You’d be surprised to see how easy it is to make mayonnaise at home, from scratch! Homemade mayonnaise is quick and easy, with just a few simple ingredients, and SO much better than store bought. And if you know how to make mayonnaise, you’ll also know how to make aïoli! If you’re a mayo lover like myself, you WILL love these recipes!
I’ve also got tons of ideas on how to customize your mayo (and aïoli), with a complete recipe also for chili chipotle mayo, because I love chipotle.
What is mayonnaise? What oil do you use?
Mayonnaise is a thick, creamy sauce or dressing that is made of oil, egg yolks, lemon juice or vinegar, and seasonings. Mayonnaise becomes mayonnaise because it is an emulsion. An emulsion is a combination of two liquids that usually can’t be combined – like oil and water.
Emulsifying is done by slowly adding one ingredient to another while simultaneously mixing rapidly. This disperses and suspends tiny droplets of one liquid through another. In mayonnaise we slowly pour oil into the other ingredients, while mixing, and it turns into this pale, creamy and delicious sauce. However, you will need an emulsifier, which binds the oil with the lemon juice, and in this case it’s the egg yolks.
What oil to use for mayonnaise: Use an oil that is neutral in taste, such as sunflower, vegetable, corn or canola oil. I always use canola oil, mainly because it’s always the neutral oil I have on my kitchen counter.
What is aïoli sauce made of? Is it just garlic mayo?
Aïoli is also a thick, creamy sauce that is made of oil, egg yolks, lemon juice and seasonings. It usually always have garlic in it as well. Aïoli is not just garlic mayo, although maybe it should be. Authentic aïoli sauce is made from olive oil, and the olive oil can make the aïoli taste super bitter.
Like inedible super bitter.
A traditional aïoli is actually just olive oil mixed with a shit-ton mashed garlic, in a pestle and mortar. It is however super easy to break this kind of emulsion and it’s rarely seen today. Aïoli becomes extra bitter if quickly mixing the oil with the other ingredients (like we do in mayonnaise), so a blender, mixer or food processor would only make things worse.
What’s a better way of making aïoli, is by using 2/3 canola or sunflower oil, and then just whisk in 1/3 olive oil, preferably not extra virgin, at the end (but switch to a hand whisk!).
It’s no wonder that these days mayonnaise and aïoli are starting to become one and the same. So whenever I am making aïoli, I am actually making garlic mayo – and I’m fine with that.
Summary: Difference between mayonnaise and aïoli
The difference between mayonnaise and aïoli is slowly starting to be less prominent. Both are creamy sauces made as an emulsion from oil, lemon juice and egg yolks. Mayonnaise uses a neutral oil while aïoli traditionally uses olive oil. Olive oil has a tendency to make the aïoli super bitter, and so people has moved away from using olive oil in aïoli – making it more like a garlic mayo.
How to make mayonnaise and aïoli vegan
Vegan mayo or aïoli obviously can’t use egg yolks as an emulsifier. But you can actually use aquafaba. Aquafaba is the briney liquid in a can of chickpeas. Just drain the chickpeas (making sure to save the aquafaba!), and set aside for snacking. Use the aquafaba the same way you would use the egg yolks. You can also use aquafaba in a whiskey sour or gin fizz, to make that classic foamy white top.
How to make mayonnaise from scratch – super easy at home!
Start with a tall jar or bowl that can snuggly fit your hand mixer or immersion blender. Add in egg yolks and salt and whisk until light and thick. If your egg yolks are really dark orange (like mine!), they won’t get as light as using yellow egg yolks. Add mustard, seasonings and lemon juice. Whisk until combined.
Now, slowly (I mean super slow), pour in canola oil while constantly whisking or blending with an immersion blender. Eventually you can increase the stream, pouring a little quicker, but I would still slowly pour to make sure it’s no-fail, fool-proofingly easy not to break.
Make sure the mayo is always smooth and shiny. If it gets thinner it can break. If you find it a little too thick, you can add a splash of water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Store, covered in the fridge, for about 4 days.
How to make aïoli from scratch – equally easy!
Because we want to make a tasty, non bitter aïoli, we will make it very similarly to the mayo. Add egg yolks, salt and grated garlic in a tall jar or bowl that can snuggly fit your hand mixer or immersion blender. Whisk until light and thick. Add the other seasonings and lemon juice. Whisk until combined.
Equally slowly as in mayo, pour in a neutral oil (like sunflower or canola), while mixing or blending. If you want to keep it slightly authentic, use just 2/3 neutral oil. Now, switch to a hand whisk and whisk in 1/3 olive oil (not extra virgin), to avoid bitterness.
Aïoli should also be smooth and shiny. Taste and adjust seasonings. Store, covered in the fridge, for about 4 days.
Fix Broken Mayonnaise and Aïoli (Broken Emulsion)
Mayo can break if you add the oil too fast into the egg yolks, or if your ingredients aren’t room temperature. Add one egg yolk to a bowl and whisk, then add the broken mayo (or aïoli) to the egg yolk, one tablespoon at a time, while whisking. Increase the rate at which you add mayonnaise as the emulsion forms and the mayonnaise thickens. Whisk until completely emulsified. You can then add more oil (slowly) to reach the desired consistency.
Customize Your Mayo or Aïoli
Mayo and aïoli can be made as is, or with additional seasonings. My personal favorite is chipotle chili mayo. Add your seasonings of choice when you add in the mustard and lemon juice (or vinegar). You can taste and adjust seasonings afterwards, so start small.
- Chili chipotle mayo; 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chipotle paste and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
- Chives; mix in 3 tbsp finely chopped chives (or any herb!) once mayo is done
- Garlic Basil; add 1 grated garlic clove and mix in 3 tbsp finely chopped basil when mayo is done
- Honey Mustard; increase mustard up to 1 tbsp and add 2 tbsp honey, whisk until combined.
- Harissa; add 2-3 tsp homemade harissa to your mayo!
- Saffron; 6 saffron threads. Grind saffron threads with a mortar and pestle. Combine with the lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes before straining. Use as lemon juice in the mayo or aïoli recipe. If using saffron powder, use a pinch or two and skip the straining.
- Curry; 2-3 tsp curry spice and maybe a little finely chopped green onion!
Here’s some more ideas from other bloggers:
- Lemon Aïoli from Homemade Interest
- Spicy Miso Mayonnaise from Rhian’s Recipes
- Zesty Creole Style Rémoulade from Dish ‘n’ The Kitchen
- Spicy Cilantro Lime Aioli from Sugar and Soul
Recipes that are perfect with mayonnaise or aïoli
- My all time favorite combo: Whole Wheat Bread Rolls + Chives and Cheese Scrambled Eggs
- Garlic Butter Wilted Kale
- Mexican Mango Salad (especially the chipotle chili mayo!)
- Lemon Chicken Winter Salad
- Rosemary French Fries
- Smothered on a Chipotle Cheddar Burger or a Panko Chicken Burger
- Halloumi Quinoa Salad with Garlic Vegetables
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
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