The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Michael Kummer.
Okay, I’ll admit. I love mayonnaise. I use it for my boiled eggs, keto salads, bunless burgers, and cheese tacos.
As someone who’s embarking on a low-carb journey, you might be asking — is mayo keto?
By now, you probably have an idea of foods that you can’t eat on keto. Here’s what you should know: Keto sauces and condiments can be a very tricky area. If you’re not careful, you could pick up a mayo jar that contains added sugar which can kick you out of ketosis or prevent you from reaching it sooner.
In this article, I’ll tell you what you should know about mayo — what it is made of, its health benefits, whether the store-bought version supports your keto lifestyle, and how to make homemade mayo.
Let’s get started.
What is Mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise or mayo is a creamy dressing that’s often used to make snacks and dishes taste better. You might be thinking that mayo is a complicated mix of ingredients, but it’s actually made of the following:
- Emulsifier (such as egg yolk)
- Vinegar or lemon juice
- Flavors (such as salt, sugar, etc.)
When put together, a thick sauce is produced.
I’ve looked up the nutrition facts for mayonnaise. According to Fatsecret, one tablespoon contains:
- Calories – 57
- Fat – 4.91 grams
- Carbs – 3.51 grams
- Protein – 0.13 grams
Furthermore, one tablespoon has the following vitamins and minerals (micronutrients):
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Feel free to review other resources such as Fitbit and SELF Nutrition Data. You may also feel the need to check the numbers of commercial mayo brands that you know or currently buy.
Is Store-Bought Mayo Keto? (And How to Make the Right Choice)
Straightforward answer: It depends on the brand that you pick because no two brands are alike. Some jars of mayo are loaded with carbohydrates, while others contain fewer carbs.
Obviously, you need to choose the option with the least carbs per serving to avoid going over your net carb limit per day. (Find out what your personal macros are*.)
Another aspect you should pay attention to are the specific ingredients listed on the label. The healthiest mayos for your low carb keto diet are those that contain only basic ingredients like oil, egg yolk, vinegar, and salt.
Beware of ingredients such as preservatives, added sugars (corn syrup, glucose syrup, honey), and monosodium glutamate or MSG. These ingredients will knock you out of ketosis or harm your health.
When it comes to the type of oil in mayo, you’ll want to steer clear of those that trigger inflammation and contribute to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. This is because of their high linoleic acid content. Specific oils to avoid include soybean oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
Later, I’m going to show you the best oils to use — in case you’ll want to make your own mayo!
Health Benefits of Homemade Mayonnaise
Making homemade mayonnaise is a great solution to skipping mayo from retail shelves. That way, you can avoid sugars and harmful additives. Not just that, but you’ll also be able to incorporate healthy fats for your keto diet.
The health benefits of homemade mayo are worth the effort.
It May Protect Against Heart Disease
The key is to use olive oil as an ingredient. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which benefit your heart health.
Researchers discovered that MUFAs from plant sources such as olive oil do lower one’s heart disease risk.
Helps Support Your Weight Loss Goals On Keto
If you opt for medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil) instead of olive oil, MCT can improve your weight loss results.
A 2008 study showed that the subjects who consumed MCT oil (as part of a 16-week weight loss program) lost more weight and fat mass than the subjects who consumed oil.
Can Be An Instant Source Of Energy
Another advantage of adding MCT oil to your mayo is that it gets converted into ketones in your liver. Your brain, heart, and muscles will then use those ketones as a source of fuel.
Supports Your Brain Health
Did you know that egg yolk is a rich source of choline? One large egg yolk contains 126 mg of choline. Choline is an essential nutrient that your body needs to produce acetylcholine — a brain neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory and other brain functions.
How to Make Your Own Mayo At Home
Ready to create your version of keto-friendly mayonnaise?
I promise you that it’s worth the effort, considering what store-bought versions may contain. This homemade recipe should contain healthy fats, not kick you out of ketosis, and take about 10-15 minutes to prepare.
But before we get started, we need to discuss some healthy options for the oil you’re going to use.
1. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is a popular option for low carb mayo and is a favorite of many ketoers. When choosing avocado oil, you might want to go for cold-pressed and refined avocado oil (in case you prefer a more subtle taste, because some people don’t like the taste of avocado.)
Options to try:
2. MCT Oil
MCT oil can be an expensive option for keto mayo. That probably explains why a lot of health and recipe bloggers don’t use it.
Here’s what you should know though:
MCT oil is a superb supplement on keto. It promotes weight loss by increasing your satiety. MCT oil is an instant source of energy for your brain and body. Most of all, it’s versatile. You can use it as an ingredient in any drink or recipe — coffees, smoothies, salads, sauces and condiments, and baked keto goodies.
Options to try:
3. Coconut Oil
One should not be confused between coconut oil and MCT oil (because many are). The difference between coconut oil and MCT oil is that coconut oil contains both medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and long-chain triglycerides (LCT), while MCT oil is made of pure MCTs.
Note: If you’re following a ketogenic diet, you’ll want to go for MCT oil since it’s a concentrated source.
Here’s a useful tip: Use fractionated coconut oil. Regular coconut oil will solidify and you’ll only end up with stiff mayonnaise!
Options to try:
4. Olive Oil
Yes, you can definitely use olive oil for keto mayo. Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil protects you from certain health conditions. However, a common downside to using olive oil is that it produces a strong flavor that doesn’t appeal to everyone.
Here’s a tip: Choose extra light olive oil. It has a pale color and is also tasteless. Extra virgin olive oil may be unrefined, but it will make your mayo taste bitter.
Options to try:
Steps to Make Keto Mayonnaise
Alright, let’s get started.
- 1 cup Keto friendly oil (see the options above); if MCT oil, combine ½ cup MCT oil with ½ cup avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or to taste)
- 1 whole egg yolk
- 1/4 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
- In a bowl, add the egg yolk, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Hand-whisk all the ingredients together until combined. (If you’re using a food processor or immersion blender, pulse for a few times.)
- Add the oil to the mixture in a slow and steady stream. Do this while you’re still whisking/the food processor or immersion blender is still running.
- Continue whisking/blending/processing until you’ve added all the oil. You’ll notice the mixture thicken.
- Finally, transfer the mixture to a jar, leave it for 8 hours, and store in a refrigerator. And that’s it!
Easy, right? 5-6 ingredients, 4 simple steps, in just 10-15 minutes.
Additional Tips to Keep in Mind
- If you want your keto mayo to be thicker, feel free to add one more egg yolk to the mixture.
- If you want thinner mayo, add 1-3 tablespoons of hot water or almond milk depending on your preference.
- Use room temperature egg yolk as cold egg does not thicken the mayonnaise.
- Stick with natural lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice may give a weird flavor to your mayo. Also, it contains preservatives.
- If lemon juice is not available, you can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead.
- Before placing the mayo container in the refrigerator, seal the container properly to preserve its freshness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store-bought mayonnaise has a longer shelf life than homemade mayo. However, store-bought mayo has ingredients that could kick you out of ketosis. Some oils like canola oil, soybean oil, and peanut oil also cause inflammation.
Homemade mayo should be healthy and also keto-friendly if you use the right ingredients. Start with the right kind of fat such as avocado oil, olive oil, MCT oil, and coconut oil.
MCT oil is extracted from coconut oil. But unlike coconut oil, MCT oil contains only medium chain triglycerides. Medium-chain triglycerides are fats that are quickly absorbed and broken down by your body into ketones.
Ketones are chemicals that are produced by the liver as a result of fat breakdown. Your body breaks down fat when you undergo fasting or follow a low-carbohydrate, high-fat keto diet. Study shows that ketones are more efficient as a fuel for your body than glucose.
If one of your goals on keto is weight loss, then choosing the right foods, including condiments, is important. Carbs and sugars can easily sneak into your diet if you’re not careful. So yes, homemade mayo that contains low-carb, high-fat ingredients will help.
Staying in ketosis and being your healthiest self should be your top priorities. But just because you’re following a keto diet, doesn’t mean that you need to quit your favorite sauces and condiments — mayonnaise, for example.
Why not make your own version? The homemade keto mayo recipe we shared is so easy to prepare. You might even find it tastier than commercial mayo!
Give it a try. I hope this article helped.
Sofia brings over 8 years of experience in the field of nutrition to create high-quality and engaging content that educates people on healthy living, food as medicine, and a low-carb lifestyle.
She graduated from Estácio de Sá Universities, with her Master of Science in Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition. She has been mentioned in various publications and companies such as LIVESTRONG, Eat This, My Fitness Pal, PARADE, Women’s Health, All Recipes, the Kitchn, and more.
Her personal interests include cooking, literature, and traveling.