How To Make Vegan Mayonnaise

October 5, 2012 2:59 am

Stephanie Weaver has a Master’s degree in Public Health in nutrition education, and loves taking recipes and remaking them with healthier ingredients. She’s been gluten-free for five years, and rebuilt her health by changing her diet. She blogs at Recipe Renovator, where she’s also sharing her October Unprocessed meals throughout the month. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

This is a guest post for October Unprocessed. If this is your first time here, welcome …and it’s not too late to join in!

Vegan Mayonnaise Recipe

It had never occurred to me to make my own condiments until I had a health crisis. In 2003 I got so sick that I couldn’t work. After months of tests and specialists, I was told I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Not because there are tests for those, but because they had ruled out everything else. There’s no treatment for either, so eventually I turned to an alternative healer. He took one look at me, said I was “full of inflammation” and that I had to get off sugar. And not just candy, of which I ate a lot. No, every type of granulated sugar, high-fructose corn sugar, anything with -ose at the end of it, and white distilled vinegar. (White vinegar is made from GMO corn, by the way.)

So, a month of label reading later, I was off all processed foods and had tossed or given away every condiment in my fridge. While I had made salad dressing before, making other condiments just hadn’t been on my radar. They were something you bought and stuck on the fridge door until you needed them.

My first stop on the condiment train was barbecue sauce, which is normally loaded with HFCS. When that recipe turned out to be insanely delicious, I turned my hand to other favorites. Pickle relish? Check. Ketchup? Yum. Mayo? I had made real mayo years before, but now I was off dairy products and eggs too. Could I possibly make vegan mayo? It was pretty pricey at the store…

The vegan mayo was a happy accident. I was trying to make a different version of home-made margarine during October Unprocessed last year, tried agar agar instead of lecithin, and ended up with creamy, fluffy, cholesterol-free and salmonella-free mayo.

The only special ingredient you need for this recipe is agar flakes. This rich, creamy mayo rivals anything you can buy in the store, and you can make as much or as little as you need. [Andrew adds: If you can't find agar in your local store, you can order it from amazon]

Agar, made from dried seaweed, is a thickener used in Asian desserts, molecular gastronomy, and in petri dishes at most science laboratories. It creates and holds the oil-milk emulsion. You can flavor this mayo with lemon juice, add a little sweetener, or use it as a base for dips or salad dressings. Start to finish, this recipe takes only 10 minutes.

Vegan Mayonnaise
Recipe Type: Condiment
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Makes about 2 cups.
  • ⅔ cup soy milk*
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, omit for low-sodium diets
  • ⅔ cup grapeseed oil (can also use safflower or organic canola oil)
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agar flakes*
  • 2 Tablespoons filtered water
  1. Combine the soy milk, vinegar, and salt and let stand at least 10 minutes until it is thick and curdled.
  2. Heat the agar in the water over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it swells up.
  3. Put the curdled milk, half of the oil, and the agar mixture in a blender and blend on high for one minute. Add the other half of the oil in a steady stream with the blender running until it emulsifies. If you are using a Vitamix (or other high-speed blender), start on Variable 1, and bring it up to Variable 6 while streaming in the remaining oil.
  4. Store this in the refrigerator. It lasts about two weeks. You might see a little bit of separation, but you can stir it and it will be fine.
I have not tried this with other types of non-dairy milk, so I can't be sure it will work. If you can't have soy, I would try a nut milk and see if it curdles before proceeding. Soy milk curdles and gets beautifully thick. Make sure you use organic (non-GMO) soy milk, or make your own. If you can't find agar flakes, you can use agar powder. Just use ½ teaspoon of powder and the same amount of water.

October Unprocessed2012

This guest post was part of the October Unprocessed 2012 Challenge, in which more than 6,000 people pledged to eat no processed food for the month. Learn More.

11 Comments on "How To Make Vegan Mayonnaise"
  1. Comment left on:
    October 5, 2012 at 7:38 am
    Nancy says:

    Wait — isn’t soy milk a processed food?

    • Comment left on:
      October 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

      As she mentioned in the recipe, you can make your own soy milk at home so it passes the kitchen test:

      Some store-bought brands are full of thickeners and preservatives, others are not.

    • Comment left on:
      October 7, 2012 at 7:55 am
      Josiah says:

      Trader Joes sells an organic unsweetened soy milk. Only two ingredients, filtered water and organic soy beans (passes the test).

  2. .
    October 5, 2012 at 8:01 am

    [...] my theme for this month—both for October Unprocessed and Vegan MoFo—is “how to.” In this post on Eating Rules, the home of October Unprocessed, I share my home-made condiment journey and the [...]

  3. Comment left on:
    October 5, 2012 at 8:36 am
    hatti petech says:

    I make mine with silken tofu…no oil ….no salt…just apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, dill, and a squirt of Bragg,s aminos….amounts are to taste. It is a cross between mayo and sour cream. Family prefers this to the “real” things.

    • Comment left on:
      July 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm
      Carol says:

      Can you post the recipe? Please :)!

  4. Comment left on:
    October 5, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Wow, didn’t realize white vinegar was made with GMO corn. I think you can get agar at any Asian market.

  5. Comment left on:
    October 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm
    LiztheChef says:

    You truly inspire me, Stephanie – and that was news to me as well re white vinegar.

  6. Comment left on:
    October 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm
    Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy says:

    Wow, Stephanie. This mayo looks so creamy. I had no idea vegan mayo is so easy to make. I also am interested in a soy-free version, so if anyone tries it, do share. Thanks for this recipe.

  7. Comment left on:
    October 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I always learn something new from ya, Stephanie! Luckily, I don’t use much white vinegar. Label reading can definitely become a full time job!

  8. Comment left on:
    October 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I am working on a soy-free version but so far no luck. Thanks for all the nice comments. I am inspired by everyone who shares their unprocessed ideas too.

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