What Oils Are Best for Making Mayo?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist August 9, 2011

homemade mayonnaiseLife without mayonnaise?   Perish the thought!

Mayonnaise is an essential condiment in the kitchen and making mayo yourself is so simple and easy that once you give it a go, you won’t be settling for anything from the store – including the healthfood store – ever again!

The smooth, creamy texture and sheer elegance that quality mayo imparts to sandwiches, salads, and sauces is certainly unrivaled at least in American cuisine.

Never does the thought cross my mind to “go light on the mayo”.  If I am feeling like a huge dollop or two, I feel free to indulge myself given that the mayo I insist on using is of superior freshness and quality and made with health boosting oils and liquid whey for additional digestive enzymes and even probiotics.

Given that the fats used in the mayo are the most critical ingredient, which oils are the best ones to select?

I tell folks that when making mayo for the first time, use sunflower oil as this will give the closest consistency and taste to store mayo.  However, sunflower oil is a high omega 6 oil and while this is fine if one follows a whole foods, traditionally based diet where the omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio is roughly between 1:1 and 1:4 – if one is still in the process of transitioning off processed foods, a lower omega 6 oil is probably a better choice given that processed foods are loaded with rancid omega 6 oils which encourage development of inflammation.

Including even a few processed foods in the diet can skew that omega 3 to omega 6 balance toward inflammation in a hurry!

If watching your omega 6 intake, sesame oil is a good choice for mayo as it is higher in oleic acid (monounsaturated, omega 9 fat) and lower in omega 6 fats (polyunsaturated) than sunflower oil.  Oleic acid is the healthy fat found in great quantity in olive oil.

Which is Better – Coconut Oil, Ghee or Olive Oil?

If oleic acid is so fantastic, then why not just use olive oil for mayo then?

Extra virgin olive oil can be a good choice for mayo but many folks find the flavor too strong when used by itself.  Using half olive oil and half sesame oil is an option for a milder tasting mayo which still is high in oleic acid.

In addition, some folks find that olive oil really packs the weight on as oleic acid is a longer chain fatty acid and is more likely to contribute to the buildup of body fat than the shorter chain fatty acids found in coconut oil or ghee.

My current favorite oil mix for mayo is to blend 1/2 sunflower or sesame oil (whichever I have on hand) and 1/2 expeller pressed coconut oil.    Since coconut oil goes very firm below 76F, using half coconut oil produces a mayo that is very thick and scoopable.

I wouldn’t advise using virgin coconut oil, though, unless you enjoy a coconut flavor to your mayo.

The final suggestion I would make for healthy mayo making oils is ghee.  I’ve made mayo with ghee before and it turns out absolutely fabulous.   The one drawback is that the mayo turns out so rich that you can’t use a lot of it without feeling very full.

Since I like to use a lot of mayo, using all ghee doesn’t really work for me, but half ghee and half sesame oil would be a good option to lighten up the richness factor a bit.

Which oils and in what combination do you use for making your mayo?   Are you switching around all the time like I tend to do or have you found a combination that you stick with consistently?

Where to Source Quality Oils for Your Mayo

Be sure to check my Resources page for a list of vendors I trust that supply quality oils for all your mayo making endeavors!

 

Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com

Picture Credit

 

Comments (108)

  1. Hi, Zeitgeist,

    Sorry to hear the mac mayo didn’t work for you! I make it all the time from NOW organic macadamia oil and add a couple of cloves of mashed garlic and some lemon juice, which neutralizes the nut taste and it always turns out perfect.

    Good luck.

    Reply
  2. Hey y’all,

    So far I’ve tried making mayo with (1) macadamia nut oil and (2) sesame oil and ghee, which Sarah suggested but must not have tested.

    The macadamia mayo did not taste good at all. I had to neutralize it with some leftover grapeseed veganaise I had to make it edible.

    The sesame and ghee mayo tasted absolutely disgusting. I used unrefined sesame oil, of course. It’s mild tasting, but sesame oil is higher is polyunsaturated fat and made it difficult to solidify the mixture. I had to keep cooling and whisking, as if I were making ice cream.

    Maybe the 3rd try will be the charm. As far as I’m concerned, ghee is not useful for mayo, it’s too overpowering. I might try walnut or avocado oil. I think olive oil would only be good for aioli.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  3. If your mayonnaise curdles, you can bring it back by beating in a little bit of ice water or some ice chips. I found this tip in an old Craig Claiborne cookbook, and it’s absolutely magical the way it changes a horrible curdled would-be-mayonnaise mess into thick, creamy, perfect mayonnaise – when I did it I could hardly believe my eyes.

    He said to put the ice or ice water in a clean, cold bowl and beat the curdled mixture in gradually, but I’m almost sure I just dumped some ice chips into the food processor and whirled away.

    Reply
  4. Gah, pressed enter before I was finished with the comment! What I was going to say is, I know this post is old, but I was wondering if you could help me. If using sesame, walnut, sunflower, etc. do they have to be cold pressed? I don’t think I’ve ever seen cold-pressed sesame oil here. In fact, it’s very hard to find any details on the bottles as to how the oil is processed. Is it fine to get the bog-standard versions, or do I need to keep looking for cold-pressed?

    Reply
  5. I know this is an old thread, but if it helps anyone, I use NOW organic macadamia oil (best price of any brand I’ve found, and great taste) for homemade mayo. I’ve made this with the stand mixer, whisking by hand and the food processor, and the processor is my favorite and fastest way to do it.

    If you’re using the FP, use large, whole eggs instead of just the yolks. Add plenty of fresh, mashed garlic, a large squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fine sea salt to taste, and blend. Then add the mac oil in a thin, steady stream (I use about 3/4 cup oil per large farm egg). Pulse until emulsified. It might need a bit more or less oil, depending on the size of your eggs. Correct the seasonings if necessary. This keeps for about 3 days refrigerated.

    If your mayo separates or doesn’t come together, remove it from the processor and place a fresh whole egg in there. Then gradually add the separated mess to the egg — this method works very well. I hate wasting such expensive ingredients.

    I don’t like mayo with straight EVOO, either — just too metallic-tasting and harsh. I love these peppery oils on their own, though. Mac oil has an excellent fatty acid profile and makes delectable mayo with no off or bitter taste. I use mac oil in homemade Caesar dressing (Zuni Cafe recipe) and it’s sublime. Throw the eggs, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, grated cheese, and anchovies in the processor and blend together. Then add the mac oil in a steady stream until it’s the consistency you like. Slight departure from the method in the book’s recipe, but it’s perfect every time.

    Thanks for the tip about ghee! Can’t wait to try it next time with the Ancient Organics ghee jar sitting here.

    Reply
  6. I just made your mayo and WOW! it’s so lovely! I added 2 tsp. onion powder & 1 tsp garlic flakes (made by a friend from her garlic & onion farm, JC Growers) as well as 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder. I used this new homemade mayo as the main ingredient in a dressing to add to a delicious homemade cole slaw. I’ve been looking for a mayo that’s made without soy and haven’t found it. Tomorrow I have an indoor potluck picnic and one of the gals is allergic to soy. This is what prompted me to make your mayo — so glad I did! It’s fairly easy. It’s also difficult to find prepared mustard made without soy. I found only one mustard without soy listed as an ingredient, but the disclaimer on the container says it’s: Made on shared equipment with wheat, milk, eggs, soy and fish.

    I’m looking forward to making your other dressings, ketchup, & mustard!

    Reply
  7. kaymer,

    i just noticed this after reading your comment:

    “I just wanted to share a little tip for mayonnaise that separates. I doesn’t always work but if you put your separated mayonnaise into a food processor and whilst it is whizzing around, add a slug of hot water it usually fixes the problem.

    I don’t know why this works but it does.”

    at:

    http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/43/Homemade-Mayonnaise

    I’ve not tried this myself, but there ya go!

    Reply
  8. I made mayo today and it did not emulsify. is there anything i can do to save it? i hate to waste the ingredients. I doubled the recipe. I used a combo of oils: sunflower, evoo, butter oil. The butter oil (ghee) I had made from store bought butter. I added 2 tbsp of the whey from the top of some cultured raw buttermilk. The only difference from the times it did turn out fine was the whey and the butter oil and the double recipe. I tried pouring it into a jar to see how it would do if cooled, but it separated.

    Reply
  9. Hi Sarah,

    How long will it keep if you DON’T use whey?

    I am currently using sunflower oil just like in the video but will son switch to half coconut oil as recommended in the previous posts…

    Thanks,

    Joaquin

    Reply
  10. I am ready to cry..I am trying a lot of the things you post and they simply do not turn out. I have made the mayo 6 times and it only turned out once:( I just went through 32 oz. sunflower oil, 6 eggs, 1 lemon, dejon mustard and celtic salt. Am I that lame. I am wasting so much money doing this. Help.

    Reply
    • susan – i have a black mayo-thumb myself. do you mean it did not thicken up? the things i have learned are: bring every ingredient to room temperature before starting, and add the oil VERY SLOWLY – drop by drop at first, then in a VERY SLOW THIN stream. finally got mine to work!

      hope that helps!

      Reply
  11. I hope I don’t get booed for asking this question :) What about olive oil that is not extra virgin? You know, the expeller pressed, organic, good quality, but more refined o.o.? Definitely less of a strong taste. Maybe mixed with half coconut? I just read last night in “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” about the idea of olive oil packing on weight or not allowing you to lose weight, and then I just read it here again. It is rocking my candida/weight loss diet world and I’m in a bit of a state today!

    Reply
  12. I just wanted to add that I slathered my kids’ sandwiches with my homemade mayo the other day (made with EVOO) and they said “Mommy, this is the best bread I’ve ever tasted!” Well, the bread was the same, so it must have been the mayo that I put on the bread that made it taste so good. I lactofermented the mayo with whey so I was a little nervous that they wouldn’t like the flavor (my kids are really picky). I will always make my own mayo from now on because I can really really good about giving it to my kids.

    Reply
  13. Good Sarah! And you did say last month that you would write about the oils when I asked you about which oils are best before my demo to my WAPF chapter, which went very well. I liked Sally and Mary’s oil combo of part olive, coconut and sesame. The slight coco-nutty taste was actually very nice. Personally, I still like a combo of 3/4 sunflower to 1/4 olive oil. I will try the ghee one soon. Mayo was one of the hugest leaps of faith for me when beginning lacto-fermenting. It just goes so against what we’ve all been told about leaving mayo out. Some in our chapter are still pretty unsure about lacto-fermented foods that have been bubbling away on the counter for days, so I hope your site and vidoes and all of the good info out there puts them at ease and they try these wonderful nourishing foods!

    Reply
  14. Another vote for Chaffin Family´s late harvest Olive Oil! It´s very mild and the mayo turns out delicious.

    Sarah, I´m curious about the expeller expressed coconut oil… How come it doesn´t have the coconut taste? How is it produced in comparision to the Extra Virgin?

    Thanks,

    Paula

    Reply
  15. I’ve experimented a lot with mayo. lately I’ve been using 1/2 walnut oil 1/2 extra virgin olive oil. very good, but I’m going to try adding some coconut oil next time. the walnut oil is also very good for salad dressings. Is this a healthy choice? you don’t mention walnut very often. I know your not supposed to heat it. I’m hoping it’s a good oil used in moderation for mayo and dressings.

    Reply
  16. I have used roughly 1/3 virgin coconut oil, 1/3 EVOO and 1/3 sesame oil and it’s not bad – hardly any flavor. I haven’t tried ghee yet… that sounds tasty!! Also bacon fat is awesome if you can get enough to make mayo!

    Reply
  17. Hi, again…I have a question I forgot to ask earlier…I saw that your mayo is creamy white. Mine is a deep yellow-gold. I went to your video-blog to see how close our recipes are, (mine is a variation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s). As far as I can tell, other than the sunflower oil, which I plan to use for my next batch, ours are alike EXCEPT I use egg yolks only. My eggs are from my chickens so they’re very fresh and a robust golden/orange. Is that the reason my mayo is so differently colored? I love it, taste-wise and color-wise, but my family is a little put off by the color.

    Reply
  18. Tonight Aug. 10 on the radio program Coast to Coast on AM stations Constitutional lawyer specializing in food and drug law, Jonathan Emord will talk about FDS’s raids on Raw Milk Producers and how FDA guidelines will futher erode freedom. WFLA 970, I think carries this show, Coast to Coast is a world wide radio program.

    Reply
  19. I use high oleic sunflower oil which 12 g monosaturated, 1 g saturated, and 1 g polyunsaturated, along with refined coconut oil. Good!

    Reply
  20. Sarah, thanks for the oil ideas. I’ve tried making it just using olive oil and have not liked it at all. I’ve also learned that using a stick blender will blend this up nicely. I had trouble with blending before, too.

    Not to change the subject, but I found it kinda funny. I saw a Country Crock ad here on your site! I’m surprised Kim and Karen allowed such a thing!! (I know they float around and it’s not you, but I found it amusing)

    Reply
  21. I just made my first batch with Chaffin Family Orchards late harvest olive oil and its been the best……not bitey but has a great flavor. I’ve always made 100% olive oil mayo and just got used to the bitey flavor, but the Olive oil from Chaffin brings it to a whole new level of yummy. I make ALOT too! :)

    Reply
    • I’ve been wanting to try the Chaffin Family Orchards EVOO, as recommended by Cheeseslave as well. Glad to hear it worked for you, Alison.

      Reply
      • I’ve been using the Chaffin Family late harvest olive oil for over a year now and while I really like it for most applications I still do not like it for making mayo… too strong.
        I’m going to try using macadamia nut oil for my next batch. So far the best mayo I’ve made has been a blend of light olive oil and sesame oil but I know the light olive oil is not a very good choice. Coconut oil is good if not too much is used. I do find that lacto-fermenting with whey makes a positive difference.
        Such a struggle… all I want is Best Foods!

        Reply
  22. Ludy Feyen via Facebook August 10, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Belgian “friet” require mayo, no getting around that. But my experiments weren’t great, because – indeed – I used olive oil and the taste just wasn’t right. I had already reconciled myself to never eat mayo again, when a few weeks ago in the supermarket I stumbled upon organic cold-pressed sunflower oil. My first batch had a very tiny bitter aftertaste, but still, it was a tremendous improvement. I used mainly sunflower and a bit of cold-pressed olive oil. It will take a bit more experimenting still, but I like the idea of trying to add some sesame and / or coconut oil. Many thanks for your excellent suggestions!

    Reply
  23. Sarah, I’ve been making my mayo with avocado oil and coconut oil and it has been great! Do you know of any problems with using the avocado oil? I know I read on the WAPF website that is is probably ok.

    Reply
  24. I’ve always wondered about using coconut oil; now I’ll have to give it a go! I’ve tried olive oil and, even with insanely high quality, mellow stuff, it’s too peppery for mayo (except for sald dressings). My daily cooking oil is half clarified butter and half expeller-pressed coconut oil, so that plus sesame would be my first thought. I’ll blog the results ASAP.

    Reply
  25. I have a question about using whey in mayonnaise. Every time I add whey after the mayo is done, it makes my otherwise thick mayo runny again. Has anyone tried adding whey at the beginning as a substitute for some of the other acidics, like lemon juice or vinegar? If so, how did that work? I would love to hear about others’ experience using whey.

    Reply
    • I previously mixed the whey in last, but this time I did it at the start, before adding the oil. Mine is still chilling but hasn’t thickened much yet. According to the directions in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, making lacto-fermented mayo means it will not only last longer, it will thicken up. That has been my experience, too, even when I mixed in the whey last, but I also used coconut oil previously. I still think it will thicken in a few days.

      Reply
  26. If you use a Greek or Mediterranean olive oil your mayo will taste much more neutral. Italian olive oil is a little peppery and strong for use in mayo.

    Reply
  27. This is really funny because I just made this recipe last weekend for a potluck (which was a massive hit), and made my first batch of mayo for it: http://thenourishingcook.com/2010/12/hot-spinach-artichoke-dip I made it with coconut oil and because the consistency wasn’t coming together, splashed in some sunflower oil I happened to have and it was perfect! What I would really love to try is the suggestion a commenter made on the mayo recipe on The Nourishing Cook for using bacon drippings as the oil. I imagine it would be like the ghee and very rich, but bacon mayo sounds heavenly.

    Reply
  28. What great info! …My family found the EVOO alone to be too strong, and I BLESS you for telling the news about its association w/weight-gain. I haven’t tried our coconut oil because of the coconut taste-never considered using non-virgin, so maybe we’ll give that a try. We have been making it w/a mix of EVOO and Organic Peanut Oil with good, thick results, but again, I was unaware of the weight-gain possibilities from peanut oil…another good reason to give the non-virgin coconut oil a shot. Thanks!

    Reply
    • I have used macadamia nut oil, which is the lowest in PUFAs except for coconut oil, in combination with EVOO. I’ve also used sesame, coconut oil and EVOO. Last time I made way too much, we didn’t use it and it started to taste off so we fed it to the dogs! I always go the lacto-fermented route, too, but I think I didn’t let it culture enough last time. This morning I used mostly avocado oil, with some EVOO and a tiny bit of macadamia nut oil. The directions for mayo in Sally Fallon’s “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” say to let it culture on the counter for 7 hours for refrigerating (this is if you’ve included some whey). It turned out great!

      Reply
      • I have tried hemp oil, olive oil, and macadamia nut oil and the macadamia was by far my fav! Hemp was good but it sounds like hemp is not that great for you? The only down side to the macadamia nut is that anything I make it with I can’t give leftovers to the dogs, macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.

        Reply
    • I made home made mayo this week using a light olive oil and coconut oil 50:50 ratio. I also used apple cider vinegar (with the mother in it) and whey. Next time I’ll try sesame or safflower. I think I’m also going to add some roasted garlic to boost the flavor. I absolutely love it!!

      Reply
  29. Hi Sarah,
    I have been experimenting with homemade mayo a lot lately, in addition to looking into what other people put in theirs. I read a suggestion from someone to use peanut oil, but I’m not sure if this is a good healthy oil to use (I would most likely cut it with EVOO or try some ghee!). The mayo they made looked fantastically thick and creamy. Mine is usually a bit thin… :-(

    We follow a very strict diet when it comes to our oils (coconut oil, lard, EVOO, butter from grassfed cows, and absolutely never touch the other so called “healthy oils” (soy bean, canola, etc..) and I want to stay as faithful as possible to the healthiest of oils, but I must admit..I really do not like a straight EVOO mayo..

    Anyway, your take on peanut oil would be greatly appreciated! I find your blog so helpful and you really know your stuff!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Julia, peanut oil is ok – it is high in monounsaturated fats like olive oil but I would suggest sesame instead. Peanuts can be moldy unless grown in a very dry climate and the oil might be questionable quality wise. Try half sesame and half expeller coconut oil. I think you might really like it.

      Reply
  30. Good idea with the coconut oil. I don’t know why I never thought of that! I might even try it with the flavor coconut oil for a twist. Too bad I just made some today. I will have to wait a week to make!

    Reply
  31. I also was buying safflower oil then read it wasn’t the best choice. So I’ve been using sunflower oil from whole foods, think it’s expeller pressed. Is that ok? I also don’t want such a heavy tasting mayo. I’ve been buying Louanna coconut oil from Walmart. Is this ok to use. With a really limited budget for our family of 8, I have to really pick and choose. otherwise, the price at the healthfood store for coconut oil is double!

    Reply
  32. So I’m a little confused. Ghee has to be a little warm to stay liquid but the mayo never seems to come together unless it’s perfectly room temperature. How do you do it?

    Reply
  33. I have a question. I make homemade mayo and at first I tried and tried to find expeller pressed sunflower oil at my health food stores. I finally was able to special order it at my local Healthy Life Market. I found that expeller pressed safflower oil was much easier to find. Is safflower oil ok for mayo?

    Also, does sesame oil have a flavor? I have only used toasted sesame oil in the past and, of course, it is extremely flavorful.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Plain sesame oil is much much milder than the toasted sesame oil. Safflower is not a great choice as it is not a traditional oil and is very high in omega 6 fats. You can get a high oleic safflower oil (omega 9 fats), but if you’re going to go that route, sesame oil would be better as sesame is definitely an oil that was used by traditional cultures.

      Reply
  34. it is so funny that you posted this because I have been experimenting with making mayo this week. I make a lot of chicken salad for lunch and salmon salad so I like making my own mayo to mix in. I used olive oil for the last couple of batches that I made but I am going to go back to using an oil blend that my chiropractor wants me to take. It’s the 3.6.9 oil blend from Omega Nutrition called “Essential Balance.” It has flax oil, pumpkin seed oil, sesame oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. I may experiment with half of this oil with half coconut oil or maybe ghee.

    Reply
    • The only thing to consider is if you are going to make more than you need at a time and refrigerate it a more saturated fat oil like coconut oil will be a much stiffer mayo when you first pull it out of the fridge. Otherwise if it is a pretty neutral tasting oil it would work fine. This can be remedied by letting it sit out 5-10 minutes before using it if you think to (which isn’t really bad as long as you have added whey for lacto-fermentation. Of course to blend it up to make the mayo it would need to be in a liquid form but not too hot.

      Reply
    • Spectrum Foods carry quite a few different kinds of oils, some are organic some are not, some are refined, some are not – so be sure to check and double check if you decide to order.

      http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=6

      If you decide you want to order something, sometimes their products are available at amazon or vitacost, too. I’m sure there are other places online, as well. If you want to order directly from Spectrum, go to the very top right-hand corner and click on the ordering section.

      They have grapeseed oil.

      Reply
  35. I have switched around ALOT and have finally found a blend that we love – I use Expeller pressed coconut oil and walnut oil. Love those two together!

    Reply
  36. I made my first batch today using half coconut oil and half safflower oil. Unfortunately, I double checked the WAPF website and it seems safflower is NOT a good choice compared to a tropical oil like palm kernel. Any thoughts? The omega 3 vs 6 dilemma is confusing to me.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah. I just reread this, it’s posted on WAPF this morning as you may already know. Question? What do you know about Trader Joe’s sunflower oil? It’s certainly a bargain, but comes from the Ukraine. Trust it or not?

      Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist
        Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist December 12, 2014 at 9:37 am

        I haven’t tried it Mikki … we only have one Trader Joe’s in our area and it is far away from me so I don’t shop there.

        Reply

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