Homemade Mayonnaise

We certainly love Hellmann’s mayonnaise at the Byrd House, but with five ingredients and a minute or two, you can leave Hellmann behind in the dust. Yes, homemade mayonnaise is just that easy.

You will need your immersion blender, a one-cup measuring cup from which to pour the oil, a tablespoon and/or a teaspoon, and a 2-cup glass measuring cup, or preferably the glass mason jar, in which you will store your homemade mayo.

Lemon-Shallot Mayonnaise

You can make all sorts of enhancements to basic mayonnaise, such as a lemon-shallot mayo that you can make by substituting one tablespoon of minced shallots for the water in the basic mayo recipe.

Chili-Lime Mayonnaise

Another variation is substituting lime juice for lemon juice and adding 1/2 teaspoon of dried chili powder or minced canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. 

Basic Mayo Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) fresh squeeze lemon juice (or bottled)
  • 1 teaspoon water (for Lemon-Shallot mayo substitute 1 tbsp. minced shallots for the water)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (large pinch)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup avocado oil (olive oil is too bitter)


  • In the 2-cup measuring cup or your mason jar, stir together the lemon juice, water and salt. Make sure the salt is absorbed. Immerse the blender and blend until the juice, water and salt are roughly combined. (For Lemon-Shallot mayo substitute 1 tbsp. minced shallots for the water.)
  • Add the egg yolks and blend into the mixture.
  • While blending the egg yolk, juice and water mixture, quickly add a drop or two, then a drizzle of oil until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Blend in the remaining oil in a slow steady stream

Science of Mayonnaise

Mayo is an ’emulsion’ of oil and water. The whisk or blender mechanically separates (emulsifies) the oil into microscopic droplets that are separated from each other by the water. The egg yolk contains a substance called Lecithin which also helps keep the oil and water separated. So, the yolk is necessary, but the water is critical. 

But, in spite of your good intentions, your mayo may ‘break’ and return to a thin, oily mixture. This is because the ration of oil and water somehow got out of proportion. Don’t dispair and throw away your mixture! Just put a tablespoon of water in a mixing bowl large enough to hold your broken mayo and whisk in your broken mayo, and it will re-emulsify.

By the way, if your mayo is too thick, you may want to sprinkle in a little water.

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