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.

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. 
David Leite

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Condiments
Portuguese
16 tablespoons | 1 cup
91 kcal
4.88 / 25 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%)


Originally published March 8, 2010

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Comments

  1. OMG! the mayo came out so goooood! I’ve tried making it before with another recipe and it was just watery so I was a bit apprehensive this time around. But I’m so so pleased!

    1. Delighted you like it so much, priyal! This recipe is considered by most to be the “original,” meaning it was the first time it had been translated and tested for U.S. cooks. I’ve seen many, many adaptations that simply don’t work!

      1. Hi David,

        I just realized I never got back to you on this! I did create a Mock Mayo recipe and published it in my cookbook. It’s a big hit! If you’re interested, I could send it to you with a photo to be included in your recipes.

        Judy

  2. If we want to make in big quantities, like Ilda was making in her food processor, is this food processor like a cuisinart? how big were the batches? i have fairly good luck with this recipe and my handheld blender but i want bigger batches now!

    1. Julianne, Ilda was making 4 and 5 times as much. A (non-gigantic) food processor should work for a triple batch. I know at the photo shoot for my book, that’s what we did.

  3. Can this mayonnaise be cooked or baked? Some quiche or cake recipes use mayonnaise in the filling or batter. I am wondering if milk mayonnaise works in recipes that require cooking or baking the mayonnaise? Thank you.

  4. Hi, David –

    I am going to make and serve the milk mayo this week with you wonderful cod and shrimp fritters. Do you have a favorite among your flavoring variations for serving with the fritters? Thanks.

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