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Hellmann's Mayonnaise substitute in the New York area?

Now that Unilever has wrecked Hellmann's Mayonnaise by changing the formula, what are former Hellmann's lovers using instead?

In another post, several people recommended "Duke's" and said that it's not at all sweet, which is what I remember about the earlier, good version of Hellmann's. Unfortunately, I'm in New York and Duke's does not appear to be available up here.

(By the way, the present incarnation of Hellmann's tastes WEIRD - why on earth did Unilever screw around with something that everybody who eats mayonnaise seemed to love?)



Glendale is hungry...

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  1. Trader Joe's mayo is good, and was number 2 on this list from Serious Eats. (Kraft was number one, TJ's/Duke's tied for two, and Hellman's three.)


    2 Replies
    1. re: susan1353

      TJ defintely good. No sugar - Hellman's does add sugar - doubt if the Unilever change has removed it. Duke's also has no sugar but have never tasted - supposedly very good.

      It's pretty easy to make your own - just don't use Olive Oil - OO has peculiar property of becoming bitter when 'whipped.'

      Pity if Unilver has messed with H. My dad was a Hellman's salesman in NY in 40's - so grew up on it.

      1. re: jounipesonen

        Ditto- if they've effed with the recipe i'm going to go elsewhere. The Kewpie stuff is good, and the Kraft mayo at work in the packets is good at work, but doesn't translate to good eats at home, for some reason.

      1. I always buy Hellmann's but not very often because I don't use it very much. When did it change? I buy the reduced fat version if it matters...

        1. Grew up in Jersey eating Hellman's but when I moved south
          of the MD line I became a Duke's convert. It can be ordered
          from their website if you'd like to give it a try.

          1. Try Cain's mayonnaise. I think it's *mostly* a New England brand, but it could also be in the NY area.

            2 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Never did a side-by-side comparison. I'll have to see what it costs to order some Dukes for a comparison there.

            1. I am in NJ and grew up with Helmanns. After learning about Dukes here on CH, we now alternate between the two. But Dukes has much less of a flavor profile than Helmanns. Helmanns is much more eggy. Dukes is more neutral and IMO brings no added flavor to what I add it to. That's not a negative, it allows the main flavor to shine.

              1 Reply
              1. ATK rated Blue Plate as best-tasting a couple of years ago, but again it's a southern regional brand.I haven't found any near me yet to try.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ennuisans

                  I grew up in Blue Plate, the old factory is in New Orleans and was recently converted to condos I believe. I don't like Hellmans and I buy Dukes whenever I am back home

                2. Grew up on Hellmann"s, but haven't purchased it recently so I am not aware of any changes in taste.

                  This past year I purchased 4 jars of Duke's.....I find it both saltier and more vinegary in taste compared to Hellmann's.....and thinner in consistency.

                  I like the taste of Ken's, but I've never seen it in stores....only food service and Costco.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: fourunder

                    Ken's Heavy Mayo is what I see in Costco, in huge tubs. It is indeed delicious.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        When Hellmanns went sky high a few years back, all the purveyors scrambled to find something cheaper. Not an easy thing in the NY market. Cains was very well received. Kens has always been around as a cheap alternative, but there is no comparison, just riding on the name. It's sort of like marshmallow fluff to me.

                        1. re: coll

                          Even the extra heavy? Granted that is the only one I ever tried but I wouldn't describe it as fluffy.

                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                            I was talking about Kens. Although Hellmanns fluffs up nicely in baked dishes.

                            1. re: coll

                              Yes, the Ken's. Are you saying the Extra Heavy Ken's is fluffy too? Or just the regular?

                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                I was talking about Hellmanns heavy duty, while saying that Kens either way is a cheap substitute.

                                Ken's is just for dire emergencies so I am not all that familiar with it. Hellmanns extra heavy is specified by those in the know, Ken's I wouldn't think anyone would really care either way. I've never heard a restaurant ask for Ken's by name.

                  2. It looks like the formula changed a couple of years ago. I certainly haven't noticed, but I use it very rarely and doubt I'd notice it in the things I make.

                      1. Ditched Hellmann's some 20+ years ago when I discovered Cains.

                        1. Wasn't that recipe change around 7-8 years ago?

                          1. I've seen Duke's in the NYC suburbs at The Fresh Markets. Personally I don't like it. (Or The Fresh Markets either.)

                            1. Does anyone have any real factual information to support the assertion that Hellmann's/Best Foods/Unilever has ever changed the formula at any point whatsoever?

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: acgold7

                                I haven't seen or heard anything I would call factual.

                                1. re: JMF


                                  supposedly he received a reply from unilever admitting to a recipe change.

                                  my b/f is the mayo eater here and yesterday i asked him if the hellman's seemed different. he offered that he thought he had been going crazy, lol. that the texture and flavor are indeed different and that it doesn't stay as emulsified -- it weeps liquid inside the jar.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    Hellmanns Unilever went through a nightmare about six or seven years ago, when they decided they could raise their price to anything they wanted, that's how popular they were. A big mistake, and I wouldn't be surprised if all kinds of tales were told. Every other mayo company was scrambling as if their lives depended on it.

                                    My husband is a Hellmanns addict and I haven't heard any negative feedback lately from him.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      That is one of the few places it seems to come up, and that was 7 years ago.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        Curious, I've never seen any "weeping" or signs of poor emulsification myself.

                                        1. re: JMF

                                          Never any weeping, even now with those I have some stashed in the garage....others would be garbage right now with the below freezing temps. Hellmanns is standing up fine, which is sort of impressive.

                                        2. re: hotoynoodle

                                          The comments in the thread are interesting, because while we still don't really have any factual info on whether there actually was a formula/recipe change or not other than the assertion of the blogger (and if so, it allegedly happened back in '06), the comments go into great detail about the differences between Best Foods and Hellmann's and other brands and how to make duplicates of many of them at home if you can't order or find your favorite.

                                          1. re: acgold7

                                            It would be interesting if there is a difference between H and BF - as it is the same company. Supposedly different labels are just for distribution agreements and actual products should be the same.

                                            (But I see below there MIGHT be difference in lemon content (there are more lemons in California :-) )

                                            1. re: jounipesonen

                                              Hmm...a lemon contact high, perhaps? ;)

                                              It IS possible to get Best Foods east of the Rockies - I noticed last week that my Big Lots has some BF in stock right now. I almost bought it, just for the novelty factor.

                                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                                            My husband is a Hellman's addict, and hasn't noticed any change. We have no weeping here. :)

                                      2. Spectrum Organic Canola mayo is far and away the tastiest I've ever tried. I used to get it at Whole Foods, but now even my local chain grocery carries it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: BobB

                                          i've switched over to the spectrum organic mayo made with soybean oil. great flavor, nice texture, but pricey. as i don't use mayo that often, i'd rather pay extra for the better quality and flavor.

                                        2. Heinz makes a mayonnaise, which isn't sweet. But I wasn't too impressed with it otherwise. It seemed greasier and less opaque than Hellman's.

                                          I was actually pretty impressed with the various types of Veganaise - I usually get the grapeseed one. It's very mild in taste but also very creamy. I actually prefer it sometimes to traditional mayo because it lets the other flavors in a dish stand out more.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Atomic76

                                            The original veganaise is awesome!! I haven't finished this jar yet but i'll get that grapeseed next...

                                          2. Any take on this re Best Foods from West Coasters? I switched to the private label product at Costco some time ago, so I have no recent knowledge. Just interested should I need the info in the future.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              My understanding was that Best Foods (West Coast/west of the Rockies, Asia & Australia) is the same as Hellmann's (East Coast/east of the Rockies, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Middle East).

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                We've not noticed a change in BF at any point. BF is virtually identical to Hellmann's except that it is a bit "tangier" as the company concedes. The ingredient list and nutrition info is identical. So there may be an extra molecule or two of lemon juice or citric acid in the West Coast version.

                                                Difficult to do a side-by-side as each product is distributed only on its own coast, generally, and rarely to they cross regions except in the case of a screw-up.

                                                Kirkland Mayo is made by a commercial processor and is pretty good, actually:


                                                1. re: acgold7

                                                  Noticed that the blog post linked to above has some notes about the differences between the two Unilever labels and whether both changed.

                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                    I grew up on Hellman's, had to switch to Best Foods when I moved out west. They were pretty interchangeable. Same company, close to same taste.

                                                    I have purchased the Kirkland Mayo and yes, it is good. Better than Kraft to me. But felt a bit flat. Hellman's/Best Foods is still my pref.

                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                        Thanks for your post above ac. The serious eats blog post way up above said that some people think the two are the same and others think they're different. Huh? I haven't tasted Hellman's in years, do I can't compare, but I do think Best Foods is a bit "tangier" than Kirkland. As usual, though, Costco does a good job.

                                                2. I haven't noticed the change although I'm not much of a mayo user but Unilever did ruin Breyers Ice Cream.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. Duke's is not locally available where I live either.

                                                    That's why the internet was invented. You can order it through amazon.

                                                    1. We go through a disgusting quantity of hellmans in our house, and have noticed no change whatsoever.

                                                      1. Ann Page Mayo was the best thing since the old-school Hellmans. It was the old A & P house brand..my grandmother only used Ann Page Mayo in her home and it was great!

                                                        1. I use Kraft Homestyle (brown lid). No sugar added. Also Duke's. I use the Kraft when I am out of Duke's. Hellman's has become too sweet. Mayo does not need sweetener. If you want sweet use Miracle Whip (ugh).

                                                          1. I just actually sat down and tasted Hellman's and it has definitely changed. It is much less eggy, a little more tart (not in a pleasant way) more greasy tasting and feeling, and has some off metallic flavor. I haven't tasted it plain in quite awhile and when I use it the other ingredients have covered it up.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                              Every time I use it now, I think how I haven't tasted it plain in quite awhile, guess I'm afraid to.

                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                Hi JMF,

                                                                This is what I noticed as well. When tasting Hellmann's 2.0 by itself the difference is very apparent. Not so much when you add it to something like chicken salad or put it on a sandwich.

                                                                Somewhere on the Internet I ran across articles stating that the smaller-size, regular grocery store Hellmann's changed the formula back around 2007 as some have mentioned elsewhere on this thread. However, the full changeover including the sizes that you might get at Costco (which is where I always bought Hellmann's) didn't occur until about two years ago. I don't if this really is true but it pretty much lines up with when I noticed the change.

                                                                Recently I tried the Costco brand mayo (Kirkland) and found it to be better than the current incarnation of Hellmann's but not as good as Hellmann's used to be. Kirkland is a little eggier than the current Hellmann's. It also doesn't taste like some strange greasy sweet/tangy chemical thing the way Hellmann's does at the moment.

                                                                Oh well, at least now I have an alternative that I can live with.


                                                                Glendale is hungry...

                                                              2. Seems like I've waited 10yrs. for this thread LOL. I actually saved a Hellmans label years ago after I noticed it changed to compare to the new stuff. Looking at the old label, the ingredients are:
                                                                soybean oil, whole eggs and egg yolks, water, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA(used to protect quality).
                                                                New label:
                                                                soybean oil, water, whole eggs & egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA(used to protect quality), and natural flavors.

                                                                So, right off the bat, we see that they moved water from # 3 ingredient to # 2, knocking eggs/yolks from # 2 to # 3 and natural flavors from # 8 to # 9.

                                                                I'm in eastern PA and have no problem finding Duke's, now my go to mayo (and still 32ounces :D)
                                                                on sale for $2.50, sometimes $2

                                                                Also, Duke's makes their version of miracle whip, not too bad, and way better than the "original" which Kraft destroyed in recent years with the recipe change(s).

                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: ClockworkOrange

                                                                  thank you, clockwork, for providing the proof that the recipe changed.

                                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                                    Interesting! I just went to get my Cain's mayo for the ingredients. They are: soybean oil, egg yolks, distilled vinegar, water, sugar, salt, cider vinegar and spices.

                                                                    So water is in #4 place in Cain's ingredient list. I think I'll stick with it, as I can't find Dukes around New England to do a taste comparison and I don't have a Costco membership (and I've never bought mayo at a bulk store either - too much for just me).

                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        I know. I'd need to order more stuff though. Maybe next time I have an order in @ Amazon for the free shipping. :-)

                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                            Well, it's just me, and I don't go through that much mayo to make it worthwhile. :-)

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              we could start a condiment of the month thread with mayo as the first condiment! that'd give you a chance to use up all the mayo in that 5-pack! ;)

                                                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                                                LOL! I'm thinking my arteries might have something to say about that. ;-)

                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                It lasts forevah, though. And maybe you just need a few more BLTs and/or BLT salads or cole slaw or blue cheese dressing in your life? :-D

                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                  Stop being an enabler, lingua. :-P

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    don't forget deviled eggs, macaroni salads, mayo cakes, crab imperial, chicken salad, etc. lots of ways to use up mayo! ;)

                                                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                                                      Endless. I'm a mayo lover, fo sho.

                                                                    1. I'm in NY State and can often find Duke's at Family Dollar stores. I stop in there now and then because there's one only half a block from my building.

                                                                      I also buy Cain's, primarily for making sandwiches. I grew up on Hellmann's, but Cain's is the taste I got used to on deli sandwiches in my NJ days.

                                                                      I find Cain's has a stronger flavor, both eggy and tangy, and I get full mayo taste on a sandwich using much less than when I make one with Duke's or Hellmann's. But for potato salad, tuna salad, egg salad, or chicken salad, I prefer the lighter flavor of the other two over the Cain's.

                                                                      1. I use Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise.

                                                                        It has a creamy flavor with a building spice - it's a pleasant one that can't be obtained by chili powder or cayenne pepper.

                                                                        If you like to spice up your sandwich or egg salad, try it!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: RogueFoodie

                                                                          "can't be obtained by chili powder or cayenne pepper."

                                                                          Try horseradish and dry mustard. Actual wasabi is the last, most minor ingredient.

                                                                          Expeller pressed canola oil, water, whole eggs, apple cider vinegar, horseradish (grated horseradish roots, distilled vinegar, water, salt, soybean oil, modified corn starch, citric acid, natural flavoring), egg yolks, salt, white mustard, distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt), spinach powder (for color), lemon juice concentrate, mustard oil, wasabi.

                                                                        2. SeriousEats put Kraft in the mix, interesting points about adding a slight amount of onion for tang. Should be worth a try.

                                                                          1. With all these mayo fans- with particular tastes - I'm wondering why there aren't more people suggesting DIY. It's not all that difficult but it would be good to get some useful hints. One I can give is to re-think EVOO for Mayo - in mine and many other's experience, it can turn really bitter when whipped.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                              Just as a general point, I've never understood why EVOO is such a "go to" for absolutely everything for some people. I like it well enough for some things, but I also use "plain" OO and old fashioned vegetable oil for plenty of other things. EVOO often has a pretty strong flavor which may not always be appropriate.

                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                i blame tv cooking personalities for evoo everywhere all the time. it is NOT suitable for many of the applications in which people like rachel ray use it, but lots of home cooks don't know that.

                                                                                also will mention that much of the imported italian stuff is adulterated garbage now anyway.

                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  OK with your general reactions to EVOO - (I happen to like the strong flavor etc. but not in everything of course).

                                                                                  My point here was that the mechanical 'whipping' of EVOO actually changes it into different organic chains - and thus gives bitterness which surely no one wants. I am not sure all ways of preparing Mayo with EVOO will create this result - but it's happened to me 3X and it does happen to others.

                                                                              2. re: jounipesonen

                                                                                I hate to admit this, but I have never been able to make by hand a mayonnaise that I like as well as (apparently, now, the "old") Hellman's. That's why this change in recipe is so shocking.

                                                                                (And, by the way, is this official? Was there a change in the Hellman's recipe? I still have old Hellman's on my shelf, so I have not bought any recently.)

                                                                                Perhaps it is just a lifetime of conditioning, but nothing beats the mayo taste of Hellman's--at least, the old kind.

                                                                              3. The new Hellman's flavor is gross, and Duke's is gross too. I'm making my own now, and it won't have any soy or corn syrup in it.

                                                                                1. the new hellmans is no longer labeled as extra heavy 1 because of the lowering of egg an "natural flavors". for years in the restuarants we used to use a cheaper sustitute in place of hellmans for alot of dressings like in potato salads and such that was identical to the original hellmans side by side taste test you would never be able to tell. it was labelled as a "Double egg" mayonaise. which is what original hellmans was. if I get time in the next few days i will dig out the books from one of my old restuarants and check the invoices for the actual brand name. one way to fix the current form of hellmans is in a stand mixer emulsify 1 whole egg 1 yolk with soybean oil and the missing "natural flavor" which is a tiny drop aprox 1/8 teaspoon of mustard, then add your not quite 32 oz. anymore size jar and whip together. use as little oil as needed to whip the egg and mustard to a thick consistancy but dont over whip as you will still need to add your hellmans 2.0 and whip together dijon works well unless you have a good brown mustard you are willing to puree and sieve to remove grains. but i will also report back if and when i find the name of the other brand

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: ChefDominick

                                                                                    I had a very fancy hotel that bought the cheapest mayo (our house brand) and just added sour cream. According to him, it was perfect (or at least no one complained).

                                                                                  2. I just saw a huge quantity of Hellmann's at a Grocery Outlet here in Portland, OR this past weekend. I didn't buy any since it was within a month of the sell-by date, and they wanted $2.99.

                                                                                    Safeway had just recently done a special on the new formula Kraft mayo for about 2 bux each, which was mighty tasty for artichoke dipping, so I'm using that up—even went back for a second jar at that price.

                                                                                    I'm a life-long Best Foods/Hellmann's fan, but this new stuff from Kraft, hmm, it even has the BF consistency. Heretical, I know, but I just might be a convert to Kraft.

                                                                                    1. The problem is they started to use canola oil and it taste horrible. Kraft did too.
                                                                                      I'm not sure as to why they think canola oil is so good for you. I can't stand it myself. Why not use sunflower seed oil it is good for you and taste good too.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Irebel

                                                                                        Hellmanns uses soybean oil in their regular mayo. They do make a Canola version, an olive oil version and so on, but their basic has been soy oil as long as I can remember.

                                                                                      2. Complain about Unilever's bastardization of the Hellmans/Best Foods Mayo formula at <http://www.unileverusa.com/resource/c...>. If enough of us put it to them, they are likely to make the correct decision.