Mayonnaise

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.
Comment

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:

Kraft

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.”

Kewpie

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.

Hellmann’s

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.”

Duke’s

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.


ANOTHER SOUTHERN FAVORITE

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

41 Comments

Shelley C. 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 Amazon.ca 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. <br />Blue Plate sounds interesting...but at $48.00 per bottle that has to stay on the shelf too.<br />Looks like I'll be staying with Olive Oil Hellman's for a while yet! :-D
 
Shelley C. July 16, 2018
I can buy Dukes here in Kentucky for around $3.00. It seems crazy that they would charge so much!
 
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?
 
Author Comment
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.
 
Diari June 6, 2018
BLUE PLATE IS THE BEST. The end :)
 
ChefJune June 4, 2018
I'm looking forward to trying Duke's when I get down South. However, Sir Kensington's is the mayo that got me to stop making mayonnaise regularly. I don't find it "slimy!"
 
RubyDu June 4, 2018
I must try Duke's now. FYI, according to their website, even though I'm in Minnesota, I can buy at my local Walmart. I suspect others can as well then.
 
Lori June 4, 2018
Try Blue Plate. I think it’s the best overall!
 
Diari June 6, 2018
Ditto!
 
Maria K. June 3, 2018
My favorite mayo by far is Kirkland Mayo, before I discovered it I was a Hellman's girl. Try it it wont' disappoint.<br />
 
Katie M. June 3, 2018
Glad everyone enjoyed themselves... and that I was thousands of miles away ;)
 
Karenski June 2, 2018
Seriously-you didn't test Blue Plate? No competition...
 
Emma N. June 2, 2018
THANK YOU! I loved Duke's until I tried Blue Plate. Such a great southern mayo.
 
Diari June 6, 2018
Whoop, there it is. Blue plate is the champagne of mayo.
 
suzybel63 June 2, 2018
I like miracle whip in tuna and salmon salad, broccoli salad. The best mayo? It’s a toss up between Hellman’s and Kraft, I really like Kraft. Kirkland brand is good too, but it’s probably one of the main ones anyway. I’ve never tried Dukes, but the one that is not really good is Bojack, not sure if they still make it.
 
Angela N. June 2, 2018
In addition, both Kraft and the company who owns Hellman's (Unilever) test their household products on animals.
 
Angela N. June 2, 2018
Just Mayo by Hampton's Creek is my favorite, too bad it wasn't tested. Miracle Whip is NOT mayonnaise, it's salad dressing.
 
Matt H. June 2, 2018
It wasn't tested, because it's not mayonnaise.
 
Mari O. June 2, 2018
I use Best Foods (Hellman's west of the Mississippi) but stir in a half teaspoon of powdered lemon juice per qt. I like that little bit more tanginess & don't care for the tang of vinegar in mayo.
 
Michael T. June 1, 2018
I cannot understand why Blue Plate wasn't even in this. Grew up on it. Lol. But, like Hellman's & Dukes as well. My 1st choice is Blue Plate.. Always.
 
Karenski June 2, 2018
Hands down-Blue Plate.
 
Emma N. June 2, 2018
agreed!
 
Diari June 6, 2018
AGREED!
 
Cory B. June 1, 2018
Hellman's 4 life! <br /><br />I am genuinely sad you did this when I was out of the office. Did you dip fries?!!
 
Suzanne D. June 1, 2018
I'm sad I missed it too (and I was here, so I don't even have an excuse)! We'll have to have a rematch.
 
Brinda A. June 2, 2018
please, please, PLEASE, let's do a rematch. fries or no fries, you know i'm in.