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Rich and smooth lemon mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is one of life’s great pleasures. Technically, it is an emulsion of egg yolks and oil and is a daughter sauce of Hollandaise sauce but much easier to make. Making your own means you can flavour it any way you want.

The first time you make it, I would suggest using just a bowl and a whisk – this allows you to see the sauce coming together. Otherwise, I always use a Magi Mix.

The most important thing you need before you start is to have your ingredients at the same temperature – room temperature is easiest – so be sure to take your eggs out of the fridge in good time to get them up to temperature (about 20 minutes should do it). If you try to use cold eggs the sauce will split.

To make a simple mayo, you will need:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100-150ml oil – choose a flavourless oil like vegetable or groundnut (do not try olive oil)
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • lemon juice, from half a lemon
  • pepper
The raw ingredients


  1. Separate the egg yolk from the white (save the white for something else). Let the yolk come to room temp if not already, and drop in the bowl.
  2. Add a small pinch of salt (you should refine the seasoning at the end) to the yolk, the Dijon mustard and a couple of drops of lemon juice. Give the base a good whisk.
  3. Now to start adding the oil. You need to do this very, very slowly at the start – we’re talking a couple of drops at a time whilst constantly whisking.
  4. Keep adding the oil very slowly. You will notice a subtle difference in the mixture as the oil and egg yolk start to emulsify. Once you see this you can speed up with the oil. Once you have made mayo a few times you will get the hang of it. If you add too much oil, too soon, the sauce will split. You can save it but I always feel this is a bit of a waste of time for such a small amount.
  5. You’ll find that the sauce will start to thicken as more and more oil is emulsified and the sauce becomes more stable. The oil can be added faster and faster as the sauce thickens. Again, a bit of practice and it becomes easy.
  6. Once you have the consistency you want it is time to taste and season. First taste – it should be really bland. The mayo needs salt, acid and a little spice. So, gradually beat in salt, lemon juice and pepper (ground white pepper is the standard as it is not visible but I prefer ground black). Once seasoned to your liking, you’ll never buy it from the shop again!

Your mayo will keep in the fridge for as long as the original egg would. This is generally longer than most recipes will tell you.

You will find it is very hard to get mayo as thick as the shop bought stuff using a whisk, so to get it looking professional you’ll need some help. I tend to use the small bowl of a Magi Mix. I find that 2 yolks will make enough mayo to fill a jam jar. The method is pretty much the same as the manual method but faster. So, grab the following:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250-300ml oil
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • salt
  • pepper

The food processor introduces 2 key elements:

  1. speed
  2. heat

You will make the mayo a lot faster and you will achieve store bought consistency (this may or may not be desired). With speed, comes heat. You need to be careful as if you take too long making the mayo it will heat up and split. The heat is generated from friction from the blades. If making a larger quantity, an ice cube should be dropped in once the emulsion starts to come together, this will cool it down and also help with consistency.

The mayonnaise should come together as an emulsion in the Magi Mix bowl

Also, be aware of trying to make too little a quantity. The blades of the processor need to be cutting through the liquid or you won’t get very far! A one egg quantity will not work in the Magi Mix’s small bowl.


  1. Yolks, mustard, pinch of salt and a little lemon juice into the bowl.
  2. Add a couple of drops of oil – this helps start the emulsion.
  3. Hit the on button! As before, you need to add the oil slowly at first, stepping it up as the sauce starts to emulsify.
  4. Once your mayo is looking like mayo, stop the blades and taste it. Season it up using salt, lemon juice and pepper until you are happy.

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