The Deal with Mayo


A few thoughts on mayo:

1. I used to hate mayonnaise. And then I liked it. And now I’m kind of ‘meh’ on it. (Store-bought mayo, that is).

2. Miracle Whip does not = mayonnaise. And I like that they have a commercial that admits that. And that said commercial also shows that some people love it and some people hate it. Seriously, how many companies will show people who think their product is gross on their ads?

3. I have officially confirmed that homemade mayonnaise is significantly better than store-bought mayonnaise.Or Miracle Whip.

4. Good news! Mayonnaise is not nearly as difficult to make as I expected. And I have tips for you to make it easier.

This is my Friday gift to you. Make some mayonnaise this weekend, and then make a chicken or tuna salad. Or spread it on a sandwich. Or something.


Mayonnaise tips:

1. Here’s the thing about mayonnaise. It is mainly a mixture of oil, eggs and lemon juice. And lemon juice and oil don’t really like to blend together…just like a vinaigrette that quickly separates after you shake it up.

The egg is an emulsifier, so it helps bring the oil and lemon juice together and prevents them from separating. It also makes for a smoother and creamier mayonnaise. In other words, egg = the key ingredient to bring the mayo together.

2. Mustard is also an emulsifier, so it not only adds flavor, but keeps the oil from separating out from the mayonnaise.

3. Typically, you want to use around 3/4 – 1 cup of oil per egg yolk, or 1 – 1 1/4 cup per whole egg. If you use much more than that, you’ll end up with a liquidy mess that is more like a vinaigrette or dressing than mayonnaise.

4. If you bring all the ingredients to room temperature before you begin making your mayonnaise, everything will come together much more easily.

5. You must add the oil slowly. If you add it too quickly or all at once, it won’t all emulsify into the mayonnaise, leaving you with a thick layer of oil on top of some egg yolk-lemon juice mixture. Eww.

6. You can make the mayonnaise by hand, without a blender or food processor, but know that it will be more difficult and take a lot more time. You’ve been warned!



Basil Mayonnaise

Think you don’t like mayo? Try this. I may never go back to store-bought mayo again…this is so much better! Adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: none
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 large egg
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 packed cup basil, minced

In a blender or food processor, blend the egg, mustard, salt, sugar, chili powder and 1/4 cup of the olive oil until completely mixed.

With the blender or processor running on high, slowly add 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, turn the blender/processor back on, and slowly add the lemon juice. Mix until blended, stopping to scrape down the sides. Continue processing and slowly stream in the last of the olive oil and blend until creamy and thick.

Transfer the mayonnaise to a bowl or storage container and fold in the mayonnaise.

To store, cover and refrigerate for up to three days.

For more Brain Food 101 post, click here!

And if there are any subjects you’d like me to explore, please let me know!


  1. Sheila says

    I learned to follow Step 7 the hard way… The first couple of times I tried to make my own mayo, I ruined it so they were, uh, unappetizing to use. Love the recipe you added. Basil Mayo. Will definitely try this! Thanks.

  2. says

    Great ‘Brain-Food’ post, Julie! Like Lauren, I’ve always been way too intimidated to even consider making my own mayonnaise– but this seems totally doable. (Haha, I don’t know *why*, but for some reason I thought you had to mix by hand… blender sounds so much better!) But yeah… totally trying this over the weekend. We’ve got a rotisserie chicken that is just begging to be made into chicken salad πŸ˜‰

  3. says

    Not a fan of mayo so I probably won’t try this because I’ve got a list a bagillion things long of other things to try of yours πŸ™‚

    But… my gosh. Food processing lab. Food Sci. I love reading your Brain Food posts. Brings me back to the Food Science building. These were the good classes. (Unlike senior design…ick)

  4. says

    I like mayo, but only for 2 reasons:
    1. On BLTs. It’s just necessary.
    2. To dip my waffle fries in a Chick-Fil-A. Granted, I haven’t eaten there (or done that) in YEARS, but it. is. so. good.

    I’ve never made homemade, though – its on the list!

  5. Kristie says

    This stuff looks like aioli, which I am freaking in love with. Especially since it’s trendy to serve it with pretty much any sandwich/fries in Madison right now :). I love the gorgeous color the basil gives it too!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I was literally JUST thinking about you yesterday and how I haven’t heard from you in forever. How are you doing?

      And I miss Madison so, so much. I’ll actually be there for a day right before New years (we’ll be visiting Dan’s mom in Milwaukee, so a day trip to Madison is obviously necessary)…meet up? Preferably at Bluephies? Or Greenbush. Or the Great Dane. Or some other iconic Madison location. πŸ™‚

  6. Kristie says

    I suck at keeping in touch, especially with frequent summer trips. But I’m good! I have a serious love affair with Greenbush, and you can’t go wrong with Bluephies or Great Dane… you know I’m in! Madison misses you!

  7. says

    Yep, I love homemade mayo, and hate all other impostors. What a difference it makes when it’s made fresh with only three ingredients! It took me a bit of practice and I ruined two batches of the first five. You’ve mentioned great tips here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *