mayo1Much has been written about the difficulty of making mayonnaise, but in fact it’s quite simple. The key? Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature – and take your time with the oil. It doesn’t matter what kind of spoon you use, but you will do yourself a favor if you place your bowl on a board or a pot holder to keep it from slipping around.

This recipe produces a classic French mayonnaise. If you’d like a southern French flavor, add a bit more olive oil. For a video demonstration, click on the video below.

2 egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 cup sunflower oil or another salad oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place the yolks in a ceramic or glass bowl heavy enough to hold still while you stir. Add a few drops of lemon juice and 1 tsp. mustard to the yolks. Stir to blend thoroughly.

Now begin adding the oil drop by drop, stirring constantly. The easiest method I’ve found is to hold the oil bottle in my left hand with the tip resting on the edge of the bowl, and to stir with my right hand. Once the sauce starts to hold together, you may add the oil more quickly, but be careful not to overwhelm the sauce or it may separate.

Now add the rest of the lemon juice and mustard, and the salt and pepper. Taste and reseason if necessary. If you’d like a stiffer sauce, add 2-4 tablespoons more oil.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of mayonnaise. If you don’t need it all right away, place what’s left in a clean jar, cover tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for about a week.

What to do if your mayonnaise curdles and won’t emulsify? This happens to everyone on occasion, and there’s a trick for fixing the problem. Place a teaspoon of very hot water in a clean bowl and begin adding the curdled mayonnaise teaspoonful by teaspoonful, stirring constantly. Once the sauce has emulsified, you can add the rest of the curdled mayonnaise by the tablespoonful, as well as any remaining oil.

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6 Responses to Mayonnaise

  1. Donald Merry says:

    Meg, greetings from the USA. As far as cooking is concerned, I wanted to let you know that its just as easy to use turkey eggs in your lovely mayonnaise recipe. I would say it’s even easier to achieve emulsification with turkey eggs. They might be a bit richer tiding too. We have a turkey farm in Washington state and since our chickens are not laying so much anymore so I switched to turkey eggs. Thank you for your blog, I really enjoy reading it. —Don Merry

    • Meg says:

      Don, thanks for the tip! It’s pretty hard to find turkey eggs here in France, but chefs elsewhere may want to try using them. Happy cooking!

  2. Dianna Rienstra says:

    Dear Meg

    Would you like a vegan version of mayonnaise? It’s really very good and low-fat too!


    • Meg says:

      Vegan mayo? Sounds very odd to me. Cannot imagine mayonnaise without the egg yolks. But why not post the recipe here? It may very well appeal to some of the vegan readers of this site…

  3. Don Merry says:

    Meg, I enjoyed watching the mayonnaise video. As I am working on the Mother Sauces in Culinary School now I was very interested in your recipe as well. I would agree that the hardest part of creating an emulsion like mayonnaise is control of the darn bowl! It’s so tiring over ten minutes to hold everything in two hands, and the pot, if it slips around the table. I did did two things that help. Firstly, I put the oil in a plastic squeeze bottle (i.e. mustard/Ketchup) and secondly I placed the mixing bowl in a heavy pot with a damp dish towel draped over the top and under the pot. That way I didn’t need to chase the bowl all over the counter top. Thanks again for showing me a great way to make good mayonnaise.

    • Meg says:

      Don, many thanks for the tips. In fact making mayonnaise is easier than it sounds — or even than it looks in the video. Let’s put that on the agenda for your cooking lesson when you come to Paris in May. Should be fun.

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