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If you opened someone's refrigerator at any moment, chances are there would be a jar of mayonnaise sitting on the shelf along with some other condiments. Mayo is one of the most adaptable products because it can transform into dressings, spreads, aioli, and more. Some of the most popular dressings, like Russian, Caesar, and Thousand Island, are all mayo-based, and then other ingredients are added to create depth of flavor and texture.
Aioli is typically considered to be a "fancy mayo" because it's luxuriously glossy and has a thicker consistency. But the main difference between mayo and an aioli is that aioli is always emulsified with garlic, in addition to other flavors and spices.
Sure, mayo is delicious all on its own, but it's so simple to alter and elevate it into something completely different. Here are some of the most delectable mayo-based dressings and sauces that can be thrown together in just minutes including a homemade Russian dressing recipe and a recipe for flavorful chipotle mayo.
8 Mayo-Based Condiments and Sauces to Make at Home
While Russian dressing is most commonly enjoyed on a classic Reuben sandwich, there are so many other ways to indulge in this classic condiment. It's perfect for dipping crispy fries into, or even spreading onto a burger. You can also use it as a zesty dressing on a Cobb or Crab Louie salad.
Skip the store-bought version and make your own homemade Russian dressing. It only requires a few ingredients like mayo, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, chopped white onion, salt, and a dash of paprika for a bit of heat. Feel free to experiment and tailor your Russian dressing recipe to suit your preferences.
Looking for ways to use up the fresh basil in your garden? Basil aioli is bright and flavorful, and pairs perfectly with crudité, grilled fish, chicken, and salads. It's also incredibly delightful when spread on a simple Caprese sandwich. Other than mayo, you just need a generous handful of fresh basil, chopped garlic, and some juice and zest from a lemon. It's perhaps the easiest thing to make in a pinch!
Garlic and Herb Aioli
Creamy, garlicky aioli with fresh herbs is so simple yet so delicious, and it's a great option for dipping veggies into, pairing with potato wedges, and slathering on burgers and sandwiches. Like most aioli, you just start with a base of mayo, garlic, and lemon, and then add your favorite chopped herbs. Try parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, or whatever you happen to have on hand.
Elevate tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and more with a spicy chipotle mayo that can be made in under five minutes. Simply whisk together mayo, chopped chipotle in adobo (you can also use dried chipotle spice), lime juice, and salt. Remember, you can always add more spice, so be careful how much chipotle you throw in—and taste as you go!
If you're sriracha-obsessed, then you're going to want to make sriracha mayo on a weekly basis. It's delicious on tacos or any kind of sandwich, but try swapping it for regular mayo on a BLT. The smokiness of the bacon paired with the zippy, tangy spice of sriracha is unmatched. And chances are you already have all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry since it consists of only mayo, garlic, sriracha, salt, and lemon.
Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo
Tomatoes and mayo notoriously go together, but have you ever tried sun-dried tomato mayo? It has a lovely balance of mild creaminess from the mayo, while the sun-dried tomatoes add a punch of tangy sweetness. You can make this in your blender within seconds by adding mayo, chopped sun-dried tomatoes (without their oil), and lemon. It tastes great with baked chicken or wings, or you could use it in your traditional tuna salad.
Horseradish is known for its powerfully pungent flavor, but when it's mixed in with mayo, it takes on a delightfully mellow taste. You may have had horseradish mayo on a roast beef sandwich, but it's also delicious on the side of a tender, juicy steak with a baked potato. When making this mayo at home, be sure to use prepared horseradish rather than fresh because it blends better with the mayo. You'll also need lemon juice, black pepper, and fresh chives.
By now you've probably realized that every great aioli or "fancy mayo" recipe includes lemon because it adds brightness and acidity. But the fact is, you could just mix mayo with the juice and zest of a lemon and have a delicate sauce or condiment. Adding fresh chopped dill will also add freshness and texture, but it's completely optional. Lemony mayo is so versatile and can really be paired with anything, such as salmon cakes, baked chicken, or grilled shrimp.