Home-made Mayonnaise

Home-made mayonnaise made by the traditional method is unbeatable. 

First a couple of tips: (a) use a small basin with a narrow base – a 1 pint (570 ml) pudding basin is ideal, and (b) place the basin on a damp tea towel, so it will remain steady and leave you two hands free, one to drip the oil, the other to hold the beater.

This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine

Home-made Mayonnaise
 2 large egg yolks
 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
 1 heaped teaspoon powdered mustard
 1 level teaspoon salt
 freshly milled black pepper
 10 fl oz (275 ml) groundnut oil
 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar


First of all, put the egg yolks into the basin, add the crushed garlic, mustard powder, salt and a little freshly milled black pepper. Mix all of these together well. Then, holding the groundnut oil in a jug in one hand and an electric hand whisk in the other, add 1 drop of oil to the egg mixture and whisk this in.

However stupid it may sound, the key to a successful mayonnaise is making sure each drop of oil is thoroughly whisked in before adding the next drop. It won't take all day, because after a few minutes – once you've added several drops of oil – the mixture will begin to thicken and go very stiff and lumpy. When it gets to this stage you need to add a teaspoon of vinegar, which will thin the mixture down.

Now the critical point has passed, you can then begin pouring the oil in a very, very thin but steady stream, keeping the beaters going all the time. When all the oil has been added, taste and add more salt and pepper if it needs it. If you'd like the mayonnaise to be a bit lighter, at this stage add 2 tablespoons of boiling water and whisk it in.

Mayonnaise only curdles when you add the oil too quickly at the beginning. If that happens, don't despair. All you need to do is put a fresh egg yolk into a clean basin, add the curdled mixture to it (drop by drop), then continue adding the rest of the oil as though nothing had happened.

The mayonnaise should be stored in a screw-top jar in the bottom of the fridge, but for no longer than a week.

Note: this recipe contains raw eggs.

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