Test Kitchen tips: Fixing broken mayonnaise


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There’s something decidedly noble about making your own stuff in the kitchen, whatever it is -- spice blends, baked breads, cured meats -- heck, even a basic home-cooked dinner deserves a well-earned sense of satisfaction after a long day. The same goes for making your own basic sauces, like mayonnaise. Try a little dab of homemade mayonnaise once -- bright with a light tang from a squeeze of fresh lemon, this custardy marvel is richer and more velvety than anything you’ll find at the store -- and you may never want the jarred spread again.

And while it’s not that hard to make -- combine 1 or two egg yolks, lemon juice, a touch of mustard, salt and then slowly whisk in a long drizzle of oil -- mayonnaise can be a tricky thing if you don’t take your time or give it the attention it deserves. Homemade mayonnaise, like so many good things, takes patience and care. Move too fast, and your homemade mayonnaise can ‘break,’ its delicate emulsion coming undone and looking like a curdled mess.


If your mayonnaise breaks, don’t worry (it’s happened to all of us). It can be fixed. Grab a fresh egg yolk, and slowly beat your broken mayonnaise into the yolk. The fresh yolk will help to re-emulsify the sauce, bringing everything together and making for a smooth and happy sauce.

For a recipe for homemade mayonnaise and a quick step-by-step on how it’s made, follow the jump.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you’d like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at


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Homemade mayonnaise Time: About 15 minutes

Servings: 16 (about 1 cup)

Note: To make by hand, whisk the first four ingredients in a bowl, then whisk in the oil in a stream.

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup peanut oil

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, whisk together the yolk, lemon juice, mustard and salt.

2. Slowly whisk in the oil in a slow stream. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice or salt as needed, then season with pepper. Serve immediately, or transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate up to three days.

Each serving: 94 calories; 89 mg. sodium; 13 mg. cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0 fiber.


1. Egg yolk in the bowl

2. Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard and salt.

3. Slowly start to whisk in the oil.

4. Watch as you’re adding the oil that you don’t add it too quickly, or the mixture will begin to separate (or ‘break’).

5. Finished mayonnaise.