Serena J. Cavanaugh :: Blog

January 21, 2010

Homemade Mayo

Filed under: Food & Recipes, Parenting — Tags: , , , , , — serena @ 10:28 pm



Why would anyone want to make their own mayonnaise? Blame it on the movie Julie and Julia, which led me to the memoir My Life in France, which, among other things, got me interested in mayonnaise. Interestingly enough, this everyday shelf item that we toss ungraciously in potato salads and smother on our sandwiches without a thought was once a fancy sauce.


One thing about making mayo is that you get to see, first hand, science at work in the kitchen, something we often take for granted. The kids, for example, are positively gleeful as they watch the oil magically transform, or emulsify, before their very eyes. Whereas they would never dream of eating a slice of bread with just plain store bought mayo, neither of them can wait to smear our homemade version on toast.


Part of this is the natural inclination to appreciate what you make (hence the reason we all love our own littler terrors, called children), the other part is that homemade mayo just tastes better. Maybe it’s the lemon tang or the sea salt or the light olive oil I use instead of vegetable oil. I don’t know why it tastes so much better, but believe me, it does.


The other thing about making mayo is that it’s a great way to get out all that pent up aggression. It requires a lot of beating. Just picture someone or something that gets your knickers in a twist (politicians, husbands, slow checkout clerks, taxes), grab that whisk, and let ‘um have it! Who needs a punching bag when you can make mayo?

                 I like to make it with this special Meyer Lemon Olive Oil that I order from Leonardo e Roberto’s Gourmet Blends. It brings the mayo a rich lemony taste that is also slightly sweet. It’s perfect for chicken salad sandwiches or serving with asparagus or artichokes. It’s also a great salad dressing base. I like to add balsamic vinegar, a little garlic, and buttermilk, plus some salt and pepper to create a creamy balsamic dressing. Delicious!

 Lemon Meyer Mayo

NOTE: Mayo works best in warm temperatures. Winter? No worries. Just fill the bowl you are making the mayo in with hot water and let it stand. Pour the water out, dry the bowl and start whipping up those yolks!


2 egg yolks at room temperature

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or white wine vinegar, or a combination of the two

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¾ tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp sugar

1 ½ cup light olive oil or …. Meyer Lemon Olive Oil


1. Beat the yolks, lemon juice, mustard, salt and sugar.

2. Very slowly add the oil, just a drip at a time, while beating. Once half the oil is gone, go ahead and start letting it stream in, but make sure the stream is very thin and beat, beat, beat the entire time.



  1. Call me old fashioned but I always just buy a squeeze bottle of Best Foods. I don’t think Martha Stewart will be calling me any time soon.

    Comment by Rob Shreve — January 24, 2010 @ 3:19 am

  2. Well Rob, I’ll be calling you and believe me Martha’s got nothing on me :) We still buy Best Foods too — there’s only so much you can do with all those extra egg whites.

    Comment by Serena — January 24, 2010 @ 10:57 am

  3. How was My Life In France? I was thinking of picking up a copy.

    Comment by Rachel — February 15, 2010 @ 9:10 am

  4. Rachel — My Life in France was a great book! Most of the movie was based on this book, not the one by Julie Powell. But I will warn you, you have to either love food, France or Julia. Otherwise, why bother? Reading it got me so hungry and revved up to go crazy in the kitchen…

    Comment by Serena — February 15, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

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