How To Make Mayo, 5 Ways

There's classic mayonnaise, and then there are these 5 incredible upgrades

As far as we're concerned, mayonnaise is the king of all condiments. You can spread it on your sandwiches, dip fries in it, use it for potato salad and even marinate steak with it (don't knock it 'til you've tried it—the fat helps prevent sticking for the perfect sear while also serving as glue for spices or dry rubs). With so many ways to utilize it, you're going to need a few variations. That's why we've developed the ultimate recipe for classic mayonnaise (see the recipe), plus several takes you're going to go crazy for.

Your first question may be, "Why make your own when you can buy it?" Since we know it's not always possible to whip up a fresh batch, we've ranked our favorite store-bought brands. And some chefs don't shy away from the jarred stuff either.

When we ask Mason Hereford, chef of hit New Orleans sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf, if he makes his own mayo, he tells us, "No fucking way, because we have an allegiance to Duke's." A born-and-bred Virginian, he has his kitchen going through about 15 gallons a week. But in the unlikely nature that you go through as much at home, we recommend making your own. Then you can decide for yourself.

Here are five upgrades that are sure to take any cold cut to the next level.

-Make It Garlicky-

You're not going to want to eat this within 24 hours of any first date, but you'll never find a condiment with as much garlic flavor. Sweet roast garlic mixes with spicy grated raw garlic and fragrant garlic powder for a triple threat.

2 garlic heads + ¾ c mayonnaise + ½ tsp garlic powder + salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350º. Remove a garlic clove off one of the heads of garlic and set aside. Then halve each head crosswise. Wrap the garlic halves in foil and seal tightly. Roast them in the oven until soft and caramelized, 1 hour. Let cool. Once cool, squeeze out the roast garlic into a bowl and mash with a spoon. Finely grate the reserved garlic clove into the bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.

-Make It Spicy-

Chipotle mayo is too basic for us, so we combine some of our favorite dried chiles to toast and grind fresh. The result is a smoky chile powder that is sure to bring the heat.

1 dried chile de arbol + 1 dried guajillo chile + 1 dried New Mexican chile + ¾ c mayonnaise + ¼ tsp hot sauce + ¼ tsp cayenne pepper + salt and pepper

In a small skillet, heat the dried chiles over medium heat until toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool, then stem, seed and roughly chop the chiles. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the spice powder with the remaining ingredients. Makes about ¾ cup.

-Make It Pickled-

We love all things pickles, so we update classic remoulade to make this briny version. Minced cornichons and capers add the perfect tang for covering fried fish or spooning over crab cakes.

¾ c mayonnaise + 2 tbsp minced cornichons + 2 tbsp minced capers + 1 tbsp minced parsley + 1 tsp lemon zest + ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce + 2 dashes hot sauce + salt and pepper

In a small bowl, stir all the ingredients until combined. Makes about 1 cup.

-Make It Green-

We went through a healthy glug of oil to make all this mayo, so we wanted one of our variations to be as bright and green as summer. Here, we combine our favorite herbs with lime zest for a fragrant mayo that's begging to be spread on your next turkey sandwich or used as the base for a summery chicken salad.

¾ c mayonnaise + 1 c basil leaves, minced + 2 tbsp minced parsley + 2 tbsp minced oregano + 1 tbsp minced tarragon + 1 tbsp minced thyme leaves + 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp lime zest

In a small bowl, stir all the ingredients until combined. Makes about 1 cup.

-Make It Fermented-

After trying all the other variations, we realized the only flavor we were missing was funky. So, here, we combine our favorite fermented pantry staples like miso, sambal and fish sauce with grated ginger and garlic for a mayo that will make your next banh mi really sing.

¾ c mayonnaise + 1 tsp red miso + 1 tsp sambal + ½ tsp fish sauce + ½ tsp lime zest + 1 garlic clove, finely grated + one 2-inch piece ginger, finely grated

In a small bowl, stir all the ingredients until combined. Makes about 1 cup.