If you have not yet whipped up an aioli from scratch at home, you are missing out! It spreads beautifully over roasted vegetables, dollops over a crabcake, or acts as the perfect dip for your favorite chips!
It originated somewhere in the Mediterranean, but its precise location and period are a matter of debate. Some have speculated that it originated in Provence, France, in the 1800s, whereas others have theorized the Roman Empire.
No matter their origin, aiolis are simple to prepare and an excellent addition to so many of our favorite dishes! Our lemon aioli may stray a bit from tradition, but it is rich, full of tangy lemon flavor, and considerably easier to prepare at home with just a few extra ingredients!
So let’s get whisking!
Table of Contents
What you Need to Know About Lemon Aioli
What is Aioli?
Aioli (pronounced “ay-oh-lee”) is a sauce made from garlic paste and vegetable oil seasoned with salt. No egg yolks or lemon juice whatsoever! This is a traditional aioli.
The term “aioli” has since taken on various interpretations, including recipes adding egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and other spices and herbs to produce a mayonnaise-like aioli. Whichever version you choose, it can be used as a dip, a spread, or a sauce.
What is Lemon Aioli?
Technically, lemon aioli is an oxymoron because it is not aioli in its most traditional sense. Aioli is an emulsion of garlic and oil. On the other hand, lemon aioli is an emulsion of egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, and oil, which is closer to mayonnaise than aioli. Using these terms interchangeably has made things all too confusing.
We are creating a mayonnaise emulsion for our recipe and combining it with lemon zest and lemon juice to create a rich, airy, and simply delicious sauce you will love!
Emulsification: The Magic Behind Aiolis
So, what exactly is emulsification, you ask? Emulsification combines two liquids that usually wouldn’t mix by vigorously whisking, blending, and agitating the two substances into one stable emulsion, in which those droplets of oil don’t fall out of suspension.
Most emulsions are either oil-in-water or water-in-oil. Aiolis and mayonnaises are oil-in-water emulsions because the oil is dispersed in water. This process breaks down the larger fat globules into much smaller ones, allowing the water and oil to mix evenly.
How to Flavor Your Aioli?
- Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Cilantro, or Dill).
- Ground Chipotle Powder
- Minced Anchovies
- Sriracha Sauce
- Saffron Threads
- Ground Paprika
Tips for Roasting the Garlic
For our lemon aioli, we roast the garlic. There are a few tips for roasting garlic to ensure those garlic cloves come out soft and gooey!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
- Cut the top off of a head of garlic to expose the cloves.
- Drizzle it with olive oil, season it with salt, and wrap it in aluminum foil.
- Roast it in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Achieving the Perfect Aioli Consistency
Slowly drip the olive oil into the bowl while whisking the olive oil vigorously with the egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic paste, and Dijon mustard. Be patient with this process, as the sauce takes time to develop the right consistency. Do not modify the sauce until you have added all of the olive oil. Then, you will be able to see how the sauce is coming together. If it begins to thicken too much, add a few drops of water.
How to Eat Lemon Aioli
- Dollop it into a fish soup
- Dip our yuca fries or croquettes
- Serve it alongside poached seafood
- Jazz up boiled or roasted potatoes
- Spread it on a sandwich
How to Store the Lemon Aioli
Store leftover lemon aioli in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Love Your Leftovers
Extra Roasted Garlic?
- Add them to olive oil with Herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to make a dipping sauce for bread.
Spread the cloves over a baguette with butter and parsley to make garlic bread.
Mix a few cloves of mashed potatoes.
Mix a few cloves into hummus.
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 egg yolk room-temperature
- 1 cup olive oil
- tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ground pepper
1. Prepare the Garlic Bulb for Roasting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 177 degrees Celsius.
- Trim 1/4-inch off the top of the garlic bulb so that the garlic cloves are exposed.
- Place the garlic bulb (with the garlic cloves facing up and exposed) onto a foil sheet.
- Dizzle with olive oil.
- Season with 1/8 tsp salt.
2. Roast the Garlic
- Wrap the seasoned garlic bulb in foil.
- Place the garlic wrapped in foil onto a baking sheet or ramekin.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until soft and gooey.
3. Begin the Aioli
- Add room-temperature egg yolk and Dijon mustard to a mixing bowl.
- Whisk until it begins to ribbon.
- Mash 6 garlic cloves into a paste and add them to the mixing bowl.
- Add 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and whisk.
4. Slowly add Olive Oil to Emulsify
- Slowly add half of the room-temperature olive oil while whisking vigorously (only a thin line or drops at a time). When it begins to clump, add 1 tsp water.
- Add remaining lemon juice and whisk.
- When it begins to clump, add 1 tsp water.
5. Finish the Aioli
- Slowly add the remaining half of the room-temperature olive oil while continuing to whisk vigorously.
- When it reaches the desired consistency, then season with salt and pepper.
- Whisk to finish.