Here’s the way to make foolproof lemon aioli from scratch — use this tasty pantry sauce on everything from sandwiches, seafood and salads.
Lemon aioli, lemon mayo or mayonnaise — whatever name you give it — is a magical creamy sauce with a bright lemony tang and a savory scent of garlic. Homemade aioli tastes a world apart from store-bought jarred mayo, and it literally takes a few seconds to make in a blender.
Homemade lemon aioli fits in the the same category as mayonnaise, that basic household condiment just about everyone has in their fridge. How is the homemade version different from the stuff you get from a jar?
For one thing, homemade mayo has a gorgeous velvety consistency compared to the somewhat gloppy texture of store-bought. And also — well, it just tastes really good.
While there should always be a place for good commercially produced mayonnaise in your pantry, homemade lemon aioli makes a huge impact. Why not dress up the everyday food you go to the trouble of cooking at home? Even if it’s a plain and simple burger or a platter or roasted potatoes that you’re serving, a delicious sauce can be a game changer.
Why don’t more people make their own mayo? It’s easy to make from scratch, even when made by hand the old-fashioned way, with a bowl and a whisk.
I think it has to do with how we get used to the convenience of buying premade condiments, and the fact that those products keep for a long time. I also wonder if all the fear of raw eggs and salmonella put a damper on using them for home cooking.
Aioli/mayonnaise is an emulsified sauce, which means that the egg, oil and liquids bond to make a creamy, thick sauce. You can emulsify eggs, oil and acid by hand — it just takes a little bit more time and elbow grease.
On the other hand, aioli made in the blender is just about foolproof — it comes together in seconds and is especially light and lofty, which is why I prefer to make it that way.
It helps to use a high-powered blender to make a super creamy emulsion, but you don’t need to get fancy. Any decent solid blender with variable speeds will work.
Tips for making easy homemade lemon aioli
- Use a blend of oils. A mix of neutral vegetable oil blended with some fine extra-virgin oil makes an aioli with a nicely balanced flavor. I love extra-virgin olive oil on everything from pasta to dessert, but find that aioli made with 100 percent EVOO can come on a little strong.
- Buy good quality neutral oils that are cold-pressed and not highly processed, like avocado oil, grapeseed or organic canola oil.
- Drizzle the oil into the blender in a slow, steady stream — this is the magic step to making an emulsion that doesn’t break.
- Use super fresh eggs. Hint: Want to know the “secret” to finding the freshest supermarket eggs? Check the three digit code on packaged eggs (not the sell-by date) — it counts up from January 1 (001) to December 31 (365). So a package of eggs packed on May 15 would be stamped “135.”
- Don’t be shy about tasting and seasoning your aioli. The ingredient list is short, and tweaking your aioli with salt and lemon juice will make all the difference.
- If your aioli turns out too thick, whisk in a few drops of cold water to make it creamier.
- Aioli will keep fresh 3 – 5 days stored in the refrigerator.
Different flavors for seasoning lemon aioli
Plain lemon aioli is stellar smeared on a sandwich or as a dip, but it’s a snap to change up the seasonings in the basic recipe and make it your own. Here’s some ideas:
Smoky Chipotle Aioli: Add 1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the blender after drizzling in the oil, then blend on low until pureed.
Sriracha Aioli: Stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce (or to taste) to the finished aioli.
Fresh Herb Aioli: Add a few tablespoons of fragrant tender herbs to the blender before adding the oil – try fresh chopped tarragon, chives or basil.
Cilantro-Lime Aioli: Use grated fresh lime zest and lime juice instead of the lemon, and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.
Roasted Garlic Aioli: Omit the raw garlic and blend 3 or 4 cloves of roasted garlic instead.
Pesto Aioli: stir a tablespoon or more prepared pesto into the aioli.
What to eat and serve with lemon aioli
- Serve as a dip with Le Grand Aioli, a Provencal French appetizer composed of assorted raw and blanched vegetables.
- Spread on grilled toast with soup or seafood soups like Julia Child’s Bouillabaisse.
- Spoon aioli on simply cooked fish — it’s amazing on salmon and this Mediterranean Parchment Roasted Fish.
- Use as a salad dressing: whisk the aioli with a teaspoon or so of white wine vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some water to thin to a pouring consistency.
- Spread aioli on your usual avocado toast, turkey sandwich or vegetable panini to take them up a few notches.
homemade blender lemon aioli
Yield 1 cup
A foolproof, fast and delicious recipe for creamy lemon aioli. Make a batch and use it on everything from sandwiches to salads and dips.
The aioli keeps in a covered container in the refrigerator 3 - 5 days.
- 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as avocado or canola
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- Fine sea salt
- Combine the oils in a small container with a pouring spout, such as a measuring cup.
- Put the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, juice, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender.
- Blend the egg mixture on medium speed for about 15 seconds.
- Increase the speed to high and start pouring the oil into the blender in a slow, steady stream.
- Continue blending until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture is thickened.
- Taste for seasoning and add more lemon or salt if you like.
- Transfer to a jar or other container and use right away or refrigerate up to 5 days.
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
As the recipe developer, photographer and publisher of Familystyle Food, I share recipes and tips for making easy seasonal meals that are healthy and flavorful.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!