Aioli vs. Mayonnaise

What's the Difference?

Aioli and mayonnaise are both creamy condiments that are commonly used in various cuisines. However, there are some key differences between the two. Aioli is a traditional Mediterranean sauce made by emulsifying garlic, olive oil, and egg yolks. It has a rich and robust flavor with a distinct garlic taste. On the other hand, mayonnaise is a more versatile and widely used condiment made by emulsifying egg yolks, oil, and vinegar or lemon juice. It has a milder taste and a smoother texture compared to aioli. While both are delicious and can be used as spreads or dressings, aioli is often preferred for its bold flavor, while mayonnaise is appreciated for its versatility and ability to complement a wide range of dishes.


OriginProvence, FranceSpain
Main IngredientsGarlic, Olive Oil, Egg YolksEgg Yolks, Vegetable Oil, Vinegar/Lemon Juice
FlavorGarlicky, TangyCreamy, Tangy
ConsistencyThicker, CreamierThick, Creamy
UsageCommonly used as a dip or spreadCommonly used as a condiment or dressing
Traditional PairingsSeafood, Vegetables, FriesSandwiches, Salads, Burgers
Regional VariationsVarious regional variations existVarious regional variations exist

Further Detail


Aioli and mayonnaise are both popular condiments that are widely used in various cuisines around the world. While they may appear similar, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the attributes of aioli and mayonnaise, including their ingredients, flavors, origins, and culinary uses.


Aioli and mayonnaise share a common base ingredient, which is oil. However, the type of oil used can vary. Mayonnaise is typically made with a neutral oil such as vegetable or canola oil, while aioli traditionally uses olive oil. This distinction gives aioli a more pronounced and robust flavor compared to the milder taste of mayonnaise.

Another key ingredient in both aioli and mayonnaise is egg yolk. The egg yolk acts as an emulsifier, helping to bind the oil and create a creamy texture. However, aioli often includes garlic as a primary ingredient, giving it a distinct and pungent flavor that sets it apart from mayonnaise.

While traditional aioli and mayonnaise recipes differ in their ingredients, it is worth noting that modern variations of both condiments may include additional ingredients such as lemon juice, mustard, or vinegar to enhance the flavor and stability.


One of the most significant differences between aioli and mayonnaise lies in their flavors. Mayonnaise has a mild and creamy taste, allowing it to complement a wide range of dishes without overpowering them. Its neutral flavor makes it a versatile condiment that can be used in sandwiches, salads, and as a base for various dressings and sauces.

Aioli, on the other hand, has a more assertive flavor profile. The addition of garlic gives it a distinct and bold taste that adds depth to dishes. The intensity of the garlic can vary depending on the recipe, but it generally provides a rich and savory element to aioli. This makes it particularly well-suited for pairing with grilled meats, seafood, and roasted vegetables.


Mayonnaise has a long history that dates back to the 18th century. It is believed to have originated in France, where it was first made by combining oil, egg yolks, and vinegar. Over time, mayonnaise spread in popularity and became a staple in many cuisines worldwide. Today, it is commonly associated with sandwiches, salads, and as a base for various sauces and dressings.

Aioli, on the other hand, has its roots in Mediterranean cuisine. It originated in the Provence region of France and was traditionally made by pounding garlic with olive oil and salt in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste was formed. This garlic-infused sauce was then emulsified with egg yolks to create aioli. While the traditional version of aioli is still popular in Mediterranean countries, variations of aioli can now be found in many other culinary traditions.

Culinary Uses

Mayonnaise is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. It is commonly used as a spread for sandwiches, burgers, and wraps, adding a creamy and tangy element to the dish. Mayonnaise is also a key ingredient in classic salads such as coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni salad. Additionally, it serves as a base for many popular dressings like ranch, Caesar, and thousand island.

Aioli, with its bold flavor, is often used as a dipping sauce or a spread for sandwiches and burgers. It pairs exceptionally well with seafood, such as fried calamari or grilled shrimp, adding a zesty kick to the dish. Aioli can also be used as a flavorful topping for roasted vegetables, enhancing their taste and providing a creamy texture. In recent years, aioli has gained popularity as a gourmet condiment, finding its way into upscale burger joints and trendy restaurants.


In conclusion, while aioli and mayonnaise share some similarities, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. Mayonnaise is known for its mild and creamy flavor, making it a versatile condiment for a wide range of dishes. Aioli, on the other hand, boasts a bold and pungent taste due to the addition of garlic, making it a standout choice for those seeking a more robust flavor. Whether you prefer the subtlety of mayonnaise or the intensity of aioli, both condiments have their place in the culinary world, adding depth and richness to various dishes.

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