With only 4 ingredients that you probably already have around the house and 5 minutes of your time, you can make homemade mayonnaise.
We've asked recipe developer and food photographer Kristen Stevens of The Endless Meal to reveal the mysteries of homemade mayonnaise...which actually aren't very mysterious.
Mayonnaise is simply an emulsion of oil and egg yolks, with a little acidity and salt added to brighten the flavors. Here's the basic recipe:
Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cup
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (or vinegar)
1 cup of neutral flavoured oil (like light olive oil, grapeseed oil, walnut or sweet almond oil)
A pinch of good quality fine grain sea salt
1) Gather all your ingredients together. I’ve found that a sturdy whisk works best and a bowl with high sides will help prevent splashes.
2) Separate the eggs. Save the egg whites for another purpose (like meringue) and place the egg yolks in a small bowl with high sides.
3) Pour the fresh lemon juice into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk them well. Egg yolks contain a natural emulsifier, lecithin, which helps thicken sauces and bind ingredients.
4) Slowly, a few drops at a time, pour the oil into the bowl while whisking constantly. Once the mayonnaise has started to thicken, pour the oil in a slow and steady stream. If the oil starts to build up at all, stop pouring and whisk the mayonnaise briskly until the oil has incorporated.
5) If the mayonnaise starts looking too thick, add enough water to thin it to the consistency you like. Add about a teaspoon of water at a time.
6) Once all the oil has been mixed in, the mayonnaise should be thick and fluffy, with your whisk forming ribbons through the mixture. Season it carefully with fine grain sea salt. Add a small splash of water if you would like a thinner mayonnaise.
Store your homemade mayonnaise in the fridge in a covered container for 3 days.
VIDEO: How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
Watch Chef John make mayonnaise from scratch using a stick blender. So fast, so creamy, so rich!
Tips for Successfully Making Mayo
- Use room temperature eggs. Cold eggs will often result in mayonnaise that does not thicken.
- Always add the lemon juice first. Lemon juice helps breakdown the protein in the egg yolks so they emulsify better.
- Start with a VERY slow stream of oil. A few drops at a time is best until you notice the mayonnaise starting to thicken. Once it has started to thicken you can pour the oil in a little quicker.
- Season the mayonnaise with good quality sea salt and add only a tiny pinch at a time. Mayonnaise can become too salty very easily.
- Only use fresh squeezed lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice will give your mayonnaise a funny flavour.
- Use good-quality, free-range eggs -- because this condiment is made with raw eggs.
Troubleshooting Mayo Mayhem
My Mayo Is Too Thick
If the mayonnaise starts looking too thick, add enough water to thin it to the consistency you desire. Add about a teaspoon of water at a time.
My Mayo Isn't Thickening
If you’re still partway through the process, you can save the emulsion by adding another egg yolk, whisking vigorously. Add in remaining oil, plus extra for a double recipe, and adjust the seasonings. However, if it never thickens, and you’re left stirring a puddle, you may need to start over.
Customize Your Mayo
Because of its neutral flavor, basic homemade mayonnaise is a great base for making many different flavoured mayonnaises. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Once you’ve made the mayonnaise add a very finely minced clove of garlic and a ½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
*Great on a sandwich or as a dip for French fries
Whisk in a teaspoon of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, a few drops of liquid smoke and a pinch of brown sugar. A small splash of soy sauce and a little squeeze of fresh lime are also nice additions.
*Drizzle fish tacos with this tasty mayo
Add a small clove of very finely minced garlic and 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh tarragon to the mayonnaise. Let the mayo sit, covered, in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.
*This is great served as a dip for cold shrimp