Transform Store-Bought Mayo Into Aioli With Only 2 Ingredients

In its most simple and classic form, aioli is made from just olive oil and garlic. Often found in Spanish and French dishes, this garlicky sauce is commonly used as a tasty dip for bread, crudités, or vegetables like asparagus. It's traditionally made by pounding together the two ingredients in a pestle and mortar to create an emulsion, which distinguishes aioli from mayonnaise (although you'll sometimes see aioli made with egg yolks).

While both styles of aioli are fairly straightforward to make, if you're a fan of the creamier, more mayo-like version that includes egg yolks, then that requires a bit more effort, necessitating lots of whisking and more ingredients. However, it's incredibly simple to whip up a version at home using store-bought mayo for the ultimate kitchen shortcut.

For an easy quick-fix, store-bought mayo can be enhanced with the addition of punchy raw garlic and a squeeze of bright, citrusy lemon juice. The result is a light yet creamy aioli-style dip that can be served with almost anything, from vegetables and seafood to french fries. It also makes a great spread for sandwiches.

Add lemon and garlic for a bright, flavorful aioli

Garlic is an essential ingredient for aioli, and adding a few crushed and minced cloves to a cup of mayo is a great way to intensify the flavor. However, it's not as simple as just mixing them together. Instead, the minced garlic should be pressed along with some kosher salt into a paste using the flat side of a knife. This extra step results in a smoother finish, mitigating the overly-strong pungency of garlic, and it also ensures that there are no chunks of raw garlic in the aioli.

Whisking the garlic paste with a couple of teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice enhances the taste, giving it a brighter note, and you can add more salt to taste. For the most flavorful result, let the mixture rest in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving.

Another advantage of using store-bought mayo to make aioli, rather than a classic homemade aioli recipe, is that it doesn't contain any raw eggs, making it more suitable for those who wish to avoid them. The garlic and lemon aioli can be prepared a day ahead, just needing to be covered and chilled in the refrigerator. This makes it an especially convenient dip to prepare ahead of time if you're entertaining. By adding one or two additional ingredients, you can further enhance the flavor.

How to elevate basic aioli with extra ingredients

If you want to elevate your mayo-based aioli dip, consider adding some of your favorite ingredients to create a variety of flavor combinations. For example, mustard adds extra heat and tanginess, while also helping the ingredients bind together. Or, try blending the dip with a couple of tablespoons of capers for a salty kick.

Incorporating a quarter cup of chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or chives, results in a fragrant aioli that pairs well with sandwiches or salads. Alternatively, try adding chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of aromatic lime juice to complement quesadillas.

For an extra bit of spice and heat to enliven the creamy dipping sauce, consider adding some hot sauce and coriander, or chipotle chipotle peppers. Whisking in some black truffle oil adds a touch of luxury; this variation goes well with steak or chicken. Regardless of how you enhance it, using store-bought mayo along with lemon and garlic makes it easy to create a smooth base for a versatile aioli dip that you can customize to your liking.