Home-made Mayonnaise

One of the basics that many people fear is making your own mayonnaise from scratch. It is actually quite easy if you follow three rules: make sure the egg yolks and the oil are the same (room) temperature, separate the egg yolks neatly, and start by adding the oil drop for drop. It also helps to have an electric appliance (mixer, food processor, blender) to do the whisking for you, but you can also make it by hand.

Mayonnaise is one of the basic sauces, and in the Netherlands and Belgium it can’t be missed with fries. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil, egg yolk and vinegar or lemon juice. One of the advantages of making it from scratch is that you can make it to your own liking. The basic recipe has a neutral flavor that you can tweak to your own wishes. You could even add fresh herbs for something special. Dutch mayonnaise is made with the addition of mustard. This is an additional emulsifier that helps to make the mayo more easily, but it is not used in Italian or Spanish recipes.

The type of oil also determines the flavor. You can use a neutral type of oil such as corn oil, sunflower oil or canola oil, or a stronger tasting oil such as olive oil. When using extra virgin olive oil, the mayonnaise will have a very strong somewhat bitter flavor.

The texture of the mayonnaise can be influenced by using more or less oil. More oil makes it thicker. If you add too much oil, the emulsion will break down.

If you worry about salmonella, use pasteurized egg yolks. (If you have a sous-vide machine, you can pasteurize an egg  by cooking it for 3 hours at 55C/131F. Since that is a temperature often used for low and slow cooking of beef, you can easily throw in a few eggs to pasteurize them.)


Ingredients for around 300 grams (1 1/3 cup) of mayonnaise, you can also double or triple the recipe

2 egg yolks

1 tsp vinegar (or filtered lemon juice)

250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil


Optional ingredients

pinch of freshly ground white pepper

1 tsp mustard

filtered juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp freshly minced herbs such as basil or terragon


Put 2 egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vinegar, a pinch of salt, a pinch of freshly ground white pepper (if using) and a teaspoon of mustard (if using) in a bowl.

Beat until homogeneous.

Insert a single drop of oil and beat until it has been incorporated. Keep adding oil one drop at a time.

After a while, you can start adding the oil in a very thin stream while you continue to beat.

Continue until you have used up all of the oil.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper (if using). This is also where you can add lemon juice and/or fresh herbs. Beat to incorporate.

Transfer the mayonnaise to a bowl. If not using straight away, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

18 thoughts on “Home-made Mayonnaise

  1. I never would have thought of telling people to make their own mayo. I stupidly assumed everybody made their own mayo like me:0) That is a very good and interesting post. I hope you don’t mind if I do my own post on the subject later this week for my French Cuisine 101 series… I never thought of putting vinegar in mayo before (as part of the basic recipe I mean). I ALWAYS include Dijon mustard though… Useful and important post my friend!


    1. I don’t mind at all. The more posts about cooking from scratch, the better! Mustard actually has vinegar as a major component, so I can see why you can use mustard instead of vinegar. Since you are French, it makes sense that you use mustard in your mayo 🙂


  2. Hi Stefan. Great minds think alike. 🙂 I just recently made Mojo de Ajo Aioli (Saturday evening) and posted a photo on REMCooks facebook page. A friend of mine asked if I would be posting the recipe, something I was not intending to do, but I told him I would inasmuch as he requested it. It’s on the agenda of things to do hopefully in the next day or 2. I’ve been really busy of late and Baby Lady was sick most of last week. These things play hell with the blog. 😮


    1. Hi Richard, sorry to hear Baby Lady was sick. Hope she’s feeling better now! The mayo post appears to be very popular, it seemed to have gotten more attention than my take on your corn & crab soup, while I was expecting the opposite!


  3. A good, informative post, Stefan. I made mayo for the first time ages ago and was amazed at how much better it tasted over store brands. I was a novice cook at the time and I’ve since learned that the same can be said for most, if not all, home-made condiments, sauces, and the like. I hope your post will inspire some young cooks to make mayonnaise for themselves. It’s a valuable lesson.


  4. I remember my mother making mayonnaise by hand with extra virgin olive oil. It tasted so good and it was green! I have gone back to making it by hand myself – well, with the help of a mixer – and it can’t be beaten!


  5. I live in fear of making mayonaise. Not because of the technicalities but because I have tasted it. A good home-made mayo is light years ahead of the stuff in the jars. Another excellent post Stefan.


  6. I desperately want a food machine like yours. I need one for christmas but they’re so expensive. And the space – you need space for one of those things – they need to be on display all the time


    1. A similar model to the one I used for the mayonnaise is still available in the UK for about 140 quid — perhaps within Santa’s budget? I do keep it nearby on a shelf so I can take it down easily, but it does not take up valuable work surface.


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