Aioli Recipe

Here’s how to make aioli! This traditional French sauce is ideal for dipping fries or vegetables, or as a spread for sandwiches or burgers.

Aioli recipe

Want to make aioli? Let’s do it. Aioli is one of those basic kitchen skills that all home cooks should know. It makes French fries into a revelation, and instantly makes a sandwich taste restaurant-style. You can find it at restaurants or on the shelves in gourmet grocery stores. But for the best flavor, of course: make it homemade! Here’s everything you need to know about aioli: two ways to make it, and lots of flavor variations.

What is aioli? Is the same as mayonnaise?

Good question. Aioli is a sauce that comes from the South of France and Spain. It’s also called allioli or aïoli. The traditional version is made from garlic that’s blended in a mortar and pestle with egg yolk, lemon juice or vinegar, and olive oil. (The Spanish version is actually made without the egg yolk, but it’s harder to get the sauce to set up.)

Aioli is very close to mayonnaise. Mayo is made using a similar method but with canola oil and no garlic. Here’s the thing. Since the 1990’s, it’s become common in the US to call any flavored mayonnaise aioli. So, it can sometimes be mayo! But the true classic recipe is slightly different.

How to make aioli

Two ways to make aioli: classic & shortcut

All home cooks should try making the classic aioli once. It’s full of beautiful, rich flavor. But if you’re wary about cooking with raw egg, or you just want a shortcut: we’ve got a mayo-based version too! Here’s a breakdown of the two methods:

  • Classic aioli: This method uses garlic, olive oil, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and an egg yolk. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes to whisk together. The intense, silky flavor is worth the time!
  • Shortcut aioli: Use high-quality mayonnaise to make garlic mayo, along with garlic, vinegar and mustard. It takes only 2 minutes to make. The flavor’s not quite as good, but it’s still worth making: especially if you’re wary of using a raw egg yolk.
Garlic aioli

How to make a classic aioli: some tips!

Want to make it the classic way? Fantastic! When you make the classic aioli, you’ll be making an emulsion. An emulsion is when particles of oil are suspended in particles of water (or water based liquids). Here are a few things to know about how to get the perfect emulsion:

  • Use a medium sized bowl. In our recipe testing, we’ve found it’s almost impossible to make an emulsion in a small bowl. A medium sized bowl allows enough room for whisking vigorously.
  • Place the bowl on a towel. You’ll need on hand for whisking and one hand for pouring in olive oil…so the towel helps the bowl stay stable.
  • Whisk in the olive oil gradually. Slow is key here! Pour in a few drops at a time at first and whisk until integrated. Then continue to add oil, a little faster as you go along, until you see it thicken.
Aioli recipe

How to make shortcut aioli: some tips!

The shortcut aioli is so much of a shortcut…you don’t need to know much about it at all! Here are a few things to know, but it’s ultra simple.

  • Use high quality mayonnaise. You really can taste the difference in mayonnaise! Use a good quality brand, and you’ll have a better flavor.
  • Add yellow mustard for color. You’ll notice that this version of aioli calls for yellow mustard. Not only does it add great savory flavor, it makes the yellow color that’s typical of the classic version.

Aioli variations

There are so many different flavor variations on aioli! This is the fun part. Here’s how you can change it up:

  • Basil aioli: Add 2 tablespoons very finely chopped basil to make Basil Aioli.
  • Lemon aioli: Use 2 teaspoons lemon juice instead of the vinegar, and add 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest.
  • Sriracha aioli: Stir in 2 teaspoons Sriracha to either recipe.
  • Truffle aioli: Stir in 1 teaspoon truffle oil to either recipe.
  • Pesto aioli: This one’s like making pesto at the same time. Go to this Pesto Aioli recipe!
Pesto aioli
Pesto Aioli is a blended combination of pesto & aoili

Ways to use aioli

There are hundreds of ways to use aioli. Here are a few of our top ideas:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Aioli recipe

Aioli Recipe


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1/3 cup 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make aioli! This traditional French sauce is ideal for dipping fries or vegetables, or as a spread for sandwiches or burgers.


Scale

Ingredients

For the traditional aioli

  • 1 small garlic clove (1/8 teaspoon finely minced)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil OR 3 tablespoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil*

For shortcut aioli

  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup high quality mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic clove as finely as possible. Then use the side of your knife blade to mash and grind it into a paste. 
  2. For the traditional aioli: Place a medium flat-bottomed bowl on top of a folded dish towel to keep it secure while whisking. The size of the bowl is important; it must be large enough to allow for whisking vigorously. Add the garlic, egg yolk, white wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard to the bowl and whisk until thick and creamy. Pour the olive oil into a liquid measuring cup. Starting one drop at a time, slowly add the olive oil into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Allow the olive oil to become completely incorporated before continuing to add more olive oil; the drizzling can become gradually faster as you add more oil. Whisk until all of the oil is fully incorporated and the aioli is thickened. 
  3. For the cheater’s aioli: In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic with the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, and yellow mustard.
  4. Store the leftover aioli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks; bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

*Using a mix of neutral oil and olive oil the smoothest flavor and lighter, creamier look. Using all olive oil is brighter yellow and has a hint more bitterness (but is just as tasty!). 

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Aioli, Garlic Aioli

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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