Milk Mayonnaise

Milk mayonnaise, called maionese de leite in Portuguese, is silkier and lighter than egg-based mayo. Magic happens when butterfat and oil collide in a high-speed blender. And the addition of garlic gives it a little heft, as well as a little zip. 

A person holding a spoonful of milk mayonnaise above a jar.

By David Leite | The New Portuguese Table | Clarkson Potter, 2009

This is one of those recipes that require quotation marks, not out of affectation, but because it’s not a true mayonnaise. It contains no egg yolks or mustard. It’s nothing more than an emulsion of milk and oil. More Brazilian than Portuguese, it’s just now beginning to be used on the Continent. The taste is lighter and cleaner than that of egg-based mayonnaise, allowing other flavors to come through.

☞ READ THE ARTICLE: THE SECRET BEHIND 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.–David Leite

WHY ISN’T MY MILK MAYO EMULSIFYING?

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 (tall and narrow is best here). Don’t do as some of us did and assume that a stand mixer or food processor will work—it just won’t. If you’re working with a less-than-powerful immersion blender, the consistency of the mayonnaise may turn out thinner than you’d expect. You can help it along by slowly adding 2 more tablespoons of oil to the milk mayonnaise as you continue to blend and it will thicken nicely.

☞ Table of Contents

Milk Mayonnaise

A person holding a spoonful of milk mayonnaise above a jar.
Milk mayonnaise, called maionese de leite in Portuguese, is silkier and lighter than egg-based mayo. Magic happens when butterfat and oil collide in a high-speed blender. And the addition of garlic gives it a little heft, as well as a little zip. 

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Condiments
Portuguese
16 tablespoons | 1 cup
91 kcal
4.89 / 27 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

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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 (118 ml) vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Directions
 

  • 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.
  • 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.
Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Notes

Milk mayonnaise variations

Clockwise from top right: cilantro-ginger, curry, anchovy, sun-dried tomato.
Milk Mayonnaise 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 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.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 91kcal (5%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1g (2%)Fat: 10g (15%)Saturated Fat: 8g (50%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 72mg (3%)Potassium: 8mgFiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 7mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Originally published March 8, 2010

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Comments

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  1. 5 stars
    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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

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