Thrice Beaten Mayonnaise

MayonnaiseNo, it’s not a new, fancy style of dressing for your summer salads. It’s not a gourmet delight and it’s not a high point in my culinary development. It breaks all the rules of physics in that there is three times more ingredients go into the dish than there are in the end result. Yes, it’s my Thrice Beaten Mayonnaise.ย 

To reproduce this the way I did it, you will need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 750 ml of sunflower oil
  • 25 ml of olive oil
  • Juice of quarter of a lemon
  • A little water
  • 3 large pinches of salt
  • English mustard powder

First thing, separate two of the eggs, reserving the whites to feed to the dog. The whites are good for her coat, I believe. Put the egg yolks, one pinch of salt and some mustard powder in the food processor.


This is so easy to do. Every recipe says so…

Process them. Then add one-third of the oil, a little at a time.

What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong?

When the mixture turns into a gloopy, oily mess, pour it down the sink.ย Place the food processor in the dishwasher.

Separate two more of the eggs, reserving the whites to make meringues. Four whites are not good for a small dog with a nice coat. Next, take out the blender attachment.ย Put the egg yolks, one pinch of salt and some mustard powder in the blender.


Second attempt. The blender will do a better job, for sure…

Blend them. Then add one-third of the oil, a little at a time.


A growing respect for the people over at Hellman’s…

When the mixture turns into a gloopy, oily mess, pour it down the sink. Place the blender alongside the food processor in the dishwasher.

Separate the last two eggs. I hope you like meringues. Four whites will make plenty.

Egg yokes

At least I got one lovely shot of the egg yolks. I like this one.

Next, take out a mixing bowl and a hand whisk. Put the egg yolks and one pinch of salt in the bowl. Whip them until they are blended.


I think we are on the right track this time.

Then add one-third of the oil, a little at a time, whisking like a mad thing.


At this stage, my pride overcame the cramps in my arm. KEEP BEATING!

The mayonnaise will start to form. As it thickens, add a little lemon juice to thin the mayo and stop the pain in your mixing arm.


Perfect mayonnaise. What could be simpler to make?

When the mixture gets thin enough, add a little of the olive oil, whisking until you are happy with the result.

Add the mayonnaise and some chives to some chopped, cold potatoes and you will have a delicious potato salad.

Chopped chives

The first of this year’s chive crop (all of this year’s chive crop)

Enjoy it with some other nice stuff while you wait for the meringues…

Salmon salad

We had it with some hot smoked salmon, lambs lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. Delicious.


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  • If it goes wrong you can save the gloopy mess – clean the blender or bowl, start again with 2 egg yolks and add the gloop slowly back in and it will bind ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I got that from Elizabeth David and it works!

    • Thanks MD, though the dog probably would not approve of this approach.

  • Lovely photos as ever Conor. Even the hen ghosted in, for once.
    Living in the rat race I’ve always thought life a little too short to make your own mayo; I just add the odd ingredient to the shop bought stuff. Your post, amusing as it is, confirms I may have been on the right lines all along and not just lazy. Does it really taste that much better?

    • I think if your go straight to approach 3, it is worth doing. It tastes significantly better than anything shop bought. Tough, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

      • Hmmmm, even with chives, seasoning and, invariably in my house, a squeak of garlic? I know we are in aoli/alioli country here ( or rouille when you get that chilli vibe going), but it tastes gooooood. Regardless, I’m loving your blog. It so cheers my week. Bless you, Conor.

  • Conor,

    I just adore mayo and a good homemade one is so delicious! Since I have started to make my own years ago I cannot stomach those store bought stuff. The end plate looks so inviting and delicious! Yummy!



    • Thanks Willie. I hope things are good down there in SA.

  • Great pics Connor! I’m sure your mayo tastes thrice as good as the store-bought one!!

    • Thanks Lidia, no doubt about that but not worth all the washing up.

  • Conor–I’m sure you’re going to hear this from a million people, but a few drops of water beaten into the egg yolks before you start dribbling in the oil (we’re talking hand-whipped here) is damn near foolproof. We love making our own mayo too, but I never tried the water-drop technique until reading about it in the NTTimes: It’s a charm.

    I was enormously relieved to see you end the post with whisk in hand. When I first saw the blender I thought, “Oh, no!” Fun post. Ken

    • I thought I was going to be able to use the mayo making as a sidebar on another post. However, the mess I made of it deserved a post of its own, if only to keep my culinary feet on the kitchen floor. I will go by hand and water drops in future. Mad Dog comments above on how to rescue the situation too. Learning as I go….

  • I had a similar experience once and thought it was very frustrating, especially since I’d never had problems before. I actually caved after ruining three batches and used store-bought. Then I found out that the problem was in the temperature of the ingredients: the eggs and the oil need to be of the same temperature. Since then, I’ve always had success with homemade mayo in the food processor/blender. Did you by any chance use eggs from the refrigerator?

    Beautiful photos, Conor! The mirror effect is very nice and those two egg yolks are simply terrific.

    • HI Stefan, I wish I could blame the fridge. Sadly not. I suspect the blades in both the blender and the processor just don’t get near enough to the bottom to get the blending going. Ken’s suggestion on adding water might be the way to go. Though, I will probably just take the pain in the arm in future and do it by hand.

      • Hey, Connor! Great post, although I’m a little late to the Mayo party, here! ๐Ÿ™‚ I believe you have hit on the RIGHT answer here – I wrote a post last year about Hollandaise – it was my determination that most fail because of the blades of the newer blenders and food processors.

        Loved your humor and photos, here! Glad you “beat” your Mayo after all!

        • I should have read yours first Frau. Thanks for that.

          • You were a year ahead of me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • On a different topic: this post from you did not show up in my reader.
    Lately I’ve noticed a considerable drop in the number of likes and visitors that I receive, so it seems that my blog isn’t showing up in everyone’s reader either ๐Ÿ™ I’ve asked about this on the support forum, because my guess is it’s a bug in the site.

    • Just checked now. You are appearing in my reader. I have some catching up to do!

      • Did you notice any drop in likes or comments recently?

        • Yes, now that you mention it. Also, I am getting lots more spam than usual too. A good deal of it getting through the filter. Hopefully WP will sort that for us.

          • I hope so too. Same here with the spam, although it’s just one or two per day.

          • Do you schedule all of your posts, or just most? (Trying to figure out if that’s the culprit.)

          • I schedule pretty well all of them. Very rare that I ever hit ‘publish’.

      • Does this post, the one about the mayo, appear in your own reader? (You have to follow yourself for this to happen.) I’m trying to figure out if everyone sees the same. I still don’t see this post in my reader.

        • It was there yesterday, for sure. I also notice random comments on other blogs appearing in the reader on my iPad. It’s an iPad 2 so perhaps I need to upgrade. That would be a good excuse….

          • As you need such an excuse, I won’t tell you I have similar bugs in the WP app on my iPhone 5.

  • Great post. Couldn’t quite believe you were using a fancy blender in the first place. I’ve only ever made mayo with a whisk. Anyway, apparently a drop or two of water (about half a tsp for a smallish amount of mayp) can help to emulsify the oil. Don’t ask why, it’s just one of those kitcheny techy things I know nothing about. Like the science of cooking – haven’t a clue! Yet, perfect mayo ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Trust me. I will be doing it by hand in future. Too much washing up the other way!

  • On the rare occasions I do make mayonnaise it is always by hand and I actually enjoy the ‘physical bit’ of the prep ๐Ÿ™‚ ! And I would cherish those egg whites for a beautifully healthy omelette made with a huge handful of herbs ๐Ÿ˜€ !!

  • I wonder why it wouldn’t work on the machines? I have never tried making my own mayo because Mr. Hellman’s lives in our fridge. Come to think of it, I have never used a full jar of Hellman’s ever. Maybe making my own this summer for salads will be a new start. But Conor, I ain’t beating it by hand, no way! My arms will fall off! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • There are plenty of helpful comments above. Still, I am prepared to beat it to get it right. I should say it is very much better than the stuff from the jar.

  • A fun post, Conor. I cannot imagine what you would have used for your 4th attempt if the whisk had failed you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • There could not have been a round four John. Those were the last two eggs in the house.

  • Good grief this made me chuckle! I did exactly this a couple of Christmases ago, but first tried the infamous Youtube ‘instant’ hand blender method. Looked so beautifully simple. 3 litres of rapeseed based gloopy, oily mess later, I too got the balloon whisk out….

    Can I just echo that your post didn’t appear in my reader either? Strange. I had a similar experience last year but think it was down to a link in there WP didn’t like as I removed it and it instantly appeared in the reader feed.

    • Thanks Phil, WP has been a little odd of late. On my iPad, it streams random comments from blogs amongst the blogs I follow too. This is a recent thing as is the latest deluge of spam.

      Glad I did not use so much precious oil.

  • Thrice as nice, Conor! Well done as usual. I’m imagining all of the chicken salad, egg salad and turkey sandwiches I would make with this. (Yes, I’m very hungry at the moment.)

    • Thanks Tommy. Not avert economical way to approach it all the same.

  • You are funny ๐Ÿ™‚
    You’re a super cool blogger ๐Ÿ™‚
    You’re a mind-blowing photographer ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks,
      And thanks.

      I appreciate that,

  • Makes me never want to purchase store bought mayonnaise again! Perfectly presented. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Too kind, even though I used thrice the ingredients!

  • Your enjoy result looks wonderful…you have the patience of a saint. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You would not say that Karen, if you had been in the kitchen with me!

  • Love your humor and am so happy to have found your blog! You have convinced me to attempt my own mayonnaise. I can just imagine it tastes amazing – far better than the store bought stuff. I’m looking forward to the attempt and to reading through more of your blog!

    • Hi Danielle, Great to have you here. Come back often.

  • There is simply nothing in the world like homemade mayonnaise. Nothing!

    • True. There certainly was nothing like my first two attempts.

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