Homemade Mayonnaise

MAKES: 1 cup

TIME: 10 minutes

I have made whole-egg mayonnaise countless times with blender, food processor, and whisk, and though the machines make things marginally easier, all techniques are foolproof if you follow the simple suggestions in The Basics of Mayonnaise and the specific instructions here.

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, or extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, sherry vinegar, or white wine vinegar

To make by hand: Put the yolk and mustard in a medium bowl. Beat together with a wire whisk. Begin to add the oil as you beat, a little at a time (a squeeze bottle, a measuring cup with a spout, or a tablespoon is perfect for this, but with a little practice you can simply use a measuring cup), adding more as each bit is incorporated. You’ll notice when a thick emulsion forms, and then you can add the oil a little faster. Depending on how fast you beat, the whole process will take about 5 minutes.

To make by machine: Put the yolk and mustard in a blender or food processor and turn the machine on. While it’s running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream (see Step 1 for tools to do this, or if you’re lucky your food processor will have a teeny hole you may never have noticed in the insert in the top). When an emulsion forms, you can add it a little faster, until all the oil is combined into the yolks.

Add salt and pepper, then stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Garlic Mayonnaise. A Mediterranean classic, strong but addictive: Peel between 3 and 8 cloves of garlic, to taste. If mixing by hand, mince; if using a machine, roughly chop. Replace at least half of the oil with olive oil and proceed with the recipe, adding the garlic in Step 2.

Chile Mayonnaise. Use mild chiles, like ancho, or hot, like Thai or dried chipotle: Soak 1 or 2 dried chiles in warm water until soft. Drain and pat dry. Or use 1 canned chipotle and a little of its adobo sauce. If mixing by hand, mince the chiles; if using a machine, roughly chop. Proceed with the recipe, adding the chile in Step 2.

Roasted Pepper Mayonnaise. Pretty and more complex: Roast and clean 1 medium red, yellow, or orange bell pepper . If mixing by hand, mince; if using a machine, roughly chop. Add the pepper in Step 2.

Green Sauce, French Style. Easier by machine: After the emulsion is made, add to the blender or processor container 1 sprig fresh tarragon, about 10 sprigs watercress (thick stems removed), 10 chives, and the leaves of 5 parsley stems. Process until not quite pured but definitely green.

Cold Mustard Sauce. Delicious sandwich spread: Add 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon-style or whole grain mustard along with the other ingredients in Step 2. Thin with a tablespoon or two of cream fresh, frache, or sour to the desired consistency.

Remoulade Sauce. By machine or hand, make these additions to the finished mayonnaise: 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup chopped scallions, 3 tablespoons Dijon or coarsely ground mustard, 1 tablespoon ketchup, and grated horseradish and cayenne to taste.

12 Ideas for Flavoring Mayonnaise

After the mayo is done, stir, blend, or process in any of the following ingredients, alone or in combination. If working by hand, there will always be bits and pieces of the stir-ins for a more rustic sauce. By machine, the mayonnaise will be smooth and evenly colored.

  1. A pinch of saffron threads
  2. Up to 1 tablespoon minced strong fresh herb leaves, like rosemary, oregano, tarragon, marjoram, epazote, or thyme
  3. Up to 1/4 cup mild fresh herb leaves, like parsley, cilantro, chives, chervil, or basil
  4. Up to 1/4 cup minced sweet pickle
  5. 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
  6. 1 teaspoon wasabi powder (see The Basics of Mustard), or to taste
  7. 1 teaspoon (or more) grated citrus zest
  8. At least a teaspoon of prepared horseradish
  9. A few dashes Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Hold the Anchovies, or other prepared sauce
  10. Up to 1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  11. 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  12. Up to 2 tablespoons chili powder (to make your own, see Chili Powder)