Yes, You Can Make Homemade Mayonnaise!
It might seem intimidating to make mayonnaise at home, but why? Is it because you’re emulsifying liquids and oil and you’re unsure of the science behind why it works? Maybe it’s because mayonnaise is one of those quintessentially American foods that just appears in a wide jar in your fridge and it’s never really seemed like something worth making. Is it because mayonnaise is gross? Can mayonnaise even be good?
YES! It sure can! Homemade mayo is a condiment that always has a space in my fridge — it’s less fluffy and gloopy than KRAFT mayo, and instead, it’s rich in flavor and tastes fresh and garlicky. It loses it’s quality of being a jiggly cloud of nothingness and gains some nuance and flavor, enough to dip grilled vegetables and fresh sourdough in. And that’s saying a lot. I’d never dip fresh bread into store-bought mayo. Yipes. No thank you.
So what’s the secret to making the forbidden condiment at home? EMULSIFICATION.
What is Emulsification
Emulsifying is “a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible” but more simply, it’s when you take a liquid (like lemon juice & egg whites) and a fat (like vegetable oil) and whip them together so they become a stable substance instead of separating. It’s the difference between oil and vinegar on your salad or a real vinaigrette. When we emulsify oil and vinegar we need a surfactant, a molecule that has the properties to attract both water and oil (hydrophilic and hydrophobic). For cooking, that usually means mustard, egg yolks, or honey. The surfactant keeps the oil and vinegar bound together in a way that allows us to have things like mayonnaise or vinaigrette.
Yeah, But How Do I Make That Happen?
The real trick with making mayonnaise at home is having a stick (immersion) blender that perfectly fits into a mason jar. It’s of utmost importance that the head of your stick blender fits into the bottom of the jar with just a little bit of space on the sides, and that the blades of the stick blender are low enough to touch the ingredients below the oil. If they don’t, double your recipe so they do!
What we’re doing is creating a vortex of the ingredients below so the oil is pulled from above INTO them, thus cutting the oil into TINY, TINY droplets that can bind to the other liquids, thus emulsifying and properly thickening your mayonnaise from the bottom up. It’s easier than it sounds. Just make sure your stick blender and jar fit together. Buzzzzz. Done.
What Do You Need?
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 medium clove minced garlic
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
How To Do It
1. Put the egg, lemon juice, mustard, and optional garlic into your jar. Put your stick blender in there to make sure the liquid mixture touches the blades and there’s a little breathing room on the sides of the blender head. Take the stick blender out.
2. Pour all of the oil on top and allow it to settle for a good 20 seconds. The oil will settle up top, which allows us to make the emulsification vortex as it gets pulled downward into the mix.
3. Place the head of the immersion blender all the way to the bottom of your jar. Turn it on to its highest speed. Don’t pulse it or move it around, just wait — the mayonnaise will start to form before your very eyes!
4. Slowly tilt the head of the immersion blender and raise it out of the jar (still on high speed) while the mayo is forming, to make sure that the all of the oil is emulsified into your mixture.
5. Voila! You’ve made mayonnaise! Season with a little salt and keep it in your refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks — and look at that, it’s already in a jar!
Try it on deviled eggs, sandwiches, papas bravas or French fries, roast vegetables and grilled bread, or anywhere else you’d normally put mayo.