The Magic of Mayonnaise

Apr 14, 2021



You may not give mayonnaise much thought. It sits on a fridge shelf, waiting to be spread on bread or mixed with tuna salad. Mayo is culinary magic, though: an emulsion of two liquids that don’t normally combine. Make it at home (more on that in a bit), and you will not only engage in a quick science experiment of sorts, but it’ll yield a tasty condiment better than what you can buy.

Like another famous emulsion—vinaigrette—mayonnaise contains oil and an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. Mayo also has an egg yolk, which adds water and also does not play well with oil. Normally, oil would not combine with water or acid. In order to make them mix, you need an emulsifier, which can be an ingredient or an action, such as agitation. Mayonnaise remains stable thanks to the addition of that egg yolk, which naturally contains lecithin, a key emulsifying agent. This, plus the action of slowly streaming the oil into the yolk while whisking, disperses one liquid’s molecules throughout the other’s and locks those molecules in place.

So now that you’re briefed on the science behind mayonnaise, let’s talk about what this miracle actually means to us foodies. Mayo has unlimited applications. It can be used by itself slathered onto a hamburger roll, transformed into a tasty blue cheese dressing to serve with Buffalo wings, or tossed with some crab meat and breadcrumbs to create something more elegant like our Maryland-Style Crab Cakes.

Did you know you can even use it to cook with just like you would butter or oil? Next time you want to marinate the chicken in taco seasoning, skip the oil and combine your spices with some mayonnaise, then coat it on your chicken. Let the chicken marinate for however long you like, preheat your Smart Cooker, lower in your chicken, and listen for that sizzle. Because the mayonnaise helps disperse the spices evenly, it’ll provide the perfect bite, as well as excellent browning. You don’t even need to put oil in the pan, as the mayo has all the fat you’ll need for cooking. Mayonnaise also makes an exceptionally crisp and golden grilled cheese. The next time you’re craving a lunchtime sammie, spread a light coating on the bread instead of butter.

The fun doesn’t end there. You can flavor mayonnaise in so many ways. Add finely chopped garlic and fresh herbs to serve on grilled salmon, or squeeze in some Sriracha and use it on our Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich.

If you need more inspiration for how to use mayo, then look no further than the CHEF iQ App. Simply type “mayonnaise” into the search bar and discover all the delicious recipes that call for it. Plus, you’ll find a recipe for homemade mayo you can make in minutes. Go ahead—cast a spell on your dinner crowd with the magic of mayo!




More articles