Anz_0062_3                                                                                                 all photographs © Donna Turner Ruhlman

Finishing up the revisions of a manuscript and going over some fat-based sauces has returned me to the mayonnaise.  Like the popover, it’s the story of a great transformation. Yolk, lemon juice, salt and oil.

There simply isn’t anything like it when you make it yourself—you can’t buy this stuff. But I’ll bet you have everything you need to make it right now.  I’ll include a recipe at the end of this post.

Two things are critical to remember for those who have never made a mayonnaise.  You need enough liquid (water or lemon juice) to maintain the emulsion, so don’t skimp on this.  Second, begin adding the oil very slowly, just a couple drops of oil off the end of a spoon into the yolk while whisking, then another few drops.  This establishes the emulsion.  Then you can add the oil in a more steady stream.


Donna took these pictures several weeks ago using natural light in our kitchen and frankly, they’re why I wanted to post about mayonnaise.  But I hope they inspire you to make your own.

You will have taken a tasteless fluid oil and transformed it into an ethereal sauce through craftsmanship and care.  Add a tablespoon of minced shallot, and maybe a little extra lemon juice for an extraordinary dipping sauce for an artichoke, or blanched and shocked cauliflower, or to put on some boiled new potatoes.  It’s magical stuff.  Or just put it on a BLT–it’ll be the best sandwich you’ve had in a long time.

Here’s the recipe adapted from Charcuterie.

1 large organic egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon/5 grams salt
1 teaspoon/5 milliliters water
1 teaspoon/5 milliliters lemon juice (or 2 for a lemony mayo)
1 cup/250 milliliters vegetable oil

Combine yolks salt, water and lemon juice in a 2.5 quart bowl.  Fold a hand towel into a ring on the counter and set the bowl in this ring to hold it steady while you whisk.  Using a sauce or balloon whip (whisk), stir the ingredients together.

Add the oil slowly while whisking vigorously.  It helps to measure out your oil into a cup that pours well in a wire-this stream; alternately you can start your emulsion by drizzling the oil off a spoon, then pouring the oil after the emulsion has begun.  Add a few drops of oil as you begin to wisk; when the emulsion becomes creamy, you may increase the speed with which you add the oil to a thin stream. From the beginning the mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape and look luxuriously creamy. Add the oil too quickly and it will break, that is, it will turn soupy.  When all the oil is incorporated add remaining lemon juice to taste.  If the mayonnaise is too thick, it can be thinned by whisking in a little water.

If it breaks, put a teaspoon of water in a clean bowl and start the process over by dribbling in the broken mayonnaise while whisking.

URGENT UPDATE AND MSG TO BECKS & POSH AND RIPERT: From Shannon at momwantsacure: "Ha!! I just proved Eric Ripert and Becks & Posh WRONG!!!!! Tell them that menstruating women can make a fabulously perfect mayonnaise!"


87 Wonderful responses to “yolk, lemon juice, salt, oil”

  • Adele

    Once again, fabulous pictures by Donna; I’m having company for dinner tonight, and I thought I had the menu set, but now I want to make something that requires mayo or aioli — maybe I’ll steam some artichokes.

  • HappyHoarfrost

    It broke, and so did my pride.
    I don’t know if it was that I chose the somewhat strident lemony path, or that my 4-year-old helper does not know the meaning of the words “A drop at a time.” (“Look, Mommy–FROSTING!”)
    But THANK YOU for including the escape hatch in “If it breaks”–we got it reassembled and it made a smashing tarragon-chicken salad.

  • Erinn

    Oh mayonaise, why do I fear you? I do though, but am feeling bolstered up by how “ethereal” you make it sound. Perhaps it’s time to face the fear. Thanks for a great post.

  • Barbara

    Mayonnaise isn’t difficult–just like hollandaise isn’t difficult. You just need to be patient, and careful, that is all.

    Be bold and fearless in the kitchen–when you are working with simple, easily acquired, not very expensive ingredients like egg yolks and oil, lemon juice and salt, if you mess it up, so what? Try again. If you don’t get mayonnaise straight out of the gate, you will get it on your second try.

    And Michael is right–real mayonnaise is the best tasting stuff imaginable.

  • Darcie

    Those photographs are gorgeous. I have been making mayo by hand since I saw Jacques Pepin do it on his PBS video, which I received for Christmas. I use a little mustard in mine to assist the emulsion.

    There is something so satisfying about the process – the transformation is almost magical.

  • ruhlman

    happyhoarfrost, good for you for disciplining your sauce. i know for a fact it is all but impossible to cook thoughtfully when there’s a four year old in the room. and you need to pay attention when you’re making a mayonnaise; this is part of the pleasure.

    also, and i should have put this in the post, it is common knowledge in France, according both to Eric Ripert and Becks & Posh, that women who are menstruating cannot make mayonnnaise. It always breaks. Always.

  • Joan

    What about zee moutarde ? Ah, my chef has made me make mayonnaise many times. Due to an injury from my previous office job, my arms are still not used to it!

  • iron stef

    I’ve been meaning to do this…and these photos may have pushed me over the edge. I have a terrible aversion to mayo, you see, and I know it’s crazy…but it’s just…blech…I can’t eat it. I want to test my theory that I’m not actually a mayo hater, but perhaps I’m a mayo snob and must have fresh home made mayo.

  • Darcie

    “also, and i should have put this in the post, it is common knowledge in France, according both to Eric Ripert and Becks & Posh, that women who are menstruating cannot make mayonnaise. It always breaks. Always.”

    I’ll have to test this hypothesis in a few weeks LOL.

  • Messy

    All right, if anyone wants to mock the amateur over the following question, just go ahead. Sigh. I’m used to it….

    Is there any rule that says I have to do this with a whisk? I freely admit to not being a whisk goddess. Can I use my handy dandy little KitchenAid hand mixer instead?

    I speak as the person for whom the walking and chewing of gum is a challenge. I’m still recovering from cutting the same finger in an “onion incident” that I cut a mere three weeks ago (Another “onion incident”. The only comment The Boy had for that one was “Don’t bleed on dinner.”) It’s going to be a beautiful scar…

  • claudia

    mayonaisse really is a little molecular miracle. i made my first batch about a month ago. broke it. googled it. then fixed it. i added lemon zest and very finely minced garlic, used a fancy olive oil too. i gotta say it was delicious in everything it graced.

  • Bob delGrosso

    The Kitchen Aide hand mixer works fine, so too does a food processor. Neat Cuisinart food processor trick that eliminates the need to dribble in the oil manually:

    Put the egg and lemon juice/ vinegar in the bowl with the blade. Put the “pusher” in the neck and note the pinhole in the bottom of the pusher. Turn on the machine, mix the egg and liquid and dump the oil in the pusher. It’ll dribble in at precisely the right rate. If after a while you become impatient, you can pour the oil in manually.

  • drago

    Messy – There are “blender mayo” recipes out there but I believe the ingredients are slightly different. Alton Brown’s recipe calls for using the whole egg – I believe the proteins in the white hold everything together.,1977,FOOD_9936_16261,00.html

    It’s not quite as good as the method that Michael uses above, but it’s also generally better than the stuff from the jar. (Read the ingredients, I dare you.)

    As an aside, I’m still amazed at how many people think that mayo is a dairy product…

  • chadzilla

    I hope the contestants on Top Chef Chicago last week read your blog. They were all dismayed for the ‘relay race’ challenge because they didn’t know if they could make mayonnaise without a food processor. That floored me… why in the hell would you enter a show called ‘Top Chef’ if you cannot make mayo… (and I should not have said all the contestants… just the lame ones).
    Times are really changing in this industry.

  • Connor

    Call me lazy, but I use my mini food processor to make mayo even though I can make it by hand. Works great every time, and because it’s so easy, I make the homemade version often. I typically use half grapeseed, half extra virgin olive oil.

    One of my favorite ways to use homemade mayo is turning it into a remoulade sauce by adding chopped cornichons, capers, whole-grain mustard, and some cayenne. Great with seafood, even better with fried pickles!

  • Claudia (the Original)

    I’ve made mayo both by whisk and by food processor – they work equally well. And once you start the mayo/aioli ball rolling, the different flavor possibilities are endless. My current favorite? A Meyer lemon aioli that just rocks every bite of fish I’ve ever put it on.

  • Tags

    I think it’s – straight men can’t make mayonnaise.

    I’ve seen no evidence that either Bud Abbott or Dean Martin have ever made mayonnaise.

    But that’s just my own experience.

  • the milliner

    Oh man, I’m dying to eat homemade mayo again. Have been on a 9 month hiatus due to the growing boy in my belly.

    Definitely nice photos.

  • Kate

    Oh, my gosh, that’s beautiful. I want some NOW, with some of that nice plump asparagus from the guy at the Oxbow market.

  • Chris

    I’ve always wanted to make my own mayo, but never got around to it. After reading your post, I checked the crisper and found a solitary lemon. Since I had everything else, I gave it a go. It came out perfect (no breaking)! Thanks Michael! Tomorrow will be BLT night.

    On a side note, I thought of an odd thing after I finished the mayo…I recently got into making my own bread. I know several other people like me that were too intimidated to try making their own bread. Why is that people (including me) won’t mess with bread making, but people think nothing of trying a new dish for dinner containing fish, chicken, beef, numerous spices, etc. which could turn out downright inedible and wind up in the trash.

    It costs me .89 cents to make a loaf of bread. Even if it turns out to be an inedible blob, I’m still out less than $1. If that dinner turns out to be garbage, I’m looking at tossing $20-25 (or more) in the trash or feeding it to the dogs (assuming they’ll even eat it).

    Why are people willing to take an expensive chance on exotic and/or expensive food, but not an ungodly cheap one on a food that, when done well, seems to me to be a real sign of culinary skill?

  • michelle @ TNS

    mayo has never looked so pornorifically delicious. if it wasn’t midnight right now, i’d be making some.

    hell, maybe i’ll do it anyway.

  • carri

    some people are so afraid of mayonnaise…not just the making of it, but the very existence of it on their sandwich! Oh, sad misinformed souls they are!

  • luis

    Claudia, (A Meyer lemon aioli that just rocks every bite of fish I’ve ever put it on).

    Thanks for the tip Claudia. I have been looking around for just such a thing to use during my fishing vacation. I am considering working on a gribiche and a mango sauce as well. I’d like to have half a dozen options in my pocket or some mother sauce that can be twisted six different ways by this time next month. Feel free to share your recipe with us.

    I have to admit Michael, that after this post I will be trying your recipe. Be fun to give it a go. Michael everything you post is basically simple and really elevates and expands our abilities in the kitchen. Bravo!

  • Doodad

    Perfect timing.

    I have to make hollandaise as homework for my internship in a local kitchen. I figured I would make mayo at the same time since all the same ingredients are out.

    Don’t break on me baby.

  • oneeyedcarmen


    the odds of contracting salmonella from eggs is incredibly small. the inside of an egg is a sterile environment, so there is no bacteria to worry about in there. the shell is another story, but even then, the mother-hen would have needed to be a carrier, the egg not been pasturized, and for you to have been mighty clumsy and gotten egg shells in with the yummy goodness. (this is not even accounting for the inablilty for the bacteria to survive in the acidity of the lemon juice)

  • Shannon

    Ha!! I just proved Eric Ripert and Becks & Posh WRONG!!!!! Tell them that menstruating women can make a fabulously perfect mayonnaise!

    How long does the mayo keep in the refrigerator for?

    It tastes great, btw. Thanks for posting this.

  • ruhlman

    a few things. yes, food processor will usually work but the texture i find to be slightly different. just as a mayonaise made in a heavy mortar and pestle is different form a whisk. there’s something about the whisk texture i love.

    mustard is excellent in mayo, and also helps to strengthen the emulsion.

    this will keep for a week in the fridge if you don’t add shallots or herbs. it’s mainly a flavor issue.

    salmonella: in fact because chicken overies can be infected with salmonella, the yolk can be contaminated as well. i’ve been eating raw yolk my whole life and have never to my knowledge gotten ill from it. but: it’s best to use organic eggs or eggs from your farmers market. it’s worth the extra expense.

  • Chris

    Regarding the salmonella, I recall an episode of Good Eats in which Alton made mayo. After it was finished he put it in a jar and left it on the counter for a couple of hours.

    His reason for this was two-fold: 1) Refrigeration will not kill the bacteria; it just prevents it from growing. 2) Lemon juice will kill the bacteria, and it does a better job killing the bacteria at room temperature than at refrigerated temps.

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Luis, feel free to e-mail me at and I’ll get the recipe out to you.

    Michael, I’m very surprised you’d even repeat such a canard as the mayo-menstruation one, as propagated by the French. Ripert, too, should know better to repeat that, though I don’t think he believes it himself (nor, I think, do you)! Shannon, thanks for taking a hit for the girls’ team and putting that old wives’ tale to rest. Mon Dieu!

  • ErikaK

    Mmmmm… homemade mayo is the best.
    I do find that I have breaks more often with the food processor than by hand. I might try the Kitchenaid with the wire whip next time though. I actually think my problem is not enough liquid, I don’t add much lemon juice so next time I’ll use that tsp of h2o. I usually do aioli too with lots of garlic & a dab of dijon mustard, goes perfect with roast lamb – I even converted the Aussie grandmother from the yucky mint jelly!

  • Yvo

    Hmm.. how much mayo does this make – like I have a week to use it, how many sandwiches could I use it on? (I do like mayo but I don’t know if I can happily/healthily eat a whole jar in a week, for example.)

    Awesome, I will definitely attempt to make this sometime soon.

  • ruhlman

    makes about a cup. you want to make less, reduce the amount of oil and water and lemon by half.

  • milo

    So to make less is it best to just use less oil, water, lemon and still use one yolk instead of trying to divide it in half?

  • ihop

    Man, my mayo kept breaking. Maybe I should buy a whisk and a proper mixing bowl, instead of trying to make it work with a fork and a large piece of Tupperware. Anyone made successful fork-whisked mayo, or should I splurge?

    (I’ve been moving around a lot lately and it’s forced me to reduce my kitchen implements to the bare minimum. No good!)


  • john

    those are great photos, the lighting is perfect for brining out the feeling of cooking in a home kitchen.
    “food porn” is a fantastic art in my book, and i also love taking photos of foodstuffs, from individual ingredients to complete meals. what a fantastic medium, and you get to eat it when you are done!

  • marlene

    In the past, I’ve found the KA bowl too deep to do a good job of whisking mayonnaise and I hate making it by hand, although I can. They recently came out with a shallow bowl and wire whip to fit the KA’s and it does a great job of making mayonnaise.

  • luis


    So, did anyone see Bourdain on Conan O’Brien last night?

    Posted by: Shannon | May 22, 2008 at 11:11 AM””

    Shannon Bourdain was on TOP CHEF last night. Our dog was devouring his bone and my it all went down….ouch!!ouch!!
    See once the dog gets through all the meat in the bone he comes to us for help…. That’s when all the crunching and cracking starts… but I digress…
    Bourdain the bully beat up on the Top Chef sweathogs pretty good. I can’t say he was wrong or that he didn’t point out the issues to the audience. No! He did point these things out. However it felt to me like he was out of context. These top chef people are just journeyman and women kitchen sweathogs. To elevate them to top anything so Buchollic and others Bourdain can crush them for our entertainment is as far as I am concerned similar to the old Roman Christians to the Lions theme. Hell, I been there, my hands have been slapped by the nuns with huge heavy rulers and Bourdain and the rest of the judges can shove the t-shirt up their bony arses. Top Chef is like a situation where someone goes hunting for quail with a freaking tomahauk missile barrage. That is just not the way folks….not at all.
    This is why I personally admire Micahel Ruhlman. Michael elevates folks and introduces them to techniques that bring happiness to their lives. He has unusually rare qualities. I think.

  • Charlotte

    Okay, I’ll fess up — I regularly make the immersion blender version of mayonnaise. One whole egg (I add an extra yolk as well), juice of half a lemon, a splodge of mustard in a wide-mouth pint mason jar. Stick the immersion blender in, then pour a cup of oil in on top of it all (I like half olive oil, half walnut oil). Hit the go button on the immersion blender, lift it up and down a couple of times until everything is blended, and lo — a pint of lovely, probably-not-totally-authentic-but-still-better-than-Hellman’s mayo. Sometimes I add a clove of garlic and a big pinch of allepo pepper because I’m like that. Easy. Cheap (even with organic eggs). And very very yummy.

  • luis

    Charlotte, excellent suggestion for the home cook. Real easy and as you suggest the flavor itself probably comes more from the ingredients you use than from the actual emulsion itself. ( I am 100% certain that Rhulman can tell the difference between the two ) Only way to be certain is to do it both ways. At least once.
    This on the surface appears to be a slide rule vs calculator issue. ( seen any slide rules latelly?? ) A compound mayo reminds me of the compound butter suggestion Rhulman posted about earlier. The sky is the limit in this sauce. I wonder if you/we could replace balsamic vinegar, lime, tamarind juice, or bitter orange instead of the lemon???? hmmmmm……sky is the limit with this technique. Bravo!

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Luis, Bourdain was on Top Chef on Wedneday night, and on Conan on Tuesday. (He did not, however, make mayo on either show!)

  • Lisa

    ihop, the tupperware is a magnet for oils and other contaminants. Even if you think you’ve cleaned it, there are still molecules of assorted things clinging, waiting to interact with your food. You probably won’t be able to whip egg whites in that bowl either.

    The other problem might be water. If your instruments were at all damp, that can interfere with the process. Older cookbooks warn of not making mayo while it’s raining or overly damp outside. I use my blender to make it, and have only had it break when I didn’t start with a blender I allowed to dry for at least an hour while completely taken apart.

    I started making mayo in 1985. I love changing the ingredients around and adding fresh herbs. While citrus fruit is really good (try using limes, and adding chopped fresh dill at the end and letting it sit overnight) don’t forget that vinegars can be used as well as long as the acid content is there. 100 year old balsamic won’t work, but red raspberry vinegar with a little fresh thyme is very nice.

  • ruhlman

    claudia the original, bourdain hasn’t made a mayonnaise since the seventies in escoffier room. and i doubt his arthritic joints could pull it off now, not at this time of the month, anyway.

  • Kate in the NW

    Oooh I just love it when you guys get zingy. Very entertaining. Like mayo with cayenne – don’t forget good ol’ cayenne. Make your BLT Cajun! I’m also going to try using some Alder-smoked salt in the cayenne mayo. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I think that mentsruation myth was created as a test – any fool guy who believed or propagated it had to make the mayo – his wrists were probably built up plenty strong enough to “wisk” all day (because with attitudes like that he’d not be getting very far with any women worth their salt, alder-smoked or not).


  • amber

    totally inspired! we’re having pub grub for dinner so i can use up the last of the maui onions i bought last week and i’m going to attempt homemade mayo to put on the burgers. who knew pictures of something as simple as mayo could be so drool-worthy?!

  • Wilmita

    I am not an egg person; still I have made mayonnaise many times and thing homemade is better than jarred.

    Still, picking on Anthony Bourdain’s arthritic joints is a low shot.

    I am only a year older than Bourdain, but my”clutch knee” from my standard transmission when I drive is beginning to pain me.

    I cannot imagine 28 years of crouching down to retrieve things from ‘lowboys’, etc. could do.

    However, I would NOT up driving a stick shift until I cannot anymore.


  • Jordi ST

    I’ve been doing all i oli -garlic & oil, with a little help from a yolk 🙂 for two years now but never used water/lemon, so maybe that’s why the emulsion sometimes becomes too thick.

    I have a question: What about the egg temperature when starting the mayonnaise? I was told it should be at room temperature, and never have tried with a refrigerated egg to see what happens


  • luis

    Arthritic Joints….ooohhhhhh toooo much information. Guess I can not bash the poor fella anymore. Gee thanks….Michael!
    time for confession AGAIN!!!!!!!….still working through my pennance from the last time. Practically live in tha place.
    Guess I will light a candle for Anthony…He seems too young for knee replacements…maybe he has a plan? like destroying each and every major organ in his body at the same time? before passing?
    Right out of my old coach’s playbook. No wonder he runs around tatooing skeletons on his arse….

  • jsmeeker

    I whipped up some mayo today. I’ve made it before, but always with the Cuisinart. But today, because of this thread I broke out the whisk and the bowl and did it by hand.

    I sort of halved the recipe. Only used 1/2 cup of oil. My water component might have been a bit MORE than half of what was called for above, but it still worked out perfectly. So creamy. So rich. Not at all like Hellmans. Of course, neither is the stuff that comes out of the Cuisinart.

    So, now the question is pose is this. How much oil can one emulsify with a SINGLE egg yolk. Can you do TWO cups of oil? More?

  • Steven Morehead

    One egg yolk will emulsify 3 to 4 ounces of oil if I remember right. I have always heard that you should never use extra-virgin olive oil in a mechanical device as it destroys all the flavor. There was some molecular reasoning behind it. Really there is not that much work that goes into making an emulsification, unless you are making a HUGE batch. The egg does most of the work for you, if you have to force it to work you have probably done something wrong in the beginning.

  • Bob delGrosso

    Steve Morehead, JS Meeker et al

    The role of the egg in the formation of the mayonnaise emulsion is highly overstated.

    It’s not the egg that is responsible for creating the emulsion. Rather, it is the enhanced attraction between the slightly polar (charged) regions of the oil and more polar water molecules that occurs when the oil is mechanically dispersed (whisked/sprayed) in the form of tiny droplets. Also, most oil are not entirely pure and contain “impurities” that aid in forming an emulsion. The same is true of most of the watery liquids that are used to make typical culinary emulsions (e.g. vinegar, lemon juice).

    It’s entirely possible to make an emulsion of oil and say, lemon juice, without adding any egg. You’ll need to use a machine to do it and it won’t taste like mayonnaise, but it will be an emulsion.

    In the end I think it’s better to think of the egg as something that is added to “assist” in the creation of the emulsion but it is by no means essential.

    BTW, mustard also contains particles and lecithin that act as emulsifying agents that help out too. Also, possible to create a sauce that is very similar in texture to mayonnaise using finely milled mustard and oil. I think this is a classic (not Creole) “Sauce Remoulade.”

    (Is that right Ruhlman?)

  • Gabrielle

    Donna’s photographs are always beautiful, but here she has outdone herself. Natural light + homemade mayonnaise = food orgasm.

    Mayo has never looked yummier – thanks! 🙂

  • Shannon

    This emulsifying business is fascinating. Michael, can you do a post about it sometime? After reading everyone’s comments like yours and Bob delGrosso’s, I’m ready to start blending all sorts of things to see what they turn into.

    I’m feeling a little “mad scientist” right now.

  • Tags

    Jane Grigson’s Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery says it tastes best when made with a bowl and a wooden spoon.

    Don’t feel bad, Michael. I’ve bought four of your Charcuterie books and only one of Jane’s.

  • Ms. Glaze

    I’ve head one reason for mayo breaking is that the egg yolks are too cold. It’s better to have yolks that are room temp.

    There are so many great sauces that are mayonnaise based in French cuisine. Try thinning out the mayo with a extra water and adding some chopped cooked chicken livers – a nice cold sauce for chicken breasts. Or add some chopped truffles and extra balsalmic vineger, also equally deelish. Or herbs! Pourquoi pas?

    I make mayo at work with a Kitchenaid and whisk attachment or by hand depending on the quantity needed and how flabby my arms are looking.

  • luis

    Ms. Glaze, I love you!!!!!!!!!! and your blog recipes… but chicken livers?????? pasha!!!!!!! Oh! please come home once in a you can renew yourself!!!!…You are far too french for my simple palate On this one. truffles? please I am trying to buy gasoline. But I whole heartily agree with you that this is a magical technique and a magical sauce that as some here have realized…mainly ME!!!!!!!!!!! is worth fooling around with…THANK YOU MICHAEL!THANK YOU MICHAEL!THANK YOU MICHAEL!THANK YOU MICHAEL! oh, folks go ahead and say it…THANK YOU MICHAEL!

  • Kate

    Hey, and if you’re wondering what to do with that extra egg white, a whiskey sour is delicious and provides motivation during all that whisking.

    I just made a batch of this glorious stuff and am resisting the urge to eat it straight out of the bowl. Thanks for the perfect recipe, Ruhlman!

  • cybercita

    i just finished reading about mayonnaise in herve´ this’ book kitchen mysteries. now i’m doubly inspired!

  • FoodPuta

    I’ve been using my Vita-Mix for making Mayo, and haven’t bought Mayo for quite some time now. I’m not sure if this is considered Fo-Paw, but when I don’t have a lemon around, I just use white Vinegar.
    One question I do have, is how long is it safe to keep in the Fridge? I only leave it for a couple of days.

    Great Photo’s!!

  • Bob delGrosso

    Ms Glaze wrote:

    “I’ve head one reason for mayo breaking is that the egg yolks are too cold”

    Usually, the egg, oil and watery part (lemon juice, wine, vinegar, whatever) should all be about the same temp and typically, close to room temp. If either one is too cold (or too hot) it will be hard to make a stable emulsion.

    Remember: you are trying to elide two things (oil and water) that are not normally attracted to each other. So you need to minimize the differences as much as possible.

    If one or another ingredient is too hot or too cold there will be problems.


    Refrigerated mayonnaise will last for months. Sometimes the handmade stuff looks funky after a couple of days but that does not mean it is bad. Just whisk it a bit and it’ll look good as new.

  • Darius K.

    Hi Ruhlman,

    I’ve made mayonnaise before, but I was inspired by this post to make some fresh mayo for Memorial Day today. This mayo has lime and pepper in it, and will serve the dual purpose of dipping sauce for yucca fries and condiment for burgers. This is also the first time I’ve made it with a whip instead of a food processor; the texture is definitely superior this way. It’s creamy! With a food processor it’s more foamy.

    Here’s a crappy cell phone pic of the final product. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  • luis

    Getting ready to try a gallatine… making brine, deboning the chicken a la Pepin way.
    Can smell the brine from my office already…yum!!!!!!! The stuffing is a challenge right now. Major Ingredients on hand.. stuffing o’course.. cabagge, onions, carrots, mushrooms and Spinach. Oh and there is spanish chorizo and eggs for additional protein flavor. Kicking the ingredients around… something is bound to click between now and and cooking time. The stuffing is key to making all this work pay off.
    Definitelly plan to keep the gallatine cooking around 3-325 degrees for as long as it takes. For the sauce….I am planning to try something based on this Rhulman technique. I can see the mayonnaise already uses lemon juice a cornerstone of mojo. I am going to try making the mayo with italian spice, Oregano, garlic, pepper, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and if I can find them.. chipotle peppers. I will try and whisk it as per master Rhulman’s directions.. but if I have to.. I will use the boat motor stick blender on the thing..
    Complicated dishes such as this rarelly work out…This is why I keep a jar of peanut butter within reach at all times. But when they work out and surprise…yummmmmmmmo!!!!!!

  • Brian

    I was afraid of it breaking, so I whisked the hell out of it, and my arm feels like its about to fall off, but damn its good.

  • Mark Boxshus

    I made home made mayonnaise for the first time today, and it was incredible. Making it was very easy, and I’ll never (maybe in a pinch) go back to the store bought stuff again. Thanks for the inspiration.


  • nmd

    I didn’t see the answer to whether to try to use half a yolk if making half the recipe. Would you just use a whole one? Thanks!

  • luis

    The galantine is done!… now I am preparing to make the compound mayo sauce using Rhulmans technique. Really needs to be more of a gravy…I’ll try a couple of things… worst comes to worst I don’t have to use it. This dish is all about incremental assembly.

  • luis

    Nope, the mayo sauce won’t go with the mojo chicken. I will have to wait until I do the grilled red snapper later this week or next. This chicken galantine requires a brown sauce not white.

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Oh, Michael, I didn’t realize Bourdain hadn’t made mayo since the 70’s because he’d gotten arthritic – I thought it was the alcohol-induced shaky hands! Thank God Ottavia’s the alpha cook in the kitchen these days (!)

  • luis

    Well a little off topic but for what is worth. I stopped by the Normans high end specialty market a block up from the Wynn Dixie were I bought the crappy sineue chicken that resulted in probably one of the most sublime dishes I have managed and looked at what a real gourmaid chicken should look like…and wow!!!!!!!!!
    I was discussing with my bro that the amount of work and time I had dedicated to the brinning and the deboning and the making of the stuffing and the roasting of the galantine including making the brown sauce/gravy…. It just doesn’t make sense to use a cheap chicken. I know for you guys it’s a yawn..but believe me for me, this is a real EUREKA moment in my kitchen. Good ingrediens.. I get it!. Now Bro says that Publix sells a nice organic chicken. I will check it out but the chickens at Norman brothers looked like something right out of Jacques Pepin DVD.

  • Russ H

    I made the mayo and it was great! My chef-brother was impressed with it (especially when I told him I hand wisked it). His only criticisms were 1.) to much salt (I thought I put too much in…he confirmed it) and 2.) Too much lemon juice (again, my fault. I didn’t measure. I just squeezed a half lemon in, so instead of a teaspoon, I may have had closer to 3+. Oh well)

    And it STILL kicked the crap out of anything that comes in a jar!

  • ingo

    i just took a stab at this, first time making mayo! my first try just never ever got thick at all. it was very disappointing. second try was a charm, i used the whisk attachment on my immersion blender and after a few tense moments and some major oil splattering everything came together beautifully!

    too bad the husband doesn’t like mayo. i need to put this on everything i eat. i’ve been prowling the kitchen for something to dip in it other than my finger.

  • Timothy Ross

    This was one of the funnest/simplest things I have made in a long time. I have always been a mayo enthusiast and was so shocked to see how easy this was. I added garlic, lemon, and a little siracha to mine.

  • sam

    Thanks for the shout out Michael – I guess the truth is that I just can’t make mayonnaise. I try and try and try again at all times of the month and only get it right once in a blue moon. I don’t know why it eludes me, but it does.I will try again using your instructions. My mayo is always way more yellow, too. Maybe cos I only buy pastured eggs which have glorious yolks.
    I suck. Seriously

  • radish

    I wonder where that claim came from re: menstruating women and mayonnaise… Regardless, homemade mayonnaise is ambrosial and breathtaking – once you try it, it’s hard to go back to a pre-made one.

  • Marlies

    Messy, Michael’s recipe is better than Alton’s. Use a food processor though. You never have to worry about the mayo not thickening, or having to do the drop-by-drop oil thing, for that matter. A slow steady stream is fine. The only thing you have to watch though is: have all ingredients at room temp. That’s important. You can use an egg yolk or a whole egg. With a whole egg you just have to add more oil. Before adding the oil you can dump all kinds of goodies into the mix, ie fresh garlic, or herbs, or some mustard, or chipotles. The sky’s the limit! I make a fresh batch (takes 5 minutes) once a week. There is no Hellman’s in my house.

  • Ross

    Good god: mayonaise. I know so many people who say things like, “Chicken salad? Ugh. All that white dressing.” It’s true: especially in deli foods, the mayo is often alarmingly cheap. “I don’t like mayo” is a statement I don’t often believe, much like “I don’t like bacon.” It usually means “I’ve never had real mayo.”

    If only people new. Good post, sir.

  • ML

    Thanks! Your recipe plus photos made me go to the kitchen and make some mayo. It was soo delicious…. And it was exciting precisely because it didn’t work. So I kinda hopelessly tried your “rescue” technique and bam! magic! really cool…

    I vaguely remember my mom teaching me how to make mayo, but that was a looong time ago. She actually used a blender.

    My mom is the best cook in the world, but thanks to you humble me can now do something better than she ever did! Can’t wait to go visit them…I guess “family competition” is a plate best served creamy…

    Thank you!!!