Why is mayonnaise white?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “why is mayonnaise white,” and discuss whether adding water makes mayo pale, and why is my homemade mayo so yellow.

Why is mayonnaise white?

Mayonnaise is white because of the process of how it is made.

When you think about the ingredients that go into mayonnaise, it’s hard to imagine it being any color other than white. In fact, most people don’t realize that the primary ingredient in mayonnaise is egg yolk. Since egg yolks are yellow, most people assume that mayonnaise would also be yellow.

The reason why mayonnaise is white instead of yellow is that the color of food isn’t always determined by its ingredients. When you cook eggs, for example, the egg yolk and egg white change from their natural color to a more cooked color. This is why boiled eggs and scrambled eggs appear much lighter than their raw counterparts.

Mayonnaise gets its white color from both the egg yolks and the egg whites. However, the most important factor in determining the color of mayonnaise is how it is made.

Mayonnaise isn’t cooked or fried like an omelet; instead, it’s mixed together with a whisk or a blender until its components combine into one uniform substance. This process makes the white color even more pronounced, especially when the mayonnaise contains more oil than egg yolk.

What is mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise is a thick, creamy sauce or dressing. It is made of oil, egg yolk, and an acid, either vinegar or lemon juice. It may also contain salt, spices, and sugar. Mayonnaise is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of dishes. Mayonnaise is the primary ingredient in dressings, dips, and spreads. 

Traditionally, they serve as salad dressings and sandwiches. The mayonnaise can vary from regular to lighter in flavor. It contains more fat than light mayonnaise. This fat helps to maintain its stability as well as gives it a creamy texture.

Mayo is lighter and less dense with smaller lipid content. These products share a similar aroma. John Harvey Kellogg created and developed his first commercial recipe of mayonnaise in Battle Creek Sanitarium near Michigan City, Indiana.

How mayonnaise is used in different recipes?

Below are some recipes that use mayonnaise as part of their ingredients:

1. Deviled Eggs

2. Potato Salad

3. Macaroni Salad

4. Sandwich Spreads

What makes store-brand mayo white?

Store-brand mayonnaise is white because it contains the following ingredients:

eggs, soybean oil, water, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, calcium disodium EDTA (to protect quality), and natural flavors.

The primary ingredient in store-brand mayo is egg yolk. It’s a pale yellow/amber color.

The only ingredient that contributes significant color to store-brand mayo is soybean oil. This accounts for the very pale yellow color of store-brand mayo.

However, most commercial mayonnaise brands use soybean oil as their primary ingredient.

Why is my homemade mayo so yellow?

Your mayonnaise is likely yellow because of the natural color of the egg yolk, which is a major ingredient in homemade mayonnaise.

To make mayonnaise, you should combine egg yolks, vinegar, and lemon juice with your oil. The oil and water from the vinegar and lemon juice won’t mix without some help, enter the egg yolk, which acts as an emulsifier to allow the mixture to come together.

Because you’re using egg yolks instead of whole eggs or just whites, the color of your mayonnaise will be determined by the color of your egg yolks.

If you want to remove some of the yellow colors from your mayonnaise, it would probably be best to start over with a fresh batch and try to find white eggs as opposed to brown eggs (eggs are either white or brown in color depending on the breed of hens that lay them). That way you’ll be able to use whole eggs instead of just egg yolks.

Does adding water make mayo pale?

The answer is yes, to a certain extent. When you add water to mayonnaise, it does make it appear paler than when there is no added water. However, this is not the same effect as adding water to paint or dye. There is no dilution of color from adding water.

It seems that the effect of adding water to mayo has more to do with the differences in molecular density between the oil and the water, which makes it look paler when they are mixed together. 

This is also why adding more egg yolks can make it a deeper yellow, they have a higher molecular density than both oil and water, so they make a denser mixture that appears darker to the eye.

Other FAQs about Mayonnaise that you may be interested in.

Can you eat Heinz mayonnaise when pregnant?

Can you eat Heinz aioli when pregnant?

Why doesn’t mayonnaise have protein?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “why is mayonnaise white,” and other questions related to the subject, such as s does adding water make mayo pale, and why is my homemade mayo so yellow.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.