Mayonnaise is one of those household items that we continue to buy at the store, even though we can make it at home more easily, cheaply, and to our own specifications. Most of us just don't think to make it ourselves. And even fewer of us think to make our own vegan mayo. And what exactly is vegan mayo? It might seem a mystery to most, but really it couldn't be simpler. All you need is a base, such as a non-dairy milk, a tofu, or even well-cooked vegetables like eggplant; oil; a little lemon juice and a bit of mustard and voila! Mayo.

There are many recipes out there, so I tried out a bunch and now present three of the most simple recipes, each of which produces a slightly different result. At the end of this post, I weigh the pros, cons, and potential uses of each. But let's get started! Here are the three recipes.

[Note: You can substitute almond milk or other non-dairy milk for the soy, if you're avoiding soy. The flavor will of course be different, but it's always a good thing to experiment and see what happens!]

Vegan Mayonnaise with Soy Milk and Canola Oil

The ingredients for vegan mayonnaise with soy milk and canola oil

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 10 minutes 

Yields: 1 small jar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Pinch of ground mustard to taste (or 1/2 a tsp or so of prepared mustard)
Cooking directions
  1. Combine soy milk and lemon juice in a blender or with a wand blender for about 30 seconds.
  2. While blending, slowly add in the oil until emulsified and the mixture thickens. Add the salt and mustard and blend.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Of course, it's tough to find non-GMO canola oil, so you can substitute this with vegetable oil, safflower oil or olive oil.
Vegan Mayonnaise with Soy Milk and Olive Oil

The ingredients for vegan mayonnaise with soy milk and olive oil

The difference between this recipe and the one above is mainly about the proportions. The basic ingredients are similar enough, but it's the amount of each that makes a difference in the consistency of the final mayonnaise.

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 10 minutes 

Yields: 1 small jar

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
Cooking directions
  1. Combine soy milk, lemon juice and mustard in a blender or with a wand blender for about 30 seconds.
  2. While blending, slowly add in the oil until emulsified and it thickens. Add the salt and pepper and blend.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Vegan Mayonnaise with Silken Tofu and Vegetable Oil

The ingredients for vegan mayonnaise with silken tofu and vegetable oil

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 10 minutes 

Yields: 1 small jar

Ingredients

  • 4 oz soft silken tofu
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
Cooking directions
  1. Combine tofu, lemon juice and mustard in a blender or with a wand blender for about 30 seconds or until the tofu is smooth.
  2. While blending, slowly add in the oil until emulsified and the mixture thickens. Add the salt and blend.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

How the three vegan mayos compare

The recipe that will give you the closest thing to "real" mayonnaise — i.e., the version that would fool your non-vegan friends — is the silken tofu and vegetable oil option. This one has the same thick texture and a similar flavor. It's actually my favorite of all three, since it is the most versatile and familiar tasting.

The first recipe, which calls for canola oil, is a little on the thin side, and separates more quickly than the other two. You'll want to use this right after making it, or plan on giving it another whirl in the blender before using it after a day or two. This recipe would be great to use right away to moisten up a sandwich or to use as a base for a dressing that calls for mayo.

The second recipe, which uses equal portions olive oil and soy milk, is thicker and doesn't separate. It holds up better for longer, and would be great to use on sandwiches and as a base for various aioli recipes. It has a slightly sweeter flavor than the other two and would be excellent with other spicy ingredients such as roasted red pepper or chipotle peppers blended in.

But if you really need a mayo look-a-like to use in fresh salads and other recipes where the thickness and mayo flavor really matters, then I definitely recommend the recipe that uses silken tofu and vegetable oil (the middle mayo in the photo above). You could also use olive oil for a healthier version, but that will take away slightly from that "real mayo" flavor. However it won't change that nice thick, fluffy mayo texture that is provided by the silken tofu.

Best tip for making vegan mayo

Wand blenders, or hand-held blenders, and a tall glass measuring cup are your friends when it comes to making mayo, especially in small batches. You can of course use a standing blender or a food processor, but when you want to make just enough mayo for a certain recipe or just enough for a week or two, then putting your ingredients in a glass measuring cup (2-3 cup capacity) and using a wand blender is definitely the easiest for mixing, pouring the prepared mayo into a storage container, and the quickest clean-up.

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