Whip it! How to Make {heathy} Mayonnaise.

My mayo!
My mayo!

I say may-uh-NAYze instead of MAY-uh-nayze. Does that make me weird?

Not that anybody but my boyfriend cares. He likes to make fun of me a wee tiny bit about it. Okay, truth is he doesn’t care, either.

Where was I?

As part of my newly turned-over healthy leaf, I am not eating any of the six store-bought salad dressings in my fridge. But I am eating lots of salad.

Last week, I made my own balsamic vinaigrette, tried it, enjoyed it, then promptly started wishing for other dressings. Specifically,  creamy dressings like Caesar and ranch.

(Mysteriously, I can’t find the recipe that I used for the balsamic vinaigrette, but here’s a great guide to dressings the Paleo way)

Now that I’d done hours upon hours of Internet research into Whole30 recipes, I was pretty sure that I could concoct something.

Most of those somethings started with mayonnaise.

Crap. I don’t have “kosher” mayonnaise.

Light bulb. I can make my own.


I remember my mom making mayonnaise, and knew I had her recipe somewhere. My mom’s sister Hazel says that Grandma  would be proud of me, because she used to make her own mayonnaise when they were growing up.

Mom's Blender Mayo Recipe
Mom's "Blender Mayonnaise" Recipe, as she typed it on our first family computer (MS-DOS!)

Mom’s wasn’t quite up to my health par, though pretty close. Following this very helpful recipe that I will refer you to for tips and what-to-do-ifs, I bought a fairly cheap Extra Light Tasting olive oil to use instead of salad or vegetable oil.

You’ll notice that my mom’s recipe is a fast recipe. 15 seconds fast to be precise! I’m going to lead you (as I learned from my new friend Melissa) in a much slower direction. Hours slow. But worth it slow.

Ingredients (Check back here tomorrow to learn where I got this beautiful big brown egg!)

So. What you’ll need:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar would work as well)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard* (pretty sure there’s stuff in that I shouldn’t eat, but I decided I didn’t care)
  • 1 1/4 cup light-tasting olive oil
  • A blender or food processor that can operate at a low speed

Possibly the most important thing you need to do is make sure that everything is at room temperature. Everything. I say again: nothing should be cold. Go ahead and leave the eggs and lemon juice out for a few hours!

Another very important thing to remember is that this recipe works best if you think LOW and SLOW. For the ingredients to emulsify, they need time. So, set your food processor on low and keep it there.

SLOW: In mayonnaise-making, as in many other aspects of life (though not all), slow and steady wins the race. Blogger Melissa says it very well when she says to pour “the skinniest drizzle you can manage and still have movement in the oil”. Why would I try to re-write that helpful visual? So I won’t.

Now you’ve been prepared. Here are your steps. Go:

1. Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature.

2. Make sure all of your utensils are very clean. (Yes, it matters. So I’m told.)

3. Crack the egg into the blender. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar. Let them hang out there for maybe 30 minutes to make sure they are good and room-temp.

4. Add the salt and dry mustard and 1/4 cup oil and blend until well-mixed, 20-30 seconds. Use your judgement.

5. Do some hand exercises to get ready for several minutes of slow and steady pouring. I kid you not. My hands shook for several minutes afterwards.

6. Get the machine going on low. Slowly and steadily pour the remaining 1 cup of oil into the whirring mixture. After a few minutes, you will notice the colour get lighter and you will actually hear the machine start to work harder as the soon-to-be-mayo emulsifies.

7. Remember my mom’s tip: if when all the oil has been added, a pool of it has gathered at the top, increase the speed to high for 3 seconds.

8. Turn the machine off and give your hand a rest.

9. Pat yourself on the back.

Voila! You should have a very smooth and creamy, slightly yellow mayonnaise.

Here's what it should look like, more or less
Here's what it should look like, more or less

So. Room temperature ingredients. Light-tasting olive oil (I repeat: don’t get extra virgin). Low setting on the food processor or blender. Slowly pour the oil in.

Do you feel like you deserve the Suzie Homemaker crown? You should!

Updated March 28, 2012: If your mayo flops, follow my mom’s advice: pour out 3/4 of your mixture into another container, add one more (room temp) egg to the remaining 1/4, blend, then slowly add the rest of the oily gloppy remainder. After the initial heartbreak of the flop, you should be delighted to find your mayo more delicious than you imagined!

Of course, for me, the mayonnaise wasn’t enough. I wanted salad dressing.

After some more Internet searching, I came up with an idea for a ranch dressing from this very out-of-date but informative page.

Instead of adding dried dill and garlic separately, I realized I had an Epicure dill seasoning mix in my cupboard that already had garlic in it. Huzzah!

Ranch dressing with homemade mayo
Ranch dressing with homemade mayo

Whole30-friendly Ranch Dressing:

1/2 cup “Paleo” mayonnaise
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk* (I used coconut)
1 Tbsp. dry dill weed
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
ground pepper to taste

Use as a dip or a dressing. Will keep for… a while. (Use discretion, people!)

Now you can feel even better about your salads and dips… or whatever it is you use your mayonnaise for.


*Note: I learned after I made this mayo and wrote this post that I should be avoiding sulfites as well as carageenans and MSG. The mustard that I used  did not have an ingredients list, but I can be fairly certain it contained one of these three common additives. My bad. Also, some coconut products contain sulfites as well. Basically, if there are more than a few ingredients, or if there is anything listed in the ingredients that you can’t pronounce, look for something else.

21 thoughts on “Whip it! How to Make {heathy} Mayonnaise.

  1. Hey, Sarah, I have a couple of questions for you! Why extra light olive oil, and any idea how long the mayo lasts? I’ve definitely considered making homemade mayo for Aaron, but he doesn’t have it very often, and I’ve wondered if it would be worth it.

    • Hey Ness!

      The extra light olive oil is because of the flavour. I have stopped using any vegetable oils or any “regular” cooking oils other than extra virgin olive oil. But, for mayo, if you use EVOO, the olive taste will be too overwhelming.

      The mayo lasts as long as the eggs would, so up to three months.

      This recipe only makes maybe 2 cups of mayo, so it’s not as if you would have tons of the stuff hanging around for ages.

      Let me know if you try! 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on A Transparent Life and commented:

    This post is a Pinterest hit these days. I may not be actively blogging, but Pinterest and avid Paleo and Whole30-ers out there are passing it around like a virus!
    Healthy mayo: it’s a thing!

  3. I made the mayo and Ranch tonight. I can’t even believe how good it is!!!! No lie! I’m picky and I have made lots of failed mayo recipes. SO Glad I found your blog through Pinterest! I’m one happy girl right now.

    • I think you’d have to have super wrist power to get it to emulsify by hand!

      I would first try with the blender you have, on the lowest setting possible.

      If that doesn’t work, I would try with either an immersion blender, hand-held beaters, or a food processor.

  4. When you say coconut milk, are you meaning the thicker version that comes in the can? or the more watery version that comes in a carton? Thanks!

    • Sorry for the delay, Erin!

      Always choose the thicker stuff in the can! Thai Kitchen is my favorite brand — it’s got great consistency and flavour, and no weird additives.

      If you can’t get Thai Kitchen, look for a brand that only used guar gum as a stabilizer.

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