Homemade aioli is so easy

In the pantheon of culinary words, there are a few that seem to carry extra cachet. One of those is “aioli.” You may have seen this oddly spelled and easily mispronounced word (say “I-oh-lee”) on posh restaurant menus or heard it thrown around by your foodie friends.

No need to be overwhelmed. While the stuff is admittedly delicious, it’s also quite simple: Aioli is basically garlic mayonnaise, made with olive oil.

See, that wasn’t so bad.

Even better? You can make it. Easily. In a blender, no less.

Since aioli is basically mayonnaise with a couple extra ingredients, you can consider this recipe a two-fer: With it you can make homemade mayonnaise or aioli, depending on the ingredients you add.

Mayonnaise itself is deceivingly simple. Mayo – and I mean the real stuff – not that goop you find in tubs, is basically egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and vegetable oil that’s been blended to kingdom come to form a permanent emulsion. An emulsion happens when you take ingredients that usually don’t play nice together (i.e., oil and lemon juice or vinegar) and make them form into one delicious, velvety substance. Mayo is not only a standard on sandwiches, but acts as a base for countless other recipes such as salad dressings and tartar sauce.

Aioli is often made with olive oil only. To shave costs, I use half olive oil, half canola, but if you’re overflowing with EVO, use the good stuff. If you want plain mayo with a more neutral flavor, skip the olive oil and just use vegetable oil such as canola.

If you make mayo by hand, literally, the hard part is the whisking. Try making the amount you’d find in a store-bought container, and you’ll have to whisk so hard and for so long that you’ll think your arm will fall off. Thankfully, you probably already have a machine or two in the kitchen that can do it for you.

While a mixer such as a KitchenAid is an obvious choice, there’s also another that can whip up mayo in seconds, and that’s the blender. And you only thought it was good for making margaritas and smoothies. (A food processor can also do the job.)

Making mayo or its sibling aioli in a blender is a snap. We’ll just add some ingredients, and with the flick of a switch, we’ll be seconds away from homemade bliss. One word before we dive it: Mayo is made with raw eggs, which, however small a chance, can carry the risk of salmonella or other nasties. I recommend using pasteurized eggs if making this recipe.

With that fine print out of the way, let’s whip up some spread.


(Makes about 1.5 cups)

  • 1 large pasteurized egg
  • 1 teaspoon regular or Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, with more on standby if needed

Step 1: Put all ingredients except the oils in the blender. If you just want basic mayonnaise, skip the garlic.

Step 2: Pulse the blender until the ingredients are combined. Don’t forget to keep the lid on, lest you get an eyeful.

Step 3: Now, with the lid open or completely off, slowly drizzle in the oils while the machine is running. Keep blending until the mixture is nice and thick, adding extra oil if necessary. This shouldn’t even take a minute, though you may have to pause to scrape down the sides. When done, taste and add any additional seasonings to your liking.

Congratulations: You’ve just made aioli. This stuff works as an excellent spread on sandwiches and burgers, and even as a dip for veggies. You can also experiment with other ingredients, such as cayenne pepper for some kick or even dried herbs such as rosemary. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a sealed, airtight container, but for no more than two days.

Got a tip, question or recipe request? Put it in the comments area below! You can also reach Matt at matt@iwanttocook.com.

Leave a Comment

Get Adobe Flash player