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For a really long time, I thought an Aioli (AY-O-LEE) was something super fancy that chefs concocted only in state-of-the-art kitchens and really expensive restaurants.

Not the case!

I figured this out when I had an incredible grilled veggie sandwich (before I found out about the whole gluten issue) with a garlic aioli. It was so delicious! I actually deconstructed the sandwich so that I could get some of the aioli off of the bread by itself, and that my friends, is where I discovered that aioli is just another word for super fancy mayonnaise. Honest.

Well, this is wonderful news for me, because I love mayonnaise. Like, I’ll lick it off the spoon. Actually, I’ll just take a spoonful out of the jar and eat it. I KNOW – it grosses a lot of people out (alex included), but for some reason, I just really love it. Therefore, aioli’s are now one of my favorite things to create.

It takes me a ridiculously long time to “perfect” an aioli – I find that the hardest part is getting the right balance between all of the flavors you want, and not letting the mayonnaise flavor overtake anything. It’s harder than it sounds.

Anyway, I have two recipes that I default to when I need a good aioli. One is a garlic aioli that works really well on sandwiches, and then a spicy aioli that works nicely on salads as a thick dressing, or – my personal favorite – over Carnitas and mashed sweet potatoes (trust me, it’s amazing).

Garlic Aioli


1/2 C Mayonnaise (I always use Hellman’s. Miracle Whip is too sweet.)
2-3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed (or, to your garlic taste preference.)
1/4 tsp Lemon Juice

Spicy Aioli


1 C Mayonnaise
2 Tb Hot Sauce
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic (or, 1 clove, crushed)
1 Tb Lime Juice
1 tsp Chipotle Powder
Salt to taste

For both recipes, just whisk everything together and serve immediately. These also keep well in the refrigerator.

Aioli’s aren’t that pretty, which is why there are no photos for you here. They are, however, super easy! One tip? Always use a little bit of citrus juice in your aioli. I prefer lemon, but lime juice works well also. Something about the sour acidity adds a great depth to the aioli that just doesn’t happen if you don’t use it. Try and see for yourself!

I think my next experiment will be a copycat recipe of the Buffalo Wild Wings spicy ranch dipping sauce that they serve with their fried pickles (my fried pickles are way better, if I do say so myself).