BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Homemade Mayonnaise: A Love Story (Sort Of)

I have considered, more than once, that perhaps I write about food because what I actually want to write about is love, but am afraid to do so. Food is a safe topic for me—I’m good with food, I understand it. I can write about it from a place of authority because I’m sure of myself in a kitchen. Love, however is a different story.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that this post isn’t really about mayonnaise.

I made mayonnaise, today, yes. I’d been wanting to try it for awhile—I’d heard that homemade mayonnaise is a different animal from the store-bought stuff—and a great, inexpensive way to take recipes calling for mayo to new levels.

So I gathered the ingredients for a batch of fresh, rich, egg-yolky, olive-oily, lightly-lemony mayonnaise and set about whisking until my arm felt like it was going to fall off. Despite my efforts, however I found myself with a bowl of oily, “broken” aioli, or what WikiHow called, in the post I consulted for guidance, “a useless pile of oil and egg yolk.” The problem, I surmised, after reading the article, was that I had added the oil too quickly. Instead of very slowly streaming it into the bowl of egg yolks in a thin and steady stream, I had glug-glugged it in choppy increments, beaten the bejesus out of the mixture, then added more oil and repeated the process. I had been overzealous and careless and there was, it seemed, no saving my would-be mayonnaise. Kind of, I thought to myself uncharitably, my most recent romantic fiasco heavy on my mind, like the way I fall in love.

So there I was, holding a bowl containing a cup-and-a-half of good olive oil, 3 egg yolks and the juice of a fresh lemon—all wasted—with a sore arm, dwelling on both my culinary and romantic failures. The cheesy Toni Braxton song, Unbreak My Heart ran through my head as I simultaneously wished for ways to repair both my mayonnaise and love life.

I figured there was nothing I could do (at least at that moment) about my oft-breaking heart, but I was fiercely determined to unbreak my mayonnaise. So I went back to the aforementioned article and reviewed the “tips” section. To recover a broken mayonnaise, it said, place a teaspoon of water into another bowl and then add the broken mayonnaise drop by drop into the water while whisking, just like you added the oil to the egg yolks before. When you have incorporated all of the broken mayonnaise into the water, slowly add the remaining oil (if any) while whisking, just like before.

I had nothing to lose, so I did as the article said, exercising caution as I poured the oil-and-egg mixture from a spouted measuring cup, drop by drop into the tiny pool of water. I whisked and whisked and, lo and behold, a thick, creamy sauce eventually began to form. It seemed like an eternity before I poured the last few drops out, my wrist aching from holding the cup at such an awkward angle, but by the time I finished, the result was a velvet-smooth, pale yellow sauce—totally different from (and far tastier than) store-bought mayonnaise.

I scraped most of it into a jar to be stored in the refrigerator, and stirred a few tablespoons together with some minced garlic, fresh herbs and paprika to make a perky aioli to serve with sweet potato oven fries.

And so, I learned, some things can, in fact, be unbroken provided you exercise a little creativity, restraint and perhaps most importantly, the willingness to try again.


  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature $1.50 for 6 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon $0.50
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil Pantry
  • salt and pepper to taste Pantry

Recipe Serves 10


  1. Whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Very slowly, whisk in the oil, pouring it in an extremely thin, steady stream.
  3. This should take several minutes.
  4. A thick creamy mayonnaise will form.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. For help, see this article.



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Emily H., on Feb 1, 05:27 PM, wrote:

Your post made me both laugh and nearly cry. I hope your love endeavors end as happily as your mayonnaise one did. Meanwhile, I thought I should tell you that in my recent perusal of my barely-read copy of Alton Brown’s “The Early Years,” I came across (and wanted to try, but haven’t yet) a recipe for homemade mayonnaise, in which he gives basically the same instruction you outlined above, but he had one very helpful tip: put the oil in a squeeze bottle. Saves you from the awkward handling of the spouted measuring cup and I would imagine makes the process a little less exhausting. He also says pretty clearly that you should add the oil in a few drops at a time, until an emulsion forms, and then you can go for the steady stream AS WELL AS ease up on the power of your whisking. I hope that he is right, and I have not just offered up all of this to no avail, and that your arms will, in the future, thank me! :) Good luck!

Lisa, on Feb 1, 06:07 PM, wrote:

I love homemade mayo. Here’s another quick way— that makes a slightly smaller, more manageable batch:
-one egg yolk
-juice of half a lemon
-1 tspn dijon
-one cup olive oil

put the yolk, lemon, and mustard in your food processor, turn on and slowly pour the olive oil in. As soon it’s all incorporated it’s done. Add s+p, and it’s also yummy with a garlic clove in the with the yolk, etc., at the beginning.
I like to make this a few hours in advance so that the flavours all blend and mellow for a bit before eating. People I know who say they have always hated mayo LOVE this version.

njudah, on Feb 1, 08:58 PM, wrote:

this was a great post. 1 part interesting info and 1 part heart. Nice. I’ve always been curious about how to make mayo at home, figuring it’s gotta taste better than the mayo that ends up sitting in the fridge forever. Thanks!

am, on Feb 2, 06:25 AM, wrote:

i guess this means i’m more likely to do it on the first date and then not call you, but the first time i made mayonnaise with an immersion blender (you heard me), i was all, you know what? %#@! a whisk. i couldn’t believe it worked as well as it did.

Rachel, on Feb 2, 07:44 AM, wrote:

I would choose homemade mayo over a man any day :)
My recipe is pretty similar but I add a little mustard.

Mace Elaine, on Feb 2, 12:13 PM, wrote:

I second the immersion blender. It’s still awkward to try and pour the oil while handling the blender, but it saves quite a bit of arm work. I put a bit of mustard in as well. I think it helps hold the emulsion better.

Fantastic post, by the way.

WineGirl, on Feb 2, 01:19 PM, wrote:

Loved the post. Romance can be as simply complicated as mayonaise for sure. I, however, have kept more recipes around than men. One day a smart one will come along and beg to do the dishes! I’m going to have to try this recipe for sure! Keep cooking!

christine, on Feb 2, 06:52 PM, wrote:

Loved this post! Food is so universal, it can always connect to something in life! Mayo and love… never would think to compare, but you did it well.

@ Emily- love the suggestion about the squeeze bottle!

doniree walker, on Feb 5, 06:27 PM, wrote:

I absolutely love everything about this post – from the actual recipe (I have yet to try homemade mayo or an aoili!) to every part of your storytelling. Also, and perhaps a bit coincidentally (or not…), a friend of mine wrote a similar post (minus the love part, but inclusive of some thoughts provoked from broken mayonnaise) recently. She even “fixed” hers the same way:

Haden, on Mar 20, 12:15 PM, wrote:

Just saw something online about using your cuisanart & pouring the oil into the plunger piece. It has a wee hole that drizzles the oil in at just the right speed. I tried it & it worked like a dream! Good bye store bought, hello homemade.

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Love the recipe! Thank you for sharing!

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