This egg salad made without mayo isn’t your grandma’s egg salad. Instead, it’s crammed full of gently caramelized onions, olive oil, and even garlic, and it’s so surprisingly lovely you just may find that you won’t miss the traditional mayonnaise.

It works hot or cold in an open-face egg salad sandwich or on top of salad greens. It perhaps even works best snuck straight from the skillet by the spoonful. (Uh, not that I’d ever do that…)

david caricature

Why You’ll Love This

Tester Alexandra M. described this as “an easy, delicious, and unique egg salad recipe,” while Trudy Ngo-Brown was delighted that it was a “more sophisticated and flavorful” version of traditional egg salad. I couldn’t agree more.

What’s Different About This Egg Salad?

There are lots of mayo-less egg salad recipes on the interwebs. (I even have a recipe for milk mayonnaise for those who are mayo-phobic.) But this egg salad goes to infinity and beyond. It uses a sweet-savory garlic-onion jam in place of mayo to add moisture and oodles of flavor. And, well, that opens up all KINDS of serving possibilities, doesn’t it?

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for egg salad without mayo--olive oil, onion, garlic, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Garlic–Six cloves may seem like a lot of garlic, but it will lose its potency as it cooks, so I recommend using the full amount. But even still, use medium-size cloves.
  • Onion–Once cooked, this adds a beguiling sweetness to the egg salad. For the most balanced flavor, I recommend using a white onion. If you prefer a sweeter salad, you could substitute a sweet onion, such as Vidalia.
  • Hard-boiled eggs–The eggs should be boiled until the yolk is just set but not dry and crumbly, typically 9 to 12 minutes. Overcooking eggs causes that ugly greenish ring around the yolk, so be mindful. If you like jammy yolks, cook no longer than 9 minutes.

How to Make Egg Salad Without Mayo

Sliced onions and minced garlic in oil in a skillet; caramelized onions and garlic being mashed with a fork.
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion, and stir well to coat everything in oil.
  2. Cover and cook until the onions and garlic are very soft. Use a fork to mash the onions and garlic into a jam.
A person mashing hard-boiled eggs into a skillet with caramelized onions; onions and mashed eggs being mixed together.
  1. Mash the eggs into the skillet.
  2. Stir the garlic-onion jam into the eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
A halved croissant sandwich with egg salad, bacon, cheese, avocado, and small pickles on a white plate.

Common Questions

How long should I cook my boiled eggs?

Timing hard-boiled eggs can be a challenge, but we can help. We actually suggest steaming the eggs instead of boiling them, and we have a handy-dandy chart so you (and we!) will never need suffer the travesty of overcooked yolks again. Check out all of the tips right here in How to Steam HardBoiled Eggs.

Can you freeze egg salad?

I don’t recommend it. After freezing, the eggs can become very tough and rubbery.

Helpful Tips

  • If your onion jam starts to stick while you’re caramelizing it, add a splash of water or a little extra olive oil to the pan.
  • For a smoother, creamier egg salad, pulse the egg and onion mixture in a food processor instead of mashing it.
  • This egg salad without mayonnaise is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

Serving Suggestions & Variations

This mayo-free egg salad can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pile it on toast or between two slices of bread to make a sandwich.
  • Scoop it into lettuce leaves for a light, gluten-free snack.
  • Spoon it over pan-seared chicken breast.
  • Spread it over a toasted rye bagel or onto crackers.
  • Make my new favorite sandwich–the BECCA! That’s Bacon, Egg salad, and Cheese on a Croissant with Avocado (below). You can eat it cold or run it under the broiler for a few minutes, then add the avocado.
A croissant sandwich topped with two baby pickles on a white plate.

And a few variations:

  • Mix crumbed bacon into the egg salad.
  • Add some herbs (rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, basil) into the skillet when cooking the onion and garlic.
  • Top the salad with chopped chives, green onions, parsley, or cilantro.
  • Add some sliced mushrooms to the skillet when sautéing the onion and garlic.


Egg salad can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

More Superb Egg Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

This is EGGCELLENT! It really is. I served it on buttered grainy bread and, oh my. It may not be a looker, but it more than makes up for that in taste. I can’t imagine ever making only a 1/2 batch.

A halved croissant sandwich with egg salad, bacon, cheese, avocado, and small pickles on a white plate.

Egg Salad Without Mayo

4.89 / 27 votes
This egg salad without mayo is most definitely not your grandma’s recipe. But it’s so surprisingly lovely we think you won’t miss the traditional version at all.
David Leite
Servings4 to 8 servings
Calories284 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 8 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sliced bread, endive spears, crackers, or lettuce leaves, for serving


  • Heat the oil In a large skillet set over medium-low heat until it's shimmering. Add the garlic and onions, stir to coat with the oil, and then cover. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic and onion are very soft, about 30 to 40 minutes.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: Keep a close eye on the pan, as the garlic may burn. The moment you see any scorching, tipple in a bit of water, which will cool the pan and prevent burning.

    Sliced onions and minced garlic in olive oil in a skillet.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Use the back of a fork to mash the garlic and onion until soft and jammy.
    A person mashing caramelized onion and garlic together in a skillet.
  • Push the onions and garlic to one side and, using the same fork, mash the eggs into a chunky (or smooth—it's up to you) spread.
    A person mashing hard-boiled eggs into a skillet with caramelized onions and garlic.
  • Stir the garlic-onion jam into the eggs and season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
    A person stirring a skillet filled with egg salad.
  • Serve the egg salad on toasted bread as a sandwich or with endive, crackers, or lettuce leaves as an hors d'oeuvre.


  1. Stop it from sticking–If your onion jam starts to stick while you’re caramelizing it, add a splash of water or a little extra olive oil to the pan.
  2. Make it smoother–For a smoother, creamier egg salad, pulse the egg and onion mixture in a food processor instead of mashing it.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Straight Up Tasty Cookbook

Adapted From

Straight Up Tasty

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 284 kcalCarbohydrates: 6 gProtein: 13 gFat: 23 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 14 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 372 mgSodium: 145 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Adam Richman. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The garlic and onion jam, and olive oil made an egg salad so luscious that I didn’t miss the mayonnaise. And I love mayonnaise. This made the perfect dollop for bite-sized leaves of Bibb lettuce. 

As I was cooking for one, I scaled down the recipe and used two hard-boiled eggs, one large clove of garlic, 1/4 of an onion, chopped, and one tablespoon of olive oil. My onions and garlic were soft after 15 minutes and were the perfect consistency for me.

I did find that I wanted to put the eggs in the pan to wipe up all the garlicky olive oil. So I did. It was good on the lettuce, though I must admit, it was even better eaten straight out of the pan right off the spoon.

This is a delicious take on egg salad. I was pleasantly surprised at how moist the recipe was without any mayonnaise.

I served it as an appetizer with Triscuit crackers, and it was a big hit. The garlic and onion “jam” would also work well mixed with only the yolks for deviled eggs. I mashed the garlic and onions with a potato masher as they cooked.

This was not my grandmother’s egg salad, but nonetheless, it was delicious. When I read the recipe, I couldn’t imagine liking it, but the first taste convinced me otherwise. I made half the recipe and found that it worked perfectly.

I used a Vidalia onion, which I had on hand. Its sweetness proved to be delicious in this recipe. The taste reminded me of the egg and onion salad they sell at my local bagel store.

Mushrooms would be a great addition to this. Also, I usually throw out a couple of the yolks in the interest of lowering my cholesterol intake. I didn’t do it this time, but I think that the final product would remain delicious for anyone who prefers more egg whites than yolks.

We ate it as egg salad sandwiches on whole-grain bread, but I imagine it would be fabulous on a freshly baked bagel or some crackers. It would be great with a salad and would even be nice with a slice of beautifully ripened tomato or some avocado. It’s egg salad. Everyone can figure out what to do with it.

The important thing is that you won’t miss the mayo. The recipe simply involves chopping, peeling eggs, and mashing the salad together. Use plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

The aroma of the onion and garlic slowly cooking and the taste of the finished egg salad were fantastic. I had trouble smashing the cooked onions and garlic, so after everything was cooked, I gave it a whir in my food processor.

This egg salad is slightly dry compared to one with mayonnaise. That’s okay, though, because the flavor is excellent.

If you don’t have hard-boiled eggs on hand, it will take another 10 to 15 minutes. Start the eggs before going on to the onions and garlic so you aren’t waiting around. I used pita bread and made sandwiches.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I loved this egg salad without mayo recipe. Super easy, very new and interesting taste, and a great low-calorie option (well, for egg salad, that is). We ate it spread on romaine leaves as an appetizer, and everybody loved it.

    The next day, I ate the leftovers over thinly sliced chicken breast, which was also delightful—definitely a keeper. I tried mashing everything with a spoon, a spatula, and a fork. The fork worked best by far.