Mayonnaise is a controversial condiment. Some folks who were raised on soupy potato salads and sandwiches overflowing with mayonnaise now can’t stand the sight of it, and some people aren’t interested in mayonnaise from the jar, but are more than happy to dunk their french fries in a housemade aioli.

Whatever your stance on the stuff, there’s no denying that it can be really useful. Mayonnaise, particularly the homemade kind, only has three main ingredients: an acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, egg yolks, and neutral oil. A little salt doesn’t hurt, either, but that’s the basic recipe. And there are so many things that an emulsion of egg yolks and oil can improve upon that you might not have expected. 

Easy never tasted so awesome.

Add Mayonnaise to Cake Batter

It might sound weird to add mayonnaise to cake, but again, it’s just oil and egg yolks without the fuss of separating out an egg or measuring out oil. Adding mayonnaise to batter, like in this Chocolate-Mayonnaise Cake, makes the crumb moist and tender and leads to a luscious, delicious cake. Try it!

Mayonnaise Ice Cream

Last year, a small Scottish ice cream shop took the internet by storm with their mayonnaise ice cream flavor. And sure, adding mayonnaise to ice cream might sound like adding ketchup or mustard, some element that has gone badly awry. But you can’t taste the mayonnaise in the ice cream as mayonnaise, necessarily, it just makes the ice cream taste richer and have a deeper flavor. It makes sense!


Caesar Salad Dressing

This is a tip I picked up from the great Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, whose Caesar Salad dressing recipe has become a staple of my salad repertoire. In Caesar dressing, you usually combine egg yolks and oil. Replacing that with two tablespoons of mayonnaise makes for a delicious, easy dressing. 

White Barbecue Sauce

This traditional Alabama barbecue sauce combines mayonnaise with apple cider vinegar to give a rich, acidic bite to the sauce. It’s absolutely delicious, particularly on grilled or smoked chicken, but it’s also good on burgers or with grilled or steamed vegetables. 

Grilled Cheese

Have you ever spread mayonnaise on the outside of the bread for a grilled cheese sandwich rather than using butter or oil? If you haven’t, try it. It’ll give your sandwich an incredible golden-brown crust. It’ll work with any sandwich you’re toasting. 

Grilling Fish or Chicken

When you’re working with a grill and a delicate protein that you’re afraid might stick like fish or chicken, mayonnaise can come to the rescue. Just brush your piece of fish or chicken with mayonnaise and it won’t stick to the slats of the grill. Voila!

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