breaks because the mixture won’t firm up at all. If you can pour your mayo, you failed.

As Michael Ruhlman says in Ratio though:

“Mayonnaises can be the Difficult Child, beloved in spite of their misbehavior, breaking into gloop just as you are about to finish. Sauces can sense when you’re afraid of them, so don’t be. Mayonnaises can and will break on you and sometimes you simply have to let them!”

So freakin’ true.

The good news is that a broken, watery or gloopy mayo isn’t unfixable.

When it goes wrong, this is how to fix it.

Pour your broken mayo into a separate bowl and wipe out your mixing bowl really well. Add another Teaspoon of water to the mixing bowl along with a bit more egg yolk if you have some. Then start the process over again! Drizzle in a few drops of the broken sauce mixture and whisk whisk whisk.

Go through the whole whisking process again with a clean bowl. It should emulsify on round two. Mine did without a problem. If you still can’t get it after the second time, you are probably adding your oil too quickly.

A Comparison

While it’s really impossible to explain how much better this stuff tastes compared to store bought mayo, a side-by-side look can give you a hint at the difference.

The don’t even look like the same sauce!

comparison

Not even close.

I’ve eaten this literally on everything I can think to put it on for the last two weeks. It’s rich, salty, creamy, and just wonderful.

What do you think? Homemade mayo? Worth the whisking?

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37 comments on “Homemade Mayo

  1. I made my first mayo recently…. It is really easy to use a food processor to do this. I had a few herbs, some lime, and pickled jalapeno in mine. I pulse that with the egg yolk, turn it on and slowly drizzle the oil in… mayo in seconds!

  2. yeah have to ditto that…no reason not to make this in a food processor, it is so easy.

    1. How about this… if you make it by hand you burn off the calories that you'll gain from the mayo…

      Not really though.

      1. Here in Ecuador, almost everyone knows how to make mayo (tho many still buy it too). They all do it in the blender (I've never seen a food processor here). Same idea, tho, and they just drizzle the oil thru the opening at the top and watch it thicken. They also generally add some herbs. I wish I could say it was good, but as with most things Ecuadorians make, it is often waaaaay too salty. When they do, however, resist the impulse to just dump massive amounts of salt into it, I will say homemade mayo (like most homemade stuff) kills the store-bought version. If I were you, I'd try throwing in some chipotle pepper at the end.

        One other thing to mention: I made hummus yesterday with the blender (due to lack of food processor), and it came out reeeally creamy (even with the skins on). I credit it to one (or both) of two things: i did it in the blender or that I added the oil slowly thru the top and it may have emulsified (lime juice being like the water and the chickpeas being like the egg yolk?). Anyway, it was delicious and made a great hummus wrap (and app while making the wraps).

  3. I've always been a mayo-hater, Nick, but you know what? You've inspired me to give homemade a try…

    1. awww, when I was little my Dad would sit with me and peel the artichoke leaves, dip it in mayo, and hand it to me. I miss my Dad…

  4. Abso-effing-lutely is Homemade Mayo worth it!

    I haven't had it since I was in cooking school because we just don't use Mayo that much but it was SO delicious.

    Most people who do make their own use a blender as far as I have seen, but It is good to know how to make it by hand.

    Great going!

  5. Nick —

    Thanks for the great post. I just wanted to add a few nuggets that you or others might like.

    You can substitute your favorite vinegar or infused vinegar for some or all of the lemon juice to give a different flavor (like tarragon vinegar, champagne vinegar etc.). This is also true for using any infused oil you may like as well. making changes like these pretty much can open up a whole world of sandwich spreads/dip bases.

    Whisking is great to say that you can do it…however my arm likes me a whole lot more if I use a food processor or even better, an immersion blender, lol.

    With an immersion blender, it is even cooler/quicker. Put your yolk,juice(vinegar),salt, water in a deep cup the stick blender will fit all the way to the bottom of. Blend that mix till a little frothy, a few seconds. shut the stick blender off then add all, yes I said all, of the oil to the cup. (I know this sounds insane, just stay with me here) Now put the stick blender back into the cup all the way at the bottom. Turn it in and watch the up and slowly start lifting the blender straight up. You will see the mayo magic happen as it becomes all cloudy and thick at the bottom and continues all the way to the top. Now, STOP before the blender head leaves the liquid, or you might have a mess, lol. If there is any little oil at the top just make a but of a stirring motion with the blender while it runs, this will incorporate the rest. The immersion is my favorite way to make mayo.

    Here is a link for a relatively inexpensive one that has a stainless shaft – I will NEVER us a plastic shaft one, as one with stainless will typically let you do hot things such as soups/sauces etc. Using this to blend hot soups direct in the pot saves the mess of transferring to a blender and back. Makes quick work of whipped cream too. Hope some of this info is useful. =-)
    http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CSB-76-SmartStick

    1. Oh I agree Ben. I would part with anything in my kitchen except my Kitchen Aid Mixer and my Cusinart SmartStick. How I cooked before the immersion blender baffles me.

      The recipe looks delish Nick! Will be using it for lunch tomorrow. :)

  6. Excellent! Mayo is hugely popular in Belgium and it's not uncommon to be driving along and seeing a sign for homemade mayo for sale. Supposedly the taste differs depending on which end of Belgium :) It's great with fries, isn't it?

  7. Nick,
    The reason your mayo is a yellow is because you used olive oil and (probably) corn or cannola oil. Commercial mayo uses a lighter colored oil, hence the whiter color.

    I typically use canola and blend it with my immersion blender. It takes me about 45 seconds to make mayo. Seriously, there is nothing better!

  8. Mayo was the first thing I have been able to make well in a kitchen for long time. I was surprised when I moved abroad (from france) about people's reaction.

    "That's not mayo!"
    "Mayo is white!"
    "It doesn't even taste like mayo!"

    So yes, it is Mayo, yes, it is the original one, yes, it is better than MacDonald's, and yes, it is worth a try even if you hated mayo so far.

    Try it with few drops of lemon or vinegar, garlic or black pepper…

  9. I did it! I took 30 minutes and 3 egg yolks but I have mayonnaise! Starting in the blender but shifted to a bowl and whisk which worked much better. Thanks for the recipe and the motivation to try this!

  10. I just made your Mayo Recipe and OMG, It is Delish!! I mixed it in to my tuna fish and I swear it is the best tuna fish salad I have ever eaten. YUM!!! Thanks, for the recipe!

  11. I am 72 and have mayo since I was about 7 years old. That was my weekly job. I used a mix-master and the whole egg. Slow is the best trick. Do not I repeat do not but a knife in homade mayo all ways use a spoon. Put knife in the jar and it will start to seperate.

  12. Ok. Here's a crazy thing. I tried this tonight and about half way through my oil, the mixture got SO thick I couldn't stir it with the whisk anymore! It was gelatinous! It stuck inside the whisk and I couldn't get it out with nearly a half-cup of oil left to go. I wasn't sure if I should just stop and use it as is or press on. After working and working at whisking, I finally just poured in the rest of the oil (about 1/3 cup) and it ruined it. Gah! So I started over, following your "When all goes wrong" instructions to the "t", and brought in whisking reinforcements in the form of my husband. In the end I was pleased, although it has a distinctly oily flavor. All that to say, did I whisk too much? I whisked a few T's with some salsa and used it as a dressing on my taco salad tonight.
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  13. Since you do not cook the egg, how can you be sure that you won’t get salmonella? I used to make eggnog with raw egg as a kid but by the time I was in college, chickens were 90% infected and you have to cook the egg to kill salmonella.

    1. Hey Sunee,

      Not sure where you are getting your info from but the vast majority of eggs are safe. I especially take the time to buy the best and most fresh eggs I can find.

      Check out the USDA page for more info:
      http://www.fsis.usda.gov/help/faqs_hotline_illness/index.asp#3

      They, of course, advise against eating raw eggs just because there is a slight chance of getting sick. As they say, the number of infected eggs is “quite small”.

      But yea… technically you are taking a risk if you eat raw eggs.

      You can also cook the yolk with some water until it reaches 140 degrees. That will kill any Salmonella and you’ll be good to go. If you do this, add a bit of water to the egg yolk and heat it over a double boiler.

      Honestly, if I am serving my mayo to a lot of people, I temper the yolks just to be safe.

      Personally though, I’ve eaten raw eggs dozens and dozens of times without issue.

      It’s personal choice.

  14. Thank you for this recipe. I didn’t believe you when you said it only took a few minutes of hand whisking to get thick mayonnaise, but it worked! I’ve made my own a number of times and sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t, but it would ALWAYS take about 25-30 minutes.

    I didn’t really like the olive oil taste (with half olive oil and half vegetable oil), so next time I’ll use only vegetable oil. Also added a teaspoon extra of lemon juice and a bit more salt.

    Knowing that I can whip this up in a matter of minutes is so amazing. Thanks again!

  15. you saved me today. i made mayo in the blender and it was way too runny. i’m sure there’s a blender technique, but i’m a newbie and i didn’t know what i was doing.

    anyways…i read your comments about rescuing runny mayo. i’m sure i added the oil to the blender too fast the first time. so i whipped out a clean bowl, a whisk and i drizzeled the runny mayo into the bowl along with a teaspoon of water. i whisked away. my mayo is perfect, my right arm–not so much.

    1. Nice work. I use that method all the time.

      As a side note, the trick to blender mayo (which I’ve never really posted on) is using some mustard which is a great emulsifier. You can’t really taste it in the final product, but add a 1 teaspoon or so of mustard and then it should blend right up.

  16. I think I’m not made to make emulsions. I did this three times last night and my end result was a semi-liquid mayo that I’m just going to use for salad dressings. It tasted pretty bad so I had to add some sugar to it. This is my third time trying to make mayo and each time has been disappointing. Obviously I’m missing something…

    1. Hey Heather! Almost all the mistakes I’ve seen with mayo is when people add the oil too fast at the beginning. I literally start with a drop of oil and whisk it in, then do a few drops… etc… You can also add a little mustard to the mix which will help emulsify it!

      Sorry for the troubles!

  17. Love your post. I started making mayo recently and have one that worked and one that is more like salad dressing – practice practice practice! I started making my own because I am allergic to garlic and have a very hard time finding an organic mayo that doesn’t include “spices” or just outright garlic – along with a bazillion other stabilizers. YUCK. Yeah for homemade!

    1. Hey Zarrin,

      All you could really do is double the recipe. Just make more and that would reduce the salt content overall. That said, you should try it on a sandwich or something first. It might be totally fine. It should be a bit salty on its own but perfect on stuff, if that makes sense. If it truly is too salty though doubling it is really your only option. Good luck!

  18. Hey. I really disagree about using extra virgin olive oil — I think that’s a recipe for an overpoweringly oily tasting mayo. And I generally love bitter aromatic extra virgin olive oil too, — I love it pretty much everywhere except in mayo. Use extralight olive oil (the cheapest kind there is) … they don’t even stock it at high-end places… but it makes great mayo. Great hand made mayo is beautifully delicate — you can taste the egg, the lemon, the salt and/or vinegar, all lightly comingled, the oil is the stage and those are the actors. Like a great chowder it’s great right away, but much better yet after it has set a day, flavor blending, in the fridge.

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