19 Ways To Elevate The Flavor Of Mayonnaise

In the world of condiments, mayonnaise reigns superior — and we aren't just giving you our own opinion either. The creamy side sauce has previously made its way to the top as the most popular condiment in the U.S., against other contenders like hot sauce, mustard, and barbecue sauce. Sorry ketchup, you just didn't make the cut. 

While it's usually purchased premade, making it from scratch is pretty simple. By whisking ingredients like egg yolks, oil, and a bit of vinegar (or lemon juice), you will be well on your way to a homemade batch. The oil and vinegar emulsify (or mix together) thanks to those bright yellow yolks. The process is straightforward, and the ingredients are simple, so what makes mayonnaise so special? For us, mayo is most unique for its ability to transform recipes from mediocre to mouthwatering. 

But have you ever tried your hand at elevating the flavor of mayonnaise itself to suit the recipe you are making? We mean carefully crafting a new, improved condiment made with fun ingredients you might already have stocked up in the pantry. Just in case you need a little inspiration, we have 19 examples below.

Blitz a chipotle in adobo sauce

Spicy lovers rejoice! We have a mayonnaise you will adore, thanks to the humble yet fiery chipotle pepper and a few tablespoons of glorious adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is like a thick spicy sauce made with chile powder, tomato paste, garlic, and other spices. The chipotle pepper in adobo sauce is technically a jalapeno pepper that has been dried and smoked, then rehydrated in the adobo sauce.

Combine one chipotle, some adobo, lime juice, and your favorite brand of mayonnaise and create a homemade chipotle mayo that will suit loads of fun meals. Smear some over a juicy burger, or drizzle a bit over your fish tacos or breakfast burritos and enjoy the smoky, spicy, and tangy creation. 

Crank open a can of cranberry sauce

Possibly one of the easiest ways to create a fancy mayonnaise is with the help of the jiggly canned cranberry sauce you see most often at Thanksgiving. That's right; cranberry sauce will transform your mayonnaise into an incredible sandwich condiment.

Okay, maybe we're getting a little excited about cranberry mayonnaise over here — but seriously, don't knock it until you've tried it. To make the pretty pink sauce, simply combine about 2 or 3 tablespoons of cranberry sauce with about 3 or 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Whisk it until the two combine into a smooth, brightly-hued sauce.

Pair that with two fresh slices of sourdough or homemade farmer's bread, quality deli turkey, sliced cheddar cheese, juicy sliced tomatoes, and fresh leaf lettuce. You'll also love this sandwich enveloped in a wrap if you're watching your carb intake.

Try your hand at homemade mayo made with duck fat

If you already adore mayonnaise in your sandwich or mixed into a potato salad, then you already know how tangy and tasty the sauce can be on its own. One way to expand your recipe repertoire a tad further is by creating a homemade mayonnaise with the help of a luxurious fat swap. Instead of emulsifying oil and vinegar with the help of yolks, you'll swap your oil with duck fat. The gamey yet rich fat, which is less processed than other fats, will add a lavish feel to your mayonnaise.

This mayo might seem a bit extra for some, but if you have someone to impress, this is one way to do it. Mayonnaise is surprisingly easy to make yet super impressive to guests — especially if you plan to craft the sauce with duck fat.

Squeeze a little ketchup in

While we all have our own name for the strangely satisfying mayo and ketchup concoction, Heinz went ahead and dubbed it "Mayochup" a few years back, leaving many sauce lovers bothered by the name. For folks who have enjoyed this hybrid for years, they'll tell you its proper name is "fry sauce," no questions asked.

Whether you dip your fries in the tangy sauce or you grew up dipping your veggies in it, the humble duo really does come together beautifully. To make your own version, swirl equal parts mayo and ketchup and call it whatever you want. It's lovely drizzled-over hot dogs and burgers, and it makes a perfect dipping sauce for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

Spice it up with horseradish

Horseradish is one of those brilliant ingredients that'll help clear your sinuses during the cold season and bring on a tongue-tingling spice like no other root vegetable can. When consumed raw, the spicy taste and potent aroma might seem a bit over the top, but many adore it.

Most seem to enjoy horseradish when combined with other ingredients to help balance flavor and cool down the kick. Some of the most popular ways to use fresh horseradish are in a cocktail sauce for shrimp cocktail or horseradish sauce paired with prime rib.

Next time roast beef goes on sale at your deli, be sure to make an accompanying horseradish mayonnaise. You only need a tablespoon of horseradish for every 3 or 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. If it's not spicy enough, consider adding a tad more. Lemon juice, a grind of cracked black pepper, will help deliver stellar results too.

Kewpie it up

Thanks to its trending popularity, kewpie mayonnaise continues to rage across social media as the thin yellow-hued condiment everyone needs to try. The Japanese mayo is different as it uses egg yolks, rice vinegar, and, you guessed it, MSG (short for monosodium glutamate) for ultra umami flavor. 

If you consider yourself a self-proclaimed home chef, you'll have to try this tangy, subtly sweet copycat kewpie mayo. It's as simple as blitzing six ingredients together until you reach a creamy consistency. Now, you are probably wondering what to put this on. Use kewpie mayonnaise anytime you plan to use regular mayo for a recipe. Use it to make a salad dressing, toss it in a chicken salad, spread it over a turkey club sandwich, or dip your French fries in it.

Sweeten things up with maple syrup

We understand not everyone agrees with dipping their fries in mayo, but we might have a new and improved dipping idea for you to give a whirl. Yes, it involves fries, and yes, it involves dipping the said fries in mayonnaise. Just hear us out.

By combining three simple ingredients; mayonnaise, pure maple syrup (no knock-offs here), and a bit of brown sugar, you will create a sweet and silky mayo dipping sauce that is perfect for your sweet potato fries. You can even add a pinch of cinnamon to it for an additional oomph of flavor.

Next time you want a restaurant-worthy appetizer to impress guests, consider loading sweet potato fries with barbecue pulled pork and shredded cheddar with a side of maple mayo. Talk about delicious.

Relish a homemade tartar sauce

You can't have a proper fish filet sandwich without a shmear of chunky tartar sauce, and your fish and chips dinner wouldn't be the same without it, either. The uncomplicated yet flavorful condiment is so easy to make we wouldn't dare suggest buying it in the bottle.

Some mayonnaise, combined with relish, will create a tasty tartar sauce in under 30 seconds, but there are a few additional ways to spruce up your favorite fried fish accompaniment. If you have an extra minute to spare, we recommend grabbing some fresh dill (dried is fine in a pinch), chopped-up dill pickles, salt, and lemon juice. Combine these ingredients with your mayo, and you'll have a bang-up tartar sauce to suit your fishy-feast needs.

Use up your leftover bacon fat

Oh boy, do we have something special for the bacon lovers out there! Baconnaise is real, and yes, you can make it at home in just under a few minutes. This clever bacon fat hack rarely makes it to food blogs, but you'd be surprised to know how lovely the scratch condiment can be.

According to KetoFocus, you can make mayonnaise the way you usually would but use bacon fat instead of oil. Some reviewers even mentioned using melted butter or avocado oil along with the leftover bacon grease and raved about the results.

Baconnaise is perfect for anyone on the keto diet or looking for ways to infuse the flavor of bacon in anything they eat. Add some to your next cold deli sandwich, or consider dipping your French fries in this smoky bacon-flavored dip next time the opportunity arises.

Make it extra spicy

There is a good chance you have heard of spicy mayo, but just in case you haven't, we love any opportunity to enthuse your tastebuds with a new idea. There are several ways to whip up a quick spicy mayo, and you can get it done with whatever you already have.

One of the most popular ways to add spice is with the help of whatever your favorite hot sauce is. For some, it's sriracha, no questions asked. Otherwise, Franks Red Hot, Tabasco, and Tapatio will do. A few dashes will do the trick, but be sure to taste test until you reach the right level of heat to meet your taste bud's expectations. Drizzle your spicy mayo over a sandwich, French fries, or tacos, and enjoy the flavorful burn. 

Try a homemade garlic aioli

Some say aioli sauce is just another word for fancy mayo, but man, it is so much more. While both mayonnaise and aioli seem similar, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Historically speaking, aioli is technically an emulsification of garlic and oil, which looks a lot like mayo.

Here's where the confusion comes in. Many restaurants today will add garlic plus a few other star ingredients to mayonnaise and call it aioli, but it technically isn't that. But for the sake of consistency and a new adaptation of the word "aioli" across culinary establishments, we permit you to do the same. An easy roasted garlic aioli will give your burger and fried onion rings a flavor that reigns superior to regular old mayo.

Sprinkle in fresh herbs

Fresh garden herbs have a way of transforming a meal like no other ingredient. Plus, there is something special about walking out to your garden and snipping the leaves off of a fresh culinary plant, then taking it in for a rinse before chopping it.

The sense of green thumb pride combined with the glory of eating something you have grown cannot be beaten. Because many yummy herbs mix well with mayonnaise, you can consider trying whatever you have growing. Otherwise, consider using up any extra fresh herbs you purchased recently.

Fresh dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, and chives are all excellent options, depending on what you are making. You can further enhance your homemade condiment using fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder.

Bring on bright flavors with a lemon

Homemade mayo is always made using an acidic ingredient like vinegar or lemon juice. While either can be used in preparation, there is something to be said about using lemons if you have a few on hand. While you get lots of tanginess from vinegar, lemon juice works wonders in bringing on lots of bright flavors.

You'll also appreciate how the sour juice helps bring out the flavor of other ingredients added to your mayonnaise, like herbs and spices. But beyond the concoction of this scratch sauce, you'll love how adding additional lemon juice later on really dazzles those taste buds. Next time you have fish or shrimp tacos on the menu for dinner, consider drizzling a lemon-infused mayonnaise over the top. Otherwise, make a homemade slaw with lemon mayonnaise.

Whip up a batch of sweet yum yum

While hibachi is best known for spatula flips and the entertainment of dancing flames, we are all about the yum yum sauce that comes with each bite of succulent surf and turf. The pale orange-colored sauce can be purchased in a bottle, but nothing beats a restaurant-made or homemade version. Not only is the flavor always superior (when made right), but it's super simple to put together. 

To make yum yum, add a few spices, sugar, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar to your mayonnaise. Next time you treat yourself to char-grilled filet mignon or a few seared scallops, be sure to whip up a batch of yum yum to accompany the delicious fresh flavors of your meal. You can also drizzle yum yum sauce over grilled veggies or grilled skewers.

Mix in a smidge or two of anchovy paste

Anchovies might be stanky, but they sure have a way of adding a depth of flavor to your meals. While you'd consider adding anchovies to garlic butter before tossing it in with angel hair or over a homemade pizza, you might not feel so inclined to add it to your mayonnaise; we get that.

Hear us out; anchovy mayo is just another culinary gem you must try. If you don't have anchovy paste on hand, no worries; you can mash an anchovy or two with a fork. One or two anchovies combined with ¼ cup of mayonnaise is all you need for an umami-bursting mayonnaise you'll relish.

Drizzle it over your pizza, along with a handful of fresh arugula, spread it over a hot toasty panini, or dip your grilled chicken dinner in this one-of-a-kind mayo.

Fold in some toasted sesame seeds

Chef Roy Choi of Los Angeles, California, swears by one double cheeseburger ingredient that will take things to another level. Among other culinary creations, he loves giving his mayonnaise a fun twist by folding in toasty sesame seeds.

So if you are a fan of all things sesame, this one is for you. The nutty tahini flavor and savory mayo combine flawlessly and accompany a meaty burger well. Combine that with your favorite melted cheese over each patty, and you have a winning grilled supper. Next time you decide to make restaurant-worthy burgers at home, try this amazing sesame hack. Who knows, you may discover another fun surprise ingredient to add to your mayo.

Dijonaise it up

If sesame isn't your style, perhaps you can try mustard instead. There are many options, depending on what you usually stock your fridge with. Yellow mustard, grey poupon, or honey mustard are all great options to try out. The mysterious mashup can be used to dip your French fries, but it is incredibly delicious for fried or grilled chicken entrees. Consider smearing a bit over a burger bun or serving a small amount with savory meat and potato pie.

While the combination might seem strange at a glance, look at some of the most famous cold summer salad recipes. Egg salad, potato salad, and chicken salad often combine mayonnaise and mustard, so don't be afraid to expand your palate and try something new.

Go with a BBQ and mayo mashup

Most of us think of a dark crimson red when considering barbecue sauce as a condiment worth dipping your smoked pork in. But, if you travel down south to deeply rooted family restaurants, you'll find an interestingly light-colored barbecue sauce that stands out amongst the rest.

Alabama BBQ sauce gets its distinct color and flavor thanks to, you guessed it, mayonnaise. Vinegar, salt, and pepper also all help provide the characteristic flavor best matched with hickory smoked meats. If you're interested in giving this secret sauce a try, you can whip up a quick version at home by combining your favorite barbecue sauce with mayonnaise. You'll appreciate accompanying buttermilk battered fried chicken, smoked meats, and slow-roasted pork with the famous 'bama sauce. Even your fried onion rings will appreciate a quick dip.

Smother your sandwiches with pesto mayo

For all you basil-loving foodies out there, we have one sandwich shmear you will adore. Pesto does a lovely job of transforming sandwiches on its own, but once combined with mayonnaise and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, you'll find a newfound adoration for the herby spread.

By combining ¼ cup of mayonnaise with a tablespoon of pesto plus some lemon juice, you'll create just enough of that fabulous spread for one or two sandwiches. A cold sandwich will do, but a hot-pressed panini will shine with this spread. Grab some ciabatta bread, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes to build a traditional caprese, or add turkey and bacon if you consider yourself a carnivore. Either way, don't skimp on the nutty pesto mayo.