What is Garlic Aioli?

  • By: Jack Mancuso

What is Garlic Aioli?

An Aioli purest will tell you that a true aioli is made from salt, garlic, and oil. Even the word aioli means garlic oil! However, as you might expect, people started tinkering with it. Other fresh herbs like basil came into the equation. 

No one knows for certain exactly when the recipe began. It’s most certainly ancient and likely from the Mediterranean/Egyptian region. Southern France popularized aioli, which remains a common element in meals. 

Is Aioli Just Mayonnaise?

There is a difference between garlic mayonnaise and aioli. True aioli begins with mashed garlic cloves until it becomes pasty. Then, you add olive oil very slowly. You need patience and a strong arm to get to the necessary consistency. As a result, many recipes (like the one here) include egg yolk, making defining the line between the two more difficult. 

Meanwhile, mayonnaise simplifies things by using eggs as the emulsifier. Also, most, mayonnaise until recently used canola or vegetable oil instead of olive oil.


2 egg yolks

1 tsp chopped chive **

½ tsp Kosher salt

½ lemon, juiced

2 cloves smashed garlic (or more)

⅔ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil

** Chive is an “add-on.” You can eliminate it, or substitute it with things like lemon zest, basil, chipotle, dill, or parsley. 


  1. Place the egg, chives, salt, lemon, and garlic into your blender.
  2. Process for 20 seconds
  3. Make sure the blender is on the lowest setting
  4. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blend. Take your time.
  5. After 2 minutes, you should have your finished aioli.

Do not freeze aioli (it will split when you defrost). However, you can keep it in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about a week to ten days.

PitMaster’s Memo: Using Aioli

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well aioli pairs with food. I used a basil version to make a rack of lamb! Aioli brings bright flavors to things like:

  • Burgers
  • Caesar dressing
  • Chicken
  • Crab cakes
  • Egg salad
  • French fries
  • Grilled seafood
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Tuna salad
  • Sandwiches

By the way, you can use aioli as a marinade (great for fried chicken) or a binder for dry barbecue rubs like the all-natural blends we offer at CusoCuts.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published