Basic and Flavored Mayonnaise – What to Do with All Those Leftover Egg Yolks

Flavored Mayos in Spoons
Wouldn’t we be impressive if we had totally planned to make and post homemade aioli and mayo, condiments made almost entirely from eggs, on National Egg Day?!

Yeah, it would be, but we’re not that impressive.

Homemade mayonnaise, however, is very impressive.

Mayonnaise and aioli are basically the same thing: an emulsion (fancy word!) of oil, vinegar and egg yolks. Aioli is just a more specific version, calling for olive oil, lemon juice as the “vinegar” and adding garlic as a flavor. When homemade, both are pretty darn good as they are, but take well to additional herbs, spices, and flavorings.

Be careful if you make flavored mayonnaise, though. You may just eat it straight with a spoon. (We did.)

Eggs - Yolks, Whites Separated

We had egg yolks leftover from that Pavlova with Fresh Strawberries, which uses all egg whites. Though we could have thrown the yolks away (eggs are not expensive), the very act of wasting any perfectly good “food,” no matter how cheap, gives us chills. We also could have saved them in a little bowl of water in the refrigerator to use within a few days or frozen them for longer-term storage. However, we just don’t have that kind of patience. More importantly, we’ve actually tried to freeze egg yolks and ended up defrosting them into hard, dry cracked yellow erasers.

That obviously don’t erase anything.

So they were useless.

So we made mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise - Basic

You don’t have to wait until you have leftover egg yolks to make mayonnaise. It seems that egg whites are easier to store by freezing than yolks (at least, in our experience), so cracking a few whole eggs just to make homemade mayonnaise will never be a waste. Heck, you could just make mayonnaise, and immediately after, whip up any sort of meringue with the egg whites.

Egg Yolks Separated, in Shells

The recipe we used for basic mayonnaise is based on a whole slew of “recipes” we found all over the web. The ideas for flavored mayos are inspired by a section in Tyler Florence’s Eat This Book cookbook.

Basic Mayonnaise

Basic Mayonnaise Ingredients:

4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1½ cups vegetable oil (we used canola)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt + pepper to taste

Basic Mayonnaise Directions:

Throw egg yolks and mustard into the bowl of a food processor.

With the food processor running, very slowly pour a slow, steady stream of the vegetable oil into the egg yolks until the “mayo” forms. Add lemon juice and process just to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 2 cups of mayonnaise that will keep for about a week.

Variations on Basic Mayonnaise:

Put about 1 cup of basic mayonnaise back in the food processor, and for each of the variations below:

Garlic Basil Mayonnaise:

Throw a bunch of washed and dried fresh basil and 2 cloves of chopped garlic into the food processor with the basic mayonnaise, then process until the basil is chopped. We also though you could just stir prepared basil pesto into mayonnaise, but we didn’t feel like making pesto first.

Spicy Curry Mayonnaise:

Stir in about 1 teaspoon each of curry powder and sriracha hot sauce. Season with black pepper.

Lemon Caper Mayonnaise

Add grated zest and juice of 1 lemon and about 2 tablespoons capers into the food processor with the basic mayonnaise, then process until the capers are finely chopped.

by Sarah J. Gim on June 3, 2010 · 11 comments

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

rachel June 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I love this! The flavored ones remind me of the frites sauces we had in Brussels.


len June 25, 2010 at 5:42 am

As a variation should absolutely try mayo with tarragon, it’s divine.


catty June 25, 2010 at 5:50 am

mmmm i {heart} mayonnaise! and especially aioli :) never tried making though but now that I have the recipe, you just never never know….


Fenke June 30, 2010 at 3:59 am

mayonaise is soo good, and i am trying not to buy it anymore, but only use homemade. BUT – i always use the whole egg. it is a recipe from a german tv-cook, totally easy, does not even require the slow-pouring of the oil. you’ll find the recipe on delicious days – maybe you want to give it a try.


Jun Belen June 30, 2010 at 10:22 am

Wonderful post and lovely photos. We tried making garlic aioli with olive oil and it turned out really good and really green! Thank you for the post. We’d have to try out your other variations!


Mim July 16, 2010 at 9:20 am

I’ve been told that if you mix the yolks with a little salt or sugar (depending on their destiny) then they freeze well. I’ll be trying it since I have about 60 yolks in the fridge from meringue making! Other ideas: ice cream, fresh pasta or fresh custard.

I’m going to make your aioli to accompany some roast potatoes. Yum.


Dawn from Life on Purpose and Principle December 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I’ve made mayo before and honestly, freshly made mayo is simply amazing! I am going to attempt aioli here in a few minutes as I received a beautiful granite mortar and pestle for Christmas. The first time I ever had aioli I fell totally in love with it: it graced my amazing Crestwick Farms Grass Fed Beef Burger from the Electric Cheetah in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was without a doubt the most delicious burger I have ever eaten in my life…partly because of the locally grown and raised fresh, quality ingredients and because of that creamy, garlicky goodness that is aioli…I’m salivating just thinking about it! Can’t wait to experiment with different flavors…and I LOVE the pic up there of the spoons of flavored mayo!


Moko August 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I have seen some recipes for ‘whole egg’ mayonnaise and aioli. What do you think would be the pros and cons of using whole eggs in the recipes listed above? …???


Ann Garlatta January 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Awesome! We eat a lot of egg whites and our dogs usually don’t mind accommodating by eating the yolks; however, I would love to make these all natural mayos! Thanks for the recipes, loving it!


Katarina June 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Hi Sarah! I’m Katarina, a student currently working at Spoon University. I would love to use your photo of the egg yolks and whites separated for my article. Of course, you will be credited properly, and I will even send you a link if my article is published. With your permission, can I use the photo? Thank you!


Exotic Fruit July 16, 2019 at 9:51 pm

My problem is always in the opposite direction. I decide to make lemon curd or a cake that takes yolks only or a custard and then I have to figure out what to do with all those whites. What’s more, I don’t like meringue. I’m good at doing it, but it just isn’t something I enjoy eating… and I only know a couple people who are big on it. Oh well.


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