Mayonnaise is arguably the best condiment for the keto diet. Not only does it add a satisfying creaminess to keto meals, but mayo can provide us with a zero-carb source of healthy fats, micronutrients, and antioxidants as well.
Unfortunately, not every mayo you find in the store will be optimal for your health. Many mayo products and recipes use unhealthy oils and added sugars, so it is important to be mindful of what you buy and make to get the results you want with keto.
In this guide, we will walk you through the world of mayo from the store shelves to your kitchen with all the information you need to make the best choice for your keto lifestyle.
Here’s a quick overview of the mayo-related topics we will cover in this post:
What is Mayonnaise Exactly?
At its core, mayonnaise consists of the following ingredients:
- Whole eggs and/or egg yolks
- Some form of oil or a blend of oils (soybean, canola, olive, and avocado are most common)
- Some sort of acidic component (usually lemon juice or vinegar)
However, by simply mixing these together, you’d end up with an embarrassingly runny hodgepodge of ingredients. The secret to mayo’s satisfying creaminess is a process called emulsification.
Emulsification is what allows the egg yolk and oil to transform from a liquid mixture to a creamy keto condiment. However, this transformation can only occur when the ingredients are within the right temperature range and blended together in the proper way.
That being said, we must also consider the carb content and quality of the ingredients found in the mayo as well. While the emulsification process is crucial for creaminess, the ingredients are what determine how flavorful, healthy, and keto-friendly your mayo is.
Is Mayo Good for Keto? Carbs in Mayo and Other Considerations
From the perspective of net carbs and fat content, full-fat mayo is keto-friendly. Since it is so high in fat and very low in carbs and protein, mayonnaise is one of the best keto condiments for adding more fat to your diet.
Even the cheaper mayo products with added sugars are still low enough in carbs that they can be used on keto. However, for optimal health and fat loss, it is crucial that you consider the quality of the ingredients in your mayo as well.
The best mayo for keto will be one that is both healthy and keto-friendly for you. The first step on your path to finding the right product or recipe starts with mayo’s primary ingredient: Oil.
Best and Worst Oils for Keto Mayonnaise
The first ingredient in your mayo should always be oil or a blend of oils. A high-quality product for keto will have one or more of the following healthy oils:
- Olive oil (extra virgin is the healthiest option) — With a wide array of healthy fats and health-promoting polyphenols, extra virgin olive oil is one of all-around best oils for keto. If you find extra virgin to be too bitter, try using regular olive oil.
- Avocado oil — This is one of the most popular oils used in healthy keto mayo because of its neutral flavor and high monounsaturated fat
- MCT oil — If you need a quick energy and ketone boost, look for mayo with MCT oil in it or make it yourself using the recipes in the homemade keto mayo section below.
- High-oleic sunflower or high-oleic safflower oil — “high-oleic” refers to a type of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid. Similar to avocado oil, these oils are neutral in flavor and packed with healthy fats.
- Coconut oil — Along the same line as MCT oil, coconut oil has ketone-boosting fatty acids in it as well. This is a good option if you don’t have access to an MCT-oil-based keto mayo.
The above options are your best choice for keto-friendly mayo and an overall healthy keto lifestyle. If you’d like to see a more in-depth explanation, feel free to read our guide to the best (and worst) keto oils to use.
Unfortunately, not all products are made with these oils. You will often find mayonnaise featuring one or more of the following oils that we recommend avoiding on keto:
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Regular sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Regular safflower oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Grapeseed oil
Soybean oil is the most common ingredient found in store-bought mayo. Though this oil contains some healthy fats, it also comes with a high dose of polyunsaturated fatty acids that quickly break down into toxic by-products when exposed to heat, air, or light.
The other oils are on this list because they are filled with delicate polyunsaturated fats as well. For optimal health, it is best to avoid these oils on keto.
Other Common Mayonnaise Ingredients: What to Look for and Avoid for Optimal Health
After high-quality oil(s), the rest of the ingredients list for the best keto mayos will read something like this:
- Eggs — You’ll find whole eggs and/or egg yolks in most mayos (except for vegan mayo, which we will learn about later). The healthiest egg variety (for us, the hens, and the environment) will be local pasture-raised eggs. Many mayo brands say they use “cage-free” eggs as if they are a better option. However, “cage-free” doesn’t ensure humane living conditions and healthy diets for the hens.
- Lemon juice and/or vinegar — Both are used in mayo to boost the flavor with some acidity. While both contain some carbs, they are used in such small amounts in mayo that you’ll only get a minuscule amount of net carbs from them.
- Salt — Not only will it enhance the flavor, but salt can help stave off fatigue and other keto-flu symptoms while you are restricting carbs.
- Mustard — Whether it’s dijon, seed powder, or mustard flour, mustard is a common ingredient in mayo due to its flavor and emulsifying properties. Since it is also keto-friendly and adds some antioxidants and micronutrients to your meal, mustard is an excellent ingredient for keto mayo.
- Rosemary extract — A natural preservative that extends shelf-life and adds a nice touch of flavor.
Conversely, common ingredients that are best avoided for optimal health include the following:
- Sugar — Many of the popular mayo brands contain some added sugars, but such a small amount is in each tablespoon that they can technically be considered as keto-friendly. For optimal health and sustained ketosis, however, it is best to opt for sugar-free mayo made with healthy oils and ingredients.
- Artificial preservatives — Potassium sorbate and calcium disodium EDTA are two of the most common preservatives found in cheaper store-bought mayos. Though both of them are safe in the small amounts used in mayo, their consumption has been associated with negative side effects for some people.
- Modified food starch — This ingredient is produced by using potentially toxic chemicals and has a high risk of contamination with common allergens. It will also contribute trace amounts of net carbs to your diet.
Keep in mind, however, that these ingredients are generally regarded as safe in low doses for most people. We recommend avoiding them simply because they do not promote health. Plus, there are plenty of better options to choose from.
Which Mayonnaise is Best for the Keto Diet? Healthiest Store-Bought Brands
Equipped with the lists of ideal keto mayo ingredients, let’s take a walk through the grocery store and learn about the top brands and products. Each mayo found below is sugar-free, zero-carb, and contains 100% healthy oils and ingredients:
- Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo — Primal Kitchen prides itself on using the purest ingredients, which helped them create a healthy and undeniably tasty mayo. Primal Kitchen Mayo comes in three zero-carb flavors: Mayo, Chipotle Lime, and Garlic Aioli.
- Tessemae’s Organic Mayo — This is a high-oleic sunflower oil mayo with a bit more acidity than the other brands. Tessemae’s makes three flavors: Organic Mayonnaise, Organic Ranch Mayonnaise, and Organic Habanero Mayo. Each one has zero grams of carbs and provides us with a great source of healthy fat and flavor.
- Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo — Chosen Foods makes a line of keto-friendly mayonnaise that are all sugar-free and zero carb (except for their vegan mayo). Their mayo flavors include Traditional, Harissa, Black Garlic, and Wasabi. They also make “Keto Mayo.”
- Chosen Foods Keto Mayo — The only reason why this is called “keto mayo” is that they use coconut oil instead of avocado oil. Since coconut oil contains some MCTs, this mayo can promote an increase in ketone production. As with the other Chosen Foods mayos, their Keto Mayo is sugar-free and zero carb.
- Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Mayo — This mayo comes with a nice kick of sour flavor and has zero grams of carbs. Though Sir Kensington’s makes other mayo flavors, each one contains regular sunflower oil, which is not optimal from a health perspective.
Best Egg-free, Vegan Mayo Options for the Keto Diet
Whether you have an egg protein allergy, egg sensitivity, or you are looking to cut animal products out of your diet, you can still have mayo on keto. Here are a few of the healthiest vegan mayo options you can find in the store:
- Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Fabanaise — Don’t let the name fool you, this tastes just like regular mayo. The “fab” refers to aquafaba, which is the viscous liquid left behind after chickpeas are soaked in water. Sir Kensington’s uses the egg mimicking properties of aquafaba to help emulsify the oil into a creamy and flavorful vegan mayo. Though each tablespoon is listed as having zero carbs, it does have some added sugars. For this reason, you’ll likely get closer to 0.5 grams of net carbs per serving, not zero grams.
- Follow Your Heart Soy-Free Vegenaise — This vegan mayo relies on a small amount of pea protein and brown rice syrup to replace the egg yolk. As with the Fabanaise, this vegenaise comes with added sugars (from the brown rice syrup). Though each tablespoon serving is listed as having zero carbs, it likely comes with around 0.5 grams of net carbs per serving.
- Chosen Foods Vegan Avocado Oil Mayo — Chosen Foods also discovered the magic of aquafaba. This vegan mayo has a bit more added sugar than the other two options, resulting in 1 gram of net carbs per tablespoon.
What About Popular Budget-friendly Mayo Brands? Carbs in Duke’s, Hellman’s, Best Foods, etc.
We are often asked about common mayo brands, such as Duke’s, Hellman’s, Best Foods, Heinz, Kewpie, and Kraft, with the simple question: Is it keto-friendly?
The short answer is yes, but only for their traditional mayo products. Real mayonnaise — where oil is first on the ingredients list — is what I am referring to here.
If we only look at the carb content in each tablespoon, the regular mayo for each popular brand typically has ~0 grams of net carbs. This includes:
- Duke’s Real Mayonnaise
- Heinz Real Mayonnaise
- Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
- Kewpie Mayonnaise
- Great Value Mayo
- Blue Plate Real Mayonnaise
- Kraft Real Mayo
- Trader Joe’s Real Mayonnaise*
- Whole Foods 365 Mayonnaise*
- Mayo packets/sachets containing the above mayos
That being said, the only mayo products on this list that are 100% sugar-free are those with an asterisk (*). All others contain added sugars.
If the product you use does have added sugar, it is better to count each serving as 0.5 grams of net carbs rather than zero.
This is why it is crucial that you read the ingredients list (as well as the carb content) when buying mayo. The only time you should skip reading the ingredients altogether is when you come across one of the following mayo-based products.
The Worst Mayonnaise for Keto: What to Avoid
In general, you want to avoid any mayo or mayo-like product that is lower in fat or has a sweeter flavor than regular mayo. This includes:
- Light mayo
- Fat-free mayo
- Reduced-fat mayo
- Miracle Whip
- Sweet-flavored mayo (BBQ, honey mustard, honey, etc.)
Each one is lower fat and higher in carbs than real mayo, which is the exact opposite of what you want for keto success.
Buying Tips for Finding Mayo that is Keto-friendly and Healthy
If you find yourself in the store and you’re not sure what to buy, make sure to check the ingredients list first. This will help you find what mayo is keto-friendly and healthy the quickest.
Ironically enough, many of the popular mayo brands will label their products as having 0 grams of sugar despite the fact that sugar is listed on their ingredients label (thanks to labeling-regulation loopholes).
The same holds true for cheaper mayo products that display olive oil or avocado oil on their label. In many cases, mayo producers will only add a small amount of healthier oils so that they can capitalize on the healthy aura that olive or avocado oil may provide for their products.
This is why we always recommend reading the ingredients list of any product before making a purchase. Use the information in the previous sections as your guide, and you’ll be able to navigate the shelves with ease.
That being said, when we add our budget into the mix, it can be challenging to fit the best possible mayo without running up your food bill. If you’d rather keep costs as low as possible without settling for a suboptimal store-bought mayo, your best option is to try making it at own.
Homemade DIY Keto Mayo: The Most Budget-friendly and Healthy Option
When it comes to making a keto-friendly mayo that is both healthy and cheap, there are several techniques and ingredients you can use depending on your budget and flavor preferences:
1. Authentic Keto Mayo (made with an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor)
Our most popular mayo recipe, Handcrafted Mayonnaise, has the perfect texture, satisfying flavors, and healthy ingredients you expect from a keto recipe.
On the recipe page, you’ll learn how to make it using an immersion blender, with alternative directions for a regular blender or food processor. You’ll also discover how to extend its expiration date by five months and enhance the flavor by using whey.
2. 5-minute Anchovy Mayo (made with a hand whisk)
If you only have access to a whisk and prefer a salty umami burst with your mayo, try making Anchovy Mayo. You can even sub-in your own ingredients after the yolk, mustard, and olive oil are fully emulsified to personalize your mayo flavor.
3. Two-Ingredient Keto Mayo: The Simplest and Cheapest DIY Option
Technically, all you need to make keto mayo is a high-quality oil, an egg yolk, a bowl, and a whisk.
To make a two-ingredient mayo, place the egg yolk in a deep, medium-sized metal or ceramic bowl. Since you’ll need one hand to add the oil and the other to whisk (or blend), make sure the bowl is on a non-slip surface. (One way to do this is by rolling a damp hand towel into a log and forming it into a circle that you can rest the bowl on.)
Prepare ¾ cup of oil in a ladle, cup, or bottle with a nozzle/spout. Slowly drip in the oil drop by drop, while whisking the oil into the yolk. Go slow, and don’t stop whisking!
Once you’ve added about half of the oil, you can start adding a few more drops of oil at once. If the mayo thickens so much that it’s too difficult to whisk, add a teaspoon or two of water, lemon juice, or vinegar to help thin it out.
Feel free to experiment with different spices, seasonings, lemon juice, vinegar, and/or keto sweeteners to get the right balance of flavor. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
How to Use Mayo on the Keto Diet: Low-carb Recipes, Tips, and Suggestions
Once you’ve found the right keto mayo for you, feel free to use it anytime you want to add more healthy fat, creaminess, and/or flavor to your keto meals. Here are the most common uses for mayo on the keto diet:
- Creamy salad dressing. Ranch, blue cheese, and even thousand island dressing all have one secret ingredient in common: Mayonaisse. Not only will keto-friendly versions of these dressings make any salad delicious, but they are one of the best ways to fit more healthy fats into your keto meals. If you’d like to learn how to make your favorite creamy dressings, check out our keto salad dressing guide.
- High-fat dip for keto chips and vegetables. Whether you make keto ranch, garlic aioli, or an onion dip, mayo will be one of the key ingredients. Serve it with a side of cheesy nachos, low carb tortilla chips, or keto-friendly vegetables for a satisfying snack or appetizer.
- Deviled eggs. This is one of the most flavorful ways to make eggs even better for keto. Try keto spicy deviled eggs for an extra kick or make these bacon deviled eggs if you are looking for another way to eat bacon.
- Egg, tuna, or chicken salad. Mayo helps turn these high-protein foods into an ideal keto meal. The beauty of these “salads” is that one tasty keto recipe can be applied to any leftover boiled eggs, tuna, or chicken you have. For example, our tuna salad recipe can serve as your staple for leftover chicken. But don’t forget to try this tangy bacon and egg salad as well.
- Keto “potato” salad. Regular potato salad is far from keto-friendly, but there is something about it that is uniquely satisfying, so we had to make a keto version with cauliflower.
- Keto-friendly BLT. There are plenty of ways you can work around the silent “B” (bread) in your BLT. The two most popular options are making a BLT salad or baking your own keto bread. In both cases, don’t forget to add the “M.”
- Low carb tartar sauce. Without mayo, tartar sauce wouldn’t have the creaminess and flavor that transforms a bland seafood dish into a culinary treat. Try having keto tartar sauce with these salmon patties to add another dimension to your weekly keto rotation.
- Creamy keto casserole. One of the best ways to ensure that you get plenty of fat, protein, and vegetables without slaving away in the kitchen every day is by making a keto casserole. Our Keto Ham and Broccoli Creamy Casserole, for example, brings everything together with a flavorful cream sauce composed of cream cheese, mayo, and full-fat Greek yogurt. With eight 400-calorie servings in each casserole, you’ll have reheatable keto meals for at least a few days.
- Keto coleslaw. Coleslaw is an incredible keto side with plenty of fat, flavor, and health benefits. Just make sure you skip the sugar, high-carb veggies, and fruit. To get started, follow this simple coleslaw recipe.
- As a versatile keto condiment. Mayo can make virtually any keto recipe better. From being the perfect topping for lamb burgers to serving as a satisfying dip for bacon wrapped asparagus, you can’t go wrong with some high-quality keto mayo. (Unless, of course, you eat too much of it.)
The Bigger Picture: Mayonnaise, the Ketogenic Diet, and Reaching Your Goals
Whether you buy the healthiest mayo, choose the cheaper option, or take the do-it-yourself route, it is always important to consider your mayo intake within the broader context of your keto lifestyle, overall health, and fat loss goals.
Although mayo is one of the best sources of healthy fat for keto success, those fats can still be turned into body fat and impair health when overconsumed.
The simplest way to find out if that extra keto mayo will slow your progress is by using our keto calculator. With these calculations, you can formulate your optimal keto lifestyle — one that allows you to indulge in the richness of mayo, improve your overall health, and lose fat at the same time.
To help you create the right diet for you, we’ve included links to a few helpful keto resources:
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