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How to Make Your Own Mayo

Time to make your own mayonnaise! Making homemade mayo is bigger than saving a couple bucks. It takes minutes to whip up a batch and then you feel like you have bested the commercial industry as a whole. It proves that we can do for ourselves. Mayonnaise may be the simplest empowerment tool for the do-it-yourself Viking.


Making mayonnaise takes two minutes, one egg, and a cup of light oil. There is also a teaspoon of mustard, the juice of a lemon and a dash a salt. That’s it--for pure, light, creamy real mayonnaise. These ingredients cost $1.50, according to Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese.

So why don’t we make our own mayonnaise? Hellmann’s came onto the market in 1912. Miracle Whip followed in 1933, replacing real mayo with a cheaper mayonnaise product in a base of water and soybean oil. They offered the shortcut. It whisked away our knowledge of how to make a simple spread and now we spend $2 a jar, more for the good stuff, with no idea how easy it is to make fresh.  

Even Hellmann’s “real mayonnaise” has calcium disodium EDTA in it, a controversial preservative. Homemade mayo costs less, uses better ingredients and skips the preservatives, all in a few minutes.

Mayo Making Tips

It can be whisked and drizzled by hand, but that is a little like torture. My friend, Sarah, and I tortured ourselves, laughing, one holding up an arm to drizzle the olive oil slowly while the other was constantly whisking.  A test of endurance. Cuisinart to the rescue! Did you know there is a little hole in the bottom of the push top, special for this reason? Pour olive oil in the push top and it drizzles out the little hole into the mixing bowl.

Don’t have a Cuisinart? I have an idea, for those handmixing or using a blender. Use a plastic squirt bottle and prick a hole in the top with a nail. Add the cup of olive oil into the bottle for the recipe. Duct tape the bottle upside down, hole facing down, to the overhead cabinet so it will drip into your bowl hands-free while you whisk or blend.

Use light olive oil, usually a blend of olive oils, or vegetable oil. Extra Virgin olive oil can be too strong; I didn’t like my mayo until I lightened up on the olive oil. Don’t keep it too long. Remember that it’s a raw egg and no added preservatives. Make the Bread, Buy the Butter says three days but I keep mine a week.

We can re-learn, we can do for ourselves. We can make our own mayonnaise.

A Recipe for Mayonnaise


• 1 cup olive oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil
• 1 room temperature whole egg, but you can also add an extra yolk or use two yolks. Experiment.
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 to 3 tsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar
• Pinch of salt


1. Put the egg, mustard and salt into the blender.

2. Start the machine

3. Drizzle 1 cup of light oil while the machine is running. (mild olive oil, vegetable oil, or peanut oil)

4. After it's all blended and emulsified, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice (or white vinegar)

Yield about one cup of mayonnaise.

Based on the basic mayonnaise recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at MOTHER EARTH NEWS  and House in the Woods, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, and to join our CSA in Maryland, go to House in the Woods.

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