How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise
Take your BLTs, potato salads and deviled eggs to the next level by learning how to make homemade mayonnaise.
Whether you’ve hit the bottom of your mayo jar or just want to start making more kitchen essentials from scratch, learning how to make homemade mayonnaise is worth the effort. You’ll skip the preservatives and the trip to the grocery store, and wind up with a condiment that’s richer and more flavorful than even the best mayonnaise brands.
What Is Mayonnaise?
Although water and oil typically don’t mix, they will with a little help. When you add a protein (in mayo’s case, the egg yolks), the protein bonds the liquid from the lemon juice or vinegar together with the fat from the oil to create a creamy condiment.
Our Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe
Before you get started making mayonnaise at home, make sure all the ingredients are room temperature. Pull those eggs out of the fridge ahead of time and check that your lemon juice isn’t too cold. This homemade mayonnaise recipe takes about 25 minutes and makes about 1-1/4 cups, so feel free to double it or triple it if you want more.
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash white pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
Step 1: Pasteurize the egg yolks
In a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, constantly whisk the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon water and lemon juice until the mixture reaches 160°F, about 30 to 40 seconds.
The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Gently cooking the eggs this way makes them safe to eat without compromising the texture of the mayonnaise.
Test Kitchen Tip: Using freshly squeezed lemon juice is worth the effort for a recipe with so few ingredients. You should only need 1 large lemon to get 2 tablespoons. By the way, here’s how to juice lemons without even cutting into them.
Step 2: Bring the mixture back to room temperature
After taking the pan off the heat, keep stirring, and quickly place the bottom of the pan in a bowl of ice water. Continue whisking for 2 minutes or until cooled.
Step 3: Transfer to a narrow container
Pour the mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring cup or other narrow container. Add salt and pepper.
Step 4: Slowly add in the olive oil while blending
Start processing with an immersion blender, adding the oil in a steady stream, slowly at first and more steadily as the mayonnaise thickens. (Adding oil too quickly can cause the mayo to split.)
If it seems too think, whisk in the remaining tablespoon of water.
Step 5: Check the texture of your mayonnaise
When the mayo is the texture you like, you’re done! Keep in mind that it will thicken a bit more as it cools. Transfer it to a small bowl and use it immediately or store it for later.
Are Raw Eggs in Mayonnaise Safe to Eat?
According to the FDA standards for egg safety, egg yolks are safe for eating once they reach 160°F—which is exactly the temperature we cook them to before blending them with the oil. Cooking them to that temperature effectively pasteurizes them and works to get rid of the potential bacteria that you might be worried about.
If you’d rather avoid using eggs altogether, you can make an eggless vegan mayonnaise. However, since the egg yolks are an important part of this homemade mayonnaise recipe, we recommend following a vegan mayo recipe instead of modifying this one. It makes a big difference to use egg substitutes like aquafaba, but it can be done!
How to Store Homemade Mayonnaise
Cover and refrigerate your mayonnaise for up to a week. Since homemade mayonnaise doesn’t last as long as a jar from the store, when we’re making mayonnaise at home we usually stick to small batches. Double or triple the recipe if you need more for egg salad recipes or any of these other recipes with mayonnaise.
Tips for Making Homemade Mayonnaise
What’s the best oil to use in homemade mayonnaise?
Any olive oil in your pantry can work in a homemade mayonnaise recipe—but the flavor of the oil will shine through, so it is worth it to use a high-quality oil. Here are the best olive oil brands.
Can you use a regular blender instead of an immersion blender to make mayonnaise?
You can, but you may want to triple (yes, triple!) the recipe. When our Test Kitchen tried this recipe in a regular blender, the mayo curdled because a standard-size blender is too large to blend the ingredients properly. We recommend using an immersion blender unless you’re making a larger amount of homemade mayonnaise.
How can you make your mayonnaise thicker or thinner?
If you prefer your homemade mayonnaise to be slightly thicker, don’t whisk in the optional 1 tablespoon of water at the end of the recipe. If you want it to be thinner, do whisk in that second tablespoon of water.
How can you fix broken mayonnaise?
If your homemade mayonnaise didn’t emulsify properly—meaning the oil isn’t blended into the rest of the mayo when you’re finished—you probably poured the oil in too quickly. Pouring the oil in slowly gives the egg yolks a chance to bond with it. But it’s fixable! Add in about a teaspoon more of either water, lemon juice or egg yolk (not all three) while whisking your broken mayo to give it another chance to emulsify. Soon, you’ll have creamy homemade mayonnaise.