5 ways to cook and bake with mayo, for lovers and haters alike

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People tend to have strong opinions about mayonnaise, whether they love it or loathe it. After many years as a skeptic, I’ve come around to its merits.

Even so, it’s easy to buy a jar for one particular recipe or use and then have a lot of it left over, destined to languish in the refrigerator. (For the record, the USDA’s Food Keeper App recommends using open mayonnaise within 2 months.) If you want to make your own mayo, we have a recipe for that, too.

Here are few different ideas beyond spreading it inside your sandwich to help make a dent in your mayo supply.

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Use on the outside of the sandwich. My grilled cheese sandwiches entered a whole new level of golden and crispy when I started spreading mayo on the outside of the bread instead of using another fat to griddle it in the skillet. The color and flavor can’t be beat, especially when compared to oil or, arguably, butter. Just keep an eye on the sandwich, as I have found the window for not burning the outside with mayo is smaller.

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Slather it on poultry. Much like sandwiches, the skin of your chicken or turkey will reach new heights when you incorporate mayo into whatever you coat the meat with. Here’s a tidbit from cookbook author and recipe developer Ali Slagle: “Mayo acts as a preventive coating to anything that you’d like to brown, including grilled steaks, skillet chicken thighs and grilled cheese. As mayonnaise cooks, its own (contentious) flavor dissipates, but because it’s a great carrier of flavor, any ingredients you stirred into it can cook and bloom without burning.” In her Chipotle Mayo Brick Chicken, the mayo lets you incorporate lots of ground cumin, lime zest and chipotles in adobo without them scorching in the heat of a cast-iron skillet. Similarly, Herb-Slathered Turkey incorporates a veritable bouquet of sage, thyme, rosemary and oregano for a next-level bird that will wow your guests at Thanksgiving, or any other time. (It would make for a great week of turkey sandwiches, too.) Yes, I’ve eaten it, and yes, I loved it.

Add it to dips and dressings. Mayo’s thick texture and tangy flavor make it a natural in all sorts of dips and dressings. In my colleague Aaron Hutcherson’s Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, it teams up with sour cream and buttermilk for an enticing take on a favorite. A tablespoon or two added to dips can lend heft and taste in a concentrated package. You’ll find that in such recipes as Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip, Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Buffalo Fish Bites With Blue Cheese Dip. Similarly, consider using mayo as a binder in other dishes, such as crab cakes.

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Make a cheater’s aioli. Before I upset anyone, let me say that I know aioli is a garlicky sauce similar to mayonnaise that’s popular in Spain and the Mediterranean (see Le Grand Aioli from our Eat Voraciously newsletter for a from-scratch option). However, I’m not the first one to say that you can capture a similar vibe by starting with mayo, as in Tortilla Española With Two Aiolis, from our Meal Plan of Action newsletter. In that recipe, you get one aioli flavored with Spanish smoked paprika and another with basil. In the United States, aioli has come to also mean basically a flavored mayo, and if that’s more your interest, have a look at these recipes using lemon, orange and lime.

Bake with it. You’ll find plenty of retro, or retro-inspired, chocolate cake recipes that call for mayo. After all, it includes eggs and oil, two primary baking ingredients. Fans will tell you it makes cakes even more moist and tender, too. Give it a shot with Duke’s Chocolate Cake, which calls for the cult favorite Southern brand. Yes, we made it, yes, I tried it, and YES, it’s outstanding. (And no, you can’t taste the mayo.)

Duke’s Mayonnaise: The Southern spread with a cult following


An earlier version of this article said mayonnaise includes eggs and sugar instead of eggs and oil. This version has been updated.

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