Aug 112013

Cutting out soy in a country that heavily subsidizes the soy crop can be a daunting task, full of not-fun and a huge swath of newly off-limits otherwise-delectable edibles. Frankly, it makes cutting out dairy seem like a walk in the park.

There’s a silver lining here though, and that lining is that while the vast majority of mayos out there are off-limits, there’s an open season on aioli! If you’ve never had it before, imagine a mayo that actually has flavor. Aioli is decidedly the best thing ever about a soy-elimination diet, and because I had never had an excuse to make this myself, I’m actually kind of grateful to my new eating scheme, even if it means I had to give up Scharffen Berger. I’m sure that once you try this on a BLT with some of this season’s prime tomatoes, you’ll be inclined to agree with me!

The making of aioli, as with any emulsion, can go wrong if you try to mix too fast. Here’s a look at what your aioli should look like at each stage. Happy whisking to you, and happy eating!

Creamy Garlicky Aioli
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes about 3/4 cup


  • When making a single batch, I whisk this by hand, but if I’m doing a double-batch or more I pull out the food processor.
  • It’s easy to adjust the consistency of this sauce by varying your amount of whisking. More whisking yields a thicker aioli.
  • If you or someone you’re cooking for aren’t comfortable with consuming raw egg, pasteurized yolks will work just fine in this recipe.
  • If you go on an aioli-making bender like I’ve been known to do, save the egg whites for crevasse cookies.
  • I let my egg yolk come to room temperature before mixing. I’ve heard that it can help the emulsifying process.
  • When choosing oil for this recipe, consider what you’ll be using it in. If you’re going to be doing something like dipping artichoke leaves in the aioli, use good quality oil. If you’re going to spread the aioli on sandwiches, opt for a less-expensive oil than your favorite extra-virgin.

You will need:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 small garlic clove, smashed through a garlic press, finely minced, or finely grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other neutrally-flavored oil)
  • 1/4 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Other spices, such as smoked paprika
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:

  1. Drape a kitchen towel over a small saucepan; set a small metal bowl over (this will hold bowl in place). Whisk egg yolk, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. water in metal bowl to blend well.
  2. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in grapeseed oil, 1/2-teaspoonful (at most) at a time, until sauce is thickened and emulsified. If your sauce isn’t coming together or thickening, you are adding the oil too fast. You may need to apply some emergency emulsifying measures (I haven’t tried any, so I can’t recommend one in particular, but they are all over the internet). See the image gallery above to reference what the aioli should look like at each stage.
  3. Whisking constantly, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream (if you’re feeling brave or want a thinner aioli) or by the half-teasooonful (if you want a thicker aioli). Stir in cayenne and other spices; season aioli with lemon juice, pepper, and salt.


  • Add a greater quantity of lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, and a small handful of julienned basil to make a lemon-basil aioli. It’s great as a dipping sauce.
  • A variation I am dying to try involves roasting a lot of garlic until it’s very soft and then adding that to the aioli at the end.
  • You could also try blooming a crumbled saffron thread in 2 teaspoons of hot water, letting it cool, and using that water when you mix your initial ingredients.
  • You can use this aioli as the base of a deeeeee-licious tartar sauce.
 Posted by on August 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

  2 Responses to “Creamy, garlicky aioli”

  1. I just had some pepper-infused aioli yesterday, I am in love. And was wondering if I could make it myself so we could use it instead of buying mayo. I’m not a fan of the stuff, but Husband likes it on a lot of sandwiches (like grilled cheese, I am a little convinced he’s pregnant) and it’s helpful when I make salmon salad for myself.

    • Yes, it is totally do-able! Just be sure to add the oil slowly and wisk it thoroughly before adding more,because it is a sad, sad day when it doesn’t emulsify. You can totally flavor it however you want, too! Good luck!

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