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Aug 14, 2010 12:44 PM

Dear god why can't I make mayo in my food processor?

Ok, I'm going insane. Why can't I do this? I add two egg yolks, a teaspoon of mustard. Turn on the food processor, slowly pour in the oil (i've tried mind-numbingly slow to slow stream, and every time I end up with liquid. What's wrong with me? I followed both Jole Robuchon and Gordon Ramsey's recipes verbatim. Is it me? Am I the problem?

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  1. Actually, I think it's the recipes that you're using. Mayonnaise is an emulsion; tiny droplets of oil suspended in water. For the droplets of oil to do this, they need an emulsifier, something that can hang on to both the oil and the water and keep them from separating into an oily mess. You have plenty of emulsifier in the egg yolk and the mustard. You have plenty of oil. What you don't have is enough water to wrap around the oil, the emulsion won't form without it. Lemon juice is my favorite; if you find it comes out too tangy, you can cut it 50/50 with water. Food scientist Shirley Corriher uses 2 yolks, 2 tablespoons each of water and lemon, and gently cooks the mixture until the yolks just start to thicken. Once off the heat, in goes 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of dry mustard, and a scant teaspoon of salt. She then throws it all in a blender and slowly drizzles in 1 cup of oil. Cook's Illustrated blends 2 egg yolks, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in a food processor, then slowly adds 3/4 cup of oil, and adds salt and pepper to taste. Try either of those, it should come out MUCH better than either the Robuchon or Ramsay recipes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      I would concur. It's got to be the recipe. I've made mayo in the FP on and off for years. Even my "mini" cuisinart (or "the herb mincer," as I think of it) makes good mayo.

      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        According to my recipe isn't enough mustard either. We also don't know how much oil is being used.

        My recipe is 2 yolks, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp dijon and 2 c canola oil. Procedure is simple.

        Now, first and foremost, due to my diet I do not put salt or sugar in it. Secondly, if there isn't enough oil it will be runny. Mine can get very thick but only at the end. I have to get about 3/4 of the way through the oil before I notice significant thickening.


      2. So much easier to use a mixing bowl and a whisk. Nevar, evar fails. And hardly takes more time, considering hauling out and setting up the blender.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jaykayen

          Poster said food processor. Not blender, not mixing bowl and whisk.

        2. The problem is the BLADE! FP's are meant to chop or liquify. Mixers (hand or stand) have a whisk attachment that whips, aerates, and emulsifies. A blender is the next best substitute or whisking by hand with a multi-wired balloon whisk. Good Luck.

          10 Replies
          1. re: kemi5

            I use my food processor to make mayo. It comes out just fine, and my arms don't get sore from the constant whisking. A food processor actually does BETTER at creating a stable emulsion because the whirling blade breaks up the oil into smaller droplets than a whisk can. Using a mixer sounds like a good way to fling the slowly drizzled oil all over your kitchen. I should mention that as a direct result of the more vigorous mixing, mayonnaise made in a food processor is considerably stiffer than whisked mayo; FP mayo comes out closer to commercial mayo in texture, while whisked mayo is about as thick as yogurt.

            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              I'll have to give it a try in the FP and report back. In culinary school we made large batches in a stand mixer so the qty. made vs. the volume of the bowl being used is probably a factor as well. I only make a cup or 2 as needed now. I do concur with JK that vinegar or lemon juice is a superior emulsifying aid rather then mustard because of the liquidity. I enjoy using an infused vinegar for a herbaceous backnote.

              1. re: kemi5

                Pardon me while I get all Alton Brown here... Lemon juice isn't the emulsifier. The egg yolk and mustard are. I'm a bartender, so I'm going to use my favorite setting, a cocktail party, as a metaphor for the mayonnaise. Think of two groups of people at a party (the oil and the lemon juice). Left to their own devices, they'll generally stick with their own kind and stay as two separate groups. There's also a hostess at the party (your mixing method). She can bring people together and get them to mingle (mix oil and lemon together), and the harder she tries (with a blender or food processor instead of a whisk), the longer they'll stay together . if she stops, then the two groups of people will eventually slink back together to be with their own friends (separate back into oil and lemon instead of being a vinaigrette). That's where a tray of drinks (the mustard and egg yolk) comes in. When the hostess introduces two people and gives them a drink (mixes everything together including the egg yolk and mustard), they now both have a drink they like (the oil and the lemon juice both hold on to the egg yolk and mustard), and will stick with each other for a longer time.

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Ok JK, I really do understand how an emulsion works but I did say the lemon juice, or vinegar was an "aid" but not THE emulsifier in mayo making. BTW, have you made a vinaigrette (not Caesar) without lemon juice or vinegar as the emulsifier?

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      Did we have our own Good Eats marathon??



                1. re: kemi5

                  This was my first thought too! That blade is never going to do what you want.

                  1. re: dianne0712

                    Yes it will. As stated, I use my food processor to make mayo. In fact, I made some on the weekend. It works just fine.


                  2. re: kemi5

                    One word: Magic Bullet. OK, that's two words. You get three different blades. Agree with the lemon juice ideas, but I wouldn't add mustard until after the emulsion, if you want to add that in the first place.

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      Which of the three Magic Bullet blades do you recommend for mayo making? I also got liquid... am I using the wrong blade?

                  3. Use an immersion (stick) blender, in a jar of just slightly larger diameter than the rotor.

                    1. Don't make mayo during thunder storms.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        I have heard this is an urban myth, if not..why? (PS this was asked of me 20 years ago and I am stymied)

                        1. re: Quine

                          it has to do with the ionization of the air...a stable emulsion requires the proper balance of positively & negatively charged ions, and before/during a thunderstorm, the air is charged with negative ions - it upsets the balance so the emulsion won't hold.

                          1. re: Davwud

                            Generally speaking, I don't do emulsions when the sun is exploding.