Aquafaba (literally “bean water,” the liquid that comes with your canned chickpeas or any bean, actually) has made me rethink a lot of what I didn’t think could be possible without eggs: meringue, mousse, cake that, if not quite angel food, is at least related to it. When whipped, the bean water will, quite magically, start to foam—not unlike beaten egg whites. I wasn’t surprised when I started to see numerous recipes capitalizing on aquafaba's frothing powers, but when I saw one for mayonnaise, my interest was piqued. I’ve always relied on store-bought, dairy-free mayonnaise without considering an alternative; wouldn’t it be nice to have a less expensive alternative? One that I could make from the liquid that often goes to waste when I open a can of chickpeas?
Turns out, homemade mayonnaise can be had sans the laborious whisking; an immersion blender will happily, swiftly do the job for you. I tested this recipe in a food processor, too, and it works, but the resulting mayonnaise is a little more runny (I had better results with a double batch).
Most aquafaba mayo recipes I found while researching call for a 1 to 3 ratio of aquafaba to oil. Some recipes, including J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s
also contain whole chickpeas, which thicken the mayonnaise but aren’t necessary for a stable emulsion. If you’d like the mayo to be a little more set, you can pop it into the fridge for a few hours after making it. When left to sit at room temperature, it’s more like a saucey aïoli than the firm, almost jiggly mayonnaise you’d find in a store-bought jar.
I like mayonnaise to be assertively tangy, and this recipe reflects that. If you’d like it to be more subtle, you can reduce the white vinegar to 2 teaspoons. The salt can be either increased or decreased by a pinch (I recommend choosing a low-sodium canned chickpea, so that you can control the final saltiness yourself). And while I haven’t myself tried making aquafaba from boiling dried chickpeas, here’s how.
This recipe yields 1 1/4 cups of mayonnaise, which will keep in a container in the fridge for about a week. Once it’s ready, you can use it in potato or pasta salad, on a vegan BLT, on toast with slices of the tomatoes that are just about to come into season, or in a vegan mayonnaise cake, which is almost definitely my next experiment. —Gena Hamshaw
- Prep time 5 minutes
- Makes 1 1/4 cups
aquafaba (use liquid from low-sodium canned chickpeas if possible)
safflower, grapeseed, sunflower, or canola oil
- Place the aquafaba, salt, and vinegar in a large (about 3/4-liter) mason jar or a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Use your immersion blender to blend the ingredients for 1 minute, until they become frothy.
- Keeping the immersion blender on, use your free hand to pour the oil into the aquafaba mixture in a very, very thin stream. It should take you 3-4 minutes to add the oil in fully. Try keeping the immersion blender close to the surface of the mixture, or even just barely immersed: this helps the mayonnaise aerate and also thicken. The mayonnaise should be silky, creamy, and white when you’ve finished adding the oil. Taste and adjust salt if you like. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.