Homemade Mayo Recipe and Showdown: Which Oil Wins?

I love homemade mayonnaise, for its wonderful flavor and for all of its health benefits. The taste is absolutely nothing like the mayo or Miracle Whip you can buy in the store; even my husband, who had sworn his eternal hatred of mayo (having only ever tried the store-bought version), admitted that he actually likes my homemade version. And unlike store-bought mayo, which is made up of mainly hydrogenated soybean oil (anybody like some trans fats with their sandwich?), along with sugar and a whole bunch of unpronounceable additives and preservatives, this homemade mayo is filled with nourishing ingredients: egg yolks, those wonderful little nutritional powerhouses, healthy oils, and whey for a great probiotic boost. (And not only is whey great for its probiotic content, it is also a wonderful, healthful, natural preservative; my lacto-fermented mayo lasts something like a month in the fridge.)

Here is my basic recipe:

Homemade Mayo (Sans The Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil)

1 egg yolk,* at room temperature
2 pinches fine salt
1 pinch dry mustard
2 tsp whey
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar (I opted for apple cider, for its taste and health properties)
1 scant cup oil

In your blender, briefly combine all of the ingredients except the oil. Next get your scant cup of oil ready and start blending again, adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit, which means you have an emulsion. Once you have an emulsion you can increase the oil flow to a constant (albeit thin) stream. Continue blending until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for about eight hours so that the lacto-fermentation can work its magic, and then store in the refrigerator.

*A question I get fairly often: do I worry about raw eggs and salmonella? The thought never crosses my mind, except when others tell me about what a risk it is. First of all, because I know where my eggs come from: healthy, happy chickens with ample access to clean water, fresh food, and green pasture, and room to roam. I would never use any feces-covered factory-farmed eggs from caged and ill chickens that survive only because they are pumped full of antibiotics. And second, the addition of whey begins the wonderful process of lacto-fermentation, which creates an enzyme-rich substance full of beneficial bacteria and kills any harmful bacteria that might be present. The same goes for the acid in the lemon juice.

I have historically made my mayo with extra virgin olive oil. I decided it would be a fun taste test, though, to make several batches over one weekend, all with different oils. My test subjects were: EVOO, coconut oil, walnut oil, and ghee. (I really wanted to test out macadamia nut oil and avocado oil as well, but I could not justify spending forty dollars on two small bottles of oil. Not even in the name of science.)

I should mention that coconut oil and ghee are both solid at refrigeration temperatures, so in order to prevent rock-solid, unspreadable mayo, in those batches I used two thirds EVOO and one third of either the coconut oil or ghee (warmed so that it was liquid and pourable for mixing). The flavors of both the coconut and ghee came through beautifully.

So what were the results of our taste test? Here are my ratings . . .

1. Walnut Oil
2. Coconut Oil
4. Ghee

. . . and here are Nick’s

1. Ghee
2. Walnut
4. Coconut

Nick absolutely loved the strong flavor of the ghee mayo, but it was much to overpowering for me. I started with already very flavorful grass-fed Kerry Gold butter, then clarified it, then mixed it in with the mayo, so the butter flavor was extremely in-your-face. But if you like the taste of ghee, this is a great choice for you.

The walnut oil mayo was a highly successful experiment. The oil is mellow enough that the taste of the mayo was not overpowering; it simply had very pleasant earthy and nutty hints to it. And of course walnut oil is one of the healthiest oils out there, with lots of ALA (an essential fatty acid that is converted to EPA and DHA – omega 3 – in the body), antioxidants, and omega-9, which helps maintain artery health. Lately I have been enjoying my walnut mayo, along with some salt and pepper, as an accompaniment to my hard-boiled eggs. It would also be tasty in a chicken or egg salad, or as a spread for a (grain-free nut flour bread, I hope!) sandwich.

The coconut oil had a distinct, well, coconutty taste. There is no getting around it; the flavor is strong. Coconut oil mayo would not be a particularly good alternative for an egg salad, but I imagine that it would be absolutely delectable in a tropical chicken salad. I can already picture it . . . I might have a recipe in the coming weeks. Coconut mayo with chicken, macadamia nuts, shredded coconut, grapes, any other tropical delights you can imagine. Let you imagination run wild.

EVOO is a great traditional stand-by, a work horse that could function well in a traditional chicken or egg salad, as a spread for that grain-free nut flour bread, to top your hard boiled eggs, any other common use that you could come up with for mayo. I am by no means knocking it – I love EVOO mayo – but it is the recipe that I have been using in my kitchen for quite some time, and is considerably less interesting, daring, experimental than the other concoctions that I tried. It is a beloved standby, although I am very excited that I conducted this experiment and had the chance to sample the wide variety of taste sensations that homemade mayo can provide. Now on to make some kick-butt tropical chicken salad. And ask for avocado and macadamia nut oils for my birthday!

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10 Responses to Homemade Mayo Recipe and Showdown: Which Oil Wins?

  1. Pingback: Homemade Mayo Recipe and Showdown: Which Oil Wins? | A Mom On A … | ClubEvoo

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  3. Shu Han Lee says:

    great, this comparison is just what i need! I find evoo great, but not as neutral enough, it’s great aioli though! always wondered about using ghee or coconut oil too, but i wonder,w on’t it harden because sat fat is solid at rtp? i’ll try walnut oil next time, it’s a little pricey though >< but still love the ideas, thanks for sharing this!!

    • elliemaeh says:

      That is why you have to cut the ghee/coconut oil with lots of EVOO or walnut, or something else that is liquid . . . and the consistency will be a bit thicker.

  4. Trisha says:

    I love how you have the patience to experiment with so many versions of mayo … Thank you for doing all the heavy lifting, I love homemade mayo too and I can’t wait to try the other versions!

  5. reamz says:

    great post! i made EVOO mayo yesterday, but unfortunately it split. I still ate it with chicken lettuce wraps, and the flavour was pretty good! I think next time i’ll try it with a combo of EVOO, coconut oil and ghee, as i imagine it would be divine! Also, i think the type of EVOO you use makes a huge difference. I have a mellow smooth tasting olive oil that isn’t very bitter, but i probably wouldn’t like it with a strong tasting olive oil.

    • elliemaeh says:

      I also once ended up with a batch that split, and I ate it too – the taste is still pretty good, even if the texture is far from perfect. I also had some trouble with my ghee mayo at first – not enough EVOO to cut it, so once I refrigerated it, it turned into a solid block. So just be sure to learn from my silly mistake and add plenty of EVOO – and happy experimenting!

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