Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Which Mayonnaise Is Best? A Taste Test of Duke’s, Kewpie, and More

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We’d be lying if we said that our tasters went in with no biases. Restaurant editor Elazar Sontag swears by mayo stalwart Hellmann’s, while director of creative development Ian Stroud was quick to declare that his go-to is Kewpie. But the blind taste test format means your faves may flop—and when our test concluded, our winning brands were revealed to gasps and pearl clutches all around.

How our editors evaluated

We eat with our eyes, as the saying goes, and that’s how we started our mayonnaise taste test. Some of our entries were ghostly white, while others were closer to cream or ecru. Some were tinged with yellow. To us, mayo’s color isn’t as valuable as its flavor, but tasters agreed that a bright, celebrity-veneer white wasn’t entirely appealing.

Our tasters also judged on texture. Some of the brands of mayo were airy and gelatinous, jiggling on their plates. Others were looser and creamier, like sour cream. Our panel agreed that a wiggling mayonnaise was not ideal. We’re looking for a creamy and spreadable consistency, not unlike Greek yogurt.

Finally, we judged on flavor—the most important factor for our taste test. A great mayonnaise, our tasters said, should balance its fatty richness and cheeky tang with the slightest hint of sweetness. It should have a solid base of umami without an overwhelming taste of egg, and a good hit of acid—be it lemon or vinegar—for balance.

With some enticing-looking candidates in front of us, we charged ahead, tots in hand, and didn’t stop until we found our three favorites.

The Heavy Hitter: Good & Gather Organic Mayonnaise

Good and Gather mayo on a red background

Photograph by Andre Rucker, Food Styling by Emilie Fosnocht

Target’s store brand, Good & Gather, frequently places well in our taste tests, so it wasn’t surprising to see that its organic mayonnaise was a winner. It uses soybean oil, a common base oil in commercial mayonnaise, and organic egg yolks, as well as distilled vinegar, cane sugar, mustard seed, lemon juice concentrate, and “natural flavors.” Mayonnaise can be made with a whole egg, or just the yolk, but since the egg white is mostly made of water, you’re not missing much in a mayonnaise made without it.

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