What can I use instead of mayonnaise?

This blog outlines what mayonnaise is primarily used for, what can be substituted for it. And how they may be different from mayonnaise in texture and taste.

What can I use instead of mayonnaise?

The global mayonnaise market was worth around US$ 10.3 billion in 2018. The market is further projected to reach US$ 13.2 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.1% during the year 2019-2024 (1).

The following are possible substitutes for mayonnaise:

  • Sour cream
  • Pesto 
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Mustard 
  • Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Aioli

What is mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise, one of the most popular condiments or sauces around the world, is an oil-in-water emulsion with low pH and high fat content (65–85%) (1). Traditional mayonnaise is produced in a batch process by slowly adding the oil to the water phase under vigorous mixing, thereby creating an emulsion. Industrially, mixing is achieved using high-intensity rotor-stator mixers, also referred to as high-shear mixers (2).

Mayonnaise is a thick, emulsified, creamy white condiment most often used as dips, dressings or to add moisture, flavor and texture to popular snacks. It is primarily made of oil, egg yolk, and an acid like vinegar or lemon juice.

Many herbs and flavorings can be added to it to suit each individual’s liking. This ranges from garlic mayos to low-fat or vegan mayos.

What is mayonnaise used for?

Mayonnaise is used for a number of things; it can be incorporated into dishes or used as a topic or dip. Listed below are ways in which mayonnaise is most commonly consumed:

  1. Dips

Mayonnaise is used commonly as dips for snacks such as breadsticks and crackers, and is also used to spruce up healthy snacks like vegetable sticks. 

  1. Spreads

Mayonnaise can be slathered onto things like sandwiches, burger buns, pizza bases, rotis and other bread variants to add moisture and flavour. This method is used for children’s lunchboxes quite commonly.

  1. In pasta

It can be added to pasta in a pinch to make it creamier. This method is usually used for white sauce pasta.

  1. Filling

Mayonnaise can be mixed with other ingredients such as chopped up veggies, chicken or tuna, that can be used in sandwiches or cutlets, for example.

  1. Salad dressing

Mayonnaise can be mixed with honey, vinegar and herbs to form a delicious salad dressing that livens up your healthy bowl of greens.

What are can be used instead of mayonnaise?

1. Sour cream

 Sour cream is a fermented dairy product that is defined as the souring of pasteurized cream by lactic acid-producing bacteria. In sour cream, the microorganisms used are Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris, Cit + Lc.lactis ssp. lactis, and Leuconostoc citrovorum. Different types of sour creams exist that are defined based on fat content. Full-fat sour creams must have at least 18% milk fat and not less than 14.4% (3).

Sour cream is produced by fermenting dairy cream with lactic acid bacteria. It is tart in flavour and is used as a common substitute for dips and dressings. It contains a fair amount of nutrients such as vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin b12, but contains far less calories than traditional mayonnaise. Being a dairy product, it provides nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, magnesium and others (4).

The tart flavor, unlike in mayonnaise, adds a refreshing twist to sandwiches, salads and dips. It is commonly added with chopped parsley and seasoning powders.  

2. Avocados

Avocados, when mashed, are just as creamy and dense as mayonnaise and is the most accurate substitute in terms of texture. This is a much healthier option, not to mention it is also vegan. It can be added with seasoning to pasta, salads, spreads and used as dips so is quite versatile as a substitute for mayonnaise. Avocados are used as healthy alternatives for fat replacers in spreads, ice creams and mayonnaise (5).

Avocados contain a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals that have individually been related to cardiovascular benefits. Avocados are also rich in healthy fats and are nutrient-rich as it contains fibre, folate, etc (5).

3. Pesto

Pesto is an Italian paste made of olive oil and minced basil leaves. Although quite different in both texture and taste, it is definitely a substitute to consider as it is packed with flavor and will definitely add a load of flavour to your sandwiches and dips. It is also popularly eaten with pasta as a sauce. Basil has been used traditionally in folk medicine for the treatment of inflammation of the respiratory and urinary tracts, for caught asthma, as a carminative, stomachic and antispasmodic (6).

4. Greek Yoghurt

Another healthy option, it can be flavored to taste. It is packed with protein and healthy nutrients and is fairly versatile, however, it is less viscous. It is just as tart and creamy and is a common healthy substitute for mayo in salads and dips.

Greek yogurt is conventionally prepared by straining the fermented cooled yogurt curd to remove whey using a cloth bag until a desired solids level is attained. Part of the success of Greek yogurt may be due to its healthy alternative perception (double the protein content, all-natural ingredients, and low sugar content) (7).

5. Eggs

Since eggs play a huge role in the production of mayonnaise, you won’t be surprised to find that mashing up eggs match the texture and taste of mayonnaise fairly closely. It also contains far fewer calories and more nutrients. It is commonly used in salads, spreads and fillings.

Egg yolk is a very widely used food emulsifier for the preparation of salad dressings and sauces, because of its excellent emulsifying properties. The emulsifying properties of egg yolk have been correlated to those of its constitutive proteins, and particularly the low density lipoprotein (8).

6. Hummus

Hummus is a middle-eastern dish made of blended chickpeas, garlic, water and a little bit of oil. It is a healthier option but is limited in use as it is mainly eaten as a spread or dip. It can be eaten with chopped up veggies for a healthy snack.

Traditional hummus is a dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. A variety of other forms of hummus—or bean-based dips labeled as hummus that do not follow the traditional hummus recipe—exist on the market, each containing unique ingredients which may or may not contribute to nutrient intakes and/or have benefits beyond basic nutrition (9).

7. Mustard

Mustard is a sauce made from mustard seeds and has a kick of tang that can help liven up your salads, sandwiches and wraps. As it is packed with so much flavour, it is usually consumed as is  without the need for any extra seasoning.

There are two kinds of mustard; honey mustard, which is sweeter and tangier, and Dijon mustard which is spicier and has more of a kick. Each of these can be used according to your desire.

Mustard is a nutritious food containing primarily protein and fat. The antimicrobial, emulsifier, antioxidant, cancer chemo protective of mustard have been proved in different researches. Yellow mustard is the name of a plant from the cruciferae family and sinapis Alba genus. The consumption amount of mustard, in recent formulation of food products, particularly in sauces and meat products has been increased not only as a flavor but for the improvement of physicochemical properties and food products durability (10).

8. Aioli

Aioli is extremely similar to mayonnaise as it is made from the same ingredients. It originates from the south of France and Spain. It uses olive instead so is brighter in colour. The ingredients of the garlic aioli include raw egg yolk, roasted garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar and vegetable oil (11).

Other FAQs about Mayonnaise that you may be interested in.

Can you leave mayonnaise out of the fridge?

Can you heat mayonnaise?

Can you cook with mayonnaise?


There are fortunately many substitutes to mayonnaise with both vegan and low-calorie options. Most of these alternatives are incredibly versatile and packed with flavour. Most of these can be found at your nearby grocery store if not already at home. 


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  2. Olsson, Viktoria, et al. The effect of emulsion intensity on selected sensory and instrumental texture properties of full-fat mayonnaise. Foods, 2018, 7, 9.  
  3. Shepard, L., et al. Relating sensory and chemical properties of sour cream to consumer acceptance. J dairy sci, 2013, 96, 5435-5454.  
  4. Górska-Warsewicz H, Rejman K, Laskowski W, Czeczotko M. Milk and Dairy Products and Their Nutritional Contribution to the Average Polish Diet. Nutrients. 2019, 11, 1771. 
  5. Mahmassani, Hiya A., et al. Avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am j clin nutr, 2018, 107, 523-536.
  6. Filip, S. Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) a source of valuable phytonutrients. Int. J. Clin. Nutr. Diet, 2017, 3, 118.
  7. Chandan, Ramesh C., Akanksha Gandhi, and Nagendra P. Shah. Yogurt: Historical background, health benefits, and global trade. Yogurt in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2017. 3-29.
  8. Guilmineau, Fabien, and Ulrich Kulozik. Impact of a thermal treatment on the emulsifying properties of egg yolk. Part 1: Effect of the heating time. Food Hydrocoll, 2006, 20, 1105-1113.
  9. Wallace, Taylor C., Robert Murray, and Kathleen M. Zelman. The nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus. Nutrients, 2016, 8, 766.
  10. Milani, M. A., et al. The physicochemical influences of yellow mustard paste-comparison with the powder in mayonnaise. J. Food Process. Technol, 2013, 4, 2.
  11. Denehy, Emma J., et al. Outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium phage type 44 infection among attendees of a wedding reception, April 2009. Commun Dis Intell Quart Rep, 2011, 35, 192-196.