Homemade Mayo
September 14, 2022 6:27 AM   Subscribe

You're making a little jar of homemade mayo for a friend for their birthday. Your goal: the absolute most delicious, decadent mayonnaise your friend has ever tasted. What is your exact recipe?

Assume access to standard American grocery stores, a reasonably well-stocked kitchen, and a relatively high level of cooking skill, including some professional restaurant experience. Assume also that you're not trying to make more than about 8 ounces (if there's more beyond that you yourself get to keep that's no problem at all, it's just not imperative to make any more than what would mostly fill a standard 8oz jar).

posted by saladin to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want plain mayo or something like a siracha mayo or a truffle oil mayo (etc)? Or just sticking to plain mayo?
posted by raccoon409 at 6:58 AM on September 14

The key here is less the specific combination of ingredients, and more the QUALITY of those ingredients.

Go and buy the absolute most kick-ass eggs you can find. Farmer's market, organic, free-range, straight out of the chicken's butt that morning eggs.

The same goes for olive oil, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, and any other additions you want to make (mustard, chives, chilli, lemon zest etc. etc.)

Basically: find the BEST eggs and olive oil available to you.
posted by 0bvious at 7:00 AM on September 14 [15 favorites]

I agree with Obvious, and the key to good eggs, as this October 2000 The Atlantic article states, is the quality of the chicken feed and the condition of the hens
posted by olopua at 7:08 AM on September 14

Also agree with 0bvious, except maybe you want to experiment with oils other than olive--unless you're looking for olive flavor. Oils I've used for homemade mayo include avocado, grapeseed, and canola. They all have different flavors, especially when they're high quality products.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:21 AM on September 14

Response by poster: This is all great advice. But do any of y'all have an exact recipe I could follow as well?
posted by saladin at 7:28 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]

Samin Nostat's recipe is very good.
posted by veery at 8:00 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

Saladin: you say that you've had restaurant experience, but you do not say whether you have specifically made mayonnaise before. Have you done so? I suspect people are assuming that you've made it before since you've said you've cooked before, and that therefore a recipe isn't necessary.

Everyone else: please note that the OP has asked for specific recipes as opposed to advice on ingredient quality.

Here's a recipe for aioli, which is basically a garlic-infused mayonnaise. It is used in Provencal cooking a lot, and it sounds like it's something fancier but it really is just "garlic infused mayonnaise":

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Large pinch coarse sea or kosher salt
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup pure olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Pulse garlic and salt in food processor for 2 seconds. Add the egg yolk and lemon juice, and pulse on and off until blended. Turn on and begin adding the olive oil (pure first, then extra-virgin) in a thin stream. If it becomes too thick, thin it out with some room-temperature water and continue adding oil until you've used it all. Finish with pepper and (if necessary) a bit more salt.

The reason for using 2/3 pure olive oil is to keep the flavor of the oil from becoming overpowering. Of course, if you have an especially good quality virgin olive oil and you want to feature that flavor, use all extra-virgin olive oil instead.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:02 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

Do not use 100% olive oil in your mayo. Olive oil has a tendency to come out of emulsion

Here’s my recipe:
You will need an immersion blender and a to-go quart container.

First add your water-soluble ingredients to the container
1 large whole egg
3 cloves garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp white miso paste
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

add atop this:
1 cup good olive oil
2 cups neutral flavored oil (canola, etc).

Let the oil settle so the water and oil based ingredients are separate. Then plunge your stick blender into the bottom of the container, turn it on, and keep it blending only the bottom for like 10 seconds. Then raise it slowly through the container while still on, until you reach the top. If you have a few ribbons of un-emulsified oil after this, just mix with a spoon or spatula to combine.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:08 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]

Jacques Pépin has a good recipe, and more importantly shows you the technique (including the crucial part about how to rescue a mayo that has started to separate).
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:29 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

The basil parmesan mayo in this recipe is very good.
posted by mjcon at 8:47 AM on September 14

Here's my recipe for homemade Japanese Kewpie mayo. (This is the base. Consider leaning in on the vinegar or mustard if you want to make it stand out a bit more.)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider or malt vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp msg*
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese hot mustard
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 cup (275g) canola or other mild vegetable oil.
* Can replace with salt, but know that MSG has been seriously maligned.

Dissolve msg, salt, sugar, garlic powder, and mustard in vinegar.

Add egg yolks.

Blend with an immersion blender (or food processor or blender) on lower setting while slowly drizzling in the oil.

If it gets thicker than you would like, slowly add up to 3 tbsp of water as you go.

Produces 350g/12oz of very tasty mayo.

The mustard helps stabilize the emulsion (and is also tasty). I don't think I've ever had this fail to come together. (I blend it in the tall, narrow measuring cup that came with the immersion blender.

It can stay in the fridge for a month or more, but is usually eaten much faster.

If it's so thick that you have trouble transferring it to a vessel for storage, I use a pastry bag (well, freezer paper wrapped in a tube) to pipe it where I need it.
posted by Ookseer at 9:08 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]

No recipe for mayo is needed - you need quality ingredients and an understanding of technique (I would not use olive oil unless you want the mayo to taste of olive oil. You could add a glug if you want to, but the best tasting mayo will need a blander oil, like grapeseed, safflower or sunflower oils.) You can make mayo with a whole egg, but it's not classic and not the same. It's sometimes used to "stretch" the mayo in restaurants where egg whites are not used - I made Hollandaise (a hot mayo, really, with melted butter instead of oil) nightly in a restaurant before service using whole eggs.

Classic mayo makes about a scant 1 1/2 cups

into a small mixing bowl with rounded bottom, nestled into a nest formed by a damp dish towel to prevent movement - or with a friend to hold the bowl:

room temp egg yolk (cold will not emulsify as well. You can cheat a bit by warming an egg in warm water for a bit beforehand)
about 2 tsp prepared dijon mustard
fresh lemon juice, about half a small lemon. Squeeze the entire lemon and hold extra juice in reserve. Room temp lemon will yield more juice than a cold one.
good salt, like a sea salt.
couple grinds of pepper. White will not show, but black is fine. Your choice

With a small balloon whisk (one that fits the bowl) mix the ingredients to dissolve the salt. Continue whisking and slowly dribble oil into the yolk misture, whisking well to begin emulsification. This will take just a moment. Continue dribbling and whisking continuously. You will see the oil being incorporated into the yolk mixture. If it looks unincorporated in areas where you recently added oil stop adding oil and whisk. You can add a teaspoon of lemon juice to aid the emulsification. Once the process is well along, and you feel more confident, you can add oil more quickly, in a slow stream. Whisking well, add more oil, until you've added perhaps a cup or a cup and a quarter. Taste the mayo. Is it salty enough? Lemony enough? Want it more mustardy? Correct the flavor to your liking.

That's it. You're done. Adding more oil will stiffen it up and make it more like jarred mayo, but the flavor suffers. Takes a total of about 3 minutes from yolk to jar. Refrigerate and it will keep for about a week.

In a pinch for a salad I've added my mayo to jarred mayo. Combines flavor with the ability to not have the mayo slide off a salad, like macaroni salad, that might sit for a day before being eaten.

Note: if you add oil too quickly the mixture can "break", that is liquefy into oil and what looks like shreds of egg yolk. No big deal! Get a new clean bowl and put about a Tb dijon mustard into the clean bowl. Whisk the mustard while slowly dribbling in the broken mixture from the previous bowl. It will become mayo once more, and at that point you can proceed as above.

If you set aside some of the delicious mayo you've made, you can add a lovely vinegar, like a tarragon vinegar, cider vinegar or whatever you like. Whisk in whatever herbs or spices you like. The goal is a runny mixture you can pour over a green salad. There - you've made homemade vinaigrette.
posted by citygirl at 9:09 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

I'd go with animal-fat mayonnaise. Serious Eats has you covered for recipes. If you're feeling *really* fancy, perhaps try multiple fats, but you'd want to try the baseline first. (their 2-minute-mayo already feels pretty decadent with good eggs, and their kewpie mayo further so)

That said, if you look at the above & go "this is on the right track, but it isn't fancy *enough*", I have something. I've only ever made it the once yet, but if you really want to go the full distance, this may be it. I'll provide the quantities as listed, you can scale them as you need it.

The fabled Triple Animal Mayo

1. Schmaltz. Take 3/4lb chicken fat & skin, & 1 onion. Chop it all. Put the skins in a saucepan on medium with enough water to cover, simmer until the fat's evaporating & the skin is rendering. Add the onion. Keep cooking until golden-brown. Strain off the fat & reserve. Keep cooking the remainder & draining off fat until none's left. The remains are your treat on toast. (this can also be done in the oven, I prefer it that way for larger quantities)
2. Ghee. Take the most fat-rich butter you can find (since you're making luxe mayo, after all). Melt it in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then back down to medium. Stir occasionally. It'll foam. The foam will subside. It'll foam a second time. Keep an eye on it, & once the color goes golden & the milk solids are browning, strain & set aside. The browned dairy solids are also your treat on toast.
3. Duck fat. I've generally bought this one, but you can also render it out similar to the chicken above.

Note: You could swap out the duck fat for another animal, but I like this blend because it's less likely for one to overwhelm the others and the onion & milk solid flavors from the schmaltz & ghee add a nice depth to it.

4. Making the mayo.
* Take 1/6 cup of each of the above fats & combine, heating a bit in the microwave helps
* Add 1/2 cup neutral oil, canola is good here. Whisk it all together
* Decide if you're leaving this primarily a neutral mayo where the mayo-ness shines through, or a spiced mayo. I'll assume the former here.
* Use an immersion blender, and a jar just wider than the head of the blender - this is important, & saves you a lot of pain if you aren't already super confident in your mayo-emulsifying technique
* In your blending jar, add 1 large egg, 1Tbsp lemon, 1tsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic, minced. (If you're scaling this up, mortar & pestle is great for the garlic, but it's a bit harder to justify for only one clove)
* Pour the blended oil in, and let it settle.
* Put the immersion blender in, make sure the level of the egg/lemon layer reaches the blades of the blender head.
* Blend at high speed, leaving the head at the bottom of the jar. As the mixture becomes mayo, slowly lift the head up so the unblended portion gradually drains into the blades.
* Season to taste with salt & pepper

If you (or anyone else) makes this, I'd love to hear about it. It's not a subtle mayo by any sense. When you put this on a sandwich, it will fight the toppings for attention, because how can a mayo have this much flavor?
But on something like a tomato sandwich when everything else aligns? It'll sing to you.
posted by CrystalDave at 9:14 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

Kewpie Mayo. Once you try it you'll wonder how you lived your life without it. MSG required!
posted by dis_integration at 12:35 PM on September 14

The best mayo I ever made used a bog-standard olive oil mayo recipe off the internet. Before starting the mayo I added about two tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary to the olive oil and then heated it - not too hot, you don't want to cook the rosemary, just release the flavor and aroma. Then allow the oil to fully cool and strain off the rosemary, make the mayo following the recipe of your choosing.
posted by rekrap at 1:17 PM on September 14

From a cookbook and unfortunately I didn't copy the name down, but I believe it was The Greens.

Basic Mayonnaise

1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 cup light olive oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil (I use normal olive oil)

Quickly bring the egg to room temperature by setting it in a bowl of hot water for two or three minutes, or until the egg no longer feels chilled when held in your hand. Then separate out the yolk.

Combine the egg yolk, salt, mustard, and lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl; set the bowl on a folded towel to keep it from moving around. Briskly whisk the ingredients together until they are thoroughly blended; then begin adding the oil, drop by drop at first, then in gradually increasing amounts. When the oil is completely incorporated, taste the mayonnaise, and add more salt or lemon juice or vinegar, as desired. A very thick mayonnaise can be thinned by stirring in a spoonful or two of hot water until you get the consistency you want.

For mayonnaise made in the blender or food processor:
When making mayonnaise this way, use the whole egg, not just the yolk, and the rest of the ingredients as listed in the recipe. Combine the egg, salt, mustard, lemon juice or vinegar, and 1/4 cup of the oil in the blender jar or food processor. Blend together, and with the machine still running, add the rest of the oil in a steady stream until all of it is incorporated. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice if needed.

Makes 1 cup.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:32 PM on September 14

My recipe isn't at all fancy, it's as basic as it gets: but it's so freaking good.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:34 PM on September 14

The corpse in the library’s recipe is basically exactly the same as this two-minute mayo from kenji Lopez alt/serious eats As you can expect there are copious notes explaining why each decision was made and a healthy discussion including some folks struggles with this recipe which has never failed me. You want your egg at room temp. It’s imperative that the non-oil ingredients be in contact with your immersion blender blade - this means you need your vessel to just fit the head of the mixer or to double the recipe as written. Finally he addresses the olive oil issue - if you mechanically beat good olive oil it can become unpleasantly bitter and it isn’t as stable in the final emulsion as a neutral oil. Whisking some good oil in after you’ve completed the stabilized emulsion is the way to go to achieve the flavor without the first two concerns.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:26 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

Chiming in to endorse Kenji's two-minute mayo linked above. It's dead simple and exquisitely good. I used to think I hated mayo but I love this.

I usually make it with grapeseed or avo oil, and I use a stick blender in the kind of plastic cylinder they sometimes give out for colonoscopy prep.
posted by tangerine at 5:37 PM on September 14

Kenji's recipe flat out works if you have an immersion blender and an appropriately shaped cup/jar/whatever to blend the mayo.

It is so very delicious.
posted by mmascolino at 7:37 PM on September 14

Came here to push J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, happy to see him already represented. Here's a video.
posted by plinth at 4:50 PM on September 16

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