Mayonnaise reviews

Food science can't replicate the creaminess of oil and eggs
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01 .Introduction


 In brief

  • The more fat a mayonnaise contains and the higher up egg is on the ingredients list, the more authentic it’s likely to taste.
  • Fat-free mayos may be better for your hips, but replacing oil with water and adding sugar doesn’t do the taste or texture any favours. But one reduced-fat version rated higher than others.

Traditional homemade mayonnaise is a luscious blend of oil, egg yolk and vinegar or lemon juice. Supermarket mayo can be a different beast altogether. While some products stay close to the traditional recipe, many skimp on oil and egg and bump up the sugar and additives to compensate, resulting in something that’s more like a runny, sweet glue than the creamy, dense sauce traditionalists would offer up.

CHOICE put 20 popular mayonnaises to the test — six fat-reduced, 14 regular — to see which taste best. Our results indicate that you can work out what to expect from a bought mayonnaise just by reading the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order of proportion by weight, and if oil and egg feature in the first three ingredients, you’ve usually found a mayo that bears the closest resemblance in both texture and taste to homemade.

Please note: this information was current as of October 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

How we test

  • We asked 70 ordinary consumers, all CHOICE staff, to taste mayonnaise.
  • Samples were presented in a random order in plain containers identified only by code numbers. Trialists described the taste and rated each sample for texture and how much they liked it overall.
  • Each mayonnaise was tasted by 21 people.

Did you know?

Mayonnaise is the base for many other chilled sauces and salad dressings.
  • Aioli is an olive oil mayonnaise with garlic.
  • Dijonnaise is mayonnaise mixed with Dijon mustard.
  • Tartare sauce is mayonnaise spiced with pickled cucumbers and onion.
  • Thousand Island dressing is tomato sauce, sweet pickle relish and assorted herbs and spices blended into a mayonnaise base.

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The following brands scored the best results in our test in the full-fat and reduced fat categories.


Best overall

Praise Whole Egg Mayonnaise



Best reduced fat

Unger’s Lite Mayonnaise



Full-fat mayos generally rated highest with our taste testers - no surprises here. So what characteristics gave them the edge?

  • Fat: The five products in our trial with the most fat (oil) were rated in the top six overall. Obviously, more fat means more kilojoules – but when the trade-off is flavour, it’s worth eating a little less and savouring the better taste.
  • Authentic: Of all the mayos on test, those described by our trialists as tasting “authentic” were most likely to score well overall. So it’s not surprising that the ingredients lists of the top-tasting products closely resemble a traditional recipe, where up to 80% of the volume is oil, with egg yolk the other key ingredient.
  • Eggy: Egg yolk is listed in the first three ingredients of our top-tasting mayos. Indeed, the ones our trialists described as tasting “eggy” generally scored well. While it had no measurable impact on taste, it’s of interest that Doodles Creek, Hellman’s and Kato all declare free-range eggs are used in their mayonnaise, while S&W claims its eggs are “cage free”.
  • Texture: is also important. Gradually whisking oil into egg yolks results in a naturally dense, smooth and creamy emulsion. The products that rated as the smoothest and creamiest – words frequently used on mayonnaise labels – were the most popular.
  • Seasonings: such as mustard, spices and salt in particular are commonly added to mayonnaise for flavour. But it’s worth pointing out that Praise Whole Egg, our top-tasting mayonnaise, is the least salty on test. Clearly, mayo doesn’t have to be salty to be tasty.

Flavour fiddling

At first glance Norganic Golden Soya and Kato Mayo contain all the right elements (oil, egg yolk and vinegar), yet their taste test scores are relatively low. A closer study of the ingredients lists suggests why this is so.

Kato is only 27% oil and egg is way down the ingredients list, but more significantly, perhaps, its first ingredient is grape juice. Norganic contains apple cider vinegar and honey rather than the more conventional white vinegar and sugar.

Such unique ingredients give these mayos a flavour profile that may not appeal to all taste buds.

We included Kato and Norganic in this test, despite their unique ingredients, as they’re not marketed as “flavoured” mayonnaise — unlike the exotic-sounding products in many brand ranges: wasabi, peri-peri, dill, truffle, and chilli lime and coriander, to name a few.

Reduced-fat mayos rate poorly

Reduced-fat mayos in general and 97% fat-free mayos, in particular, scored poorly overall in our taste test. Our trialists didn’t know if the samples they tasted were reduced fat or not, but their scores suggest there’s no substitute for full-fat flavour.

Bear in mind that reduced fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. When fat is removed, something else is generally added to provide flavour —in this case, sugar. Of the five most sugary mayos on test, four are reduced fat (three of which are supermarkets’ own brands).

Low in fat, high in water

If you’re watching your weight, chances are you'll opt for a 97% fat-free mayonnaise. You should know that in these products the bulk of the oil is replaced with water. And according to their ingredients list, the amount of egg they contain is minimal (Coles Mayonnaise 97% Fat Free contains no egg at all).

To simulate the texture and consistency of traditional mayonnaise, thickeners and stabilisers such as xanthan gum and maize starch thickener are added. But as our taste test results show, there’s still some way to go before the natural density and creaminess of a mayonnaise made of oil and egg can be replicated by food science.

One clear reduced-fat winner

But you don’t always have to forgo health for taste. Unger’s Lite may not be “light” compared with the 97% fat-free products, but it has only half the kilojoules and fat of the top-tasting regular mayos and minimal sugar, and our trialists scored it higher than all other reduced-fat mayos.

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