The Secrets Behind Milk Mayonnaise

Update August 16, 2014:

I discovered something very interesting about this milk mayonnaise recipe today, and I want to share it with you because I think it could affect your results. I recently bought a new immersion blender, which is my preferred method of making milk mayonnaise. It’s less powerful than my older one, and the consistency of the mayonnaise mixture turned out thinner than usual. Hmmmm. So then I really leaned on the blender, but to no avail. That’s when I added 2 more tablespoons oil to the milk mayonnaise, and that did the trick to thicken it. So keep in mind: Equipment can affect the success of this recipe.–David

It’s the unlikeliest of couples. One thin and popular, the other fat and shunned. Each repelled by the other. But when senselessly beaten into a frenzied submission, oh, how they cave! These two frenemies suddenly give in and embrace one other, creating a more perfect union.

Sound like a bad episode of The Marriage Ref? Not surprising. When these culinary opposites—milk and oil—are thrown together, they act a lot like warring spouses, which makes their participation in the creation of Portuguese maionese de leite (may-o-NEZ duh late), or milk mayonnaise, all the more amazing.

I encountered this ghostly white condiment a few years ago in Portugal while trolling the country for recipes for my cookbook. But on our first date I didn’t see it in its shocking bare-naked form. Instead it played the role of a fiendishly good green olive dip at Restaurante A Bolota, in the Alentejo. It was so good, in fact, The One didn’t stand a chance. I singlehandedly mopped up the entire bowl with hunks of bread while he nattered away with the restaurant owner, Antonieta Cocheirnha Tarouca, and the chef, Ilda Vinagre. When he looked at the bowl then at me, I just shrugged.

After dinner I followed Ilda into the kitchen to watch her whip up silky clouds and clouds of white buttercream-y goodness in her processador (food processor) using nothing but milk, oil, garlic, and a few drops of lemon juice. What? No eggs? How could it be called a “mayonnaise” without eggs? By definition mayonnaise is a sacred emulsification of egg yolks and oil, which makes it, at least to me, the mother of all mother sauces. But Ilda shook her head: “Não ovos.” As she scribbled the recipe on the back of an envelope, she explained she wheedled it out of a chef while visiting Brazil. Then she kissed me goodbye and wished me luck.

And luck was certainly what I needed. My every attempt to make a scaled-down version of her restaurant-size mayonnaise recipe ended in a flood of milk with an oil slick on top. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could keep these two together. Ilda, who found the Internet impertinent and cell phones intrusive, was of no immediate help. Eventually I got through to Antonieta who relayed my frantic pleas to the kitchen. The answer that came back changed everything: Don’t make it in a food processor. It’s far too big for such a small batch. Bingo! Once I switched over to a mini-chop, I had thick, luscious milk mayonnaise and green olive dip oozing from GladWare containers on almost every shelf of my fridge.

Fast forward two years.

After the book came out, I was positive milk mayonnaise would be one of its most interesting, most blogged about recipes. Milk and oil whipped into an emulsion? It defies all logic. Plus it’s eggless. How many people out there have egg allergies? They’ll beat a path to my door and throw their jewels and Google stock certificates at my feet as thanks for releasing them from their mayo-less prison, I told myself. But nothing. That is until months later, when Kathleen Purvis and Amanda Hesser wrote about the recipe within a day of each other. Kathleen hit it out of the park on the first try. It took Amanda four late-night attempts to get it right. (She had strayed from the recipe by using a hand mixer instead of an immersion blender or small blender.) The next day I had my 15 minutes of social-media fame—but not because of anything I did. (Note to self: In order to boost your Twitter clout, allow yourself to be pimped by Amanda, even when she’s exhausted and misreads your recipes.) Questions poured in. Is it really an emulsion or is it just oil-flavored whipped milk (ack! gross)? Can I use cream instead of milk? Is it stable? Can it be flavored?

So I did as I always do when faced with the perplexing conundrums of food science. I called Shirley Corriher, the doyenne of kitchen wizardry and the award-winning author of CookWise and BakeWise.

“Your mayonnaise is a 100-percent, true emulsion,” she assured me over the phone. “It’s not any kind of a flavored aerated milk.” She went on to explain that for any emulsion—mine included—to take hold, one liquid, in this case the milk, has to break down into finer and finer droplets until it gets “juicy,” or looser, allowing the oil to get all up in there between the droplets to thicken it.

“You also have two other things going for you,” she added. “Milk has natural emulsifiers, making it easier to blend. And the garlic helps to make a sturdier base before adding the oil.” What’s the role of the lemon juice? “It helps coagulate the milk, but there’s not enough to make it curdle,” she said.

Shirley also mentioned that adding a touch of cream would make a better emulsion. Figuring if a little cream is better then a lot must be fantastic, I substituted it for all of the milk and ended up with butter before I even poured in the oil. And for stability? I’ve had my mayos last up to a week with no ill effect (longer, actually, but my publisher’s lawyers would have killed me if I said that in the book).

Last, there’s that pesky question of whether the mayonnaise can be flavored. Clearly, not enough of you are buying the book because in it I offer four variations: cilantro and ginger, anchovy, curry, and sun-dried tomato—which, in my magnanimousness, I’m including below.

The case of the milk mayonnaise that may or may not really be a mayonnaise is closed.

David Leite's signature

swirl

Mayo variations, please? Clockwise from top right: cilantro-ginger, curry, anchovy, sun-dried tomato.

Milk Mayonnaise

Since I was given the recipe, I haven’t stopped finding ways to cook with it. The master recipe is only a canvas for additions. Besides the uses in this book, I’ve smeared the variations on grilled meats and fish, used them as dips and in dressings, spread them on sandwiches, and stirred them into potato salads, much as I do with actual mayonnaise.

Atenção: Like all emulsions, this recipe can be a bit finicky. But adding the oil in a thin stream and stopping when the right consistency is reached is the key. For almost foolproof results, a handheld blender is best, but a small canister blender with a narrow base will do.–David Leite

Milk Mayonnaise Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup very cold milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • About 3/4 cup vegetable oil, or 1/2 cup vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  • 1. Combine the milk, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Using a handheld blender (or a blender), buzz on high for 30 seconds until frothy.
  • 2. With the motor running on high, slowly pour in the oil a few drops at a time, and gradually increase this to a fine thread, moving the blender up and down, until the mixture thickens lusciously and resembles a soft mayonnaise. You may need more or less oil. Season with salt to taste. The mayonnaise will last up to 1 week in the fridge.

Variations

  • Cilantro and Ginger Milk Mayonnaise | Maionese de Leite com Coentros e Gengibre
  • Add 1 loosely packed cup of well-dried fresh cilantro leaves and tendril-soft stems and a 1 1/2-inch peeled and grated thumb of fresh ginger to the cup along with the milk, 1 3/4 teaspoons of lemon juice, and the pepper. Omit the garlic. Whir in the oil as directed above. Stir in 1 scallion cut into thin slices on the diagonal.
  • Anchovy Milk Mayonnaise | Maionese de Leite com Anchovas
  • Add 6 anchovy fillets (generous 1 tablespoon) packed in oil to the cup along with the milk, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper. Whir in the oil as directed above. Omit the salt.
  • Curry Milk Mayonnaise | Maionese de Leite com Caril
  • Add 2 teaspoons of your favorite curry powder to the cup along with the milk, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper. Whir in the oil as directed above. Before using, let this sit for an hour or so in the fridge to bloom.
  • Tomato Milk Mayonnaise | Maionese de Leite com Tomate
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of double-concentrate tomato paste to the cup along with the milk, garlic, and pepper. Omit the lemon juice. Whir in the oil as directed above. Stir in 1 tablespoon minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Leanne says:

    The curry and tomato versions are lovely for veggie dipping (especially hot steamed artichokes), but it’s the green olive dip I keep coming back to. I could eat that dip with a spoon! It’s definitely stable in my fridge for at least two weeks—no separating or weeping and we’ve all survived. I find it tends to get eaten before there’s a chance of it spoiling.

  2. Greg Bulmash says:

    We’ve been using a soy-based mayonnaise called Vegennaise for years because of my son’s egg allergies. They sell it in two out of three of our nearby supermarkets. Because of the lecithin in soymilk, you can make soy mayo with soy milk, lemon juice and vegetable oil in a blender too.

    I’d see this cow’s milk mayo as a sort of gourmet aoli alternative to the workaday soy mayo. It might also be a budget alternative seeing as it can be made in small batches with low-cost ingredients.

    One recommendation I saw in recipes for soymilk mayo was to use safflower oil, because it had a neutral flavor and left you with a more traditional mayo taste. Never tested that, but now I’m tempted to do some milk mayos with different oils to see how the flavors compare.

    • David Leite says:

      Greg, personally I prefer the taste of the vegetable oil versus the vegetable-and-olive-oil combo. It’s actually the original recipe that Ilda gave me. It’s lighter.

  3. Dear David,

    Your recipe for milk mayonnaise is one of THE most interesting recipes ever. The first time I made it, I didn’t get it right either—my fault: I didn’t pay attention to your note, and I used the food processor (needless to say, it didn’t work). On my second trial, I used the blender and the mayonnaise emulsified like a beauty. It’s so smooth, so silky, and so aerated. So far I have only tried the green olives, but playing with other flavors is on my plan. Cheers to milk mayonnaise!

    Leticia

  4. Cesar says:

    Hi, Interesting post but in all fairness, much “surprise” is given to the finding. Furthermore, it is not accurately named. The oil volume fraction in mayonnaise is about 0.8, much like butter (another emulsion, but a water in oil one). In this recipe, the oil volume fraction is about 0.65, which might NOT render the known solid-like properties for mayo. Furthermore, the addition of lemon juice curdles the milk protein in the milk which is key in the texture of the final ‘mayo’ (which is not the functionality lemon juice plays in real mayo). A plethora of culinary creations have been and will be enabled by smart manipulation of aspects such as: oil to protein ratio, solid fat content, protein type, pH, surfactants etc…

    All in all, great to have this sort of contribution BUT you need to keep them within the confines of accuracy.

    happy to talk more!

    A food-loving scientist

    • David Leite says:

      Cesar, couldn’t agree more. But if you read the post carefully, I make it clear that this is not a mayonnaise. And in the book, the word mayonnaise is in quotes, to set it apart from a true mayo. I used the term only because that is what it is called in Portuguese: maionese de leite. Also, the lemon juice doesn’t curdle the milk, at least in any significant or visible way–and which Shirley Corriher corroborates.

  5. Greg Bulmash says:

    David, not sure on your lemon juice math in response to Cesar. When I make ricotta at home, I use 1 ounce lemon juice for each quart of milk (plus 4 ounces cream per quart of milk), providing a lemon juice to dairy ratio of 1:36.

    Three-fourths of a teaspoon of lemon juice to 1/3 of a cup of milk…3.75 ml of lemon juice to roughly 79 ml of milk is basically a 1:21 lemon juice to dairy ratio.

    Now, in my cheese recipe, the milk is at 190+ degrees when the lemon juice is introduced, and I’m pretty sure the heat makes a difference. But on straight lemon juice to dairy ratios, you’ve got more curdling power in your method for making “mayo” than I have in my method for making cheese.

    • David Leite says:

      Like I said, Greg, not a food scientist! Let me be more specific, though—the lemon juice goes into very cold milk (so that may affect it) and the milk is immediately buzzed in the blender or with an immersion blender, so I’ve never seen any visible signs of curdling, as you see with cheese, which is heated and sits. It may coagulate, as Shirley said, but the oil is added so quickly afterwards, it’s hard to notice.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I’m totally intrigued by this milk mayonnaise recipe! I will definitely give it a try!

  7. nakedbeet says:

    I’m so excited to try this milk mayonnaise recipe for my next potato salad. Is this very lemony? If I added more lemon, would it mess with this coming together properly, maybe extract instead?

    • David Leite says:

      nakedbeet, adding more lemon juice will change the consistency. My suggestion is make it as directed and toss it with your potatoes, along with any other ingredients. Then add some lemon zest. You’ll get the lemon-y punch without changing the texture.

  8. nakedbeet says:

    Great, I’ll follow your suggestion.

  9. Sue says:

    Hi David,

    Made your milk mayonnaise recipe and it’s fab! Thank you so much. I didn’t want to add raw garlic, as I’ve read that anything made with raw garlic (i.e. chimichurri sauce), should be consumed within 1 day of made. So, i used garlic granules. I also used a touch of mustard. I got myself one of those oil cruets, which I’d never used before, so measured the oil and put it there, and that created a lovely “thread.” In fact, I think it was too thin, because my hand blender head was getting hot, so I made the thread thicker, and then presto! Suddenly, near the end of the oil, it started thickening and it tasted like real mayo with a hint of aioli. Fantastic! Thank you very much again.

  10. I wonder if it can be made with yoghurt instead. Have you tried?

    • David Leite says:

      Nathalie, I haven’t tried, but I’d be curious.

    • Adam Gerthel says:

      I’m interested in using yoghurt as well. There’s a falafel sauced used all over in my town (Malmö, Sweden) that I’ve been trying to figure out how they do. It’s sort of a garlic mayonnaise, but it’s much too pale to be made out of egg. I’ve tried out your milk mayonnaise recipe and it’s damn close, but it’s lacking a sourness that I think comes from using yoghurt instead of milk. Gonna try it soon, but please let me know if you’ve ever tried it!

      • David Leite says:

        Adam, as I mentioned to Nathalie, I haven’t made it with yogurt. But another option is to try cultured buttermilk. It’s sour.

      • ruthie says:

        Very late but maybe…Adam, possibly you are talking about the Tahine Sauce that is usually serves with falafel. it is just tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice and garlic, with possible local variations. It looks creamy and might seem like it has yoghurt in it. Fooled me until I asked the woman making the falafel sandwich for me. if you see this response, give that a try.

  11. Liz@Cafe Liz says:

    This milk mayonnaise worked great! I halved the recipe, used only olive oil, and added a bit of cream, like you suggested. I like how this doesn’t contain raw eggs.

  12. Silke says:

    I found your blog, saw this milk mayonnaise, and had to make it. Immediately. It turned out wonderful, lighter than mayonnaise I find. I used 2/3 grapeseed oil and 1/3 olive oil, didn’t measure exactly but just added until the consistency was right. Didn’t have olives in the fridge, but preserved lemon and capers, which turned out really nice. Will use green olives and anchovies tomorrow. Thanks so much!

    • David Leite says:

      Silke, I love your adaptation. It sounds wonderful. Please let me know how the olive and anchovy version turns out.

      • Silke says:

        David, I just made the olive and anchovy version, and it’s great. Still wondering whether I should really take it along to the neighbors’ dinner tonight, or just be greedy and eat it all by myself – though my waistline will thank me if I get it out of the house quickly! Thanks again for a great recipe!

  13. David, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. In the south of Spain earlier this year I had this for the first time. I couldn’t stop eating it and the restaurant showed me how they made it. He called it alioli. Immediately my husband and I went to our rented kitchen and whipped up a batch. It works with low fat milk too. We used it as a salad dressing.

    I thought I had stumbled on a something like you that would revolutionize the world. I research all my Spanish and Mediterranean books no sign of the sauce. And was waiting for the right time to write about it and alas your fabulous new book tells all.

    How have so many visited these places, so many times and not noticed this wonderful sauce?

    • David Leite says:

      Julie, I don’t know. why. I latched onto the the moment I saw it and I knew I had, had, had to make it.

  14. Nicole says:

    Wow..I’ve gone through a few blogs in just about an hour..I’m compelled to keep reading! YOU are a crack up! And you are so good about responding to your public lol. Good stuff…Thank you! Nicole

    • David Leite says:

      Nicole, thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. I hope you pull up a chair, sip on a lemonade and read some more!

  15. pen orcas says:

    i admit i was skeptical, so i just made a small batch with soy milk and it is amazing nice and fresh tasting. i plan on trying the other flavours and try some of my own. thankyou for this great idea

    • David Leite says:

      Pen, so glad that you overcame your skepticism and tried it. I shall put you in the “like” column.

  16. Dear David:

    I just found your comment in my spam filter! Darn filter is overzealous. Thanks for your kind words about the adaptation of your recipe into rice milk mayonnaise. I’m happy I got the accreditation right. I am excited to try some of your other variations listed above. Please keep in touch.

    All best,

    Cybele Pascal

    • David Leite says:

      Cybele, I know the feeling. Let me know when you make your versions of the above variations. I think some of our readers might like them.

  17. Le copain says:

    Hi David,

    A real great recipe for people allergic to eggs… tried it a lot of times up to now in different variations with different oils–great. Yesterday, after obviously nonchalantly adding too much oil, the emulsion broke, and the whole thing went fluid again. If this happens, you can save the mayonnaise by mixing cold milk in a second glass and adding the “spoiled” fluid very slowly to the fresh milk–all emulsifies a second time and is as delicous as usual.

    Thanks!!!

    Steffen

    • David Leite says:

      Steffen,

      It is a great recipe for people with egg allergies. And thank you for your fix regarding the broken emulsion. Everyone, Steffen gets the Reader of the Day Award for his wonderful contribution to this post!!

  18. John says:

    Love this milk mayo! Much better, way creamier, and far easier than the egg yolk-based mayo I made last Sunday. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Sue W says:

    Thank you so much. I made a Garlic, Balsamic, and Dijon version. Tastes amazing. The color could use a bit of improvement (the balsamic) But none the less very tasty.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi, Sue. Sounds interesting. I don’t know if you even need the balsamic, as Dijon mustard has vinegar in it. Would help the color.

  20. David Leite says:

    Marre1943, thanks for writing. If you look closely, the recipe states use a handheld or wand blender. (If you use a blender, it has to be a mini one.) This really can’t be made well in a regular-size blender, as there isn’t enough volume to the ingredients, and most blenders are just too big. Try it in a measuring cup using a handheld blender (or even in a mini chop food processor), and I think you’ll have success. Also, make sure to puor the oil in very, very slowly.

    • Mr. Smith says:

      I used my Oster blender with the (much improved) Fusion blade and it worked great. I I don’t think this would work with the Oster’s original blade.

      • David Leite says:

        Dear Mr. Smith Goes to Portugal (sorry, couldn’t resist!), indeed it wouldn’t work with its regular blade; I speak from experience.

        • cletusmoses says:

          would it work with a milkshake blade in the blender?

          • David Leite says:

            cletusmoses, no, unless you were making three or four times as much. And the chances are high of it breaking with that much liquid. This really is a mini chop or handheld wand blender recipe.

  21. Amanda Fessler says:

    Hi there, David. Stumbled upon this milk mayonnaise recipe while experimentally wondering if there was such a thing as mayo that used milk. The fact that it actually existed shocked me, and despite having just made a fresh batch of Japanese mayo a few days before, I got the unquenchable urge to make it anyway, just out of curiosity.

    I substituted with powdered milk (still very cold, though) and added an extra clove of garlic. But I made sure to follow the part about the stick blender in a measuring cup. It came out great, if just a liiiiiittle bit runny. Is it because I used powdered milk, or too much garlic? 

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Amanda

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Amanda, thanks for the kind words. According to your comment, the only difference is the evaporated milk, so I’d say it was that. Did you use lowfat or nonfat evaporated milk? The “mayo,” and I put it in quotes as it’s not a true mayo due to the lack of eggs, requires the milk fat and oil to emulsify. Also, try whizzing the mayo a little bit longer.

      Curious: Why not use regular whole milk?

  22. Amanda Fessler says:

    Hi, David. Thanks for the input. I’ll try the real stuff this time. : )

    The label reads “full-cream” powder. I was curious on how it was going to work out if I used a more readily available substitute, probably because of this other recipe on how to make yogurt with powder as well, which I successfully used it for. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a cheap person with a sizable family, and whole milk doesn’t last long at all, so we have to make do with powder.

    I guess it was because I was just used to powder. I’ll give whole milk a shot.

    Regards,

    Amanda

  23. David Leite says:

    Darlene, my pleasure. Please let me know if there is any way I can help.

  24. David Leite says:

    That’s wonderful news, Amanda. Glad to hear it worked and you were able to salvage the previous batch.

  25. Jon says:

    David, we have been struggling through an elimination diet trying to identify food sensitivities. It is like we can’t eat anything normal folks eat. Life without a “mayonnaise” product has been, well. difficult. We cannot have milk products so I tried your recipe using Almond Milk from the health food section of the grocery store. It worked great. We also cannot eat citrus so I substituted tamarind paste for the lemon. (Tamarind is a common souring agent in Southeast Asian cooking.) I also added a 1/2 tsp ground mustard seed for some more flavor. The “mayo” is great. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Jon, my heart and palate go out to you. I, too, have suffered through elimination diets. I have also suffered through reincorporating ingredients back into my life, one at a time, waiting to see if there would be a reaction. I laud your tenacity and sense of adventure and look forward to hearing about more of your triumphs…and do check back with us. We often run recipes that just happen to fit in with various dietary constraints without shouting it from the rooftops…

  26. Tonya says:

    I like having the benefits of probiotics in my raw sauces and was wondering if using a greek yogurt would be ok or will that affect the flavor?

    • David Leite says:

      Hi, Tonya. It definitely would affect the flavor and possibly the texture. You can try it, but it won’t be a milk mayonnaise–but that’s not a bad thing. If you do make it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  27. Pamela Ortiz says:

    Hi David!

    How wonderful that you shared this recipe. I haven’t attempted to make it yet, as I have a question! I have a serious gallbladder problem, so I am stuck on a very strict low fat/low cholesterol diet. Lord knows I’d break laws for something “mayo” like to spread on a sandwich,or to add to my tuna. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mustards, balsamics, and oil & vinegars, but I could just scream for something creamy every now & then. I have adapted several kinds of spreads/dips with greek yogurt but they tend to be a bit tangy! Would I be able to use skim milk instead of whole milk in these recipes for the milk mayos? Or is there a lower fat substitute that would work? Love, Love, Love this website! Thank you again!

    • David Leite says:

      Pamela, well, first, thank you for the kind words about the website. We love it too, and we love bring to all of you.

      About the milk mayo: According to reader Julie Logue-Riordan, it does indeed work with low-fat milk. Not sure about skim milk, though. Some people have had success with rice milk and almond milk, but I’ve never tried them. Please tell us how things turn out.

  28. lisbet diemer says:

    I’ll do my best to make your milk-mayo and you world famous in Denmark, to me this seems to be the best recipe of the year…or in May!

  29. Pam Moore says:

    David,

    Your Portuguese Table came out just as I was catering a Spanish/Portuguese dinner party. Lucky for me as my food knowledge of the Iberian peninsula was limited to two years in southern Spain as a very young Navy wife. I read your book cover to cover and the milk mayo was a smash hit at the dinner party in its green olive iteration with bread slices. Fabulous! It should be called the disappearing dip as that is what happens when I make it…it disappears! We also like it with a simple Spanish salad: diced tomato, cucumber and red onion with tuna and a red wine vinaigrette. The mayo goes on a garnish of quartered boiled eggs, and then it all gets a sprinkle of poppy seeds. A great summer supper. (indoors, no skeeters. lol)

    • David Leite says:

      To be said like one of the ladies in “Steel Magnolias.”: Pam, you’ve warmed the cockles of my heart.

      A behind-the-scenes peek: That recipe took us forever, fovEVER to recreate here in the States. On was on the phone with Patton Conner, one of our testers, counting down to zero then hitting the button on blenders, mini-chops, hand blenders. Then we would time it to see when it would whip it just right. I don’t know about Patton, but I have oil marks on the ceiling when the cap flew off the blender.

      • Pam Moore says:

        Made mine in the mini chop. I might make some tonight with some great Spanish anchovy olives that have been calling me from the pantry…

        • David Leite says:

          Pam, stop it, you’re killing me!

          • Pam Moore says:

            It’s what happens when you start those creative juices flowing…!

            • David Leite says:

              Don’t I know it.

              • Pam Moore says:

                Yes, I’m sure you do. And judging by the site AND your book, quite a lot else about food besides. But you know what I like best about your site is that you answer or comment on almost all(!) of your readers posts. That is so thoughtful of you, not many writers do. Reading the comments and the repartee is almost like being at a dinner party with a bunch of chefs and foodies. I love it! Thank you so much.

                • David Leite says:

                  Pam, your comment made my day. Thank you. We have a No Comment Left Behind policy that we try very hard to uphold. And I guess all I can say is….welcome to the dinner party.

  30. Tonya says:

    I have tried this four times now and tweaked it for my purposes. Yogurt worked well in compliment with herbed flavors which I loved for salad applications. I added melted butter, a splash of white vinegar, and a touch of onion powder instead of garlic (I found the garlic overpowering) to make a plain sandwich mayo but the yogurt in this application was too yogurty. This is my go to mayo recipe now. I even use it in my cafe and people are amazed that it is egg free.

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      Tonya, we love to see people getting creative with the additions. Which one is your favorite? The herb flavored one sounds fantastic.

  31. Tonya says:

    Well, I’ve been married for 16 years and my husband has anaphylaxis allergies to eggs so he has never had a potato salad with mayo. His grandmother was German so she would make the German style but I love a good mayo based potato salad with Carolina style BBQ. So I made a potato salad with this recipe using rosemary, sea salt, and vinegar. That was pretty awesome. And he has never had a chicken salad sandwich. So I made a tarragon, mustard one that was pretty darn good, too. And then I made a sriracha one for our banh mi that he loved too. But I only make those in single dish quantities. The plain sandwich one I quadruple to keep on hand for every other purpose. I used to buy the veganaise and this is so much less expensive and I honestly think it tastes better.

    • David Leite says:

      My dearest Tonya, I’m going to your house. You’ve dreamed up combos I’ve never thought of. I love the sriracha idea. Excellent. Thanks for adding to the canon of variations.

  32. ruthie says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before now! Where have I been? Dunno.

    This is just the kind of curiosity, from my culinary perspective anyway, that I’d usually be all over. Thanks for finding this and ironing, whipping?, out the kinks for us home cooks. It looks lovely, and soon enough I will know if it tastes as delightful as it looks.

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      Hey Ruthie, sounds like you found us just in time! Do try it and let us know how you like it…this one is really a hit. And you know LC is always happy to whip things into shape for our readers.

      • ruthie says:

        How about a little hot pimenton and an addition of smooshed anchovies, maybe some finely chopped jalapenos and use it to top a nice fish taco — the kind made with some shredded veggies and chiffonade cabbage to go with the fish? Maybe let the pimenton infuse into the oil for a bit before making the mayo???

        I was just looking at a recipe for the fish tacos and, when they described the dressing, it just sounded like it needed to be made with milk mayo. ;)

        • David Leite says:

          Ruthie, they all sound like excellent candidates for milk mayo variations. BTW, did you hear my segment about milk mayonnaise on The Splendid Table?

          • ruthie says:

            Nope, but I will now. ;)

            BTW, that should have been infused with the milk, not oil!

          • ruthie says:

            Well, I learned a couple things from that. I can make this with almond milk, one of my new best friends. And how to pronounce your last name. I’d been, in my head, saying things like lay-tay, or lye-tay (but never lah-tay), making it entirely too difficult. A little knowledge of language can be a dangerous thing.

            Thanks for pointing us in that direction.

            • David Leite says:

              Hi ruthie, so glad that you picked up a few things via this recipe. Especially using almond milk.

              BTW, my name is pronounced “leet,” which is the American pronunciation. In Portuguese, it’s pronounced “late,” which means milk. And that is why I was called “the milkman’s son” when I was growing up.

  33. Anara says:

    Highly recommend the podcast to any readers who enjoyed this post!

    Heard your podcast on The Splendid Table and really appreciated how the ingredients in this mayo could be flexed to meet the needs of dairy as well as egg allergies. The name is misleading because it’s easy to assume it can only be made with cow’s milk. This sounded worth sharing so I wrote a post about it for my special needs blog.

    • David Leite says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, Anara. Much appreciated. I think the word “milk” is actually perfect for the recipe, as that’s what the original calls for: cow’s milk. That being said, there are all types of milks: soy, almond, cashew, goat, skim, etc. It’s a marvelously embracing term. BTW, I really enjoyed your post.

  34. Marco Menghin says:

    I heard you talk about this on The Splendid Table, and it’s fantastic. I made the base recipe in a mini-food chop and it tastes wonderful. I did, however, use 2% milk (that’s what I had in the house), and when it first came out of the food-chop it actually was so whipped that it came out in a semi-hard”blob”; almost as though it had gelatin in it. I remedied this by just throwing it in a bowl and hand whisking in some warm water, and it came out to a much softer consistency. But is this a problem of over-blending, or do you think this is because the milk had such low fat content? I’d also be interested to know if home cooks in Portugal ever do this by hand with a whisk. It seems as though this technique had to have developed before food processors, right? Thanks again for sharing this wonderful technique.

    • David Leite says:

      Thanks, Marco. I’m glad you enjoyed it. My guess about the firm blob is the oil, which is fat. You whisked in a lot of air, and it could have congeal it–much like whisking air into milk renders butter. But I’m not 100% certain–food science isn’t my thing.

      And I don’t know if Portugese cooks made this by hand using a whisk. Good question! I think it’s possible (the same way you can whip cream), but they would have to have made it in larger quantities.

  35. ruthie says:

    “I singlehandedly mopped up the entire bowl with hunks of bread while he nattered away with the restaurant owner, Antonieta Cocheirnha Tarouca, and the chef, Ilda Vinagre. When he looked at the bowl then at me, I just shrugged.”

    What’s that old saying? You schmooze, you lose. ;) Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    • David Leite says:

      Yes, and I still get crap for that to this day. Although The One is thinner and more agile than I, when it comes to food he doesn’t stand a chance.

  36. Pam Farrell says:

    Wow! I was listening to Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s Splendid Table podcast yesterday and your interview and milk mayonnaise recipe grabbed and intrigued me. Just found your website, read all of the above comments, and I can’t wait to try this today. Thank you do much for the inspiration. I can see I am going to be doing a lot of great reading…and eating.

    • David Leite says:

      Pam, my pleasure. Welcome to the site, and I hope you enjoy what we have to offer. also, tell us what you think of the milk mayonnaise.

  37. dasmb says:

    Eggs kind of gross me out a lot, especially raw, so the prevalence of mayonnaise-based sauces is a real “grin and bear it” scenario. I’ll be in love with a dish, then I taste the egg and it’s spoiled for me. Which is especially bad this time of year, when fresh tomatoes and Boston lettuce usher in BLT season.

    I’ve tried eggless aïolis (too thin), Greek yogurt (wrong flavor, makes the tomato taste off) and butter (just…no). Milk Mayo is the perfect alternative–a little soft and runny but that’s actually better with the juicy tomato and soft, pasty bread that I prefer in my BLTs.

    A few notes:

    - I used skim milk in a small processor and initially It was a runny mess. Adding more oil and processing a long time fixed the problem. It’s a ratio thing and I bet if you used cream, you could use less oil and get a better balance of milk and oil.

    - To the lady who was worried about raw garlic–the sheer amount of oil in this recipe will hedge against the growth of anything nasty. A week should be safe. If you bumped up the acid content it could be even longer. Or just use roasted garlic and a whole lot more of it.

    - I was thinking a peanut oil-whole milk mayo would be the perfect condiment for an Elvis-style BLT. Pardon me for blowing your minds, guys.

    • David Leite says:

      dasmb,

      No minds blown here. I’ve tried and heard of all kinds of variations of milk mayos. My only comment is it shouldn’t be runny. I suspect it’s due to your using skim milk. Whole milk, which the original recipe calls for, makes a thick spreadable condiment. Adding more oil is definitely the solution to the thinness. And as far as the garlic, if you use a small clove, the acid in the recipe has you covered.

  38. Carrie says:

    I apologize if you have already answered this question, but there are so many great comments that I can’t read them all! I tried this recipe tonight and messed it up. The sad thing is, I think I got a nice mayonnaise but then ruined it. I had used only about half of the oil when it became what I thought might be the goal texture, and then added more just because I was trying to follow the recipe. Big mistake! It became a blender jar full of oil with globs of mayo.

    I was wondering, though, if the temperature of the blender also had something to do with it. The recipe calls for very cold milk. I was pouring the oil in extremely slowly because I have never made mayo before; the machine ended up being on for so long that the whole thing was very hot by the time I was through with it. What do you think?

    • David Leite says:

      Carrie, the temperature of the blender could be part of it, but I really can’t say as I always suggest this be made with a hand blender or a mini chop. A blender is too large to create a stable emulsion that can hold all that oil. I suggest using either tool and try it again. I think you’ll find it makes a big difference.

  39. Athena says:

    Made this successfully on my second attempt and Oh, My! This stuff is so lush and amazing. I can’t wait to experiment with all the variations people have suggested here on the page.

    On my first attempt, I too wound up with a separated oily mess with milk blobs in it. From the food chemistry side, it appears as though I tried to force too much oil into what had already formed the perfect emulsion. I still had about a third of the oil left, so I thought “This can’t be right. I should add all of it.”

    ARRRRGGGHH! The death nell of my mayo! Today, I was much more conservative, careful and less aggressive with the oil. I stopped adding oil immediately when the texture was rigth and it’s perfect.

    No wonder you ate it all in one shot!

    • David Leite says:

      Athena, I’m so happy to hear it worked well for you. Yes, the amount of oil can vary–I’ve never had as much as 1/3 cup left over, but I think it depends upon how fast you add the oil and how fast the emulsion comes together. The most important thing is to stop when you have that incredible, lovely, light, whipped lusciousness!

      Loop back with me and tell me what things you added to your “mayo.” I want to have a list here so that future readers can benefit form your creativity.

  40. Karen says:

    Just listened to the Splendid Table podcast and had to come find this recipe asap! Sounds amazing. A question, though, for those of us who are unable to appreciate cilantro: What other herb do you think would work well with the olives and anchovies?

    • David Leite says:

      Karen, why thank you. People have used all kinds of herbs–chervil, parsley, oregano, basil, and chives. Try some of those and see which works for you. Oh, and welcome to Leite’s Culinaria!

  41. vandana says:

    Hi, I am sorry to lose the patience reading all the comments above, but do I really will have to use an immersion blender and not a hand mixer? I just tried this but the hand mixer is not able to bring milk and oil together :( I don’t have a hand blender, is it a necessity?

    • David Leite says:

      Hi vandana. You could use either a hand blender or a small 2-cup mini chop. A hand mixer will simply not be able to whip the ingredients into the frenzy needed to make the emulsion.

  42. Karen S. says:

    Thanks for all the useful info. and friendly responses on your blog!

    I make regular egg mayo all the time, but this is something I’d like to try. We don’t drink or use pasteurized milk, only raw and non-homogenized, so there is a thick layer of cream on top.

    Is the traditional way to make this with raw milk, or must it be pasteurized and homogenized to work? I’m wondering about the still-intact protease and lipase enzymes that could potentially break down the emulsion. I know for successful cheese making (and the highest yields), raw milk works best, as the proteins, flavor-contributing bacteria and nutrients have not been destroyed by heat. But for this… I’m not sure. Guess I could just give it a whirl and report back, but if any food-scientist types are still around, I’m listening.

    Thanks so much,

    Karen

    • David Leite says:

      Hello Karen,

      Thanks for writing. I’m not sure of the traditional way, as I first encountered the recipe about six years ago, and the chef used pasteurized and homogenized milk. But if you do decide to give raw milk a go, please let us know how it turns out. It’ll be one more variation supplied by our readers.

  43. Karen S. says:

    OK, I finally unchained myself from my desk and tried this with very cold, raw, non-homogenized milk.

    It worked beautifully on the first try. I used a mixture of 1/2 cup macadamia oil and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a small clove of chopped garlic and the lemon juice. Shook up the milk container to redistribute the surface cream so I wouldn’t end up with butter. It took about 5 minutes to come together in a creamy emulsion, at which point I added some fine Celtic sea salt. It tastes wonderful and I’m pretty amazed that this turned out. I don’t know if it will last long enough (I will surely devour this in short order) to determine its natural shelf life, but thanks very much for this recipe, because the taste and texture are sublime!

    • David Leite says:

      I love your adaptation, Karen S., and I’m going to try it myself. I’ve never used macadamia oil, but I’m dying to now.

  44. David S. says:

    Came across your blog via an e-mail from The Spanish Table store in Berkeley, which posted your recipe for sausage spread. And wouldn’t you know, I just happen to have an unopened package of Spanish chorizo in the fridge…

    Like a previous commenter who made a sriracha version of your mayo – I do this with regular mayonnaise (and I prefer the lime-flavored mayo found out here). I also make a chipotle version using pureed canned chipotles en adobo stirred in to taste. Just great on avocado sandwiches.

    I don’t make my own mayo because I don’t trust the raw eggs, and have been thinking about trying to pasteurize raw eggs in my sous vide setup. Now with your splendid recipe, I won’t have to run that experiment.

    Thanks!

    • David Leite says:

      David S., so glad you liked the sausage spread. It’s an overlooked recipe from the book. And if you do make the mayo–let me know how it turns out.

      • Mary Blain says:

        Is it possible to double or triple the recipe?

        • David Leite says:

          Mary, yes, it is possible. But you’ll need to use a smaller food processer (not a mini chop). Those 7-quart monsters are too large and won’t work. What’s crucial is dripping in the oil. Some people have had great success with a blender.

  45. Thank you for a great mayonnaise! I’m still perfecting it but it’s so much better than the store bought stuff! Love it!

    • David Leite says:

      missfoodfairy, thank you. But it’s not a true “mayonnaise,” which is why you see the quotes around it in the post. But it does have a similar texture and richness, doesn’t?

  46. dibribac says:

    At first, I was skeptical. I had never tried eggless mayo. Tried your recipe and loved it!

  47. Hi David,

    Very late on this thread. But! This is such a cool recipe. I made it today for the first time and used a bit on my avocado and egg sandwich. It was the perfect touch. I’m a bit finicky though and want to know if I’m doing it right.

    I used all the oil called for, whole milk, etc. It all emulsified w/ a hand blender but was a bit thinner than I expected. Not runny, but more like in the way the texture of plain regular yogurt is as compared to thicker Greek yogurt. Is that what the consistency is designed to be or do I need less oil? I will try it again once I finish this batch…

    • David Leite says:

      Hi, Salvegging. Glad you like the recipe. The consistency should be a little thicker. More like…mayo. I’d whip it a bit more or use a wee bit more oil.

  48. Ana says:

    I’m Portuguese, living in Portugal, and I have never heard of this. But I’m going to try it tonight. I’m pregnant and avoiding raw everything…so this seams perfect, but still high fat.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Ana, congrats on the impending arrival! I never heard of it either until I spent time near the Portuguese/Spanish border around Estremoz, Elvas, and Reguengos de Monsaraz. Just remember: It needs to be made in a mini chop or using an handheld (wand) blender.

  49. How long does it keep in the fridge?

  50. No Chops says:

    I’m hands down the worst cook among you! I don’t enjoy cooking. But I do like to eat, and this milk mayonnaise recipe has worked for me first time, both times. Second time I added a good bit of nutritional yeast (fine, scoff, I sprinkle it on everything, umami I’m guessing), and a couple drops of sesame oil. Fantastic!! Oh, and I used cold whole-milk buttermilk, cuz that’s what I had on hand. Thank you, David Leite!

    • David Leite says:

      Hey, No Chops, haven’t you heard? This is a No-Judgment Zone. You want to use nutritional yeast, sesame oil, and buttermilk–go for it. Think of us as understanding, benevolent overlords.

  51. My experience with this is negative: 1) it has little flavour and 2) it doesn’t keep very long. So, I’m going back to my standard sour-cream, old fashioned, cooked salad dressing. But, I’m disappointed.

    • David Leite says:

      Hello, Janet. So sorry to hear you’re disappointed. As you can see there are a lot of flavor variations in the recipe as well as in the ever-growing list of raves from readers. I’d say experiment, if you’re so inclined. I know people have had luck with cultured whole buttermilk. One last thing: This isn’t a salad dressing. It’s meant to be used as you would mayo as a spread or used in dips, such as Green Olive Dip. Lot ‘o flavor here.

  52. I want to say THANK YOU. I have an adult-onset egg allergy, and I was the sort of person who ate eggs all the time, and I dearly, dearly miss my mayo (especially my homemmade herb-and-olive-oil mayo!).This was, hands down, the best non-egg mayo I have tried, and I think I might have tried them all. And I can make it myself at home with things I already have on hand (I used 2%, very chilled, and less oil than called for, but about half extra virgin olive and half veg. oil, and it came out PERFECTLY).So very tasty.

    Again, THANK YOU.

    • David Leite says:

      You’re quite, quite welcome, B. Maura. And when you’re bored, try some of the variations and add-ins for the milk mayonnaise. I’m always so pleased to see my readers coming up with so many exquisite riff on it.

  53. Desiree says:

    David, you are an angel sent from above! I have been allergic to eggs and mustard since birth and for the past 32 years I have been using butter or sour cream on my sandwiches (which I don’t even like!). Most eggless mayonnaise recipes call for mustard to emulsify the mixture. And when it comes to salads that call for mayo I have yet to find a substitute–until now. I have just finished mixing up my first milk mayo and it fluffed up and tastes great. I cannot wait to try it on my sandwich tomorrow. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

  54. Pollyanna says:

    Well, I’m a bit late to the milk mayo party. I can’t remember what I was hunting for when I found this site and got sucked in. An hour or so later I ran into this post and just had to try it.

    Wanting this for a potato based salad, I used whole milk, a small clove of garlic, 3 anchovies, tarragon vinegar instead of lemon and added a 1/4 tsp of prepared mustard. I used a bland rice bran oil and a stick blender. Not sure how long it took, but it worked a treat! I had about 20 ml of oil left when the emulsion became nicely thick.

    For most things, I would probably use mayonnaise because I want that richness, but as the base for a dip, like the tempting looking green olive one this ‘mayo’ would be preferable.

    This ‘mayo’ will be a godsend in summer for buffet and BBQ salads where egg based mayonnaise dressings are too dangerous.

    Thank you for this recipe, and a very interesting site that I’m delighted I stumbled across.

    • David Leite says:

      Pollyanna, first: welcome. I hope you find a lot more of what you’re looking for. What sets us apart from other sites is all the recipes are tested, so we’ll take out the guesswork. Only those recipes that pass our gauntlet of testers make it on the site.

      And I’m thrilled that you’ve discovered my milk mayonnaise. I hope you find it to be a useful substitute in your cooking.

  55. Deirdre says:

    Having mourned the passing of my varinha magica just a week ago I was somewhat nervous about trying this with my canister blender. I was nervous that it would end up as a nightmarish sludge of oil and curdled milk but it didn’t!! With the help of a dropper, a little faith, and a lot of patient pouring this came out perfectly on my first attempt. Infinitely better tasting than regular mayo, too. Awesomeness. Obrigado!

  56. Jui Patel says:

    hi

    can i use soybean oil instead of vegetable oil in milk mayonnaise?

  57. SFPami says:

    I originally heard your post on the subject of milk mayo on “The Splendid Table” a year ago. I’ve been hooked following your posts since.

    Question: Can you share which immersion blender brand and other equipment is now working best for you for this recipe?

    Thanks so much David!

  58. I can’t wait to try this!

  59. Bkhuna says:

    I was in Brazil for a couple of weeks recently and fell in love with Molho de Alho. I’ve been search to no avail for a recipe for this ubiquitous condiment and voila, here it is.

    Obrigado meu amigo!

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      De nada, meu amigo. Um abraço.

      • Bkhuna says:

        Foi delicioso!

        I just made my first batch, only deviating from the posted recipe by the addition of 3 large cloves of garlic. I was after all, looking to make Molho de Alho.

        Foi delicioso. Thank you so much! You have a standing invite to all my future churrascos!

        • David Leite David Leite says:

          Bkhuna, you do realize the genie bottle you’ve opened. A standing invitation, huh? You better hope you live far, far from me! So glad you liked the recipe.

  60. Debbie Elder says:

    I only use extra-virgin olive oil, as I work for Arizona’s only EVOO producer, and my pantry is full of different flavors. My question is there any reason that the oil be 100% EVOO vs. a combo with vegetable oil?

    BTW, today is my last day of recovery lying face down 24 hours/7 days from macular eye surgery and your podcasts have helped to keep me entertained during this otherwise very long and boring week. Is the podcast still active as I see the last one listed on your website is last December 2013? Can’t wait until tomorrow to get back in the kitchen to try this recipe.

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      First, Debbie, I hope you recover 100 percent. vision is precious.

      And there is no reason why you can’t use all olive oil. Some people find it too heavy tasting. The original recipe that I got was 100% vegetable oil, but I often add some olive oil, and, at times, have made with completely with EVOO.

      As far as the podcasts, thank you kindly for your sentiments. They were getting expensive for us to produce, but we think we have a way of doing it that will be more cost effective. If so, you can expect to hear them in autumn.

  61. Frances Joyce Barker says:

    I’ve never heard of milk mayo, but i am going to try it soon, and i have a hand held blender so this might end up being my go-to when i want to make some dressing without making a lot of dressing that won’t be eaten!!! Thanks so much for the recipe, Frances Barker….

  62. Debra says:

    Thanks for the update, David, I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since buying your cookbook. Loved the idea of adding green olives to the milk mayo, ended up pureeing the olives with the rest of the initial ingredients for completely delicious results, enough so that I was reluctant to share with anyone else. What made it really interesting was that I used avocado oil from a trip to Southern California, which with the green of the olives imparted a haunting/addicting flavor that was like guacamole, but not. So along with the different flavorings you offer here, the choice of oil (I’m thinking other nut oils such as walnut or hazelnut) also changes things up to definite taste advantage!

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Debra, absolutely. People have used olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, hazelnut oil, macadamia oil, lemon oil…the list goes on and on. I have to try your trick of puree the oils with the milk and garlic.

  63. Tammi says:

    Well, obviously I need to buy your book. I swore I would take a few months off (I had gone on quite a cookbook binge), but since finding your blog my will power has been seriously put to the test and I now throw in the towel!

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Well, Tammi, if you do, please tell me what you think. And I’m here to answer any questions.

      • Tammi says:

        First of all I love your usage of the word “plonk.” Now my dilemma is which recipe to try first! Your book is amazing, I must admit after receiving it, I skimmed through a fair amount of the first chapters to look at the recipes. (I got it when I came home from the office this afternoon.) They all look amazing, and the photography adds to the experience. I’m a little concerned about procuring some of the ingredients here in Lancaster, PA but I can’t wait to start.

        • David Leite David Leite says:

          Tammi, thank you so much for your kind words. I think you’ll find there are very few special ingredients you’ll need for the book. I included a chapter at the end that shows you how to make 90% of those special ingredients. The appendix also includes a mail order list of place from which you can buy any of the items you need. And if you ever have any question about a recipe, don’t hesitate to ask.

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