Have you ever brought home a jar of mayonnaise and looked at the ingredients label?

According to Wikipedia:

Mayonnaise is a thick, creamy sauce often used as a condiment. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice.

So, what are all of those other label ingredients?  Here is an ingredient label from a popular brand:

Water, soybean oil, sugar, vinegar, modified cornstarch, egg yolks, salt, mustard, potassium sorbate, spices, calcium disodium edta, dried garlic, modified coconut oil or modified palm kernel oil(medium chain triglycerides)

Some of the ingredients are pretty straight forward. We all know water, sugar, vinegar, egg yolks, salt, and mustard. What about the rest? What purpose do these unpronounceable chemicals serve?

Let’s take a look at these ingredients.

Modified Cornstarch

The modified starch is used as a thickener and stabilizer.

Egg Yolks

Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. This means it helps the oil and vinegar combine.

Potassium Sorbate

Potassium sorbate is one of the most common food preservatives. It is used to slow the growth of molds and yeasts in foods.

Calcium Disodium EDTA

This is another preservative. It prevents disagreeable odors or tastes from decomposing oils or fats. Because of this, it is often found in salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, and sandwich spreads.

Modified Coconut Oil or Modified Palm Kernel Oil

Sometime mayonnaise is sold in squeeze bottles. The coconut oil helps the mayonnaise slide out.

Does it Really Have to Be This Complicated?

All brands are not the same. Another popular brand contains these ingredients:

Canola Oil, Water, Liquid Whole Egg, Vinegar, Salt, Liquid Yolk, Sugar, Spices, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Calcium Disodium EDTA.

Homemade Mayonnaise


By Food Construed
Published: June 2, 2014

Mayonnaise is really simple to make at home. Here is a quick and simple recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes


  • 1 large organic egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper


  1. Using a blender or food processor, combine egg yolk and mustard.
  2. With the blender running, very slowly add the oil in a thin stream.
  3. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Pulse the blender until smooth.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Picture of adding oil to mayonnaise

Slowly add the oil to the mayonnaise


Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Ingredients

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