Mayonnaise Is The Unlikely Ingredient For Perfectly Creamy Soup

Aside from being an essential condiment for dunking fries and slathering into sandwiches, mayonnaise can have a myriad of creative culinary applications. Whether it's used to add richness to a chocolate cake, make the crust of a grilled cheese crisper, or keep roasted chicken moist, mayonnaise makes any dish better. Naturally, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the ingredient can also work wonders when added to smooth and creamy soups.

It may sound bizarre, but adding a dollop of mayonnaise into soups, chowders, and bisques actually makes a lot of sense. On one hand, the decadent condiment adds fat, and, therefore flavor. However, mayo also works to improve texture, providing additional body and velvety richness essential in a creamy soup. That said, while you could use ingredients like cream or yogurt to achieve a thicker and more luscious soup, mayonnaise is a dairy-free alternative that goes a step further. Given that mayo is an emulsification of egg yolks, oil, and acid, it actually proves easier to whisk into soup without the risk of splitting, as long as it's added accordingly.

Not sure which soups might benefit from a dollop of mayonnaise? Egg-laden soups like a citrusy Avgolemono or a French-inspired garlic velouté are great places to start, but mayo is sure to enhance any pureed or cream-based recipes. Otherwise, a modest dollop can give even brothy soups like sopa di conchitas, hearty minestrone, or ramen some oomph.

What to remember when adding mayonnaise to soup

Store-bought or homemade, any type of mayonnaise will do the trick. You could even experiment with a spicy mayo or an umami-forward kewpie mayo for additional complexity. Of course, while you don't need to splurge on a luxe mayo, you should like the condiment you're using. Other than that, we recommend using the freshest possible mayonnaise as old jars that have been sitting in your fridge for months will have a negative effect on taste and texture.

As for how much mayonnaise to add, this depends on the size of the batch and the type of soup you're crafting. For instance, cream of broccoli soup that's made for a crowd can require as much as a cup of mayo, whereas a single portion of brothy chicken noodle will only need a spoonful. Regardless of ratios, the most important thing is knowing how to properly incorporate the ingredient.

When adding mayonnaise into soup, the key is to avoid any separation or scrambling of yolks. To prevent this from happening, add some warm broth to a bowl of mayonnaise to temper the yolks. Then, slowly whisking the thinned mayonnaise mixture into the pot of soup, and simmer briefly before serving. At which point, you can finally give the mayo-laced soup the taste-test that you've been long awaiting — spoiler alert, you might just discover that mayonnaise made the recipe even creamier and dreamier than you thought possible!