Broken or runny mayonnaise: how to fix mayonnaise

Fresh free range eggs, olive oil, lemon juice or white vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, a little energy and a dash of patience...
These are the ingredients for the homemade version of one of the best-loved and well-known sauces in the world: mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is a sauce made from simple ingredients that must be dosed in accurate proportions. The base for homemade mayonnaise is an emulsion of olive oil and a watery solution (lemon juice or vinegar), with the addition of egg yolk for flavor and consistency, while ensuring all the ingredients "stick" together. Egg yolk is rich in surfactants, molecules with one end that is water-soluble and the other end that binds with oil.

Preparing homemade mayonnaise is simple... almost as simple as ending up with broken mayonnaise.

How do you make mayonnaise?

To make a perfect mayonnaise all you need are a few quality ingredients, a little attention to details and particular care during the most delicate steps.

Prepare the ingredients: 2 egg yolks, 200 g of our Olive Oil Tradizionale, two spoons of lemon juice (preferably filtered) or white vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

Dissolve the salt in the lemon juice or vinegar, separate the egg whites from the yolks, add two or three drops of lemon juice or vinegar to the yolks and start whisking by hand (you can also use an electric whisk or blender, whatever works best for you). Continue whisking the emulsion and gradually add half of the Olive Oil. Now add the remaining lemon juice or vinegar and finish by gradually adding the remaining olive oil. Your mayonnaise will be ready in a few minutes. Easy, right?
Thanks to its delicateness and balance, our Olive Oil Tradizionale is excellent for making a mayonnaise that is light, characterized by unmistakable notes and suitable for use in all kinds of recipes.
Runny mayonnaise – Fratelli Carli

Tips for avoiding broken mayonnaise

Making this sauce is simple but it's just as simple to get it wrong. It is crucial you abide by certain steps in the process to avoid making broken or runny mayonnaise. Here are a few tips you can follow to make the perfect mayonnaise:
  • use ingredients at room temperature;
  • whisk the mixture vigorously and continuously: never stop whisking or blending and never change direction;
  • always add the oil and (filtered) lemon juice or vinegar gradually and in the same part of the bowl.
To make the perfect mayonnaise that satisfies even the most demanding palates, the secret lies in the attention to details and in meticulously following each step of the process.

What causes broken mayonnaise?

Broken mayonnaise is all too common and happens when ingredients fail to bind. Usually the reason for this set-back lies either in the ingredients or their incorrect dosing.

In fact, if your mayonnaise is broken, you have probably made one of these mistakes:
  • the eggs aren't fresh: not many ingredients are needed to make mayonnaise but they must be in good shape for use in the recipe;
  • the various ingredients used to make the mayonnaise are not room temperature;
  • the ingredients have not been dosed correctly; perhaps you have added too much oil or lemon juice;
  • the ingredients (oil and lemon juice) were not added gradually to the mix.
How to fix broken mayonnaise – Fratelli Carli

How to fix broken mayonnaise

To sum up, if mayonnaise doesn't set or is too runny, there are two main reasons: the ingredients haven't been properly dosed or cold ingredients have been used.

Either way, no need to worry: it's not too late to save your sauce.

To achieve the correct balance between ingredients, simply add more liquid to your broken mayonnaise. So, if you have added too much oil, the remedy is simple: place a small amount of your broken mayonnaise in a clean bowl and add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar. As the mixture improves, gradually add the rest of the broken mayonnaise and alternate with a few drops of liquid, until your mayonnaise looks better.

On the contrary, if your mayonnaise is too runny or doesn't set because you've added cold ingredients, simply add another egg yolk, strictly at room temperature. In this case too, the process for fixing your mayonnaise is linear. In fact, after whisking the egg in a separate bowl, gradually add the broken mayonnaise, one spoon at a time, until it becomes dense enough. 
Once you have corrected your mayonnaise, you can use it as an ingredient for countless recipes, ranging from traditional to more original ones.
Fixing runny mayonnaise – Fratelli Carli

Forest wreath

In all its simplicity, this recipe has given even top chefs a run for their money, at least once. If you don't have time to prepare it or if you prefer to avoid the risk of broken mayonnaise, you can opt for a ready-made mayonnaise, as delicious as a homemade one, like our very own Olive Oil Mayonnaise, which you can buy on our website or at all our Stores.