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Need a substitute for mayonnaise? Here are 26 ideas, including healthy alternatives and vegan options, plus a recipe to make your own!
Most everyone is familiar with mayo.
This creamy and silky condiment is enjoyed in everything from burgers to cakes to casseroles and is easily found in grocery stores in various varieties (even mixed with ketchup). Mayonnaise is a $2 billion industry, making it the most popular condiment in the United States.
There are several reasons you may need a substitute for mayonnaise, and this post shares solutions for all of them.
So, whether you run out, want to cut back on calories, hate the taste or follow a vegan diet, keep scrolling for the best mayonnaise substitutes out there!
Common Mayo Substitutes
Classic mayo is pretty high in calories, and not everyone loves the taste or aesthetic.
Here are some common mayo substitutes you can use to watch your health or introduce a different flavor to your dish.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a healthy mayonnaise alternative. It has much fewer calories and plenty of calcium. It’s tangy flavor makes it a great substitute for mayonnaise in tuna, chicken or egg salad and can be use to make a creamy homemade dressing for salads.
2. An Egg
Egg is one of the main ingredients in mayo. If you want to add some creaminess to a sandwich and don’t have any mayo on hand, you can quickly cook up an egg and throw it on a burger or sandwich. 1 small egg also has fewer calories than mayonnaise.
Aioli has very similar ingredients to mayo but is slightly different.
Both products use raw eggs that are emulsified with oil and acid. On the one hand, mayonnaise is mixed with a neutral oil like canola oil and on the other, aioli uses the more assertive olive oil. Mayo typically uses vinegar for its acid while aioli gets its acid from lemon juice (though sometimes mayo uses both).
You can use aioli as a mayo substitute for sauces, sandwiches and dressings.
4. Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Low fat cottage cheese is another great healthy alternative to mayo. It has many of the same properties as yogurt, but has a saltier taste more similar to mayonnaise.
To use as a replacement, drain your cottage cheese using a cheese cloth and then blend until smooth.
5. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is much thicker than mayonnaise but has a similar flavor profile. This dairy condiment works great in sandwiches and wraps and can be dressed up with fresh herbs like chives or cilantro.
6. Sour Cream
Sour cream has a very similar texture to mayonnaise and can even by bought in a squeezable tube. If you don’t like the taste of mayo or are looking for a lighter alternative, low fat sour cream is a great substitute.
You can jazz it up by adding lemon juice and fresh herbs for a delicious sandwich or wrap. You can also use sour cream for potato salads, cole slaw, and tuna or chicken salads.
7. Milk Cream
If you have some whipping cream on hand, you can easily whip it into a light and silky spread similar to the texture of mayo. Add a little lemon juice and spice it up with your favorite seasonings.
You can use seasoned, whipped milk cream as a substitute anywhere you would mayo.
Tzatziki sauce is a popular Greek blend made from yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill and lemon. This delicious spread works as an easy substitute for mayo in sandwiches, wraps and salads and especially well as a tasty potato salad alternative.
9. Salad Dressings
Ranch, Caesar, Italian . . . if you can name it, you can try it as a mayonnaise substitute for sandwiches and wraps and as a base for salads of every kind, including tuna, chicken, pasta and potato. The possibilities are endless!
If you want to add some richness to a burger or sandwich and don’t have mayo on hand, you can use some salted butter as a substitute in a pinch. This dairy spread is a kitchen staple that most people keep on hand, making it a super convenient replacement.
Mayo is made with animal by products. The common ingredients for mayonnaise are: oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, and vinegar. So, if you’re following a vegan diet or are allergic to eggs, you’ll need to find a good substitute.
Here are several that you can use depending to the type of dish you are preparing!
Avocado is a fatty acid, filled with nutrient properties. Blend it until smooth and use it to replace mayo in chicken or tuna salad and spread it on your sandwiches.
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern spread, typically made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, but there are several varieties found in grocery stores or you can easily make your own.
It has a much thicker texture than mayo and does not work well as a replacement in dressings, but is delicious to spread on sandwiches and wraps.
13. White Bean Dip
White bean dip is similar to hummus as a mayo replacement, though slightly more creamy. It is made from blended beans and has a nutty flavor. Use it the same way you would hummus on sandwiches or wraps.
14. Baba Ghanoush
This Mediterranean condiment is made from roasted and blended eggplant. It’s also packed with nutrients like omega 3’s, fiber, protein, iron, calcium and more!
It has a rich, earthy flavor and can be used as a mayo substitute in a dip or spread, similar to hummus. And try it on a sandwich or in a wrap to add a unique depth of flavor to your lunch.
15. Tahini Sauce
Tahini is one of the main ingredients in hummus. You can use it on it’s own as a substitute for mayonnaise for sandwiches, wraps and in dressings.
You can also make your own tahini sauce by blending 3 to 4 tablespoons of tahini, lemon juice and water. And, throw in some garlic for extra flavor if desired!
16. Olive Tapenade
Olive tapenade is another unique substitute for mayo. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s easy to make or find in stores and adds great flavor and texture to sandwiches, wraps and dressings.
It is made by blending together olives and sometimes capers or anchovies. Keep in mind, this spread is pretty salt forward so use only with appropriate recipes.
Pesto is a popular Italian condiment that is made from blending basil, pine nuts and olive oil. This nutrient rich spread works deliciously as a mayo replacement for sandwiches and salads.
18. Nut Butter
Nut butter is definitely not a direct substitute for mayonnaise, but you can add this to your sandwich rotation for a a healthier alternative. You’ll save on fat content and increase you protein intake in one fell swoop!
You can add honey and banana for even more flavor and health benefits.
19. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a beneficial fatty acid that can be used to dress a salad, add creaminess to a cold pasta dish and as a mayo replacement in tuna salad. This oil is much thinner than mayo, so be sure it will work well with the dish you are serving.
You can also use olive oil to replace mayo in a baking dish to add moisture.
Mustard may seem like an odd choice because it has a much more assertive flavor than mayonnaise. However, mustard is much lower in calories and works well to add creaminess to sandwiches, and texture and flavor to salad dressings.
There are several varieties to try, including yellow mustard, Dijon mustard honey mustard and hot mustard. Find a variation you like and use it to dress your favorite foods.
21. Cashew Cream
Cashew cream has a similar flavor to mayo which makes it a great substitute. It is made by blending cashews with water until they become smooth and velvety.
You can use it as a spread for sandwiches and even as a dressing for potato salad.
To make cashew cream, you’ll need:
- 1 cup raw cashews (can be roasted)
- 3/4 cup water or veggie broth
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
SOAK your cashews for at least an hour to overnight. DRAIN the cashews and add them to your blender with 3/4 cups of water or broth and salt. BLEND for a minute and scrape down the sides. ADD more liquid if necessary. BLEND for several more minutes until completely smooth.
You can store your cashew cream in the fridge for up to a week or for several months in the freezer.
22. Cashew Cheese
Cashew cheese is relatively new on the vegan scene, and makes a great stand-in for mayo. It does differ in taste with a bold, cheesy flavor, but has a creamy texture great for sandwiches, wraps and salads.
Cashew cheese is made by blending soaked cashews with nutritional yeast, garlic and other savory components for a delicious finish.
23. Tofu Vegan Mayonnaise
You can use tofu to make mayonnaise in just 3 minutes and with very few calories or just add the fresh blocks to a sandwich or wrap for additional creaminess and texture.
To make tofu mayo you’ll need:
1 package of silken firm tofu (12.3 oz)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon agave or pure maple syrup (optional)
ADD all ingredients to a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender and BLEND until smooth.
STORE in your refrigerator for up to a week.
You can use this mixture anywhere you would mayo for burgers, dressings, sandwiches and more.
24. Commercial “Vegan Mayonnaise” Options
There are plenty of great vegan mayo options in grocery and specialty food stores. Here are a few great brands to try:
Make Your Own
You can also make your own mayo if you have the ingredients on hand and a food processor.
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or yellow)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
ADD the egg to a food processor and process for 20 seconds.
Add vinegar, mustard, and salt and process for an additional 20 seconds.
SLOWLY add the oil a few drops at a time until 1/4 of the oil has been added. When you notice the mayo start to thicken increase the oil to a thin stream but continue to add it slowly.
TASTE and adjust seasonings accordingly (more salt to tone down any bitterness from your oil or extra vinegar if the flavor seems flat).
You can store your homemade mayonnaise in the fridge for up to a week, but do not freeze as the mixture will split.
NOTE: If the mayo comes out runny, slowly add oil in a thin stream while mixing with the stick blender to thicken. If the mayo is too thick you can stir in a little water with a spoon about a tablespoon at a time.
Recipes That Call For Mayo
And, here are some simple and delicious recipes you can use to try out your homemade mayo or your preferred substitute for mayonnaise above.