A sauce usually composed of yolks of eggs beaten with olive oil until thick, and seasoned with vinegar, or lemon juice, salt, pepper, or other ingredients. Commonly used as a sandwich condiment or as a salad dressing. Popular brand names include Miracle Whip and Hellman's. Mayonnaise is considered a fairly mild condiment, but a good sauce can add a lot of flavor to a sandwich, a burger, or a pasta salad.

As a side note: Dutch people put (lots of) mayonnaise on their French fries (in Dutch: 'patat'). This appears to freak out foreigners.
This cultural 'little difference' was immortalized by John Travolta in the movie Pulp Fiction: 'I've seen em doing it man, they fucking drown them in that shit'.

Perhaps I should enter this under "things that really creep me out," but I once saw a guy suck a whole jar of mayonnaise through a straw. Sucked it dry, I tell you. He did it to win a bet. It didn't even seem to make him queasy.

I think it might not have been his first time . . .

Recipe for Mayonnaise:



  1. Put first 8 ingredients (egg - oil #1) in a blender and whirl briefly.
  2. Add remaining oil in a slow, steady stream, blending until all oil is added and mixture is thick and smooth.
  3. This may be used as a dip for raw vegetables or in anything that calls for mayonnaise.
  4. Variation: To make Aioli, the garlic sauce of Provence, omit sugar, add 3-4 garlic cloves to blender and substitute Dijon for prepared mustard. Serve with cooked fish or a vegetable platter.
The origins of mayonnaise are enveloped in deepest mystery, buried beneath thick folds of legend. In fact, much as if it were smothered in, well, mayonnaise.

Does the name indicate its provenance? Perhaps.

The Old French for "egg yolk" was "moyeu". From this, "moyenaisse" to "mayonnaise"?

Did it orginate in the southwestern French town of Bayonne as "bayonnaise"?

Perhaps it was created by the chef of the Duc de Richelieu in the Minorcan port of Mahon?

My favourite story, and the one I prefer to believe no matter what is this:

In 1589 the Duc de Mayenne refused to participate in the Battle of Arques until he had finished a meal of chicken in a creamy white sauce: "mayennaise".

Another recipe for Mayonnaise (which seems to differ radically from the one already posted):


3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cups oil (I like to use Olive Oil)
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 tablsepoon boiling water


1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature, cold ingredients can cause the mayonnaise to curdle. Beat yolks together with a wire whisk, add vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Add oil *slowly*, first in drops then in a fine stream. After each 1/2 cup, stop adding oil and beat together mixture.
3. After all oil has been added, stir in lemon juice, then water. Makes about 1 pint.


1. Andalouse: peel the skins from 1/4 of one green and one red bell pepper. Cut into julienne strips. Saute in olive oil and cool. Add pepper pieces and 2 tablespoons tomato paste to one cup Mayonnaise, add 1/4 teaspon sugar, 1 mashed gartlic clove and a dash of salt.

2. Chantilly: add 1 tablespoon creme fraiche and one tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup mayonnaise then stir in 4 tablespoons of whipped cream. For asparagus.

3. Remoulade: Add sieved egg yolks, 1 tablespoon minced sweet pickles, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon minced parsley, 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste, 1/2 teaspooon washed capers, 1/2 teaspoon drived cherval and 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon to 1 cup of Mayonnaise. For seafood.

4. Noisette: Add 1/2 cup toasted ground hazelnuts to 1 cup mayonnaise. For green vegetables.

From: The Thorough Good Cook

Sauces: 39. Mayonnaise

Take a round-bottomed basin, place therein three yolks of eggs, a little pepper and salt, and with a wooden spoon proceed to work therein, by turning the spoon round quickly, about half a pint of salad oil and half a gill of tarragon vinegar; these must be incorporated by degrees, almost drop by drop; and in order to produce the sauce in perfection, it must present the appearance of a firm, creamy substance. This cold sauce is especially adapted for chicken and lobster salads.
Mayonnaise is a stable emulsion consisting of oil, egg yolk, vinegar, condiments and spices. The emulsion is formed when the tiny drops of oil are held in suspension. The egg yolk coats each drop of oil and acts to keep it from separating out. Gelatin, condensed milk or even a cooked starch paste will do the same.

Egg yolks are used as a rule, because they form a heaver emulsion with a deeper yellow color.

Use only fresh eggs; if the eggs are even a little stale it will not form a stable emulsion. Be careful adding salt, too much will break the emulsion. Sugar helps keep the emulsion stable.


Mayonnaise Dressing:

½ teaspoon of prepared mustard
½ teaspoon of sugar (optional)
a few grains of cayenne or white pepper
1 fresh egg yolk
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 tablespoon of strained lemon juice
a few grains of salt

Sift the mustard, sugar, pepper, and salt into a bowl, add the egg yolk, mix thoroughly, then add the vinegar stirring constantly. Add two teaspoons of oil at a time while beating constantly. It takes about 10 minutes to get a good mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise with Condensed Milk:

1 cup of condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/3 cup of vinegar
2/3 cup of oil

Beat the egg yolks adding the condensed milk and seasonings, then the oil and vinegar alternately a little at a time.

Other Dressings based on Mayonnaise:
Almond Mayonnaise Dressing:
Cream Mayonnaise Dressing:
Chutney Dressing:
Caper Dressing:
Caviar Horseradish Dressing:
Cumberland Dressing:
Cranberry Dressing:
Egg Dressing:
Green Dressing:
Horseradish Dressing:
Olive Dressing:
Olga’s Dressing:
Piquante Dressing:
Red Dressing I:
Red Dressing II:
Russian Dressing I:
Russian Dressing II:
Russian Dressing III:
Roquefort Cheese Dressing:
Sour Cream Dressing:
Thousand Island Dressing:
Victory Dressing:

Birth of a sauce: victory at Port Mahon.

Food legend, has it that Mayonnaise was invented by a French chef in 1756 in the preparation of a victory feast for the Duke de Richelieu.  The chef intended to make a classic French sauce with cream and eggs, but he was out of cream so he substituted olive oil, et voila, c'est incroyable!  The amazing sauce was named mayonnaise after the victory after Port Mahon.  

One hundred and forty seven years later, Richard Hellmann, a German immigrant opened a delicatessen in New York City that featured salads and sandwiches with the mayonnaise made by his wife.  Hellman's mayonnaise was so popular that they soon began selling it in large glass jars with the now famous "Blue Ribbon," label.  Out west in California, the Best Foods company also discovered how popular mayonnaise was and began offering its own version of the sauce.  In 1932, the two companies merged although the product is still sold as Hellman's east of the Rockies and as Best Foods to the west.

Over the years the popularity of mayonnaise in America has increased steadily over the years.  Recently, new varieties of this white emulsified product have appeared on the shelf.    In the 1980's, "Mayonnaise Lite," and cholesterol-free mayonnaise appeared in response to an increase in public health consciousness. More recently, the Dijonnaise product was introduced in 1992, combining mayonnaise and dijon mustard.  The popularity of Dijonnaise was so great that a variety of other flavors were soon to follow. Mayonnaise flavored with barbecue sauce, honey mustard, chipotle, and horse-raddish are now found on most supermarket shelves.

 Like Hollandaise and Béarnaise sauce, mayonnaise is an emulsion, technically, a stable mixture with one liquid suspended microscopically within another.  As many people have discovered, making mayonnaise in a blender is easy and almost idiot-proof  — hey, I'm a lazy unimaginative sod and I can do it —  and the results will likely be a pleasant surprise.  

Here's a simple recipe for Homemade Mayonnaise (makes about a cup and a half)

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Before starting, bring all your ingredients to room temperature. Rinse your blender bowl with hot water then dry it with a towel, you want it to still be a little warm when you start.

Add the egg, mustard, sugar, salt & ¼ cup of the oil then turn the blender to its highest setting.  

After a minute open the top and drizzle in another ¼ cup of oil into the mixture.  

Next add the lemon juice then drizzle in the last ½ cup of oil. 

Blend until it's thick. Stopping as needed to scrape the sides of the blender.

If your mayonnaise doesn't emulsify, you've probably added the oil too fast.  This can also happen if the oil or egg are cold when you begin.  To try and rescue the sauce, add a teaspoon of warm water & keep blending.

Once you have the basic recipe down, you can experiment with the addition of other flavors to discover the latest amazing combination.  Some of our favorites are: Curry, Tomato-Basil, and Anchovy-Garlic (Yowza!)1.

One final note, The Joy of Cooking2 reports, "Don't try to make mayonnaise if a thunderstorm threatens or is in progress, and it simply will not bind."  Go figure. 


1 The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julie Rosso & Sheila Lukins (1982)
2 The Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer & Marion Rombauer Becker (1975 edition)

Ma`yon`naise" (?), n. [F.]

A sauce compounded of raw yolks of eggs beaten up with olive oil to the consistency of a sirup, and seasoned with vinegar, pepper, salt, etc.; -- used in dressing salads, fish, etc. Also, a dish dressed with this sauce.


© Webster 1913.

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