We Taste-Tested 8 Mayos and Lived to Tell the Tale

June  1, 2018

Show me a jar of mayonnaise and I’ll show you who you really are.

Or refuse to go anywhere near mayonnaise—no way, no how—that works, too. Most of our editorial team just happened to be out of the country for this, our most divisive taste test yet. For some, this was tragic: “Please don’t do the mayo taste test when I’m gone!” Others had the opposite request: “Please do the mayo taste test when I’m gone.”

But that’s the easy part. Because even after you do away with the mayo haters and the homemade loyalists, people still can’t agree: Which brand is best?

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I grew up in a Hellmann’s household, assuming for most of my life that everyone liked this best. (It’s The Pioneer Woman’s favorite, apparently.) Then I moved to North Carolina and was converted to the Southern favorite, which Chef Sean Brock describes as “like a religion”: Duke’s.

And these are just the two big names. Is either of them actually best? Would there be a Seabiscuit to steal the crown? We had to find out.

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Top Comment:
“Miracle whip is not mayo but I do like it on certain sandwiches. But you can't use mw instead of mayo. Two different things. Interested in trying kewpie.”
— Lisa R.

Each mayonnaise was tasted blind—with a French fry. I know, unheard of here in the United States, but beloved elsewhere and, if I may, really very good. Try it. More importantly: If you, too, ever need to lure people to a mayo taste test, “Do you want some French fries?” goes over a lot better than, “Do you want some, uh, mayo?”

Here they are, from least to most favorite:


This mayo was the palest of the bunch. But it wasn’t the color that turned people off. It was the flavor. Or the lack thereof: “bland,” “subdued,” “flat,” “boring.” One person questioned whether there were “chemicals.” The ingredient list is pretty unremarkable, though there is “calcium disodium EDTA,” which, the label explains, is “to protect flavor.” The irony. (For what it’s worth, others, including the winner, contain this too.)

Miracle Whip

This notorious Kraft product has been around since 1933 and self-identifies as a middle ground between mayo and salad dressing. “Not mayo,” the website explains. “Better than mayo.” Whatever you say, MW! Some people were into it. Most weren’t. One taste tester likened it to relish. Most disliked its distinct sweetness. One ranked this as their favorite, proudly proclaiming, “I love mayo!” Hm.

Sir Kensington’s

Claims to source “the finest certified humane, free-range eggs, smooth natural oils, and aromatic seasonings.” SK’s has a whole line of mayos, from avocado oil to chipotle to vegan. We went with classic. It stood out visually for its specks and spots of black pepper. It was also the only competitor to use sunflower oil (most use soybean). Some applauded its flavor, from “nice fat/acid balance” to “nice, bright flavor.” Others criticized its greasy, “slimy” consistency.

Whole Foods 365

This mayo stood out for its punchy flavor. “Whoa!” one taste tester wrote. “Tangy, almost as if there are anchovies in here.” Others echoed this: “sour,” “very sour,” “too sour,” “vinegar.” But for some, this was just right: “Tastes the most like mayo,” one said. “Okay, this tastes like mayo! Mm!” another said. (For what it’s worth, all of these are mayos. Unless we want to get into the Miracle Whip debate again. To which I say: The comment section is below.)

Trader Joe’s

“Lemony! Vibrant! Custardy!” one person said. “Why is this starting to taste like the icing on toaster strudel?” Others did not pick up on this. But most had strong feelings about its flavors. The good: “kinda spicy,” “citrusy,” “bright,” “100%.” And the bad: “no!” “did not like,” “hate, globby,” and, the worst, “not a mayo fan for exactly this reason.”


This iconic Japanese product describes itself as “the ‘egg yolk type,’ which contains egg yolk instead of whole egg.” It was noticeably yellower than the rest, with a silky, smooth, loose consistency. Several pointed out its “eggy” flavor. One even described it as “the most eggy,” which I hope would make Kewpie happy. A couple taste testers remarked upon its “mustardy” flavor and, indeed, mustard flour (or ground mustard) is one of the ingredients.


This mainstream favorite has an ivory color and supremely fluffy texture. Its flavor got people all riled up: “Tastes badass,” wrote one. Many were inspired to guess: “This is clearly Miracle Whip,” said one. “And it’s good.” Sorry, friend. Others got it right: “Oh, you’re very classic and safe. I’d say you’re Hellmann’s.” And: “I bet this is classic Hellmann’s. This is the best.”


Or is it? Duke’s takes the cake. (Psst: Did you know that mayo makes amazing chocolate cake?) Several remarked upon its acidic, “citrusy” brightness, likely thanks to the cider vinegar. One admired its “prettiest color.” Another, its “balanced flavor.” One even described it as “buttery,” which I’ll always count as a compliment. “I would make this my go-to mayo,” said one. And maybe you will, too, if you can find it. While Duke’s can be tough to track down outside the South, there is, lucky for us, the internet. You can even set up a monthly subscription.


Are you a mayo lover or hater? Are you devoted to a certain brand? Share all your thoughts and feelings in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • JBP
  • Tim Tobish
    Tim Tobish
  • Thad W Davis
    Thad W Davis
  • Rick Ney
    Rick Ney
  • Joan Summers
    Joan Summers
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


JBP February 28, 2022
Have been eating Hellmann's for over 50 years. Gma made homemade mayo that was good. Some family were diehard MW fans. That's a NO. MW is yucky. So I tried Dukes a year or two ago whe it started showing up in the area (Western PA). Thinking it might be better I wanted to give it a try. Boy was I wrong. Not better at all. Didn't like it one bit. Always always going to be Hellmann's. The BEST!
Tim T. January 15, 2021
Lifelong Hellman's user (Best Foods, which is the same, since I moved to California).

However last summer I started a large quarantine garden that included 12 heirloom tomato plants, and started eating TONS of tomato and club sandwiches. I thought I'd try Duke's and have become a convert, despite being a East Coast Yankee/Southern Californian. Just ordered two jars from Amazon for $13 because I ran out on my last batch from the summer.

It's worth a try if you've never had it, plus egg yolks only and no sugar, so it's closer to homemade. BTW there's a hugely easy way to make homemade. Put your ingredients in a jar, preferably about the size of your immersion blender. Put the blender on the bottom, blitz and slowing move the bender to the top of the jar, taking about 30 seconds. BOOM. Mayo.
Thad W. November 22, 2020
Duke’s rules, HELLmann’s drools.
Rick N. July 23, 2020
Joan S. March 1, 2020
The only mayo I ever liked was the mayo my Dad made. To me, Sir Kensington’s mayo is tastes homemade just like my Dad's. I love it.

Hannah March 1, 2020
I’m surprised Cain’s mayonnaise wasn’t tested - it’s the the other big store brand!
Jeanne February 29, 2020
Tried both. Dukes and Hellman's. Keep going back to Hellman's. Just my preference .
Kevin M. February 28, 2020
A contender not assessed here I offer for later judgement (if such ever happens): Kroger's house brand. I bought it for years for economy in non-mayo-centric or doctored-mayo contexts, but, idly tasting it standalone once, I became a fan, it being quite cheap and not appreciably inferior (when gauged against proper DIY, which is inevitably per se better) to any the storebought here reviewed with which I'm familiar. The color's not great -- it's no Hellmann's -- but it evinces an agreeable balance of sharpness and emollience and surprisingly featly suppresses the savor of its substrate soybean oil. It ain't bad.
pietrasanta February 28, 2020
So, I have no idea which is the winner... not that I eat mayo, I just threw away a jar that had espired in 2013... and I bought a jar from Trader Joe's. I will probalby never open it.
Jean February 28, 2020
For many years I was brand loyal to Cain's which I think is only available in the Northeast. But I have become a convert to Veganaise (prefer the original) when I tried it in a prepared salad at a local store. Don't sniff before you try it.
Toni July 11, 2019
Recently emailed Best Foods which I have heard is Hellman’s and complained because my favorite mayo has been tasting sweet and sure enough I checked the label and found sugar in the list of ingredients. If I wanted sweet I would buy Miracle Whip. In MW’s defense, I do like it on a turkey sandwich, but that’s it! Looked up a recipe for homemade mayo and no sugar. Guess I’ll be doing it myself.
David W. February 28, 2020
Dukes original recipe (retail pack) no sugar. Dukes heavy duty(foodservice pack) has high fructose corn syrup.
Lexicon May 30, 2019
My favorite is Miracle Whip but since it isn’t mayonnaise Blue Plate is my new favorite mayonnaise. I just tried it today for the first time on a cheeseburger and it is wonderful.
Donna J. February 19, 2019
This is clearly an ad for Duke's mayo which I find discusting
Marc May 27, 2019
Hellmans is nasty and bland
Lexicon May 30, 2019
I am not a big fan of Duke’s mayonnaise. It is made by the CF Sauer company in Richmond, VA. I used to live in Richmond, VA. It is extremely popular there.
Donna J. July 12, 2019
My brother who lives in SC swears by Blue Plate citing several food mag, articles to back up his claim I live in PA and can't buy it here :(
Tim T. January 15, 2021
I order it online from Amazon. Oddly enough I'm from Pennsylvania and have never lived in the south!
Vplw1226 July 27, 2021
Smh how is it an ad for dukes? It's rating different Mayo and the best clearly won. So had kraft won it would have been a kraft ad? That's just stupid. Dukes won because it's clearly the best, it's made with better ingredients and normally stuff tastes better when quality ingredients are used.

PS: The word is"disgusting"
Shelley T. July 16, 2018
Team just mayo here.
Leona July 9, 2018
Reading through the comments, I thought I'd like to give Duke's a try so I went to to see if they had it. They do! At approximately $45.88 per 32 oz bottle, or 3 squeezable 18oz bottles for almost $88.00.
Blue Plate sounds interesting...but at $48.00 per bottle that has to stay on the shelf too.
Looks like I'll be staying with Olive Oil Hellman's for a while yet! :-D
Shelley T. July 16, 2018
I can buy Dukes here in Kentucky for around $3.00. It seems crazy that they would charge so much!
Leona February 19, 2019
It absolutely is crazy if they're serious about wanting to sell it! I can't imagine any thinking person would pay anything remotely close to that considering you can make your own mayo at home very easily.
I've often found HUGE price differences for exactly the same item, between Amazon US and Amazon Canada.
Pat P. February 29, 2020
I live in Maryland and Dukes is available at Whole Foods, Giant and Harris Teeter! No more then $3.00 for a large jar. My daughter in law is from GA and turned me on to Dukes. I have used Hellman’s and Miracle Whip in the past. But, now we live Dukes!
Pat P. February 29, 2020
Sorry not a Whole Foods but Wegman’s carries Dukes.
Tim T. January 15, 2021
I buy two-jar packs from Amazon for $13.00 (ish). $6.50 a jar is pricey but worth it. I'm a lifelong Hellman's (Best Foods in California but I grew up in PA) and tasted Duke's last summer. Convert and worth the extra money.
David July 9, 2018
I prefer Kraft because it's flavor does not overpower. I believe the french-fry test provides results that would be different if it were an egg salad test.
Sherry E. July 8, 2018
ok I know this is all about mayo but can greek yogurt be a good sub for those of us who don't like mayo?
Emma L. July 8, 2018
Hi Sherry! It can, but it really depends on the recipe and personal preference since yogurt is a lot tangier. Say, I'd totally try a deviled egg made with yogurt instead of mayo, but yogurty tuna salad sounds less appealing to me.
Sherry E. July 9, 2018
thank you for your coments
Ron S. June 17, 2018
Here in NYC... Target stocks Duke's .. Ain't I lucky ???!!
Lisaordway June 15, 2018
Blue Plate! I like Duke’s, and use it occasionally, but nothing beats Blue Plate! Please do your french fries a favor and try it!
Diari June 6, 2018
My mother only kept miracle whip in the house when I was young. I don’t recall when it was, but when blue plate entered my life I realized there was no other mayo for me...and I’ve tried them all. If not homemade, it’s blue plate for the win.