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Tomorrow or the next day I intend to try to make aioli from scratch. Any tips or tricks to make it a success? Favorite recipes? I did buy a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic with.

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  1. Egg yolk at room temprature...trust me makes a huge difference....also take your time even if it feels like your arm is going to fall off! If you rush it it will break...if it does a little dijon mustard will help pull it back together.

    1. Aioli has it's share of difficulties. Personally, I simply "doctor" commercial mayonnaise. Take a look at the list "tips and warnings" about half way down this page. I think it will give you about all the information you'll need to be successful:


      Oh, the hint about eggs at room temperature - that'd get my endorsement. Only because cold eggs rarely form up well in any recipe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao

        How do you do your "doctoring?"

      2. but after mixing - a bit of sitting in the fridge helps it thicken and the flavors meld.

        1. I'm going to disagree completely with the others here. Aïoli is not mayonnaise and it really loses that pure garlic-and-oil flavor that gives it its name if you add eggs.

          My advice is to concentrate first on getting a good, smooth puree from the garlic and salt. Then add a little less than an equal volume of room-temperature boiled potato. You could also go with soaked/squeezed stale bread crumb. Get that into a smooth paste and then start slowly working in the oil. Oh, and have a glass of wine nearby when you're making it, it really helps (the cook).

          5 Replies
          1. re: tmso

            Your recipe sounds great, but not sure where you are coming from that "aioli is not mayonnaise." Julia Child's recipe for "sauce aioli" includes an egg yolk, as have most every other French or Spanish recipe for aioli that I've seen. It's basically the process of incorporating oil into the garlic/salt/egg mixture that makes it both aioli and a variety of mayonnaise.

            I know there are variations that are made without egg, i.e. the potato/breadcrumb recipe you posted, but both are authentic, as far as I can tell.

            1. re: DanaB

              there are lots of variations. i prefer the egg yolk one. as posted, make sure the garlic is smoothly pureed before starting; make sure the egg yolks is at room temperature. Make sure you add the oil as slowly as possible at first. This cannot be overestimated: drip by drip (at this point, if you have any sense, you will have switched to a whisk from the heavy pestle!). Once you have achieved a bit of a mayonnaise type texture, then you can begin to add the oil a little faster ... dribble, then thin stream. DO NOT rush the process. If you break the aioli, the best thing to do is give up on handmade, dump the whole thing in a blender with another fresh egg yolk and finish as you would for a blender mayo. it won't have quite the luscious texture, but it'll take about 20 seconds and is just about fool-proof.

              ALSO: i find that using a combination of olive oil and canola oil gives the best flavor. using olive oil alone gives you that really harsh olive oil flavor. probably 2/3 olive oil to 1/3 canola smooths that out a bit.

              1. re: FED

                Hmm...I'd never use anything but good-quality olive oil in mine.
                Maybe yours is too strong or too young, or has oxidized a bit.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  i know a bit about olive oil. my preference is based on the fact that provencal oils--which can be hard to find where i live--are much more delicate and buttery than the more assertive italian and greek oils. but tastes vary, so ...

              2. re: DanaB

                Traditional provençal aïoli is made from garlic and olive oil. This is how I was taught how to make it (with the possible addition of bread, to make the emulsion easier) when I asked to help make the Friday-night aïoli garni in a provençal household. It’s also how you find it described in 19th century provençal cookbooks.

                Contemporary French recipes often call for the addition of egg. This makes for a product that is somewhat mayonnaise-like, but if you look at the recipes and the results they are *not* simply mayonnaise with some garlic added. A quick check of some contemporary French recipes gives 5-7 cloves of garlic, one egg yolk, and 25-35 cl (1-1.5 US Cups) of olive oil, with some calling for double the garlic and oil, but still a single egg yolk. The egg is there playing the same role as bread or potato in the traditional recipes: it helps make it easy to get the olive oil and garlic to go into emulsion. But if you use a significant quantity of eggs, cut back on the garlic, or use vegetable oil, you’re going to have a sauce that has less the consistency and flavor of garlic-olive oil emulsion, and more like the egg-dominated flavor of mayonnaise.

            2. Here's a recipe I've used, if you want to go the "egg yolk" (i.e., easier) route:

              2 egg yolks
              2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
              salt & pepper
              1.5 cups olive oil
              juice of one lemon

              Paraphrased from Roast Chicken and Other Stories:

              Have all ingredients at room temp. He says that traditionally, it's made in a mortar and pestle, but you can use a whisk and bowl, or if you "are not in the mood to be energetic (or are of a lazy persuasion)" you can use an electric mixer.

              Beat the yolks, garlic and a little salt, until thick. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, beating the entire time. Add a little lemon juice (but - and this is my note - make SURE you have an emulsion before you do that), then more oil. Keep beating and alternating juice/oil, until thick. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

              And, if you mess up, start again with one egg yolk (make sure you have an extra egg at room temp, just in case) and then very carefully start beating in, drops at first, the broken aioli.

              Good luck.

              1. I make aioli all the time. In a food processor. Takes 3 minutes max.

                2 raw egg yolks, straight out of the frig or at room temp. Process for 1 full minute, till yolks are pale yellow. (Yes, 1 minute -- this helps release the lecithin, the emulsifier.) Add olive oil in a thin needle stream that hits the processor blade as your pour it in. Once you have added enough oil, the change in sound will be your first sign the emulsion has happened -- the aioli will thicken and begin slapping the sides of the processor bowl -- the reason for the sound difference. Stop processing and you will see that the aioli has thickened.

                Once it's thickened, add the garlic (it's easy to add too much -- so a little bit at a time) and process again. Add any citrus element like blood orange juice or lemon juice -- small amounts of zest, also. Add salt to taste and any other elements: a tiny pinch of cayenne, red bell pepper puree, etc.

                Make the emulsion first -- the egg yolks and the olive oil, then add the other ingredients. Easy as pie.

                I admire those who use a mortar and pestle, or who simply use a bowl and whisk,
                but I love the processor for this.

                14 Replies
                1. re: maria lorraine

                  the blender or the food processor is not a bad option. i've tested them side-by-side with mortar aioli and if you weren't testing them side-by-side ... the mortar aioli has a little more luxurious texture. the food processor is a little more like commercial mayo texture. that's about it.

                  1. re: FED

                    Would you mind explaining this a bit? What does luxurious mean? In my mind it means a satiny lustrous texture without an oily heaviness either in taste or mouthfeel.

                    I've found that when I process the egg yolks for a minute (even two) before adding the oil, as mentioned above, I get the luxuriousness I have described. Have you compared the two methods when the processor whips the eggs a bit more in the beginning? I'd love to hear your analysis.

                    I guess I'm too rushed these days to spend the time to use the mortar method. Especially when I get such good results with the processor.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      absolutely agree Maria, it's far too easy to add too much garlic (and I love the stuff). sometimes I add more than recommended, but roast the cloves first so that raw bite is softened.

                      I've had the potato alternative - quite good - but was always under the impression that's more of an Eastern Med variant.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        i guess the best way to describe what i'm talking about is that in a really good mortar aioli, the texture is almost like softened butter ... it mounds nicely in teh bowl. with the food processor/blender aiolis I've made, the texture was more like commercial mayonnaise ... slightly stiffer yet somehow feeling less rich.

                        1. re: FED

                          Thanks for your response. I think the difference in texture may be due to the number of eggs. In any case, the stiffer unctuousness (that's a mouthful, even for me!) of mayo is not a desired result for me -- and not what I get with the processor.

                    2. re: maria lorraine

                      So Maria, I basically used a combination of the ehow recipe that todao linked to above and your method. I did give in and use the food processor. It worked beautifully. Thank you.

                      I think I'm going to give a shot at hill food's suggestion to roast the garlic first next time. It will not only soften the flavor but make it easier to puree. The ehow recipe had me adding the garlic to the olive oil, but it kept sinking to the bottom, so i had to keep stopping and whisk it again. So I'm going to try it your way next time.

                      I was mostly happy with how this turned out, but I want to tinker with the flavor some more. The food processor did an awesome job though.

                      So as for what I plan to do with it now that I've made it -- we are going to take it to the Orioles game tonight and watch baseball and dip fries in it. I'll probably be the first person to do that.

                      1. re: JonParker

                        You'll be just like a Belgian when you do...they always serve fries with "mayo." Have fun at the Orioles game.

                        I made aioli yesterday too -- in the food processor. And it was light and fluffy and full of flavor! I love aioli with fries or roast chicken, and vegetables that have steamed or roasted. I've wrote about all that here:

                        1. re: JonParker

                          Jon, if you do, I'd go ahead and do a whole bulb so you can do the aioli to taste. and if there are leftover cloves then so be it. smear 'em on bread or something.

                          1. re: hill food

                            That brings up another issue -- the "to taste" bit. I didn't end up taking it to the game, which I believe was a factor in the O's 4-6 loss. When I went back to the aoili, it was freaking awful. What tasted delightful just after I made it was garlic overload after it sat in the fridge for a few hours. The emulsion remained strong, but the flavor broke in a huge way.

                            I may try making another batch with no garlic and mixing it in to see if I can save it, but I'd still like to know how to season it to taste if it's going to change so dramatically between the time I make it and the time I eat it. Does anyone else have this problem?

                            Oh, and I'm sure I can find a use for a head of roasted garlic. Mmmmm...

                            1. re: JonParker

                              for a cup of ali-oli I really only use 2-3 cloves of raw, let sit and use after a few hours. maybe 6+ cloves for roasted. we all have different ideas about what is the right amount after all.

                              and I toss if not used up (ha!). not exactly shelf-stable anyway.

                              I'd give the plain version and add garlic later method a try.

                              always easier to add later than take away. like salt.

                              I've had it be just way too sharp when I (or so I thought) did it all right. but I've usu. found it to mellow over time not get harsh.


                              oh and for those out there skittish about raw eggs and salmonella - boil the egg for about a minute, just long enough to cook the membrane on the inside of the shell - that's where it can exist.

                              1. re: hill food

                                hill food, did you actually utter the word "toss" in conjunction with aioli?

                                no, no, no....blend leftovers or too-strong aioli with butter, smear on a good baguette, toast, and eat.

                                as to dipping fries in mayo or aioli: it is simply the best way to eat them.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  well, ok. my SO insists after a few days.

                                  it is a shared fridge after all.

                                  in my defense I did laugh at the idea of leftovers in the post.

                                  and you can always add anchovies and have a fairly decent caesar dressing. or a stinky version of Hollandaise.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    hill food, "after a few days " means you are making too much. this is some problem for me, too. but, as as a proxy-depression child: do not waste! ;-)

                                    edit: i have to add
                                    ('cause i just have to...):
                                    "so"needs to venture onto the chowhound ranch! or he ain't gonna be a good chowso.......... ;-D

                                    (wait...you didn't get the "chowso"? yeah, maybe you did. but....think....carefullllly....! ;-)

                              2. re: JonParker

                                Garlic overload in Aioil: yes, this was the reason for my caution above. I use probably 1/3 of a clove of garlic for enough aioli for two people. 1 whole clove is too much and overtakes the mixture -- I can't imagine what 2-3 or 5-7 cloves of garlic would be like.

                                Considerations: Garlic varies in pungency, and I may have some strong garlic. Also, wintertime garlic is more pungent than that of summertime. Additionally, I sometimes buy garlic from the farmer's market, and that runs either stronger in flavor if it's an heirloom variety, or milder and sweeter and more onion-y. And then size -- what's an average size clove? 1/2"-wide at its widest, or 1/4"-inch or what?

                                I have also observed garlic "potentiating" in aioli when it sits -- like salt or spicy heat sometimes does.

                                All to say, add a tiny, tiny amount, and go from there.

                        2. Paraphrased (excellent!) Julia Child recipe:

                          1 Slice stale artisan-type bread w/o crust, in pieces
                          3 Tbsp Milk
                          7 cloves Garlic, mashed in mortar
                          1 egg yolk
                          1/4 tsp salt
                          1 1/2 c Olive oil
                          3-4 Tbsp boiling water
                          2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

                          Soak bread in milk, til pulpy, then twist in a kitchen towel to remove liquid.
                          Mash the bread with the garlic in your mortar to a smooth paste. Pound in yolk and salt then, a teeny bit at a time, pound in oil. Add water and lemon juice as necessary to get proper texture. You want it to remain heavy enough to hold its shape in a spoon.

                          This is delicious, easy and there is always something satisfying about using a mortar.

                          1. BTW - I saw Jose Andres show Mark Bittman how to make aioli on a rerun of Best Recipes last night - he added the oil drop by drop for ages, until finally starting to add a bit more - used a mortar & pestle. I didn't notice any lemon juice going in.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: MMRuth

                              My husband is determined to make this with a mortar and pestle - first run was last night, went well until it broke - after being v. patient, he added too much oil. So, he whisked an egg and gradually added in the broken mixture. Was delicious with Branzino, and he's going to try again soon!

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                I haven't had any problems using Julia's recipe. Some patience is required, but this method is pretty easy. Just get the bread and the garlic really paste-y to start.

                            2. Ok, here's what I'm thinking abiout doing for my next round.

                              1 egg yolk in FP mix for 1. min.
                              Add extra virgin olive oil, very slowly, hope the damn thing forms an emulsion
                              Assuming it does, add roasted garlic mashed to a paste and 1/2 tsp. salt.


                              7 Replies
                              1. re: JonParker

                                Perhaps you missed the key thing I was trying to get across: garlic will go into emuslion with oil (as will potato). Make a paste of everything that you want to bind to the oil, then start adding the oil; doing it the other way is just asking for your emulsion to break.

                                1. re: tmso

                                  Key in aioli is the stability of the emusion. The emulsion can be a stable *permanent* emulsion with an egg yolk, or a temporary emulsion if not using an egg yolk, and that will tend to break or destablize. Especially with the addition of lemon juice, or any ingredient containing water (this includes garlic, red bell pepper puree, herbs, etc.).

                                  I'm in the "use an egg yolk" camp for aioli -- I like the flavor and "insurance" of an egg yolk. I've just read a handful of recipes in French, and they all use an egg yolk. Additionally, I prefer the thickness of the aioli to come from egg-oil emulsion, and not from the use of bread or a potato.

                                  I get the emulsion of the egg yolk and olive oil down first -- if using a mortar and pestle that means adding the oil almost drop by drop. After the emusion "takes," then add the other flavorings like garlic, and, if desired, a touch of lemon juice. The emulsion takes so much longer if one begins with all the ingredients combined and *then* adds the olive oil.

                                  Here is a good review of aioli technique by Russ Parsons in the LA Times, including some of Richard Olney's comments from Simple French Food:

                                  The Provencal dish that uses aioli -- Le Grand Aioli -- is a platter of vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and fish, often cod. I'm actually kind of in love with aioli. I make it all the time.

                                2. re: JonParker

                                  Jon, that sounds good. No need to mash the roasted garlic if using a FP -- just add a little at a time. 1/2 teaspoon salt seems like a lot, so add it in pinches at the end.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    Ok, thank you Maria, hill food, MMRuth and everyone else that's contributed to this thread. Here's what made a nice, tasty aoili that was absolutely delicious with my SO's onion rings. Nearly everyone's tips ended up in the final recipe, even though I started very simply. I will try adding new things as i progress with this.

                                    Roast the garlic. I drizzled a head with olive oil, wrapped in foil, and placed in my toaster oven at 425 for 30 min.

                                    2 egg yolks. I tried one, but it wasn't enough -- it broke on the bottom of the food processor bin while the blades whirled over it. Two was enough to start the mixing action.

                                    Drizzle in EVOO until the emulsion forms.Add a pinch or two of sea salt, then add 4-6 cloves of the roasted garlic, mashing with fingers as you add it.

                                    Process for one or two minutes after adding the salt and garlic to make sure everything is thoroughly blended. Yes, this yields more of a garlic mayo than a true aoili, but it's delicious and goes beautifully with my SO's onion rings, which were battered and deep fried.

                                    We served them with fresh zucchini, and pan--seared sirloin steak topped with (90s flashback) sun-dried tomato, goat cheese and caper butter.

                                    I'm not through experimenting with aioli, but what I made today was quite good. Thanks to all the incredibly helpful CHHC posters.

                                    1. re: JonParker

                                      you're in Baltimore, right? DC here - is it too late to swing by for leftovers?

                                      kidding of course, has your SO ever posted the onion ring recipe or have a good one to recommend?

                                      it's all a shifting sand and only you will know the combo of process and ingredient. and if anyone asks for the details, leave one out, but put it in your will.

                                      1. re: hill food

                                        It took her a day, but she did indeed post it: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/542968

                                        They were magnificent.

                                3. ok, I'm in the process of doing this right now, for tonight. 2 egg yolks were at room temp. using the food processor. I processed the eggs for a minute before beginning to stream the oil, but it's just not thickening. about how much oil do I have to use? I have a gross, runny yellow mess right now. help!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Sophia.

                                    this is the most disheartening kitchen experience of my life. I'm on incarnation #3, trying to salvage the broken aioli because at this point I don't want to feel like I'm just throwing eggs and olive oil down the drain. I have literally spent an hour on this...it's quasi-emulsified. anyone have any ideas a) what to do with it because I'm running out of time and b) what else I can serve to dip fingerlings, green beans, shrimp, and other veg?