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Mayonnaise recipe and many variants

Updated on September 29, 2010
Basic mayonnaise
Basic mayonnaise

What is Mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise is basically eggs, vinegar, lemon (or lime) juice, salt, pepper, and oil in an emulsion.

Basic Mayonnaise is pretty easy to make and can be done in a blender, by hand with a whisk, or (my personal favorite) in a food processor. The basic recipe has roughly 100 calories per Tablespoon. I will include here recipes that are both higher and lower in caloric content along with an explanation as to how mayonnaise manages to be a combination of water based liquids and oil without separating.

Best of all when you make it yourself you are sure of the ingredients and have no need of preservatives. It's also so cheap you can make it every week disposing of the old batch (if any is left) and it only takes about ten minutes to make.

Basic Mayonnaise

You will need a whisk and bowl, a blender, or food processor to make this. This will be true of all other mayonnaise recipes that follow. Ingredients, in the order of use;

  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (optional1)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard powder (or one teaspoon Dijon2 prepared mustard)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups of oil

1. I don't use sugar. I'm not trying to make salad dressing; rather mayonnaise

2 I recommend Dijon because, like Germany's beer purity laws, it must be made from certain ingredients. Those are vinegar, water and mustard seed ONLY!

In a bowl, the mixer, or food processor combine the vinegar, mustard, sugar (leave this out for a savory rather than sweet mayo), salt, vinegar, lemon juice, and eggs. Whisk or blend for about two minutes until the mixture if fully incorporated.

Now slowly drizzle in the oil. This will be a long process and if you are doing it by hand you may want a partner. We are talking possibly five minutes of mixing here and it will become quite difficult to mix by hand as the oil thickens the mixture (almost instantly) and binds to the other liquids.

If you are using a blender of food processor you will hear the device begin to labor almost immediately. It will take roughly three minutes to blend in all the oil.

Once all the oil is added you will want to continue to blend the mayonnaise for an additional two minutes to make sure all the ingredients are fully emulsified.

Once finished turn your mayonnaise into a jar or airtight container (as in the picture above) and let sit out at room temperature for one hour.

The acids in the vinegar and lemon (or lime) juice will attack and kill any bacteria, but this process must take place at room temperature. If you refrigerate immediately you will only be putting any bacteria in a state of suspended animation.

Once you have let the mayonnaise sit out for an hour (at 65 to 80 degrees) refrigerate.

How can water and oil not separate?

Lecithin: is a molecule that has a water friendly structure on one end and an oil friendly structure on the other. In other words water will bind with lecithin on one end of the molecule and with oil on the other end effectively blending oil and water. It will stay that way too!

Choice of Oil and Vinegar

Since the oil and vinegar you choose can have a drastic effect on the taste of your mayonnaise it's important to select flavor neutral oil and a vinegar with a desired flavor when making your mayonnaise.

Recommended Oils: The following oils are recommended because they have little or no flavor. Listed in order of flavor neutrality and healthful properties;

  1. Canola Oil (AKA Rapeseed)
  2. Safflower Oil
  3. Corn Oil
  4. Cottonseed Oil

I do not recommend olive, peanut, palm, or soy. Olive and peanut will impart their own particular flavors to the mayonnaise. Palm and soy should not be used due to how rapidly they spoil (go rancid).

I actually made Mayo with olive oil once. It didn't kill me, but it sure tasted weird. It wasn't in my fridge for very long.

Vinegar can be selected for flavor. White vinegar will impart the least amount of flavor such that the mayonnaise gets most of it's flavor from the lemon, salt, sugar, and pepper. I have had excellent results using rice vinegar and cider vinegar.

Three Yolk Mayonnaise
Three Yolk Mayonnaise

Nineteenth Century Mayonnaise

This is a really old rich recipe. Rather than use two whole eggs, use three egg yolks only. Note the addition of mustard powder.

  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (leave out for a more savory; less sweet mayo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard powder (or 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard [see above])
  • 1 Tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon)
  • 3 eggs yolks
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups of oil

As above blend everything but the oil for about two minutes. Slowly drizzle in the oil. Caution: The Egg Yolk only recipe will make this a much thicker mayonnaise. After about the first quarter cup of oil you'll hear this. Unlike the recipe above the more oil you add the thicker this will become.

You will want to keep an eye on your blender / food processor to make sure it doesn't overheat. I do not recommend trying this with a whisk unless you are a trained endurance athlete with the biceps of an Olympian.

As before a total of five minutes, three for oil incorporation and two for complete blending, will be required. Once again let the finished mayonnaise sit out for one hour at room temperature to kill off the bacteria.

The taste will be far richer than the Basic Mayonnaise recipe above, but of course you'll have more cholesterol per serving and more calories too. This is great for someone who needs to be on a gaining diet.

As you can see from the photo at right this is also bit yellower than the Basic Mayonnaise's almost snow white.

Ultralight Mayonnaise

If you are really concerned about the egg content you can cut down to one whole egg and one egg white.

  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (leave out for a more savory; less sweet taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry powdered mustard (or 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard [see above])
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups of oil

Use the same blending and "curing" methods above.

Note: I do not recommend using any less egg than one whole egg and one egg white.

Flavored Mayonnaise

As you might guess making your own mayonnaise is cheaper than buying it and you can also add flavorings as you make it. I recommend trying the following. Initially I wouldn't add any more than 1/4 teaspoon.

  • Chili powder
  • Chipotle powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground Sage
  • Cayenne powder
  • Ground Thyme
  • Ground Rosemary
  • Horseradish


Submit a Comment
  • Mazenmazen profile image


    4 years ago

    Dear Liam, thanks for the different methods. I experiment with my mayo and my favorite is: Finish your mayonnaise, then test with one cup by adding in it half a teaspoon or less of finely chopped fresh spring onions and black pepper. Mix by hand with a wood stick not to squash the onions. You will love it.. It takes very little amount of the chopped spring onions to give it a sensational taste, too much and it'll become heavy. Bon appétit

  • LiamBean profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    Thanks bushraismail.

  • bushraismail profile image


    7 years ago from ASIA

    Thank you..But we only have olive oil..I have to try with that.

    I like the taste of olive oil so hope Insha Allah it might taste good for me.

  • LiamBean profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    Ethel: Oops. It's the same amount of mustard for every recipe. 1/4 teaspoon (or one teaspoon prepared Dijon).

    If you want a real thrill do try the "Victorian" mayonnaise. It's very very good. I don't make it often though...for obvious reasons.

  • profile image

    Ethel Powers 

    9 years ago

    Homemade mayonnaise is the best and I am testing recipes. Yours seems like it is just what I am looking for. Best Foods and Kraft were my favorites too until I found out the recipes had changed. So, I am off to the kitchen...

  • profile image

    Wisdom Kim 

    11 years ago


  • LiamBean profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    Thanks Dafla. I just don't buy it anymore. I used to love Helman's/Best Foods, but they changed their recipe and it doesn't taste quite the same.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Great hub! When I was small, my mother made her own mayonnaise with a hand mixer. It wasn't all that thick, but it was yummy just the same.


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