just the best mayonnaise

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Growing up in the U.S., I had never really been a fan of mayonnaise, except when we went to Subway. In elementary school, I took swim lessons every weekend with a friend and we always went to Subway afterwards for lunch. Every weekend I ordered a simple turkey sandwich with bacon and mayonnaise and it was heaven in my mouth, oh my god. There was just something special about that mayonnaise.

For years we tried to recreate that sandwich at home and other variations, often the week after Thanksgiving using leftover turkey. They were good but never as good as the Subway mayo.


I never understood why mayonnaise tasted so damn good when I went for a sub, but was unbearable when it came from a Hellman’s jar…until I went to Japan. All the mayonnaise in Japan is unbelievable. I could drink a whole jar of Kewpie without any regrets.

My second year abroad, a Subway opened up in the center of the city, and afterwards I discovered another branch had already been opened near the prefectural office. The offerings were totally different (tandoori chicken sub, anyone?) and I never did find out if they would let me build my own sandwich even though I went there countless times. I did, however, find out that they import the mayonnaise from the U.S….and not from Subway. The Japanese Subway mayo is like Hellman’s, while grocery store mayo in Japan is as good as Subway mayo here in the States…intriguing.

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Because of all of this, I made it my first goal for the kitchen to be mayonnaise. I’ve been practicing recipes since I moved home (and when they’re successful they are delectable, oh lord) and as much as I can, I’d like to try mayo from other places (what is French mayo like??)

And so, after 3 successful attempts and two blatant disasters, here is my Better Than Subway But Also Really Simple Mayonnaise.


simple homemade mayonnaise

makes ~1/2 cup (one small jar)


There are hordes of methods for making mayo and as many different recipes. This is based on the first one I tried and it was successful enough that I stuck with it. I find this is a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” thing, though as I venture into aioli and other types of mayo, I’ll add other recipes to my repertoire. It takes a lot of patience but isn’t nearly as daunting as I thought it would be. The hardest part is making sure the oil emulsifies, and you have to add it slowly (at least at first…if you feel confident after about 1/4 cup, you can add the oil more quickly.) Also, the more oil you add, the thicker the mayo will be. You can double the oil if you want thicker, more solid, mayo.


1 egg yolk

spoonful (~2 Tbsp) Dijon mustard

1/2 c light-tasting vegetable oil (peanut or light olive oil work well)

lemon juice (as desired, for taste)

salt and pepper (also as desired, for taste)


Blend the mustard and egg yolk together in a medium-large bowl.

Add about a drop of oil and whisk it in. Add the oil in very small amounts (like 1/8 of a teaspoon, or a few drops) and blend well after each addition. Once you’ve added about 1/4 cup and can see the mayo staying thick instead of becoming watery, you can add the oil faster (in a slow but steady stream, about 1/2 tsp at a time.) Blend very well (with a whisk or electric mixer) after each addition until all the oil is fully incorporated.

Blend in the lemon juice gradually, and then any seasonings, salt, or pepper. Taste as you go and adjust.

Mayonnaise keeps in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.


Bon appétit!

Nick P.

Categories: side dishes

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