Once you know how to make mayonnaise it's hard to switch back to store bought because homemade is so delicious and only takes five basic ingredients.
Mayonnaise in it's simplest form is an emulsion of egg, an acid and oil. That's all.
(Typically, you want to add a bit of sugar and salt to it for flavor.)
A lemon mayonnaise recipe is no different than a mayonnaise recipe with vinegar.
It's the action of the acid with the egg and oil, that causes the silky, creamy resulting mayo.
Use the two interchangeably, depending on what you have on hand. Either one will give you great tasting mayonnaise in a matter of seconds.
It's delicious, it's cheap, and it can be a very versatile condiment to have in your fridge.
You can also add additional ingredients to it, creating tasty aioli's and dips of all kinds, or a zestier mayonnaise like Miracle Whip. The possibilities are endless.
There are several methods for making mayonnaise including by hand with a whisk and bowl, blender, immersion blender, or food processor.
It's not the tool or appliance that makes the mayonnaise so much as the method.
They all use the same basic process which is emulsifying egg and oil with an acid to create a creamy, thick, silky texture.
Some recipes call for lemon juice, while some call for vinegar but they are actually interchangeable.
They are both acidic enough to make the magic happen, so use what you prefer or what you have on hand.
Immersion blender mayonnaise method
This method is listed first, because, in my opinion it's the best.
It's certainly the fastest and easiest.
Some might argue that the texture is not quite as thick as you'd get using slower methods but I've found that adding a bit of extra oil thickens it up.
As is the case with any method, counter intuitive as it may seem. But adding oil actually does thicken it.
To make homemade mayo using this super quick method, begin by cracking your egg into a glass jar or glass liquid measuring cup that is relatively close in size to your immersion blender.
It needs to be able to reach to the bottom though.
Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the egg and top with the oil.
Don't worry about seasoning yet, that comes after it's been turned into mayo.
Gently lower the immersion blender into the jar and cover the egg on the bottom of the jar.
This is why you need to first make sure that your blender head will fit neatly into the bottom.
It doesn't have to be a snug fit, it just needs to cover the egg, as shown below.
The immersion blender should be off, when you lower it in here. It's very important that you do not turn it on until you have it placed properly over the egg yolk.
Once the immersion blender head is covering the egg yolk, turn the blender on medium speed, while leaving it sit flush on the bottom of the jar.
You will begin to see things swirling around down there starting with the egg yolk itself.
Leave it down there and you will see things begin to lighten in color and combine.
Once things have become emulsified (blended and pale light yellow in color) on the bottom half, raise the still turned on immersion blender up towards the surface and give it a couple of pumps up and down to blend everything together.
Blender mayonnaise method
This method takes a steady hand, and a little more patience.
You add the egg and acid to the blender or processor, like usual but instead of adding the oil all at once, you have to do it in a very thin stream until it's all in.
You have to exercise patience and just let it trickle in slowly.
Otherwise your mayonnaise will "break" which means it will become a liquid mess that never thickens. It's gross. And you have to start over.
This has happened to me numerous times because I would become impatient and start drizzling the oil in a bit faster than I should have.
And in seconds, what was shaping up to be a thick and luscious homemade mayo turns into a liquid, sloppy pool that cannot be salvaged.
So, either be patient and careful or use the immersion blender.
Storing homemade mayonnaise
Most resources will say that 5 days is the maximum amount of time to preserve homemade mayonnaise in the refrigerator.
Store bought mayonnaise has added preservatives in it, which is why it can be stored safely, opened in the refrigerator for months.
Since fresh mayonnaise doesn't have these ingredients in it, you have to keep in mind that we are talking about storing raw eggs that have been opened, so 5 days is a good rule of thumb for storing fresh mayonnaise in the fridge.
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1 ¼ cups neutral oil like vegetable or canola or other neutral flavored oil
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
Immersion Blender Method
- Add egg and acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to the bottom of a narrow jar or glass measuring cup that is slightly larger than the head of your immersion blender.
- Gently pour oil over the top. Insert immersion blender (in the OFF setting) into the oil until it covers the top of the egg, flush with the bottom of the glass. Turn it to the on position.
- Leave it in the on position, pressed onto the bottom of the glass for about 15 seconds; you'll see a pale yellow emulsion begin to form. Once fully formed on the bottom (30 seconds max), slowly bring the immersion blender to the surface, and give it a few pumps up and down to fully blend.
- Blend in the salt and sugar. Done!
Food Processor Method
- In a food processor, mixer, or by hand with bowl and whisk combine eggs and vinegar/lemon juice until lightened and pale in color.
- Add oil in a slow, very thin stream. As you go, mixture will thicken.
- Once all the oil has been added and it resembles mayonnaise, then add salt and sugar. Blend. store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
- Use a neutral tasting oil, like vegetable oil or light olive oil. If you want to use extra virgin olive oil, do a blend of ½ cup EVOO to ¾ cup neutral oil.
- If the mayonnaise seems thin, add a little more oil; it seems counter intuitive, but that will thicken it up.
- Using the immersion blender method is the fastest, easiest way by far.
- If you use the blender or food processor method, you must add the oil in a very thin, steady stream over the course of 3-5 minutes. If you go to fast, it will "break" and become a thin mess that won't come together. You'll have to start over at this point, or slowly add the broken mixture to a freshly blended egg yolk along with another ½ cup of oil in a clean, fresh bowl.
- Season with salt and sugar after the mayonnaise is formed.
- Add additional seasonings, if desired, to flavor your mayo and make an aioli.
- For a copy cat Miracle Whip Recipe, add ¼ teaspoon each more of vinegar and sugar, along with a pinch of garlic powder, and sweet paprika.