There’s a well-known moment in the film “Pulp Fiction” where Vincent says to Jules, “You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup? Mayonnaise.” Hearing that line, mayo suddenly becomes strange, giving Americans reason to ask why the rest of the world is obsessed with the gloopy, white goop in ways that we simply can’t understand.
Related Reading: 9 Recipes Where Sriracha Mayonnaise Is the Star
…unless it’s not. Mayo is mostly eggs and oil, after all. In other words, it’s delicious, spreadable fat, just like butter. Plus, mayo’s ability to liven up dry ingredients, add a blast of creaminess, or provide a counterpoint to sour and spice is nearly unmatched.
So perhaps it’s time find out what all the fuss over mayo is about. Here are 11 creative ways to use mayo that will take you out of your condiment comfort zone and make you love mayo even more.
Japan is pretty obsessed with mayo. Of course, their take on the stuff is a notch above the rest. Japanese kewpie mayo is known for its ultra-smooth creaminess and hint of sweetness. It makes for a fitting counterpoint to the citrusy tang of yuzu in this recipe. Get our Tatsutage Fried Chicken with Spicy Yuzu Mayonnaise recipe.
Kewpie Mayonnaise, $5.98 at Walmart
This beloved Japanese mayo is a must (and comes in a fun squishy bottle).
Move over, butter. Mayo just one-upped you as the premiere topper for corn on the cob. Not only does the sauce taste great with the kernels, it’s stickiness allows you to dredge on other killer additions, like cheese. Get our Grilled Corn with Cayenne, Lime, and Cotija recipe. (Or if you’re a bit bored of Mexican-style street corn by now—is that possible?—try our Corn with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Lime, and Smoked Paprika recipe, pictured at the top of this page.)
Plain old shrimp cocktail is nice and all, but grilled shrimp with Marie Rose sauce is where it’s really at. The smoky flavors from the grill are matched by the dip’s turbo-charged combination of mayo, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Get our Smoky Grilled Shrimp with Marie Rose Sauce recipe.
Alabama-style white BBQ sauce is perhaps one of the South’s best kept culinary secrets. The mayonnaise-based condiment brings all the creamy, finger-licking fun you never knew you wanted in barbecued chicken, giving all those tomato-y sauces a very good run for their money. Get our White Barbecue Sauce recipe.
Mayo on pizza could probably make any hardened Neapolitan or Sicilian scream. In Japan, however, it’s par for the course. Pair it up with other Japanese ingredients, like shishito peppers and wasabi, for an east-meets-west sort of slice. Or try this BLT Pizza with Garlic-Mayo Pizza Sauce recipe for a fabulous twist on your favorite sandwich.
Want to make a better grilled cheese sandwich? Slather the outsides of the bread with mayo before putting it in the pan. Not only will the slices toast to a perfect golden, you’ll get a hint of tanginess that plays well with the cheese inside. Try the same trick with our Patty Melt recipe, or this Umami Grilled Cheese.
The Sonoran hot dog, which is something of a cult favorite in the Southwest and Northern Mexico, is all about excess. Between the pinto beans, avocado, jalapeño, and bacon, there’s so much going on that the squiggle of mayo on top almost seems like an afterthought. By comparison, our banh mi-inspired hot dog with cilantro, pickled veggies, and Sriracha with a mayo finish seems almost restrained. Get our Banh Mi Hot Dog recipe.
Most of us would rather not think about all the mayonnaise that goes into crudité dips, but it’s the reason they’re so incredibly delicious. This version with fresh spinach, scallion, carrot, garlic, and onion only contains 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, plus sour cream for extra richness and is healthier than most, but still tastes indulgent. Get our Fresh Spinach Dip recipe.
A dip in mayo and fresh thyme plus a coating of panko and shredded cheese makes for the best baked chicken breasts you’ll ever eat. They’re simultaneously crisp and juicy, and perfect for weeknight dinner. Get our Baked Chicken Breast recipe.
Mayonnaise is so versatile, it even does dessert. Before you call foul, consider (as previously mentioned) that mayonnaise is really just oil and eggs, and those are in lots of baked goods. This secret-ingredient chocolate cake is rich and moist and perfect with peppermint buttercream, or any other frosting recipe you want to swap in. Get the Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake recipe.
Patatas bravas, the Spanish tapas dish of potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce, just isn’t the same without some garlicky aioli to temper the heat. Our Americanized version swaps in some crispy homemade tots, making the case that fried spuds and mayo do belong together, after all. Get our Potato Tots Bravas recipe.
Header image by Chowhound.