I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m kind of a mayo ninja.
It comes from having tried and mastered every recipe out there. From Julia Child’s classic hand-whisked 3-yolk mayo, to a lacto-fermented version using whey strained from yogurt, to the simplest version using one room-temperature whole egg in a food processor. I’ve used almost every kind of oil (from coconut to EVOO — to which I say blech) and all manner of vinegars (to which I say too complicated.)
Eventually, I managed to combine the best of all these recipes to find the ultimate perfect (and ridiculously-easy) mayo recipe. In my humble opinion.
Even in the midst of first-trimester yuckiness, when I couldn’t bear to make dinner for a month and opening the fridge was an exercise in self-torture, I still managed to whip up a batch of my awesome homemade mayo.
It’s one of those things where the homemade version is SO AMAZING and the store-bought alternative SO AWFUL (mostly in terms of gross ingredients) that you just can’t go back once you’ve tasted the real thing. And it’s easy to boot!
If you have never tried homemade mayonnaise, you have not begun living. The stuff you buy in the store WISHES it was a mere imitation of the real thing. It is a mere shadow, an echo, a whisper of what beauty emerges when you emulsify oil with egg and lemon.
And once you’ve mastered homemade mayo, you’ve opened yourself up to an entire universe of incredible, gourmet dips, sauces and dressings:
- It’s the base for the best Caesar dressing you will ever taste (ignore what the link says about using Hellman’s and avoiding raw egg)
- If you add a couple of spices, you get this spectacular smoky paprika cumin aoli which tastes amazing with homemade sweet potato fries
- Combined with creme fraiche, garlic, and a blend of herbs, you get delicious, good-for-you ranch dressing that will get your kiddos dipping fresh veggies to their (and your) heart’s content
And the list goes on! It’s great in tuna, macaroni, or Waldorf salad; it’s wonderful on sandwiches; it tastes divine on hard-boiled eggs . . . I can’t stop eating this mayo!
The best thing of all, I think, is the fact that you don’t have to feel guilty slathering your sandwiches in this delectable spread. It’s made with healthy ingredients and good fats, so you can enjoy it without regret!
Okay, I know my recipe has some sugar in it, and I know that sugar is evil. You can totally omit it. But to me, that tiny bit of sugar is the difference between “good” and “out-of-this-world.” Your call. Either way, at least it’s not Miracle Whip.
A Few Notes and Tips:
- My one caveat is that you must use quality eggs from a source you know and trust, since they will remain raw. Fresh from a farm is ideal. I only use eggs from my parents’ chickens, which are free to roam and graze all day. I would be hesitant to use any old store-bought eggs, since I have no way of knowing whether the birds were healthy. I would not want to risk salmonella poisoning!
- Lots of recipes require you to use yolks only, and many of them. I used to do this. I never knew what to do with the whites, and it made my mayo an unappetizing yellow. Turns out, I actually get lovelier, fluffier mayo if I use one whole egg. It’s cheaper and easier, too. Who knew.
- While I’ve heard people say they had success with a blender or stick blender, I find the process is MUCH MUCH easier and more reliable with a food processor. (I use and love my Ninja). [UPDATE: I have since tried it with a stick blender, and I will never go back. It’s unbelievably easy. I will include the instructions below.]
All that being said, let’s move on to the mayonnaise-making!
Simple, Scrumptious Homemade Mayo
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is vastly superior, but bottled works too)
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup neutral-tasting oil (I usually use “light” olive oil, but have also liked cold-pressed sunflower oil and avocado oil. Do NOT use extra-virgin olive oil, because it’s disgusting in this.)
Now, you are much more likely to have success if you bring your egg and lemon juice to room temperature. You could let them sit on the counter for three hours, but usually when I want mayo, I want it RIGHT NOW.
So here’s what you do: crack your egg and pour your lemon juice into a small glass. Fill a bigger bowl with hot tap water, and immerse the cup in the water (without getting any water into the cup — the way some people warm up a baby bottle) for a few minutes until the contents have warmed to room temperature.
[UPDATE: STICK BLENDER METHOD. As I mentioned above, I have since found it even easier with an immersion blender. Warm your egg yolk and lemon juice as above in a wide-mouth pint jar (or similar container). Then throw in the rest of the ingredients. Stick your blender in there, turn it on, and watch as the ingredients magically turn into mayo in less than a minute!!]
Food processor method: Pour the warmed egg mixture into your food processor and blend for a few seconds, just to get it mixed.
Add the mustard powder, salt, and sugar, and blend a few seconds longer.
Now comes the slightly tricky part. You need to add the oil S-L-O-W-L-Y while the blade is running. Have your oil ready in the measuring cup to make pouring easy. Turn on the machine, and start to drizzle in the oil — the thinnest stream you can possibly manage. Keep it running, and continue to pour — again, s-l-o-w-l-y, until the oil is gone. Be amazed as the oily, messy contents of your food processor gradually and magically begin to turn white and creamy (emulsification, baby!). But don’t get hasty. Keep drizzling. This process will take you a couple of minutes, but it will be SO WORTH IT.
And you’re done! Scrape all that creamy deliciousness into a glass container with a rubber spatula and start slathering!
A Word on Storage:
I’m told homemade mayo can be kept in the fridge for a week or so, though I’ve gone longer. If you want to preserve it to last longer, you can try this method of lacto-fermentation, if you’re the kind of person who has whey hanging around in your fridge. (Just add a Tbsp liquid whey along with the lemon juice; then after it’s made, let it sit on the counter for 7 hours before refrigerating). I’ve done this dozens of times, but it adds a few steps, and lately I don’t need mine to last that long. It goes quickly when you start using it in all your dressings and dips!