Show Recipe Categories
Back to overview


Mayonnaise is what we call a 'mother sauce' in culinary jargon.

In fact it is the 'mother' of all the cold emulsion sauces, so once you can make a Mayonnaise you can make any of the daughter sauces by just adding some extra ingredients.

I know it is very tempting to reach for the jar of 'well-known brand'but most people don't seem to be aware that Mayonnaise can be made even with a hand whisk, in under five minutes, and if you use a food processor the technique is still the same but it is made in just a couple of minutes. The great secret is to have all your ingredients at room temperature and to drip the oil very slowly into the egg yolks at the beginning. The quality of your Mayonnaise will depend totally on the quality of your egg yolks, oil and vinegar and it's perfectly possible to make a bland Mayonnaise if you use poor quality ingredients.

2 egg yolks, preferably free range

1/4 teaspoon salt

pinch of English mustard or 1/4 teaspoon French mustard

1 dessert spoon (2 American teaspoons) white wine vinegar

225ml(8fl oz/1 cup) oil (sunflower or olive oil or a mixture) - We use175ml (6fl oz 3/4 cup) sunflower oil and 50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1

Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the salt, mustard and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time to create an emulsion. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don't get too complacent or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.

If the Mayonnaise curdles (splits) it will suddenly become quite thin,and if left sitting the oil will start to float to the top of the sauce. If this happens you can quite easily rectify the situation by putting another egg yolk into a clean bowl, then whisk in the curdled Mayonnaise, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again. Alternatively, if you catch it just as it begins to curdle, you can sometimes rescue the situation by whisking in 1-2 tablespoons (1 1/4– 2 1/2 American tablespoons) of hot water.

Garlic Mayonnaise  

ingredients as above

1-4 clove of garlic, depending on size

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Crush the garlic and add to the egg yolks just as you start to make the Mayonnaise. Finally add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.

Note:Here is a tip for crushing garlic. Put the whole clove of garlic on aboard, preferably one that is reserved for garlic and onions. Tap the clove with a flat blade of a chopping knife, to break the skin.Remove the skin and discard. Then sprinkle a few grains of salt onto the clove. Again using the flat blade of the knife, keep pressing the tip of the knife down onto the garlic to form a paste. The salt provides friction and ensures the clove won't shoot off the board!

Coriander Mayonnaise

Add 1-2 tablespoons (1-2 American tablespoons + 1-2 teaspoons) of chopped coriander to the basic mayonnaise recipe.

Basil Mayonnaise

Pour boiling water over 20g (3/4oz) of basil leaves, count to 3, drain immediately and refresh in coldwater.  Chop and add to the egg yolks and continue to make the Mayonnaise in the usual way.

Tomato and Basil Mayonnaise

Add 1-2 tablespoons (1-2 American tablespoons + 1-2 teaspoons) of aromatic tomato pureé to the Basil Mayonnaise.

Chilli Basil Mayonnaise

Adda good pinch of chilli powder to the egg yolks when making Garlic Mayonnaise, omit the parsley and add the basil instead.  Great with salads and sandwiches.

Spicy Mayonnaise

Add 1-2 teaspoons Ballymaloe tomato relish to the basic mayonnaise. Add 1/2-1 teaspoon chilli sauce to taste.

Wasabi Mayonnaise  

Add 1 - 2 tablespoons (1-2 American tablespoons +1-2 teaspoons) of Wasabi paste to the eggs instead of mustard.

Roast Red Pepper Mayonnaise

Add 1-2 roast red peppers, seeded and peeled (do not wash)

Purée the red pepper flesh, add purée and juices to the Mayonnaise.  Taste and correct seasoning.  

Wholegrain Mustard Mayonnaise

Add 1-2 tablespoons (1-2 American tablespoons + 1-2 teaspoons) wholegrain mustard to the basic mayonnaise.

Lemon Mayonnaise

Use lemon juice instead of vinegar in the basic mayonnaise.

Fennel Mayonnaise

Rick Stein introduced us to this delicious sauce.  Add 3 teaspoons Pernod and 2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) of finely chopped fennel bulb to the basic mayonnaise recipe.

Dill Mayonnaise

Add2-3 tablespoons (2-3 American tablespoon + 2-3 teaspoons) of freshly chopped dill to the above homemade mayonnaise.

Watercress Mayonnaise

Add 4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) of very finely chopped watercress to the homemade mayonnaise.

Mango Mayonnaise

175ml(6fl oz/3/4 cup) mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 tablespoon(1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) chopped parsley

225ml(8fl oz/1 cup) mango purée

50ml(2fl oz/1/4 cup) sour cream

Chipotle Chilli Mayonnaise

Add 1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) crushed chipotle en adobo to 150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) to the homemade mayonnaise.

Spring Onion Mayonnaise

Add 2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons 0 finely chopped spring onion(both white and green parts) to the basic homemade mayonnaise recipe.One could also add 1 deseeded chopped green chilli for an extra zing!

This is a recipe by
Darina Allen
View all my recipes

Did you try these already?