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No need to buy store bought when you can make this homemade aioli recipe that’s even better! This recipe shows how to make an easy lemony aioli from scratch in a blender. Use this tasty pantry sauce on everything from sandwiches, seafood and salads.
Garlic aioli, lemon mayonnaise or mayo — whatever name you give it — is a magical creamy sauce with a bright lemony tang and a savory garlic flavor.
I love homemade versions of my favorite condiments, especially when they’re easy to make and have a special flavor. This flavorful aioli recipe is quick, easy, and delicious.
Homemade aioli tastes a world apart from store-bought jarred mayo, and it literally takes a few seconds to make in a blender.
Aioli is a type of egg-based sauce just like mayonnaise. It’s an emulsified sauce, which means that the bind with oil and liquid to make a thick, creamy texture.
The word aioli is a combination of the words for garlic and oil in Italian (aglio=garlic, olio=oil)
The difference between the two is that aioli contains garlic and mayonnaise does not. Aioli is simply the Italianized version of basic mayo.
Lemon aioli fits in 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 more importantly — it tastes really good.
Ingredients you need to make aioli:
- Eggs: You’ll need 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
- Oil: For the best balance of flavor, I recommend using a mixture of good extra virgin olive oil and a neutral vegetable oil.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic! It’s the backbone of aioli.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest add bright acidity and tangy flavor.
- Salt: Fine sea salt or kosher salt, although fine grain salt will dissolve and incorporate best.
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, potato salad or a platter or roasted potatoes that you’re serving, a delicious sauce can be a game changer.
Making aioli in a blender
It’s easy to make from scratch, even when made by hand the old-fashioned way, with a bowl and a whisk.
I think we have all gotten used to the convenience of buying condiments in the grocery store, and the fact that those products keep for a long time. You also have to wonder if all the fear of raw eggs and salmonella put a damper on using them for home cooking.
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 or immersion blender is just about foolproof.
The sauce comes together in seconds and is especially light and lofty, which is why I prefer to make it that way, even over a food processor.
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 the best aioli sauce
- Use a blend of oils. As I said above, 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, such as avocado oil, grapeseed or organic canola oil.
- Drizzle the oil into the blender in a slow, steady stream of droplets — this is the magic step to making an emulsion that doesn’t break.
- Use super-fresh eggs. Pro trick: 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 in a secure container with a lid.
Different ways to flavor aioli
Plain 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.
- Dijon Aioli: Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard with the eggs.
- 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 clove 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 dipping sauce with Le Grand Aioli, an appetizer from Provence, France composed of assorted raw and blanched veggies like artichoke, tomato and green beans.
- Spread on grilled toast with soup or seafood soups like Julia Child’s Bouillabaisse.
- Spoon aioli on simply cooked fish or crabcakes — it’s amazing on salmon and alongside Mediterranean Parchment Roasted Fish.
- Dip French fries in it!
- 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, enough to thin it to a pouring consistency.
- Make the BEST tuna salad.
- Spread aioli on your usual avocado toast, turkey sandwich or vegetable panini to take them up a few notches.
Foolproof Garlic Aioli
- ½ cup (125 ml) neutral vegetable oil, such as avocado or canola
- ¼ cup (60 ml) 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
Yield: About 1 cup aioli
- 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.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The aioli keeps in a covered container in the refrigerator 3-5 days.