If mayonnaise has a season, it is definitely summer. I use more mayonnaise in summer than in the other three seasons combined. Where would pasta and potato salads be without mayonnaise? Or a grilled hamburger? Or grilled vegetables?
I can’t imagine these and a host of other dishes without mayonnaise or one of its endless variations. Imagine summer without garlicky Aioli and dill pickle-laden Tartar Sauce. Not possible. And where would our Northwest seafood soups be without the requisite swirl of roasted red bell pepper and garlic mayonnaise, otherwise known as Rouille?
The truth is, I can’t be without mayonnaise. It’s an absolute necessity in the Otherworldly Kitchen. And even though I keep a jar of ubiquitous Best Foods mayo in the frig for emergencies, homemade is infinitely better.
The best part is that once you master the basic mayonnaise technique, which is really quite simple, you can create endless flavor riffs, turning your mayonnaise-based standbys into spectacular new dishes. Are you ready?
Homemade Mayonnaise Tips & Tricks
- All ingredients should be at room temperature, otherwise emulsification may be hindered.
- Adding a teaspoon of water to the yolks before drizzling in the oil creates a stronger and more stable emulsion. This is because a little water broadens the space between the fat droplets, thus helping to keep them separate. If the oil droplets merge and evenly disperse in the oil, the mayonnaise will split. Lemon juice or vinegar can accomplish the same thing. A dollop of mustard also helps to hold the emulsion.
- To my palate, olive oil is too assertive to be used as the base oil for mayonnaise. If you want a light olive oil flavor, mix olive oil in a 1 to 5, 6, or 7 ratio with flavorless oil. (For example, for 1½ cups total oil, try 1¼ cup flavorless oil and ¼ cup fruity olive oil.)
- When making Processor Mayonnaise, with the machine running, pour the oil into the feed tube. The feed tube has a tiny hole at the bottom which regulates the flow of oil perfectly. No guesswork for you.
- You can control the thickness of your mayonnaise by moderating the amount of oil you add. The lesser amount of oil specified creates a thin mayonnaise; the greater amount of oil creates a very thick mayonnaise.
- To rescue split mayonnaise, begin again with a fresh egg yolk (or even a tablespoon of mustard) and slowly drizzle the split mixture into the yolk while whisking continuously.
- Mayonnaise can be thinned with a small amount of warm water, cream, sour cream, or yogurt. Start with a tablespoon and keep adding and incorporating until you get the consistency you want.
- If you plan to use a processor to make your mayonnaise (highly recommend), you need a smallish processor (7-9 cup capacity).
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Delicious Days: Homemade Mayo – Minute Made (hand-held blender method)
- Homestead Revival: Homemade Mayonnaise
- Just Hungry: Homemade Mayonnaise without Tears
- Kitchen Konfidence: The Best Tartar Sauce
- Orangette: Right This Minute: Meyer Lemon Aioli
- Stone Soup: The Secret to Homemade Mayonnaise (processor method)
- The David Blahg: The Secrets and Science Behind Milk Mayonnaise
- The New York Times: Diner’s Journal: The Raw Egg Conundrum
- The New York Times: Mark Bittman: Food Processor Mayonnaise (processor method)
- The News Tribune: Homemade Mayonnaise Secret Revealed
- Umami Girl: The Easiest Way to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
- Word of Mouth: How to Make Perfect Mayonnaise
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