Codified by Escoffier as an essential French cold sauce, classic mayonnaise made from scratch bears little resemblance to the jarred supermarket stuff, and is the basis for Provençal aïoli and equally garlicky rouille, the classic pairing for Marseillaise bouillabaisse. 
A simple, mild mayo can be made using a neutral oil such as canola or sunflower, while peppery extra-virgin olive oil will yield more intensely flavored results. A small amount of mustard aids in the emulsification process, while a touch of acid such as white wine vinegar or lemon juice brightens the fatty sauce. The rich, neutral sauce is the perfect foil for punchy herbal, spicy, or bitter ingredients; in Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, cookbook author Andrea Nguyen suggests experimenting with flavorful additions, such as chile garlic sauce when preparing Sốt Mayonnaise for banh mi.

Featured in: “The Mothers of All French Sauces.”

Yield: makes 2 1/4 cups
Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup cup oil (canola, sunflower, olive, or a combination)
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • Mustard powder


  1. To a medium bowl, add the yolks and whisk until smooth. Slowly begin drizzling in the oil a tablespoon or so at a time while whisking continuously, being sure that all the oil has been emulsified into the yolks before adding more. Once all the oil has been added and you have a thick and creamy emulsion, whisk in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt, white pepper, and mustard. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.