The Great Basic: Mayonnaise & Its Variations

Sandwiches, hamburgers, turkey burgers, dips, and even as an ingredient, I just can't get by without mayonnaise. I've been making my own for a few years now and often make several variations (I promise it is way better than any store bought).

Plain old bright white mayonnaise - The basic recipe, using canola oil. Great on everything and as a base for variations.

Fancy Mayonnaise - Use half or more Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a darker, more flavorful and rich version for all your masterwork sandwich and burger creations.

Garlic Dip - Great for dipping things like fried chicken tenderloin strips and nuggets in, but also on any old sandwich or burger for extra umphhh - make it strong!

Tartar Sauce - For a quick change to tartar sauce just add a bunch of dried or fresh chopped parsley, a couple of lumping spoonfuls of dill relish (I prefer dill relish, not sweet - careful not too much of the liquid or the tartar sauce can get too thin),  some chopped capers and even chopped green peppercorns if you can find them.

Extra-Vinegary Mayonnaise - I love vinegar! Add a little more than the recipe calls for and switch or mix vinegar types. I use any or a mix of distilled white vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice (well strained with cheesecloth - no it's not vinegar, but works just great). For white wine vinegar I really love Alesso brand (though I can't find it lately).



Equipment needed:

  1. Food processor with 'whipping disc' attachment (that's what it's called for my Krupp's OptiPro (which I love and have had for years - never fails).
  2. 1 cup and 1/2 cup measuring cups with pouring lip (my name for it - you can see in the picture of them). The lips help but you can get by without them. You just have to be more careful to not make a mess. You can also get by with one measuring cup or any container to pour the oil, but it is really convenient to have two in the sizes I specify.
  3. 1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon measuring spoons.

The following recipe was adapted from Cole's Cooking A to Z, edited by Jane Horn.

~ Plain old bright white mayonnaise ~


1 large egg

salt (I prefer regular, not kosher or sea salt for mayonnaise - you can always add a little of either in if you like though).

1 teaspoon fresh crushed white pepper

2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

1 heaping tsp yellow or Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups canola oil


  1. Crush your white pepper
  2. Get your egg cracked (I put it in a coffee cup) and your food processor set up and plugged in.
  3. Have your measuring spoons ready and fill your 1/2 cup and 1 cup measuring cups filled with oil. (I set all of the measuring cups & spoons on a paper towel to contain spills).

The steps:

  1. Pour the egg into the food processor.
  2. Add 2 pinches of salt.
  3. Add 2 pinches of white pepper.
  4. Add 1 tbsp vinegar (i.e. half of your vinegar).
  5. Add all of the mustard.
  6. Add 1 tbsp of oil from the 1/2 cup measure (using the 1 tbsp measuring spoon).
  7. Turn the food processor on low (mine has low and high).  Let it go for about 15 seconds.
  8. Turn the food processor up to high speed.
  9. Take the rest of the oil in the 1/2 cup measure and begin to very slowly add a very thin stream of oil into the running food processor. For this first 1/2 cup, only pour for a second or less at a time, then stop, pause for less than a second and then start again / repeat. Do this over and over until the 1/2 cup of oil has been added to the running food processor. The slower this is done and the thinner the stream is, the better the end result will be as far as how well it sets and how smooth and creamy your mayonnaise will be. (See the VIDEO BELOW which shows the slow pouring of the 1st 1/2 cup for reference.) 
  10. Once you've finished adding the first 1/2 cup of oil start adding the next full (1) cup.  Still in a thin stream, but now you do not need to stop every few seconds - just add it continuously in a thin stream.  At some point in this process you will probably hear a change in the sound that the food processor is making.  It will make more noise and sound a bit rougher. Don't worry, this just means your mayonnaise is getting its molecular structure spun out and set correctly.... I guess 😉 .
  11. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of vinegar (with the food processor still going on high).
  12. Add more salt and white pepper to taste.  I usually add 4-5 pinches of each.
  13. Turn it off, that's it! (Another VIDEO BELOW shows all the steps after all the oil has been poured.  In this video, I am making Garlic Dip and so adding the chopped garlic is shown.)

Notes on Variations:

Garlic Dip - Add 5 to 10 finely chopped cloves of garlic.  You can add this by hand after the mayonnaise is made, or you can add it in after all of the oil has been added (i.e. anywhere around steps 11 or 12 above). For sandwiches you may want to use just 5 cloves, but for dips is where I recommend making it as strong as possible (i.e. around 10 cloves). When using garlic, I usually add a little tiny bit at the very beginning when I add the salt and pepper to the egg.

Tartar sauce - Just mix in the dill relish, parsley, capers, green peppercorns by hand. I like to dry the relish by squeezing it inside a paper towel to keep from introducing too much liquid to the mayonnaise (though a little adds some nice flavor). You can get really fancy and chop your own cornichon or other fancy pickles if you like, but I really like the dill relish.

Don't forget the other variations mentioned at the beginning of this post!

You are now free to 'slather it on'...



Posted in Food, Savory, Uncategorized.

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