Classic mayonnaise should be gluten-free and dairy-free based on the ingredients, but there is always something to watch out for. In this article, we cover everything there is to know about mayonnaise – from what it is, how it’s made, is it gluten-free, or is it dairy-free. We listed 11 gluten-free mayonnaise brands and 7 egg-free aka vegan mayo products.
What is mayonnaise?
Delicious and humble, mayonnaise is the kitchen staple we cannot live without. Deceptively plain as it may look, mayonnaise has the power to transform the taste of anything it touches! The history of mayonnaise is more than two centuries old with unclear origins. Some say it’s from Spain and others say it was first made in France. If you are interested in learning more about it, this article is really helpful.
What is mayonnaise? Mayonnaise, commonly known as “mayo,” is a white, creamy, thick sauce that is used as a condiment in a variety of foods. It is made by emulsifying eggs and a neutral oil (like avocado oil or canola oil), and then seasoning it with a combination of herbs, vinegar and spices.
The FDA mandates that anything labelled as mayonnaise must contain 65% vegetable oil by weight. Furthermore, vegan “mayo” or any product without eggs according to FDA should be called “mayo-like” dressing or sauce.
How is mayonnaise made?
Making mayonnaise is easy enough – all you need to learn is the art of emulsification, which involves adding a component (like an egg) to hold together some liquids that do not readily mix, like oil and vinegar.
To make mayonnaise, a portion of oil is added to egg yolks while whisking them rapidly. Once the mixture thickens, vinegar/lemon juice is added and then comes the remaining portion of oil. Salt is added to the thick white sauce at the end to finish the mayonnaise. This article explains the manufacturing process quite scientifically, but you can read about how mayo is made in this Mashed article.
For the “unseasoned” amateur (pun intended!), here is a Thomas Keller’s Foolproof Mayonnaise demonstration on making the perfect mayo at home. As we are a vegan blog, we would like to encourage you to try this Vegan Mayo recipe from Avantgarde Vegan (with only 4 ingredients soy milk, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and grape seed oil).
Is mayo gluten-free?
The quick answer – yes. A traditional mayo (made with eggs, oil and acid) does not contain gluten. But wait a second, because it isn’t that easy when it comes to store bought mayonnaise. Sometimes, the ingredients used to make mayonnaise are derived from ingredients containing gluten. There is also the possibility that your store-bought mayo could be cross-contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process. What do you need to look out for?
Vinegar provides mayonnaise with its unique flavor, and the acidity is crucial for a proper emulsion of ingredients. Some kinds of vinegar are gluten-free, like distilled white vinegar and balsamic vinegar. But others, like non-distilled kinds of vinegar (e.g., malt vinegar), rice vinegar and blended types of vinegar, might contain gluten. Be sure to steer clear of those options.
Some people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate soy or soy-based ingredients, like soybean oil, which is a regular ingredient in store-bought mayonnaise. Soy can be easily cross-contaminated with gluten, making it imperative you check the label of your product if you are allergic to soy.
Sometimes, mayonnaise comes with stabilizers, emulsifiers and thickening agents that contain gluten.
The simplest way to be sure that your mayonnaise is gluten-free, is to look for the following labels: “gluten-free”, “without gluten”, “free of gluten”, and “no gluten”. Some companies may even use the gluten-free certification mark recommended by Gluten-Free Certification Organisation (GFCO) on their products.
Is mayo dairy-free?
Does mayo have dairy products? The answer is no – milk and milk-based products are not present in your regular mayo. However, there are a few recipes that add milk. What you should look out for?
- The eggless mayo may use milk instead of eggs. A popular mayo variety is the milk mayonnaise, which is considered a delicacy in Portugal and Spain. Probably this was the inspiration behind vegan mayo as well, where the whole milk can be replaced with dairy-free milk.
- Other mayonnaise-based salad dressings like Italian dressing and ranch dressing often contain dairy products, like buttermilk and parmesan cheese.
The FDA mandates manufacturers to indicate potential allergy-causing ingredients, like dairy products, on the label. This is why you should always familiarize yourself with the ingredients on the bottle before buying a jar of mayo! Apart from the usual butter, milk and cheese, also be on the lookout for casein, milk proteins, hydrolysates and whey in the ingredient label.
Is miracle whip gluten-free?
If you have been on the lookout for a cheaper alternative to mayonnaise, then you are probably familiar with Miracle Whip*. In the US and Canada, Miracle Whip is manufactured and sold by Kraft Heinz. The story goes that many people were starting to make their own mayo during the Great Depression. To tackle the plummeting sales of store-bought mayo, Kraft Foods came up with a cheaper but similar condiment – “Miracle” Whip. It was introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.
Both mayonnaise and Miracle Whip are made of a similar base containing eggs, oil and vinegar. However, the oil content of the latter one is less than 65% is technically it is a dressing not a mayonnaise. Miracle Whip contains the following ingredients: soybean oil, eggs, vinegar, potassium sorbate, spice, high-fructose corn syrup, dried garlic, salt, water, modified corn starch, mustard flour, and natural flavor.
As for allergen info it is labelled as “Contains: Eggs”. No mention of gluten, but it is also not labelled as such. This means that Miracle Whip is not certified “gluten-free”. One reason can be that cross-contamination during manufacturing is not eliminated or Kraft just hasn’t asked for a certification. In any event, especially highly sensitive individuals should avoid using it.
Gluten-free Dairy-free Mayo Brands
Best Foods and Hellman’s Mayonnaise
Owned by Unilever, both Best Foods* and Hellman’s* are the same brand, even though they are sold in the west and east sides of the Rocky Mountains. Both of them are advertised on their Amazon page as gluten-free and made with cage-free eggs, but it is not labelled as gluten-free.
Better Body Foods
Better Body Foods make an avocado oil mayonnaise* alternative which includes Avocado Oil, Egg Yolk, Water, Distilled White Vinegar, Coconut Palm Sugar, Lemon Juice, Salt, Tea Extract, Ground Mustard, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder. CONTAINS EGGS. It is labelledas gluten-free.
Blue Plate’s Real Mayonnaise* has been popular in the US since 1927 and has been featured in Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country for its unique flavor profile. The company’s official website marks it gluten-free and the only allergen is eggs.
Another soy-free mayo product. Chosen Foods Classic Mayo* has Avocado Oil, Cage-Free Egg Yolks, Filtered Water, Organic Cage-Free Whole Eggs, Organic Distilled White Vinegar, Organic Honey, Organic Mustard (Organic Mustard Seed, Distilled Organic Vinegar, Organic Spices), Salt, Organic Rosemary Extract. It is certified gluten-free, with the only allergen being eggs.
Cool Chef Mayonnaise
It is a lesser known brands with a certified gluten-free organic mayonnaise*. Ingredients are organic expeller soybean oil, water, organic egg yolks, organic whole eggs, organic white vinegar, salt, organic white mustard (organic distilled vinegar, water, organic mustard seeds, salt, and organic spices), organic lemon juice concentrate.
Duke’s mayonnaise* is flavorful and deliciously thick, making it one of those condiments that does not fade into the background of a potato salad. The company labels it as gluten-free on the bottle, in addition to describing it as the only mayonnaise with no sugar! However, it does contain soybean oil and eggs.
Kraft Real Mayonnaise
The ingredients of Kraft Mayo* are soybean oil, water, eggs, vinegar, sugar, salt, egg yolks, natural flavor (contains mustard), lemon juice concentrate, calcium disodium edta, dried garlic, dried onions, paprika. The allergen info is stated as “Contains: eggs”, which means it should be gluten-free, although it is not said on the packaging.
Finally one without soybean oil. This Avocado Oil Mayo* by Primal Kitchen is certified gluten-free. It has no sugar, no artificial ingredients, no soy or canola oil. If you are a fan of the Miracle Whip taste, then this might be the perfect accompaniment for your daily sandwich.
Sir Kensington’s* products are listed as gluten-free and dairy-free. Their Classic Mayonnaise is tangy, lemony and peppery. It contains sunflower oil; salt; distilled vinegar; citric acid; organic certified, humane, free-range egg yolks; water; salt; organic lemon juice; lemon oil and Fair Trade Organic Cane sugar. Aside from this, they also have a wide range of other products like avocado oil mayonnaise, organic mayonnaise, and four varieties of vegan mayo. All their products are Non-GMO certified and made with Organic Humane Free-Range eggs.
Tessemae’s Organic Mayonnaise
Tessemae’s Organic* mayonnaise is dairy-free, gluten-free and made with cage-free eggs. The company announces on its website that all Tessemae’s products are Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten Intolerance Group and their certification program.
Gluten-free Vegan Mayo Brands
Eggless brand has two products one with soy called Mayonnaise Dressing* and one with pea protein called Peayonnaise*. Ingredients are the following: Filtered water, Sunflower Oil, Vinegar, Potato Starch, Corn Starch, Salt, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Organic Pea Protein or Soy Protein depending on which product, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid. It has only gluten-free ingredients, but still not labelled as gluten-free.
Choose Foods Vegan Mayo
Avocado oil is seems like a popular ingredients as Chose Foods Vegan Mayo also contains it among the following ingredients: Organic Chickpea Broth (Chickpeas, Water), Distilled Vinegar, Organic Sugar, Water, Faba Bean Protein Powder, Salt. Less Than 1% Organic Rosemary Extract, Mustard Flour, Modified Acacia Gum, Organic Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Citric Acid. It is also certified gluten-free and labelled as such.
Follow Your Heart
According to Follow Your Heart, all their products are dairy-free, vegan, and certified plant-based. Their Original Vegenaise* is made fresh and does not contain artificial flavours. However, it does contain soy protein. But not to worry, because they also have a soy-free version*. Follow Your Heart explains that the enzymes used to make their brown rice syrup are gluten-free, unlike the usual barley-containing enzymes that are used by most companies.
Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo
All large brands now jumped on the vegan trends and developed a Vegan Mayo Dressing*. It is not labelled as gluten-free but advertised as such. The ingredients are sunflower oil, water, modified food starch (potato, corn), distilled vinegar, less than 2% of: sugar, salt, lemon juice concentrate, sorbic acid and calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality), natural flavor, paprika extract (for color).
With the benefits of coconut oil and avocado oil, Nuco’s Vegan Coconut Avocado Mayo is appetizing, healthy and labelled gluten-free and dairy-free. Moreover, it is made from all natural, real-food ingredients. It is smooth and creamy in texture, with a tangy edge.
Sir Kensington Vegan Mayo
Spectrum Light Canola Mayo
Spectrum’s also have a plant-based mayo brand called Light Canola Mayo Dressing*which has no eggs, but includes filtered water, canola oil, cornstarch, distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, soy protein isolate, lemon juice concentrate, xanthan gum, onion powder, vitamin, rosemary extract, mustard oil, turmeric extract and paprika. No allergen is listed, but not labelled as gluten-free.
More gluten-free pantry guides
- Is vegan gluten-free? 11 foods to avoid
- Is Worcestershire sauce gluten-free?
- Is soy sauce gluten-free?
- Is ketchup gluten-free?
- Is hummus gluten-free?