Traditional Wellness Wisdom

Homemade mayo and tartar sauce recipes

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Some years ago, I attempted to make home-made mayonnaise a number of times in my old-timer blender. It was a flop.

I got frustrated and gave up.  I did not have the patience to stand there and drip olive oil one drop at a time for 5 minutes to get the correct consistency.

My husband is very penny-pinching, so I could not convince him we needed to spend money on a new appliance just for mayonnaise.

Then I saw that my friend Soli from I Believe in Butter was having a giveaway for a stick blender, which I had read was fantastic for making home-made mayo.

How excited was I? It’s not that stick blenders are terribly expensive, the challenge was convincing my husband that I needed one. So I entered the contest, and guess what? I won! Out of 300+ entrants. It was meant to be.  🙂

Ever since my lovely stick blender arrived, it’s been one of my best friends in the kitchen. I make mayo with it regularly now, and it was a cinch (I couldn’t believe it!).  I also make other dressings and sauces too. Here’s the one I have, a Cuisinart, and which I recommend via my Amazon affiliation.

What I love about the stick blender is that you don’t have to add the olive oil in a drop at a time, but can pour in larger (but still small amounts). So it doesn’t take quite so long, but still produces the desired emulsifying effect you’ll want for mayonnaise.

I don’t have any experience making mayo with anything but a stick blender, so if you don’t have one, I highly recommend it.  This is the one I have, by Cuisinart. It works great and is a good price at $34.99.

If you know how to use a blender to make good mayo, you can use these ingredients and skip the directions. I experimented with dozens of recipes I found online which I didn’t like as is, and I came up with my own recipe.

Why make your own mayo?

Most store bought mayonnaise is full of terrible ingredients. Here are the ingredients for two popular brands, Hellman’s and Best Foods mayonnaise:


These ingredients come from commercial and factory-farm sources, and contain GMO ingredients. Here’s a rundown:

  • Canola oil is a modern oil that comes from the hybridization of the rape seed plant.  According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, canola oil is, “The first seed oil to be created through genetic manipulation, canola is also the focus of a variety of genetic engineering (GMO) projects in which genetic material from other species is inserted into the seeds in order to magnify certain traits in the resultant plant.” This highly processed oil is rancid by the time it arrives to your kitchen from high heat temperatures it is subjected to during processing. It also contains too many Omega 6 essential fatty acids. A diet too high in Omega 6s can lead to inflammation and disease.
  • Eggs are likely from feedlot hens which are administered antibiotics and aren’t granted enough access to the outdoors, dirt for foraging, and sunshine as they should.  The Best Foods web site now claims they are committed to using certified cage-free eggs for their mayonnaise. But this term is misleading and many “cage-free” or even “free-range” chickens are still in confinement most of their lives. For more information, read Deciphering egg and poultry labels.
  • Spices, according to some sources, may be a form of MSG.
  • Calcium disodium EDTA is used for preserving and color retention. It has been found to cause intestinal and kidney problems when consumed.

Since most of those ingredients are questionable at best, why not make home-made mayo? You know what goes in it, and it tastes so much better than anything store bought!

I add a dash of coconut sugar to my recipe because it cuts the olive oil taste so that it is not so pronounced for the benefit of my family. This recipe can certainly be made without the sweetener, but I have heard some comment that they don’t enjoy olive oil mayonnaise. I personally love it either way!

Here is my recipe for the best mayo I’ve ever tasted (really).

Note: if you don’t have lemons on hand, you can substitute an equal amount of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s organic raw apple cider vinegar).

I discovered this substitute one day when I was out of lemons and wanted to make mayo. Adding raw apple cider vinegar can also be a replacement for those who want a “lacto-fermented” mayonnaise, but may be dairy-sensitive. And, it tastes great!


  1. Separate the whites from the yolks and put the yolks into the stick blender mixing container.
  2. Add in the sea salt, coconut palm sugar, mustard, and lemon juice and use the stick blender to combine (should take you about 2 minutes)
  3. Add in some of the olive oil. You don’t have to do it drop by drop, but just pour some in – maybe a tablespoon or more at a time and keep using the stick blender to emulsify. You should start seeing the recipe becoming emulsified and as you do this, you can keep adding more olive oil in a tablespoon or more at a time, depending on how quickly it emulsifies.

That’s it! The mixing process should take approximately 5 minutes or so, and then your mayo is ready to use. We use our mayo up pretty fast (within a few days) and you should too, within about a week. I don’t have a lacto-fermented mayo recipe yet. That will be posted in the future.

Tartar sauce:

  • 1 cup of home-made mayo
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dill pickles, chopped finely
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp finely minced onion (optional)


Whisk ingredients together and put on your favorite fish or seafood, or whatever you love tartar sauce with. Store in refrigerator and keep for up to 1 week.

In this recipe, I add in a dash of coconut palm sugar because many people (myself included) don’t care for the strong olive oil taste. This addition helps to mask that flavor and adds a little bit of sweetness that makes the mayo really delicious and tangy with the help of the lemon juice.

If you use yolks from pastured hens, your mayonnaise will turn out much more yellow than the store because these yolks are much more yellow and contain more beta-carotene from the natural diets of hens raised outside in the sunshine, pecking and foraging to eat plants, insects, and worms.

Store-bought mayonnaise, which you are likely more familiar with, is much paler because it comes from hens in confinement that eat mostly soy, corn, and grain, and don’t get to forage on pasture and a natural diet. The “certified cage-free” terminology that is used on Best Foods’s label is meaningless.

Ideas for mayo:

Home-made dips, dressings, and sauces are among some of the easiest things to make. I often I just throw things together that I have already in my kitchen and I usually get something delicious.

Add herbs, salt and pepper, freshly squeezed citrus and other fruit juices, different vinegars, onions, garlic, chopped fruit or veggies, raw honey, or a bit of coconut date sugar or sucanat…anything else that strikes your fancy that’s real. Whisk together blend in the food processor.  The possibilities are endless!

Do you make homemade mayonnaise? What’s your recipe?

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  1. Renee Kohley

    Oh! I have never made tarter sauce before! I will be trying that! I love homemade mayo ( and I seriously love my stick blender LOL!)

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Renee – Yes, the stick blender is an indispensable tool in the kitchen. I wouldn’t be without it! 🙂

  2. Anna

    Homemade mayo is sooo much better and healthier. My Mum used to make it home and she also did the tartar sauce which we loved as kids (and still do now). Great recipe! Pinned 🙂

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      I love homemade mayo. Once I made my own, I have never wanted store-bought again! Thanks for sharing Anna!

  3. Krystal

    I love making my own sauces and spreads but mayo intimidates me. This looks really easy, I will give it a try!

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – it is really easy! I was also intimidated before I began making this recipe, especially due to my failed attempts beforehand. I hope you love it if you try it!

  4. Jessica @ConveyAwareness

    I make my own mayo too. I don’t use the sugar. Is there a reason to have it?

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Jessica – yes, because it helps cut the olive oil taste, which many object to. As there is only a little bit in the recipe, it isn’t really an issue for excess sugar. I will add that to the description of the recipe!

  5. Anna @Green Talk

    I have always used grape seed oil since I thought olive oil would be too heavy. I am glad you found a way to use olive oil.

    I love your cream of tartar recipe.

    PS My stick blender and I are best friends.

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Anna – I’m glad the tartar sauce recipe appeals! And yes, I am glad about the olive oil too. I’m not a fan of most of the other oils for mayonnaise, and I’ve tried using a coconut oil blend but found I wasn’t that crazy about the flavor or having to soften it before blending it in. And yes, the stick blender is awesome!! I wish there was an easier way to clean it! 🙂

  6. Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    I love tarter sauce, yum! Store-bought versions are awful … so much better to make your own.

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Emily – yes! I love that we can make almost anything you can buy at the store at home, and better! 🙂

  7. Megan Stevens

    Looks delicious! Fun to use fermented pickles in the tartar sauce. 🙂

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Yes! We do love our fermented pickles!! 🙂

  8. Carol

    Thanks for the great ideas!! Love both mayo and tartar sauce.. We eat fish often and I will give this a try asap!!
    I LOVE my stick blender too. Makes it all so easy and clean-up a breeze.
    Sometimes I add herbs (but then you knew that about me, I bet!) to make different mayo – type sauces.

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Hi Carol – thanks for stopping by! I am so thrilled to see so many homemade mayo and stick blender lovers here! Yes, you are the herb queen! I love that about you. 🙂

      P.S. This is especially yummy on fish. Both the tartar sauce and homemade mayo with added paprika and cayenne pepper.

  9. Karen

    Oh, I’m old fashioned. I beat the crap out of it in a rounded bowl. I hold it in the crook of my left elbow and I beat it with a whisk…as if Julia Child possessed me. I’d leave out the sugar and have used Avocado oil too. And leave out Cream of Tartar when making Tartar sauce…weird, eh? Great recipes!

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Karen – My husband has actually made it that way, so I think that’s great! I love old-fashioned. 🙂 I have made mayo without the sugar, but we use just a pinch as it really makes a difference in the stronger olive oil taste for my son and my husband. I don’t mind it without. I’m sure avocado oil would work too!

      I added in the cream of tartar at my husband’s suggestion. I’m sure there are some other wonderful ways to make it.

  10. Chloe @ How We Flourish

    This looks delicious! We don’t use mayo much, but if we want any we make it ourselves.

    1. Raine Saunders (Post author)

      Hi Chloe – thanks for stopping by! We didn’t use to use mayo much either, in fact, my husband has sort of a lukewarm relationship with mayo. But when we make chicken or tuna salad, or if we need mayo as a base for dips or dressings, we definitely find this recipe to be really easy and helpful. We definitely eat mayo a lot more than we used to now that we make it from scratch. 🙂

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