Secret to THICK mayo

Joined May 24, 2009
Recently I had the pleasure of dining in a Japanese steakhouse that served shrimp covered in "Kogane" sauce.  This was a thick yellow egg sauce that is used in blobs to top butterflied shrimp who are then squirted with brandy and covered.  The sauce steams and the result is a firm, impossibly light, deliciously eggy topping.  Naturally I decided that I had to make this and after a bit of googling discovered that the stuff was pretty much steamed mayo with perhaps a little extra yolk.

I've always known how to make Mayo but never in my professional career had I ever been called upon to make it myself as Hellmann's has handled all mayo duties in every kitchen I've ever worked in.  Its not a difficult concept but I was disappointed with my first attempts.  I need a THICK mayo, like cold Hellmann's to recreate this dish.  My mayo is passable but just isn't the tightly wound emulsion that I'm after.

2 yolks

1 c soybean oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch of salt

few dashes of tobasco

Using the recipe above, my trusty stick blender, and the tall narrow container that came with, this is what I've tried:

First I mixed everything together and slowly added the oil, eventually in a stream.  Runny, almost pourable mayo.

I've seen people do it where they'll add everything into the tall narrow container including all the oil at once, push the blender down to the bottom, and go to town.  I tried this and my result was exactly the same.

I heard that my eggs should be at room temperature for a better emulsion.  Didn't help.

At this point I suspect that my woes are for two reasons.  I did my experiment at my parents house using their eggs that might not be fresh enough for what I'm attempting.  Does this really make a HUGE difference?  My next guess is that the mayo is supposed to be like that and the only way to thicken it up is to chill it.  I'll try more experiments soon but first I'd like to poll the cheftalk community.  Who knows the secret to very thick homemade mayo?


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I've done it with a stick blender much like your recipe and it came out much firmer than commercial mayo.

Perhaps you need a more powerful/higher speed blender to get the air whipped in? My stick blender is just an inexpensive Cuisinart. But my old Braun had slowed down noticeably over the years before I replaced it with the current Cuisinart. You should try your food processor too.
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
Your mixing apperatus to slow or your ingredients to warm, or not mixed long enough.  Keep in mind many commercial Mayonaises have thickeners and stabilizers added and some even preservatives.

Your recipe is fine as far as ratios go.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
FWIW, Michael Ruhlman's ratio is:

* Exported from MasterCook *


Recipe By     :Formatted by Pete V. McCracken, 657 Village Green St., Porterville, CA 93257 (559) 784-6192 [email protected]
Serving Size  : 0     Preparation Time :0:00
Categories    : Fat-Based Sauces

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  20             parts  oil
  1               part  liquid
  1               each  egg yolk

  ""Ratio", Michael Ruhlman, ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-6611-3  ISBN-10: 1-4165-6611-2"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 38602 Calories; 4365g Fat (100.0% calories from fat); 3g Protein; trace Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 213mg Cholesterol; 7mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Lean Meat; 872 1/2 Fat.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0
Joined Oct 2, 2010
The trick is quite simple. When making mayo by hand whisking, only use eggyolks. When using machinery, such as a handmixer or stick blender as you call it, add the eggwhites too and you'll have the perfect and thickest mayo. That's the secret.
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Joined May 24, 2009
My stick blender is a beast--a commercial robot coupe.  I don't think its the issue.


I tried both cold and room temperature eggs with room temperature oil.  I can't imagine this is too warm as everyone keeps their soybean oil out.


Why would that make sense?
Joined Apr 21, 2009
In my experience, a yolk can hold a cup of oil, and the more oil the thicker it gets. Increase your oil a bit and it should thicken up.
Joined Apr 16, 2006
The first & second times I made mayo with a stick blender, it worked perfectly.  Third & fourth times it didn't work at all.  Then it worked again.  Then I quit using the stick blender & tried my food processor, which has worked perfectly every time.  
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I usually make mayo by hand, but I've tried using a stick blender in a tall narrow container, and it works great to make instant super thick mayo. Just pour everything in the glass, put the stick blender all the way at the bottom of the glass, start blending and as the bottom gets thick, slowly bring the stick blender up the glass until the top is thick. Should take no longer than 5-10 seconds max.

By hand, the slower you pour the oil, the thicker the emulsion.
Joined Aug 25, 2009

. Maybe the egg ration, I don't know ? Pete has the recipe straight out....and French Fries has the technique I will still add my one cent.

1 egg

1/2- 1 cup oil

plus 1 tbsp lemon juice

all ingredients at room temp. Using the right oil helps.

 The way French Fries makes his is basically they way I make mine, starting from the bottom and working your way up in a narrow container. The smart stick or stick blender is the fastest way to make it.....seconds really, giving a nice thick mayo.

For a really rich tasting mayo (not really thick) use just the yolks......just a thought.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
Why it makes sense to use the egg yolk, I don't know, but it works!

I think it's just that the speed of the food processor can emulsify the whole egg as opposed to only the egg yolk by hand mixing.

I use the food processor and as said the whole egg. It makes for a light yellow, firm mayonaisse
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Quote Benway; Why would that make sense?  

It has indeed to do with the speed of the blades of the foodprocessor (so I'm told). You can never beat that intense by hand.

Adding the eggwhites too seems a little odd, but, try it and see for yourself, it makes a big difference in consistency!

Also, the method that French Fries explains is the easiest way to make mayo. Use also eggwhites and you will have the thickest mayo in seconds...
Joined May 24, 2009
Theoretically the major players in the thickness of mayo is oil, water, and the emulsifier lecithin.  The thickness should come from a lot of fat bonding with very little water, making big blobs of tightly wound emulsion.  To my understanding the thickest possible Mayo, should be when the amount of water, with lecithin in excess, is as low as possible while the amount of oil is as high as possible.  The limiting factor of course being when the sauce breaks.  Leaving the egg white is essentially just leaving water.  More water means more oil is needed to reach the thickest state, which means that I'm diluting my yolk flavor, which I'd rather be concentrating.  Anyways what do I know, I'm the one who can't get it to work.

As I mentioned above, I tried the method described by french fries, I had seen this done and it looked pretty fool proof.  I still think the eggs are to blame.  The lecithin content of eggs supposedly decreases with age.  The eggs in my parents fridge are probably pushing it.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
From Michael Ruhlman's "Ratio", page 167-168
Harold McGee, in On Food and Cooking, notes that there is plenty of emulsifying power in a single yolk: "A single yolk can emulsify a dozen cups of oil or more." Importantly, he goes on, What is critical is the ratio of oil to water."

The above ratio is updated to account for and underscore that fact that without water (or some form of it, such as lemon juice or vinegar) a handmade mayonnaise is virtually impossible. Mayonnaises can and will break, not if too much oil is added relatively to the quantity of yolk, but relative to the amount of water you've included...

...But if there is not enough water, the oil droplets will break through the barrier and join with the other oil droplets and the mixture will quickly turn to an oily soup.
Further on on page 169-170, Ruhlman provides a solution to broken mayonnaise:
To reemulsify a broken mayonnaise, get a new bowl, add a teaspoon of water (and if you wish a little more egg yolk), and begin adding the broken mayo to the water while whisking continuously until you have a properly disciplined sauce.
Joined Mar 16, 2005
The secret is simple, small oil droplets, not too much water and also broken down into small droplets.  You can make mayo of any texture from runny hollandaise to spackle.

If you're using a whisk you will need a lot of elbow grease to get that thick consistency.  Easier to use a blender or food processor.  Proportions you listed are not a problem but it is true that one egg yolk can emulsify a lot more oil (provided you have enough water to hold the emulsion).
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Water OR lemon juice OR vinegar OR some other flavorful liquid that is not fat based!

Lecithin, the emulsifier in egg yolks, is a bi-polar molecule, one end is attracted to fats, the other to water, for it to work correctly, there has to be both available.
water in homemade mayo? that's a new one.....

Joined Sep 5, 2008
I don't use water or vinegar or lemon juice or anything, however I always add a tablespoon of dijon mustard to the yolk, I guess that gives me the needed amount of water you guys are talking about. 
Joined Sep 18, 2008
I don't use water or vinegar or lemon juice or anything, however I always add a tablespoon of dijon mustard to the yolk, I guess that gives me the needed amount of water you guys are talking about. 
Well, the ingredient list for the Dijon mustard I have is:
  • Water
  • Mustard seed
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Salt
  • White wine
  • Citric acid
  • Tartaric acid
  • pectin
  • spices
So, three of the first five ingredients are water or water based liquids

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