Gone are the days of low-fat everything. Fat is back, and as a result mayonnaise is having a bit of a moment. But we’re a little more conscious now, a bit more weary of the kind of mayonnaise that we’re eating, and luckily there have arisen a number of “healthy” options to cater to our needs.
With so many options, though, it can be overwhelming to choose which to buy. So in this guide, we’ll talk about the differences between various mayonnaises, how to find one that’s actually healthy, and how to choose one that’s best for you.
How to Choose a Healthy Mayonnaise – Buying Guide
There are a lot of mayonnaises that claim to be healthy, but few of them actually are. So here are a few hints to figuring out which ones you actually want to eat and what makes a mayonnaise better for you.
Ingredients Are Key–Always Look at the List
At its base, mayonnaise is made from egg yolks, oil, and an acid. And generally speaking, you don’t want to stray too far from that when choosing a healthy mayo.
Avoid Highly Processed Canola and Soybean Oils
The first thing you see when looking at the ingredient list of any mayonnaise is an oil. And this is where there’s the most variation in healthfulness. Most commonly found mayos are made with soybean oil, which is highly processed and high in omega-6 fatty acids. While you need some omega-6 in your system, too much can lead to chronic inflammation. That then introduces a host of health problems, including heart disease and arthritis.
Some good alternatives are oils like avocado and coconut, which have a lower omega-6 fatty acid ratio and are processed at lower temperatures than other commonly found oils like canola. That means they retain their heart-healthy properties while having fewer harmful free radicals.
If you do decide to go with a soybean or canola oil-based mayonnaise, make sure it’s expeller-pressed, which means that the oil is extracted manually rather than with chemicals. This will ensure that there’s no external heat applied and will lessen any negative impacts.
Go for Real Egg Yolk, or (Vegans) No Egg Yolk at All
When looking for a mayonnaise, look for one that actually uses real egg yolks and not egg powder or some other egg derivative. The less processed an ingredient is, the better it is for you. If possible, try to look for mayo that uses eggs from cage-free chickens.
But even if you’re not in the business of eating eggs, that doesn’t mean you’re left out of the mayo party! There are a number of egg-free, vegan-friendly mayonnaise options as well. Just pay extra attention to the ingredients, though, as manufacturers often need to add other ingredients and stabilizers to make up for the eggs and maintain texture.
Full-Fat Mayo: Better for You and for Flavor
We get it, sometimes you don’t want all the calories that come along with full-fat mayonnaise, but perhaps you should reconsider. While lower calorie mayo does exist, it isn’t necessarily the better option.
For one thing, some recipes work better with higher fat content mayo as fat increases flavor. Fat is also necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins.
The most important reason to avoid low-fat mayos, though, is the additives. In order to create the same texture and flavor with a lower fat content, chemicals, starches, stabilizers, and sugars need to be added.
Shorter Shelf Life Means Less Chemicals
Homemade mayo doesn’t last more than a few days, so it’s likely that you’ll find some preservatives in your store-bought mayo. But you can still see that you get the least preservatives possible by looking for a shelf life of no more than a few months.
Most mayonnaise is made from unsaturated fats, which tend to go rancid fairly quickly. In order to combat that and prolong shelf life, manufacturers add a chemical called EDTA, which is known to cause a host of physical ailments. So try to look for a mayo without it.
Match the Flavor of the Mayo to Your Cooking
If you find yourself using mayo in one capacity most of the time (say only sandwiches or salad dressings), it might make sense to find a flavored mayo to spice things up a bit and save you a step or cut down on ingredients. Some commonly found pre-flavored mayos include garlic, lemon, and chipotle.
Top 10 Healthy Mayonnaises to Buy Online
In case you’re still stuck on which mayo to buy, here are a few of our favorites you can find online.
10. Hampton Creek Just Mayo
Budget-friendly Vegan Mayo
This mayonnaise is dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free, making it a great option for those with intolerances. Even mayo purists are guaranteed to love it. Its flavor is lighter than a traditional mayo, and it doesn’t have an eggy aftertaste, but other than that it tastes just like regular mayonnaise.
Its primary ingredient is non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil. However, it does contain preservatives in the form of EDTA, so if you’re trying to be conscious about those things, this may not be the mayo for you.
9. The Ojai Cook Lemonaise
A Bright, Citrusy Mayonnaise
This kosher certified, all natural mayonnaise has a kick of lemon flavor. It’s made from expeller pressed canola oil and cage free eggs and has no preservatives. The lemony flavor makes it appealing to even those who don’t like mayo, and it’s ideal for sandwiches, dressings, and dips.
This mayonnaise is on the thicker side, however, which means that you might find yourself using more of it than a traditional mayo. So if you’re watching your waistline or your budget, just be aware!
8. Woodstock Farms Organic Mayo
A Better Squeezable Mayo
Maybe you use mayonnaise mostly as a topping and just want it in a convenient squeeze bottle. If so, this is your guy. Unlike most squeeze bottle mayos out there, this one is made with all organic ingredients and contains no preservatives or chemicals. It’s got a smooth taste and creamy texture and is all-around mayo.
While it is made with soybean oil, because it’s organic, it won’t have any of the nasty effects that come along with chemically-processed foods. But if soy is still a concern for you, then this might not be the best pick.
7. Biona Organic Olive Oil Mayonnaise
Soy-Free, Real Olive Oil Mayonnaise
Unlike most olive oil mayonnaises that are mostly made from canola or soybean oil, this mayonnaise is actually primarily made with olive oil! (No soy! Some sunflower.) All of its ingredients are wholly organic and ethically sourced.
However, it does contain xanthan gum as a stabilizer and corn syrup, which makes it a bit sweet. (It’s prompted some angry reviewers to compare it to a salad cream.) So, taste is pretty much a hit or miss. Per ounce, it’s also rather expensive. So keep those things in mind when deciding on this mayo.
6. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Traditional Mayo
Mayonnaise with High Quality Ingredients
If you’re looking for quality ingredients, look no further than this mayonnaise. With a base of cold-pressed avocado oil, it is completely non-GMO, mostly organic, free of preservatives and stabilizers, and uses honey as a sweetener instead of sugar.
Because of its lack of chemicals, however, this mayo might separate with temperature changes and can’t be re-mixed, so perhaps refrain from ordering it during the winter. It is also a bit on the sweeter side, so if you’re not a fan of that, a different mayo might be more to your liking.
5. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil-Based Vegan Mayonaise
Vegan Mayonnaise That’s Actually Good
This mayonnaise is a bit of a mouthful–it’s egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, canola-free, non-GMO, and organic. It also features aquafaba–chickpea water that fluffs up the same way egg whites do. It does have a few additives though (xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, etc) to make up for the structure that eggs provide.
Its flavor is comparable to traditional mayo, though perhaps a little more acidic. It has a creamy, light consistency, and for the best texture, it’s recommended that you refrigerate even before opening.
4. BetterBody Foods Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
Avocado Oil-Based, Zingy, and Creamy
This mayonnaise is from the same company that produces PBfit, so you know it’s going to be good. It is made from avocado oil and cage-free eggs, and contains no GMOs, canola, soy, or preservatives.
If you like your mayo with a little more zest, it also comes in lime and chipotle lime flavors. The regular, still, is zingy, and all the mayos are smooth and creamy. The only potential downside to this mayo? It comes in a plastic bottle rather than a glass one.
3. Coconaise Coconut Oil Mayonnaise
For Those Obsessed with Coconut Oil
Is there anything that coconut oil can’t do? This mayonnaise is made from coconut and MCT oils, which resist oxidation and rancidity and therefore have a naturally longer shelf-life without the use of preservatives. You can also store it at room temperature for longer than most mayos.
It is mostly organic and completely GMO-free. Its flavor is spot on with a little extra mustard tang. And because coconut oil is a saturated fat, you don’t get any of the separation or texture issues that plagues other natural mayonnaises.
2. Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo
Paleo and Keto Friendly
This mayonnaise is made from avocado oil, organic free-range eggs, and beet vinegar, and is verified non-GMO. It is one of the few commercially available mayonnaises that contains no sugar or sweeteners, making it paleo diet and Whole 30 approved.
If you find that you love this mayo and would like it in other flavors, it also comes in chipotle lime and garlic. It does have a tendency to separate in cold temperatures, though. To avoid this, don’t order it during the winter if you live in a cold area.
1. Sir Kensington’s Organic Mayonnaise
Fully Organic, Smooth, and Super Flavorful
It’s hard to find a mayonnaise with a more wholesome ingredients list than this. Fully organic and made with a base of sunflower oil and Certified Humane free range eggs, this mayo has absolutely no chemicals or additives and is free from even the plant extracts that other natural mayos have.
It maintains its creamy texture even without stabilizers and is more flavorful than traditional mayonnaises. That being said, if you aren’t a fan of a stronger egg flavor, this might not be the right choice for you.
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to finding the best healthy mayonnaise! Hopefully, this has helped you discover a better-for-you mayo without sacrificing on flavor or texture. Now you can make your potato salad a hit with your taste buds and your conscience.
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