Saturday, September 8, 2012

Homemade Mayonnaise (also known as, "Why didn't I try this before?")

I have never been a fan of mayonnaise.  It always skeeved me out, and I really can't tell you why.  I never put it on sandwiches, and the only food I would eat with any mayo-like product was macaroni salad.  I would buy small jars, as my husband will eat mayo, but they would sit in the fridge, half used, for months, until the next refrigerator-clean-out day.  Then I would toss them.

It's really a waste.

Recently, I decided to host a little dinner party and wanted to serve tomato sandwiches as an appetizer.  The recipe called for homemade mayonnaise.

I was a little skeptical.  But I would be mixing crumbled crispy bacon into the mayo before spreading it on the little finger sandwiches, and everything is better with bacon.  So I dove in.

And guess what?

I freaking love homemade mayonnaise!

Well, maybe love is too strong a word.  But I'll eat it.  And it's ridiculously easy to make just the right amount with my little food processor, probably better for you and definitely easier on the wallet (at least in terms of how much we actually go through).

There are a myriad of recipes out there for homemade mayonnaise, touting a variety of techniques.  The recipe I used came from The Savannah Cookbook, which offers directions for a hand method and a food processor method.  I went with the food processor method because there's less margin for error.

Start by putting a whole large egg, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard (I use French's Dijon with Chardonnay), a large pinch of salt and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper into the food processor.  Add two tablespoons of lemon juice, fresh if possible. If you don't have a lemon on hand, bottled lemon juice works just fine.

Process until the mixture is smooth, for about a minute.  You'll likely have to scrape down the sides and lid after this.

While the motor is running, add a cup of regular olive oil in a thin, steady stream.  This will take one to two minutes.  Run the motor for a few more seconds to make sure everything is incorporated, then taste to adjust the seasoning.  If you have to add a bit more salt or cayenne, pulse the processor a few times to mix it in.

Transfer the mayonnaise to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. I've found it will keep up to three weeks with no issues.

If you want to get fancy with your mayo, you can add things like grated onion, garlic, basil or mint, or rosemary to the processor after you've actually made the mayo.  Or mix in crumbled crispy bacon.  It's fantastic.

But even kept simple, this is fantastic on sandwiches.  Especially hearty BLTs.


  1. I am definitely going to try to make this. Mayo from a container sketches me out, I understand how some food can be shelf stable then refrigerated when opened..but often it just seems wrong!

    1. Let me know how yours turns out! This recipe makes about a cup of mayo, maybe a little more. The batch that's currently in my fridge has been there since mid-August and still tasted and smelled great today. I think the secret is keeping it airtight - those Ziplock containers are perfect.