Julia Child’s Perfect Paleo Friendly Mayonnaise

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Recipe: Julia Child’s perfect Paleo friendly mayonnaise

When I decided to go paleo I had a mini panic attack because I thought mayonnaise would be a complete no-no yet for me it’s been its own food group for most of my life. But in reality, it’s very much Paleo friendly  because it is essentially an egg yolk and oil emulsion with some mustard, vinegar and salt. The problem with most mayonnaise you buy from a standard supermarket is the base oil used in the recipe. Unlike traditional French olive oil based mayonnaise, most varieties use less intense tasting oils like soybean or sunflower which we all try to avoid due to the high level of Omega-6 fatty acids, high amount of processing and tendency to oxidise and go rancid quickly. I have seen a couple of brands that use olive oil as a base but it’s safer, easier and probably cheaper to make your own.

“Make my own mayonnaise?”, I hear you say. YES! It’s a bit of a misconception that mayonnaise making has a low success rating in the home cook’s kitchen.  It’s a little bit like baking where as long as you get your measurements, temperatures and timing right, you should get pretty good results. I’ve tried a few different methods but after some research and testing, this traditional French mayonnaise by Julia Child is an absolute stunner.

Essentially, mayonnaise is an emulsion of water and fat. There are few quick guidelines for making a perfect mayonnaise:

1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. If they aren’t, bring them to the right temperature by either warming the mixing bowl in hot water to take the chill out of egg yolks or heat the oil until tepid warm. I just sit everything on the kitchen bench for a couple of hours prior.

2. Beat egg yolks for a minute or two before adding the oil, they need to get thick, sticky and glossy first.

3. Add the oil very slowly, a droplet at a time, until the emulsion process begins and the mix turns into a heavy cream, after which you can pour the rest of the oil much quicker.

4. The maximum amount of oil one egg yolk can absorb is about 3/4 cups, after which the binding properties of the egg break down and the sauce starts to thin and curdle. The safest amount is 1/2 cup of oil per egg yolk so stick to that when starting out. The propriotions of ingredients look something like this: 2 egg yolks+1 cup fat (oil) + 2-3 tablespoons vinegar/lemon juice= about 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise. Then you can also add mustard, garlic powder, anchovies, capers, dill and so on.

The following recipe is by Julia Child and the  directions are for a hand-beaten sauce (using a wire whisk). For electric beaters, use the large bowl and the speed that you would for whipping cream. Use a round-bottomed glass or stainless steel mixing bowl. Set it on a damp towel to keep it from slipping.


  • Large wire whisk or electric blender
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or lemon juice (more drops as needed to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups of olive oil, other oil or a mixture of each. If the oil is cold, heat it to tepid; and if you are a novice, use the minimum amount. Macadamia oil works really well and has a milder flavour.
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water


  1. Warm the bowl in hot water; dry it. Add the egg yolks and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until they are thick and sticky.
  2. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, salt and mustard. Beat for 30 seconds more.
  3. The egg yolks are now ready to receive the oil. While it goes in, drop by drop, you must not stop beating until the sauce has thickened. A speed of 2 strokes per second is fast enough.
  4. You can switch hands or switch directions, as long as you beat constantly.
  5. Add the drops of oil with a teaspoon, or rest the lip of the bottle on the edge of the bowl. Keep your eye on the oil rather than on the sauce. Stop pouring and continue beating every 10 seconds or so, to be sure the egg yolks are absorbing the oil.
  6. After 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil has been incorporated, the sauce will thicken into a very heavy cream and the crisis of potential curdling is over. The beating arm may rest a moment. Then, beat in the remaining oil by 1 to 2 tablespoon dollops, blending it thoroughly after each addition.
  7. When the sauce becomes too thick and stiff, beat in drops of vinegar or lemon juice to thin it out. Then continue with the oil.
  8. Beat the boiling water into the sauce. This is an anti-curdling insurance. Season to taste. If the sauce is not used immediately, scrape it into a small bowl and cover it tightly so a skin will not form on its surface.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Number of servings: 2-3 cups



  1. Kylie says

    So I followed this recipe very closely, but I ended up with a very yellow runny product. Where did I go wrong? Help!

  2. Jean Kelly says

    This has me wanting to make a paleo waldorf salad with some chicken, Ive never seen macadamia oil, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it now :)

  3. Ole says

    I don’t get why anyone uses Olive Oil, to make Mayonnaise, it has too strong a flavour, compared to other taste neutral oils, like rapeseed oil…

    • imacri says

      Hey Ole, if one was concerned with just the flavour then of course something like sunflower, canola or grapeseed oil would give you a much milder taste. The problem with a lot industrial vegetable and seed oils, especially rapeseed, is that they contain very high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids (which are pro-inflammatory) and they are very prone to oxidation. Olive oil and macadamia oil have a lower level of Omega-6 and more natural and are therefore used in the paleo cooking. I hope that clarifies my choice :)

  4. Bex says

    Great recipe.
    Quick tip for those in a rush, use a stick-blender.
    Dump all ingredients into a deep beaker/stick-blender-type-cup and put in blender all the way to the bottom. Blend. You should be done in about 30 seconds.

  5. says

    This is a great post! I just put a mayo recipe on my site today, with nowhere near as much detail as this. Definitely adding a link to yours for further reading.



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