If there's one thing that I'll never run out of, it's mayonnaise. This is by far my favorite condiment, and I eat it at a crazy pace. I love it on fries, sandwiches, grilled cheese, salads, dressings... a lot of things, really.
Not long ago when I was cleaning out my refrigerator, I had six bottles/jars of the stuff... with at least another six in the pantry...
My favorite mayo is Dutch mayo for its delicious flavor and oh-so-creamy texture. But it's pretty expensive since it has to be imported. The easiest-to-find mayo that I buy most regularly is Best Foods (Hellmann's to some areas of the country). I like Duke's but it has to be bought via mail order because they don't sell it here.
I loathe "light mayonnaise." It tastes just awful... and usually has a harsh lemony taste to compensate for whatever it is they suck out of it to make it "light." I would really like to go vegan so poor chickens don't have to be exploited to make real mayonnaise... but there's no vegan stuff I've tried that I really want to eat (I've added a small section on that to the end of this post).
You have to be careful here, because some people want to group mayo-like dressings and sauces in with actual mayo (like Miracle Whip). Well, newsflash, MIRACLE WHIP IS NOT MAYO! Not to say I don't like it, because I do (especially on grilled cheese and in macaroni salad... at least until they made it water-based instead of oil-based), but when I need mayo it's not going to cut it. Here is what does...
Flavor: creamy dreamy • Texture: creamy • Score: 10
Here it is... the mayo to beat all mayo. Unlike American mayo, Dutch mayo is so creamy and velvety without any kind of gross gelatinous gloppiness to it. And when it comes to flavor, it's sublime because it doesn't have this overwhelmingly eggy taste... but still tastes like mayo. Great on sandwiches. Great in salad dressing. No need to mix with ketchup for your fries, it's flawless straight out of the bottle. My favorite over any American mayo by a mile.
Flavor: creamy dreamy • Texture: creamy • Score: 9.5
When tasting this Dutch miracle side-by-side with Remia, they're very close. And I'd take either one over any American mayo any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I think I give Remia the edge because that's the one that's easiest for me to find. Remia also has a slightly cleaner taste to me.
Duke's Real Mayonnaise
Flavor: tangy great • Texture: gelatinous but creamy • Score: 8
If somebody is going to battle me to the death over my Best Foods (Hellmann's) addiction, this is the mayo they're willing to fall on their sword for. The texture is definitely a little oily but mostly creamy... even a little creamier than Best Foods... but what I like about it is that it's all zip and doesn't have a sweet taste to it. For that reason, this is the American mayo I prefer for fries. But not sandwiches, where it can easily take too much away from other toppings. When it comes to salad dressing, this one is in a toss-up with Best Foods. If I have sweet toppings on my salad (like dried cranberries or candied walnuts) I'll go with Best Foods because it compliments better. If it's just veggies, give me Dukes, where that added tang is appreciated.
Best Foods (Hellmann's) Real Mayonnaise
Flavor: baseline great • Texture: gelatinous glop from hell • Score: 7.5
This is essentially the "baseline" mayo for me. It's what my great grandmother used. It's what my grandmother used. It's what my mother used. It's what I use most times. The flavor profile is eggy but clean with a hint of sweetness. Where it falls way, way short is the texture, which manages to be creamy when spread, but a gelatinous glob when you spoon it out. For this reason I like it on sandwiches and burgers quite a lot... salad dressing okay... and fries not at all. I might have put Best Foods (Hellmann's) above Duke's for sheer nostalgia's sake, but they went and changed the recipe in the early 2000's. And not for the better. I don't know that I taste a heck of a lot of difference from what I remember (I'm probably romanticizing it) but it doesn't seem the same.
Flavor: savory eggy bliss • Texture: creamy • Score: 7
Japanese mayonnaise is equal parts Dutch mayo, American mayo, and Miracle Whip... but not in a bad way. And while I don't know that I would want to eat this all the time because it has a bitter note to it, I very much like having it in my mayo arsenal. Good on fries. Fantastic on sandwiches. Amazing on vegetables and salads. I really like dipping grilled cheese in it. The secret? MSG. Ah yes. That much-maligned savory additive that freaks Americans the fuck out for no good reason. So much so that when Kewpie decided to start selling direct to the American market they dropped the MSG! I haven't tried the MSG-free version, I have no plans to do so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with MSG, and the bullshit myth that's propagated through the USA is pretty stupid. And, according to Anthony Bourdain, racist. Find out more right here. NOTE: The primary ingredients for Kewpie are oil, egg yolks, rice wine vinegar, salt, and MSG. But there are also "spice" and "natural flavors" in the ingredients. Whether or not one of those "natural ingredients" is fish-derived, I do not know. Being as this comes from Japan I wouldn't doubt it. As a vegetarian, this bothers me somewhat but, since I eat it only on rare occasions, I just pretend there isn't.
Kraft Real Mayo
Flavor: sweet and serviceable • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 6.5
If you were to look up "generic mayo" in the dictionary, a photo of Kraft Real Mayo would be sitting there. It's not bad... but not particularly great either. Mostly due to it's sweet taste, which is kind of bizarre in a sandwich. Not good for fries by itself, but when mixed with relish and ketchup it can work.
Flavor: weird • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5.5
This is the new kid on the block and one I was quite anxious to try because they claim to be the creamiest mayo out there. Could it be as creamy as Dutch mayo? Only one way to find out... so I ordered a couple bottles. First of all... LIES! It's the same gelatinous texture you'll find in most American mayo. The first thing I did when I got the bottle was to squeeze out a bit then shake the bottle. If it were truly creamy, it would have some "flow" to it. But it most certainly does not. It "breaks" in the bottle and hangs together in a gloppy mass. Even worse, the flavor is "off" in a way I can't quite describe. Not necessarily from the ingredients, but because of the way they process it maybe? Not heinous, but not something I plan on buying again either.
Sir Kensington's Mayonnaise
Flavor: weird • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5
Everybody was raving about Sir Kensington's Fabanaise vegan mayo, so when I ordered some to try I ordered a jar of their "real" mayo as well. I don't exactly hate it... but it's got a weird taste to it. Kind of a lemony toxic waste flavor that lingers in an odd way. It's almost bordering on Miracle Whip, but not really. Might be okay in a potato salad? Wouldn't buy again.
Flavor: sweet on the back-end • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5
Despite coming from Alabama, I actually bought this when I was passing through Mississippi. This is another Miracle Whip wannabe masquerading as mayonnaise. I liked it on a grilled cheese sandwich, but almost nowhere else. It was pretty abysmal on fries.
Blue Plate Mayonnaise
Flavor: sweet vinaigrette • Texture: gelatinous glop • Score: 5
A New Orleans staple, I was crushed that I didn't know to pick up a jar in my many visits to the city, so I had a blog reader send this to me to try. My initial thought is that it's trying to imitate Duke's, but is doing a bad job of it. If I was having this plain on a salad it might be okay... but there's this strong vinegar taste that is fighting a weird sweetness that comes off all wrong to me.
Whole Foods 365 Mayonnaise
Flavor: overly eggy • Texture: gelatinous glop • Score: 4.5
This tastes more like light mayo than traditional mayo to me... saturated in weird lemon overtones in an effort to be tangy. Like they ran out of vinegar and just decided to dump extra lemon juice in there to compensate. Absolutely terrible on fries, even when mixed with ketchup... but not entirely terrible in an egg-salad sandwich (which is the only place I used this stuff until it expired and had to be thrown out). If there's a redeeming quality to this it's that it's not as heinous as the Whole Foods vegan mayo, which is foul.
Safeway Organics Mayonnaise
Flavor: grotesque • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 4
This is the skunk weed of mayo. It has a bizarre taste (dirt?) that lingers on your tongue and kills your palate. The texture is okay for an American mayo, but I'll only use this when there's nothing else available. If I have this on fries, it has to be mixed with a lot of ketchup.
Look, the stuff is not mayonnaise. It's just not. So stop trying to make vegan mayo happen. Sure, some are more tolerable than others, but I just don't care for it. The stuff will never take the place of authentic real mayonnaise.
Sir Kensington's Fabanaise
Anybody saying that this is "just as good as regular mayonnaise" is seriously deluded. That being said, this would be my go-to mayo if I decided to go vegan. It lacks the density of a good traditional mayo, but has a decent substitute flavor profile that isn't awful.
Best Foods (Hellmann's) Vegan Mayo
No, it's not the same as Best Foods... not even close... but it's at least serviceable as a sandwich condiment, even if it doesn't really taste like mayo to me.
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
This is the very first vegan mayo I tried (it may be the very first ever made) and I found it gag-inducing. Threw out the jaw after trying just once. But... that was a very long time ago. I may be more tolerable of it if I tried it now knowing what I know about vegan mayo substitutes.
Hampton Creek Just Mayo
How the fuck can you call this "just mayo" when there's no eggs in it? It takes like whipped oil. Greasy and flavorless. You could probably use it to lubricate door hinges, but I wouldn't eat the stuff.
Whole Foods 365 Organic Vegan Mayo
So gross. Offensively gross. I would rather go without mayo than eat this slop.
And that's that.
At least until the next jar I find to try.