Learn how to make Homemade Aioli with variations that are sure to bring incredible flavor to your favorite sandwiches or burgers, are perfect for dipping fries, chicken tenders, and meatballs, and can even be used to marinate meats before grilling!
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If I am being completely honest, I feel like such a gourmet whenever I order something off a menu that has aioli on it. It's silly, I know, when in reality, aioli is pretty much just a fancy name for what is essentially just flavored mayonnaise, thinned out a bit with a little acid like lemon juice and with fresh herbs or spices stirred in.
If you look up aioli recipes online, you will find lots of recipes that basically tell you to do just that - stir in a few extra ingredients to a cup of mayo and call it good.
But trust me, homemade aioli made from scratch is so, so, so much better. This classic aioli recipe is one of those things where you can really taste the freshness and quality of the ingredients and it literally comes together in just minutes. This garlic aioli recipe is my go-to base recipe with plenty of variations so you can change up the flavor to your liking.
What is aioli sauce made of?
At it's simplest, an aioli recipe starts with egg yolks and olive oil which is seasoned with a little lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt, maybe a little dijon mustard, and most often garlic. The two liquids are emulsified together so they don't separate over time.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Egg yolks
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh garlic - This is one instance where garlic powder just won't do. Even purchased garlic paste doesn't have the same impact. For really great garlic flavor you should buy a bulb of garlic and peel and mince a few large garlic cloves.
- Kosher salt
- Fresh lemon juice - This is my secret ingredient for keeping this easy aioli recipe bright and fresh tasting without turning it lemony. If you want even more lemon flavor, be sure to zest your lemon first and add that to your base.
How to Make Aioli
Add the raw egg yolks to your food processor or blender along with the minced raw garlic, dry mustard, salt, and lemon juice. With the blades running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the egg yolks in a thin stream over a period of 1-2 minutes.
The liquid will gradually emulsify as the steady stream of olive oil incorporates into the egg yolks creating a thick, creamy aioli.
Add additional mix-ins like herbs, spices, etc. and pulse to combine.
How to Store
Aioli will keep in the fridge for about 1 week in an airtight container. Don't leave it out at room temperature for longer than 1-2 hours.
Can you freeze aioli?
No, like most oil-based condiments, you can't freeze aioli or it will separate when it thaws.
My favorite aioli sauces tend to be the garlicky variety, but you don't have to include the garlic at all in aioli if it's not your thing.
I have included a few of my favorite aioli variations below, rather than post what is essentially the same recipe over and over, but you can really add whatever mix-ins you like to make your own unique aioli.
- Roasted Garlic (use this tutorial for how to roast a whole head of garlic)
- Garlic & Chive
- Southwest Chipotle
- Rosemary Garlic (pictured in the photos in this post)
- Basil Garlic
- Sundried Tomato & Basil
- Cilantro Lime
- Cajun Spicy Aioli
- Red Pepper Aioli
Other possible mix-ins would be garam masala, fresh dill or thyme, jalapeno, avocado, sriracha, black pepper, cranberry sauce with orange zest, etc. The sky is pretty much the limit!
How do you use aioli?
There are so many delicious ways to serve up a batch of freshly made garlic aioli!
We like to put aioli on sandwiches or burgers like the rosemary garlic aioli on a lettuce-wrap burger with caramelized onions in the picture below.
It's incredible on grilled or pan-seared chicken breasts or with crab cakes. Or you could make a cranberry or sundried tomato & basil aioli to spread on a turkey sandwich (one of Paul's favorite things).
You can even use it as a marinade for meat before grilling. It's so versatile!
Tips for Success
- I have made aioli with both a Vitamix blender and a food processor and it came out just fine both ways, although I think that the food processor was a little easier.
- You can use an immersion blender to make aioli by combining the egg yolks and oil in a mason jar, then blending until emulsified. It's slightly easier than using a food process or blender, but not as many people have immersion blenders (I just got one fairly recently myself) and my favorite way is still using my food processor .
Far too often the answer might be yes based on what you see at restaurants and on menus. However, the real answer is that no, classic aioli has a different taste and consistency than what you would have if you just mixed garlic paste or minced garlic into a bowl of store-bought mayonnaise.
The biggest difference between the two in my experience is that aioli tends to be flavored with herbs, spices, or other mix-ins like cranberry sauce while mayo tends to be plain. Another distinction between the two is in the type of oil used in the recipe. Storebought or homemade mayonnaise is made with a more neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil, while an aioli base is going to be made with olive oil, which results in a noticeable flavor difference. That said, you can use any of the more neutral oils or avocado oil to make this aioli recipe and it will still turn out delicious.
Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
If there is any concern about eating raw eggs by using egg yolks in this aioli recipe, you should use pasteurized eggs which can be purchased from the grocery store and are safe for consumption.
Emulsification is the process of combining two seemingly incompatible liquids into a suspended form where they don't separate again. Here, it is achieved by slowly drizzling the olive oil into egg yolks while blending.
If you just want a cheater version using store-bought mayonnaise, you can just use 1 cup of regular mayonnaise mixed with whatever mix-ins you like listed below. Just please use REAL, high quality mayo, not Miracle Whip.
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How to Make Homemade Aioli
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Additional Mix-ins (see notes below)
- Lemon or lime zest
- Cranberry sauce
- Fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, cilantro)
- Spices (Cajun seasoning, black pepper)
- Sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce
- Combine the egg yolks, dry mustard, salt and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and process for 20 seconds.
- With the food processor or blender running, very slowly drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. It should take about 2 minutes to pour all of it in if you are going slowly enough so take your time.
- Add the remaining herbs or spices or other ingredients for whichever aioli variation you desire and process another 20-30 seconds to incorporate completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- Storage: Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Don't leave it out at room temperature for longer than 1-2 hours. Do not freeze.
- Roasted garlic aioli: Omit fresh garlic cloves in base recipe and instead add ¼ cup roasted garlic.
- Garlic and chive aioli: Add 1 teaspoon chopped chives.
- Southwest chipotle aioli: ½ teaspoon chipotle powder or 1 chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin.
- Rosemary garlic aioli: Add leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped.
- Basil garlic aioli: Add 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.
- Sundried tomato and basil aioli: 1 ½ teaspoons chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, ¾ teaspoon oil from the tomatoes, and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil.
- Cilantro lime aioli: 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and replace the lemon juice in the recipe with the zest from 1 lime, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.
- Cajun aioli: Add ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 extra clove garlic, 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and zest of 1 lemon.
- Red pepper aioli: Add ¼ cup chopped roasted red bell peppers.
This post was originally published in January, 2017. The content was updated in September, 2022.