How to Make the Best (and Easiest) Vegan Mayo
Just to get one thing straight from the get go, making DIY vegan mayonnaise is not about making a second-rate alternative to the conventional stuff. Nor is it about creating a low-calorie, low-fat condiment you can lather on everything without a second thought.
Quite the contrary - vegan mayonnaise is every bit as rich, silky, creamy, decadent and downright delicious as the real thing. It’s also the kind of condiment you have to be at least a little frugal with, as it does pack a fair whack of calories and fat!
Still, with no animal-based ingredients in its composition whatsoever, it always brings the kind of feel-good factor you don’t get with traditional mayo. It’s also 100% cholesterol-free and can be thrown together in no time using just four primary ingredients.
After which, the stage is well and truly set for a world of experimentation - getting creative with stuff like this really is half the fun!
How Can Vegan Mayo Be Used?
You know you’re looking at a really good vegan mayo when you don’t have to ask this particular question. The reason being that not only does it look and taste more or less identical to traditional mayo, but you can use it in exactly the same way.
From sandwiches to salad dressings to sauces to dips and so on, you could easily get away with feeding this guilt-free mayo to a carnivore and they would genuinely not notice the difference. Best of all, once you’ve got to grips with the basics of the recipe, you can throw a batch of it together in less than 5 minutes.
While there’s room for experimentation with the recipe itself, you’ll generally find that soy milk produces the best possible results. This is due to the fact that soy milk is more similar in consistency to cow’s milk than other plant-based milks than the alternative options available.
It will still work with your preferred dairy-free milk, but soy is typically the best way to go. In any case, if you’re not totally happy with the results, you can always refine your next batch and keep notes of exactly what you put in until you reach perfection.
Is Vegan Mayo Really Good For You?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your own personal standpoint on the whole nutrition thing. On one hand, you could say that yes - vegan mayo is good for you because it is 100% plant-based, 100% cholesterol-free and generally way better than the store-bought stuff.
On the other hand, it’s not the kind of thing you’ll want to eat too much of on a daily basis. In the average tablespoon serving, you’ll be looking at approximately 43 calories and just under 5g of fat. However, there’s a mere 0.7g of saturated fat in each serving, along with around 0.3g of protein.
All of which isn’t particularly bad and certainly adds up to a heart healthy piece of DIY vegan engineering. Though too many calories and too much fat is never a good thing, irrespective of where they come from.
So while vegan mayo is definitely better for you (and the planet) than conventional mayo, it’s still something to enjoy in sensible moderation.
Tips, Tricks and Guidelines for Making Vegan Mayo
- There are really no limits to the types of oils that you can use to make vegan mayonnaise, as the vast majority will produce equally excellent results. However, extra virgin olive oil will naturally result in a much more potent flavour, while the use of coconut oil will result in a mayo that sets rock-hard in the refrigerator.
- The same also goes for the type of vinegar you use, as the various infusions and variations available can add something really special to the final product. The only exception is balsamic vinegar, which along with adding a slightly sketchy colour to your mayonnaise may also make it a little too sweet to be palatable.
- If you would prefer not to use soy milk (or are unable to for health reasons), almond milk is probably the second best option. The resulting mixture may not be quite as thick and luxurious as when made with soy milk, but it will be just as delicious and versatile.
- In order for the mayo you make to emulsify properly, it is absolutely essential to make sure that the oil and milk are at the same temperature when you combine them. If it’s still not emulsifying properly, you’ll usually just need to keep adding oil until it does.
- Don’t panic if your batch of DIY vegan mayonnaise seems a bit runny, or isn’t quite as thick and silky as you would have liked. It will thicken up A LOT after it has been in the fridge for a while, so you don’t need to worry about getting it too thick at room temperature.
- The sky’s the limit when it comes to the various extra bits and pieces you can throw into the mix, just as long as they don’t affect the emulsifying process. All types of herbs, spices, infused oils and roasted garlic come highly recommended.
What’s the Best Way to Store Vegan Mayo?
Storing plant-based mayo is no different to storing the conventional variety, once the jar has been opened. From the moment you whip up your vegan mayo, it will be good for around five to seven days in a sealed container (of an appropriate size) in the fridge.
Make sure there’s as little air as possible in the tub or jar you use to store your mayo, in order to keep it fresher for longer.
Sadly, freezing vegan mayo doesn’t work and nor can it be stored at room temperature. Not that this is the end of the world, given how quick and easy it is to throw another batch together when you need to.
Which Oil Produces the Best Results?
Most oils are fair game when making your own vegan mayo, so it’s entirely up to you which you go for. The only oil to avoid is coconut oil, as your mayo will end up way too hard when it cools in the refrigerator.
If looking for a classic mayo that can be used on and in just about anything, go for something with a relatively mild and neutral flavour. Rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil and so on - all great for making magnificent mayo. Regular olive oil can also be fantastic, as can extra virgin if you want your mayo to have that unmistakable olive flavour (which admittedly is not to everyone’s taste).
Plus, there’s also the option of mixing two or more oils together if feeling particularly innovative. Pop a few drops of basil oil, garlic oil or truffle oil in with the rest of the oil you used for a seriously delicious concoction.
Vegan Mayo: Ingredients and Method
Moving on to the most important part of all, you’ll probably be surprised just how easy it is to make as much vegan mayo as you like from just a handful of ingredients. The formula below represents the basic blueprint for fool-proof mayo that always works, but you can get as creative as you like with added extras along the way.
- 250 ml of your preferred oil (anything but coconut oil)
- 125 ml of soy milk (or another unsweetened plant-based milk)
- 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- Always bring the milk up to room temperature before getting started, as it is essential to ensure that the oil and milk are at the same temperature. While it is possible to use cold milk and cold oil taken straight from the fridge, the formula comes together better at room temperature.
- A stick blender works best with this recipe, so you don’t need any fancy or overpriced equipment. All you need to do is throw all of the ingredients into the cup, immerse the blender into the mixture and pulse gently with the blades at the bottom.
- Slowly but surely, the mayo will emulsify and you can begin moving the blender up and down to incorporate the rest of the ingredients into the mix.
- Using a conventional blender is also possible, though in this instance you’ll need to add all of the ingredients to the bowl without the oil. Set the blender working at a relatively slow speed, then begin gradually adding the oil until it thickens and increasing the speed until it reaches the desired consistency.
- If the mixture in either instance seems too thin or it’s not emulsifying properly, try adding a little more oil gradually while the blender is doing its thing. Likewise, you can also add a little extra milk if the mayo looks like it is going to be too thick.
- Place your homemade mayo in a suitably sized jar with as little empty space as possible, screw the lid on tightly and pop it in the fridge until it is cold.
It’s then ready to use in exactly the same way as traditional mayonnaise, and should stay good for around seven days.