Why Is Mayonnaise White?


When I see mayonnaise in the store, I always wonder why it is so white. The typical recipe for mayonnaise starts with egg yolks, adds vinegar or lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard (I prefer to use ground mustard seeds). After mixing these ingredients, you start adding vegetable oil drop by drop by drop until you have a thick emulsified dressing.


And this is what my mayonnaise looks like. Starting with egg yolks this rich and bright, the mayonnaise I make at home always comes out quite yellow. So what are the food companies doing to make their mayonnaise so white?

A look at their ingredients reveals the answer. A check of commercial mayonnaise reveals that they are adding water to their mayonnaise. In some, water is even the first ingredient, which means there is more water than any other ingredient.

Mayonnaise recipes usually call for a ratio of one egg yolk per cup of oil. However, by using water, you can actually emulsify up to a dozen cups of oil with just one egg yolk. Commercial mayonnaise makers also often use the whole egg, not just the egg yolk. As a result, the ratio of egg yolk to oil is much less than in home made mayonnaise which is why their mayonnaise is so white.

What Makes Store Brand Mayo White ~ Stack Exchange

6 Replies to “Why Is Mayonnaise White?”

  1. I will try your recipe. I just finished my store bought mayo. I’ve been considering making mine for awhile now. I do get fresh eggs from pastured chickens locally. We usually pick them out of the nests ourselves. The lovely lady is 78 years old and has been on her family farm all her life. Never married, legally blind since she was about 6. 16 siblings, but she was the one who wanted the farm. My husband and I came across her farm a few years ago and now visit at least weekly, help out in the fall with putting in fences and fall clean up. Eggs and pasture raised meat from her. She doesn’t sell her chickens. But her eggs are wonderful, as is the produce from the garden in the late summer and early fall–cucumbers to die for. Since farming is not possible for us (I am disabled) this is a close second that I can appreciate. Reading your daily adventures is a blessing. She tells some of the same.

  2. PS What kind of vegetable oil do you use. I use coconut oil for most everything. I recently bought organic olive oil. I wonder if that will work?

  3. OOPS not olive but avocado oil. Can’t use coconut as it is hard at room temp here. My mom maid her mayo every week until she was old and too blind to make it–late into her 70’s. I’m wasting your time, but few would understand waxing nostalgic about mayo 🙂

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