Whereas flavored butters lend themselves to food processors, the closer mayonnaise gets to a machine, the less good it is. A rewarding cooking and taste experience is to make mayonnaise in a bowl by hand and then compare it with mayonnaises made in an electric mixer, a food processor, and a blender. Each mayonnaise tastes, feels, and looks different. The hand-whisked sauce will be silkier, smoother, lighter, and more delicate-tasting, and sit easier in the stomach.

Use a light, high-quality olive oil, and have your ingredients at room temperature. Italian green extra virgin oil will make a good mayonnaise, but it will overpower most foods.


  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 1½ cups olive oil


Put the yolks, salt, and half the lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the oil very slowly at first, increasing the flow at the end. If the mayonnaise gets too thick to beat, add droplets of water and continue adding oil. (The amount of oil will depend on the consistency of mayonnaise desired.) Whisk in the remaining lemon juice and taste for salt.