Listen. I pride myself on being an honest and forthright person, inside the kitchen and out. The brutal truth is that every time I try to make mayonnaise at home, all hell breaks loose. All other house occupants quietly inch out of my orbit as the curses get louder, the blender growls more ferociously, and desperate howling begins to sound from the kitchen.
That being said, I can tell you with the utmost confidence that this is a foolproof recipe because, although I can never quite get the hang of doing it perfectly in one try, this mayonnaise turns out beautifully every single time.
A lot of home cooks are wary of making mayonnaise at home, and for good bloody reason. A lot of cooking is science, which I don't like to think about too deeply. I just want to do the thing and have it turn out perfectly. I am mildly interested in the scientific processes which make the thing possible, but I would like to read about them as I bite into my delicious parma ham and mayonnaise sando. I would not like to be confronted with them as I stare disbelievingly at my broken mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise is incredible. Its primary ingredients are raw eggs and oil. How can these two humdrum and somewhat slimy ingredients marry to produce the world's most creamy, indulgent, and delicious condiment? The answer, my intrepid cooking friends, is emulsion. Emulsion, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating gastronomical processes that can take place in the kitchen.
Put simply, emulsion is the fine dispersion of the particles of one substance (like raw eggs) into the particles of another substance (like oil). Neither of these things would naturally meld into one another but, with the help of a food processor, a blender, or even the humble whisk, this miracle is made possible.
Right. I'll stop banging on about science. Let's get into how to make mayonnaise at home!
Things you'll need to make mayonnaise at home:
A food processor or blender. I have made this recipe using a hand whisk, but truly would not recommend it. It takes hours, and you'll give yourself a repetitive strain injury
2 cups of neutral oil (canola or sunflower oil will do)
2 whole eggs
Salt. I always use Maldon salt because it is the best. It is technically a finishing salt meant to add texture to meat or veg, but I just don't think a homemade mayonnaise tastes the same without it in the mix! I store mine in these lovely Weck jars from Babylonstoren
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider vinegar does very nicely!)
Look at these beautiful salt flakes! That's some excellent texture right there.
The reason that this recipe is foolproof is that it uses the whole egg. In most traditional mayonnaise recipes, you will be instructed to use only the yolks. However, the egg whites help stabilise the emulsion and reduce the risk of your mayonnaise breaking.
How to make mayonnaise at home:
Break your two eggs into your blender vessel. Chuck in a generous pinch of salt, a healthy dollop of mustard (adjust to your personal taste - more mustard means more tangy flavour!), and two tablespoons of vinegar. You can also try one tbsp vinegar and one tbsp lemon juice. Shake it up, baby.
Blend your egg mixture until they are properly beaten and all the ingredients are well combined. You just did your first emulsion! Congratulations.
Add in your first drips of oil. This is the most delicate part. If you add too much oil at a time, you risk breaking your mayonnaise. This means that the mayonnaise literally separates into solids and liquids. It is an extremely distressing event. Anyway, the point is, you need to add your oil sparingly and slowly. This is much easier to do in a blender with a removable cap or a food processor, which you can keep running as you add in your oil from the top. If you have a personal blender like the classic Nutribullet, then you'll just have to add the oil, flip your jar, and blend in batches.
This is the most strenuous part, especially if you're using a personal blender (like I do). Add in your oil at an approximate rate of two teaspoons per batch. After you've added your oil, blend the mixture for about thirty seconds. If you're using a food processor or blender with a removable top, then just keep the motor running and add your oil in a very slow, very thin stream. Tip: I recommend putting your oil into a measuring jug for steady pouring.
Once your mixture starts to thicken up into a beautiful, creamy mayonnaise, you can add the oil in bigger batches. But, be careful! You don't want to break that mayonnaise. If it does happen, don't fret, pet. We've got your back.
How to fix split or broken mayonnaise
If your mayonnaise breaks, it will either split into a mixture of fluids and solids, or it will turn into a loose liquid mixture. If it has separated, strain the liquid out of the solids. If the creamy, semi-solid mayonnaise tastes fine, you could leave it at that and chuck the liquid.
If you're trying to fix a really broken mayonnaise, add another whole egg into the mixture and blend. You may need to add more oil into the mixture (very carefully!), but the egg should bind your emulsion back together.
If your mayo turned out right, it should be creamy, tangy, salty, and delicious. I spread it on everything from sandwiches, fishcakes, roast potatoes and pizza crusts. If you store it in a pretty jar, it also makes a thoughtful host gift! It really is an essential kitchen staple, and extra lovely when made from scratch.