You know, there are just certain basic tasks that all good cooks should know how to do. How to perfectly boil an egg. How to cut an onion. How to sharpen a knife. How to seed a tomato. I could go on and on. And there are basic recipes that we all should learn as well. Today’s recipe is one of those. Homemade mayonnaise is easy to make. It’s economical, and it can be flavored in hundreds of ways to liven up your cooking.
I know what some of you are thinking, “why would I want to make mayonnaise when I can just buy a jar at the grocery store?” Well, for one thing you’ll know exactly what’s in this mayonnaise. It won’t have any preservatives and you can control the quality of the ingredients. Plus, it’s a challenge! I always enjoy a kitchen challenge and once I master a technique, I almost always think, “wow – that was way easier than I thought it would be!”
This recipe is straight from the master herself, Julia Child. I watch her old shows over and over and I’ve seen her make mayonnaise dozens of times. Admittedly, this method takes a little longer than some because it’s done entirely by hand with a whisk. There are recipes galore on the internet for blender mayonnaise made in about 3 minutes if you’re interested in those, but I always think it’s nice to learn the classic way first. And that’s what we’re doing here. The classic, beaten by hand, homemade mayonnaise. So, grab a bowl, a whisk, and a few ingredients and give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?
Assemble all your ingredients before you begin and have everything at room temperature. Separate the eggs and reserve the white for another use. Combine the oils in a measuring cup.
Warm the bowl with hot water. Dry it well. Add the egg yolks and, using a large wire whisk, beat for 1 minute until they are thick and sticky. Add the lemon juice, salt, and mustard and beat for 30 seconds more.
Now, begin adding the oil drop by drop while beating constantly. I find it easiest to do this by just dribbling drops from the end of a spoon. Add no more than 2 or 3 drops at a time. You don’t need to whisk at a high rate of speed, just about 2 strokes per second is adequate. You can switch hands if you get tired, but do not stop beating until the mayonnaise has started to thicken.
Once the mayonnaise has thickened (this will occur when about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil has been incorporated), you can start adding the oil a little faster in a steady thin stream until all of the oil has been beaten in.
When the mayonnaise becomes too thick to whisk, beat in drops of lemon juice to thin it out. Then continue with the oil. After all the oil has been incorporated, beat in the boiling water. This will help prevent curdling and separation of the mayonnaise.
If not using immediately, store in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap. Push the plastic wrap down onto the top of the mayonnaise to prevent a skin from forming.
Now, aren’t you glad you know how to do that?
Variations on homemade mayonnaise you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Aioli: Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe from David Lebovitz
- Curry Mayonnaise from The Culinary Life
- Green Chile Mayonnaise from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
- Blood Orange Mayonnaise from Cooking with Books
- Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Champ – a St. Patrick’s Day Tribute to my Irish Ancestors
- Two years ago: Irish Currant Scones
- Three years ago: Berry-Glazed Chocolate Cake
- Four years ago: Never Fail Pound Cake with Warm Berry Compote