Rich, creamy and easy to whip up, this homemade mayonnaise is a staple in my fridge.  If you’ve ever thought making your own mayonnaise was out of your league you’ll be surprised at how easy (and fun!) it is to make.

One of my favorite memories of the State Fair when I was a kid was the immersion blender booth.  Yep, I was a weird kid.  But seriously, while talking the crowd through his routine via his clip-on microphone the man basically put oil and an egg in a jar and magically turned it into mayonnaise. W.O.W.  Then… THEN!  He got another jar, added cream and sugar and… wait for it… made whipped cream!  TA DAAA!!!!  Mayonnaise and whipped cream – foods my 10 year-old-self thought only came pre-made from the grocery store.  Wonder of wonders, what a stupendously amazing place that State Fair was.  Well, step right up and I’ll tell you how you can make your very own magic mayo right in your own home.  Astonish your kids, impress your neighbors!  But wait…!  There’s more!  I’m going to make it better for you too!  GASP!

Pretty much everyone is striving to eat more healthfully these days; sneaking kale into smoothies or spinach into lasagna is definitely a start but what about those staples on which we often rely, like mayo?  Years ago, when fat was a four-letter word, we either used a processed chemical (and sugar) laden “fat-free” version, replaced it with something all-together different like mustard or yogurt, or just went without.

Now, thankfully, people are learning that not all fat is bad and you can find some mayonnaise in the stores made with olive and other, more healthful, oils.  However, if you read the ingredients, most still have some not-so-great ingredients and some type of preservative to keep them shelf stable.  This rich and creamy condiment is still a little taboo so we tell ourselves we’ll only use a little bit, spread thinly on our bread or lightly mixed into our tuna or chickpea salad, but why?  Why force ourselves to use only a little when it’s easy to make a fresh and healthful version at home.  Sure, it’s still going to be high in fat but let’s make it high in good fats.  You can still just use a little, if that’s your preference, but if you choose to use more you don’t have to feel bad about it.

Another nutritional upside to making mayonnaise yourself is that you know exactly what you’re eating and there are no preservatives or artificial ingredients.  Take a look at the ingredients on a jar of store bought mayonnaise; even a supposedly healthful version which simply lists oil, eggs, vinegar and spices will often also contain natural flavors.  Did you ever stop to consider what those natural flavors are…? More often than not they contain Glutamate bi-products like MSG which are “excitotoxins”.  These are basically chemicals the food industry uses to ramp up the flavor of a product to the point where your taste buds go into hyper-drive and you want to eat more.  This is a brilliant strategy for marketing but not so great for the people consuming the product.  You can do your own research on excitotoxins and their side effects on our bodies, but just know they’re bad juju.

Once you’ve made your own mayonnaise I’m pretty sure you won’t go back to the store-bought stuff because one- it’s sooo much better and two- it’s sooo easy.  The only slight down side is, because it contains raw egg it doesn’t keep longer than a week or two in the refrigerator, so you do have to make it more often.  But, like I said, it’s so easy and takes less than five minutes to whip up so it’s a simple thing to whip up a quick batch whenever you need it.  Plus, it’s actually a fun recipe to make; especially if you’re cooking with kids.  Young and old, every person I have introduced this mayonnaise to over the years has loved it.

What follows is a recipe for a basic mayonnaise.  It’s wonderful as is but try thinking of it as a blank canvas and experiment by adding different flavors with herbs and spices.  Try adding a bit more lemon juice, lemon zest and more garlic for a delicious aioli-style spread.  Fresh tarragon, dill and savory make a nice herbal version, and if you’re in the mood for something smoky and spicy try adding Sriracha, chipotle powder and smoked paprika.  Really the possibilities are endless; just make sure you don’t add too much additional liquid which can prevent the mayonnaise from setting up correctly.  Conversely, you can always stir herbs and spices into the already made basic recipe.

A few notes about ingredients and equipment ∼ In keeping this recipe as healthful as possible choose a good quality, light tasting oil.  Almond, walnut and avocado oils all work well here.  If using olive oil, make sure you choose a light version as a full-flavored olive oil will result in a bitter mayonnaise.  I have found using half regular olive oil and and one of the oils listed above to be a good combination, but it does still retain a slight bitterness from the olive oil.  This recipe contains raw egg.  Personally I don’t worry about this because I use fresh, pastured, organic eggs. (Cage-free and free-range don’t mean a thing – google it).  If you’re worried about consuming raw eggs you can buy pasteurized eggs but again, you’d be drifting back over to that processed side of the food industry.

You will need an immersion blender and a wide-mouth glass jar (with a lid) large enough for the immersion blender to fit into.  You can make mayonnaise in a regular blender but I haven’t done it in years – ever since I began making this version, which is not only easier but leaves much less to clean up.

1 cup good quality oil *see notes above
1 large egg *see notes above
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Pour the oil into a clean and dry glass jar.  Add the egg next and then all remaining ingredients.  Place the immersion blender flat on the bottom of the jar and begin blending.  Keep the blender at the bottom of the jar for a full 20 seconds then slowly begin to bring it up to the top.  You can wiggle the blender around slightly to pull more of the oil down to the bottom as you go.  If there is still some unincorporated oil once you reach to top, remove the immersion blender, lightly tap it on the side of the jar to get the mayonnaise on the blender back into the jar, then place the blender back on the top of the mayonnaise and blend a few more seconds, moving it around a bit to incorporate all of the oil.  This entire process should take about 30 seconds.  Keeps refrigerated about 10 days.