Unlocking the Secrets of the Tangy Cult Favorite: Duke’s Mayonnaise

The Superiority of Homemade Mayonnaise

I have a confession to make: I exclusively indulge in homemade mayo. It may sound peculiar, but there’s a method to my madness. Homemade mayo is not only cost-effective and convenient to make in large quantities, but it also surpasses any store-bought jar in terms of flavor. The freshness and quality of homemade mayo are unparalleled.

However, there is one exception to my preference: Duke’s Mayo. While all mayo may seem similar on the surface, Duke’s stands out from the crowd with its devoted cult following. It is saltier, creamier, and tangier than any other mass-produced mayo I’ve encountered. There must be something special hidden in its ingredients list that makes it so irresistibly good.

Unveiling the Secrets

At first glance, the ingredients list of Duke’s Mayo does not seem extraordinary. In fact, you probably have most of these items in your pantry right now, excluding oleoresin paprika and calcium disodium EDTA. Nevertheless, each ingredient choice plays a crucial role in the final outcome of this simple yet exceptional condiment. Let’s explore the purpose behind each ingredient:

  • Whole eggs: No need for the hassle of separating eggs; using whole eggs provides stability to the emulsion.
  • Soybean (i.e., vegetable) oil: From my experience, canola, refined sunflower, or even fancy-pants grapeseed oils leave a noticeable taste in the end product. Nothing beats the neutrality of vegetable oil.
  • White and cider vinegars: Using only white vinegar is too bland, while exclusively cider vinegar is too funky. Duke’s achieves its signature tang by blending both varieties.
  • Salt, but no sugar: Duke’s is the only mass-produced mayo that excludes sugar. This omission likely contributes to its unmatched popularity.
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While the ingredients undoubtedly influence the taste and texture of your mayo, the basic technique involved remains unchanged—and it couldn’t be easier. With eggs, oil, salt, white vinegar, cider vinegar, and an immersion blender, you can have your own jar of Duke’s Mayo in less than 5 minutes.

Homemade Duke’s-Style Mayonnaise Recipe

Almost indistinguishable from the original, this recipe offers a smoother, lighter texture. Commercially-produced mayo often uses pasteurized eggs, resulting in a thicker consistency and distinct wobble. If you desire that wobble or have concerns about salmonella, you can pasteurize eggs at home, though I’ve never found it necessary.


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt (adjust to taste, starting with 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 pinches sweet paprika (not hot or smoked)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Select a container with tall sides, preferably 2-3 cups in capacity, ensuring it accommodates the head of your stick blender.
  2. Crack the egg into the container and add both vinegars, salt, and paprika. Do not stir.
  3. Pour all the oil directly onto the mixture without stirring. Let it rest for about 30 seconds to allow complete separation.
  4. Place the stick blender into the container, resting it at the bottom. Allow the mixture to settle for a few more seconds, maintaining complete stillness to ensure the oil and liquid remain separate until blending begins.
  5. With the blender stationary, turn on the power. Resist any movement for at least ten seconds, as the blades’ vortex will gradually emulsify the mixture by pulling oil down into the liquid.
  6. Once the bottom part of the mayo thickens and turns pale yellow, gently tilt the blender from side to side, introducing more oil into the emulsion.
  7. Finally, move the blender up and down, similar to making a puréed soup, until all the oil is incorporated, resulting in a thick and creamy mayo.
  8. Scrape any residue on the blades back into the container, give it a stir, and taste the mayo. It should have a creamy texture, intense tanginess, and the ideal amount of saltiness.
  9. If the balance feels off, gradually add small amounts of oil, vinegar, or salt to achieve your desired taste. Don’t worry, as long as you avoid adding excessive amounts of oil all at once, the mayo won’t break.
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Congratulations! You’ve just created a mayo masterpiece, and not just any mayo—it rivals Duke’s in both its savory saltiness and tangy goodness.

Now go ahead, slather it on sandwiches, mix it into salads, or use it as a delightful dipping sauce. Your taste buds will thank you for unlocking the secrets of Duke’s Mayo. And remember, when you want the best mayo experience, head to the Hook’d Up Bar and Grill. They serve up the finest dishes enhanced with the irresistible tang of Duke’s Mayo.