Easily upgrade your mayonnaise from store-bought condiment to gourmet accouterment with one of these mix-in ideas. 

By David McCann
May 20, 2020
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I have heard rumors that there are people who dislike mayonnaise. I may even have, unknowingly, met one or more of these creatures. I confess, I am confused by this dislike. I am a devout mayo lover. The tangy flavor, and the creamy, unctuous texture can (I believe) improve almost anything. 

And now, with uncountable amounts of time in the house, I have begun playing with additions to prepared mayonnaise that really kick this staple condiment up a notch.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all added some mustard to mayo...or at least noticed that it tasted great when the two accidentally commingled on a sandwich. But mustard is just the tip of the iceberg. Probably my first foray into “flavoring” mayo was when I made a vaguely Spanish inspired hash. I wanted to top it with something creamy, and decided to try mayo. But that wasn’t quite it. So, being in a Spanish state of mind, I swirled some smoked paprika into the mayo. It was a true “EUREKA” moment. This got me thinking that all sorts of salads, vegetables, sandwiches, and who knew what else, could benefit from different additions to mayo. Here are a few suggestions for things to add, and a few ideas about where you might use your “doctored” mayonnaise:

  • Pesto
  • Minced fresh herbs (either a combination, or just one)
  • Curry Powder
  • Citrus juices and/or zest
  • Garlic, fresh or really good granulated/powdered
  • Onion—minced, sauteed, deeply browned, or really good powdered
  • Chopped scallions
  • Horseradish, either prepared or freshly grated
  • Your favorite dry rubs (but remember...there is a lot of salt in them, so just start with a little)
  • Mushroom duxelles, or sauteed fresh mushrooms
  • Thai Curry paste 
  • Sriracha, sambal oelek, or your favorite hot sauce
  • a drop or two of soy or fish sauce (again, remember that a little goes a long way)
  • a drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • Tomato paste
  • Ground or chopped nuts
  • Capers 
  • Canned tuna

Obviously this list is just the beginning—let your imagination run wild. And once you try individual add ins-consider combining a few!

Photo: Annabelle Breakey

As to ways to use your newly exciting mayo…

  • Spread over virtually any sandwich, especially those with mild flavored ingredients like chicken or mozzarella
  • Use to dress up baked or grilled chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb
  • Add a spoonful to stews or soups needing a final “oomph”
  • Use as a dressing, or addition to a dressing, for salad
  • Enjoy an easy dip for vegetables
  • Try a personal favorite of mine: Use for dipping grilled, poached, or sauteed shrimp
  • Eat as a delicious and decadent dip for French fries (something the Belgians have known all along)

Who knows? The right mix-ins might just convert some of the mayo haters!