In our Basics series, we tackle the simple kitchen tasks; no job is so small that it doesn’t deserve to be done perfectly.

The key to homemade mayonnaise is creating an emulsion: The egg yolk and the oil have to fully integrate to achieve a thick, velvety texture. This requires a slow, steady drizzle of oil and nonstop whisking. (If you’re not into the arm workout, an electric beater with a whisk attachment works just as well, as does a food processor or blender.) Some other tips:

  • Remember to take it slow: Adding oil only a few drops at a time is crucial. If oil is added too quickly, the whole thing will break.
  • If the mixture gets too thick, you can add another squeeze of lemon juice to loosen it up.