Aioli is arguably the greatest cold sauce of all time. Yet it's nothing more than olive oil emulsified into freshly crushed garlic, seasoned simply with salt and lemon. This is pure, fiery, intense garlic flavor like you may have never tasted.

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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place garlic slices in a mortar with kosher salt. Mash with the pestle into a fine paste, 4 or 5 minutes. Mix in lemon juice. Add a teaspoon of olive oil; stir and mash until oil is incorporated. Add another teaspoon and mix in thoroughly. Continue incorporating olive oil, teaspoon by teaspoon, mashing and stirring until aioli thickens up. If the aioli gets thicker than you like, add a few drops of water.

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Chef's Notes:

Aioli is best eaten fresh, but should be okay for about 24 hours.

Tips

Since this sauce has such a sharp, hot flavor from the garlic, you don't want to use a really strongly flavored olive oil. We don't want anything too peppery and bitter, which will clash with the garlic. Use something on the mild side, or cut with a neutral vegetable oil.

Nutrition Facts

173.2 calories; 0.2 g protein; 1.2 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 160.6 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (12)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
05/02/2019
Real aioli is really good. However, I have some tips from many failed attempts at getting this right so that any aspiring aioli artisans can learn from my mistakes. 1) You need to get your garlic as fine as possible before you start building your sauce. You don't HAVE TO, but it will take a really long time to come together if you don't. I recommend a garlic press, as it will get your garlic basically all the way there. 2) Chef John might say your choice of mortar and pestle doesn't make a difference, but that is only if you don't care how long it takes you to get this thing to come together. I have multiple M&Ps and the harder and rougher the material, the easier this is to do. Skip the wooden ones and go with granite or marble if you have it. 3) This emulsion is NOT surprisingly stable. If you add even a drop too much of oil while you are making this, you are screwed. You need to be adding this 1/2 a teaspoon at a time for most of the process, and only towards the end can you start going full teaspoons. If at any point you pour oil into this, its gone. 4) He is right about being careful with the lemon juice, not only is flavor a concern, but you might start to break the sauce if you introduce too much liquid. 5) Because this is so simple, use the best quality ingredients you can. I made this with industrial olive oil, minced garlic from a container, and bottled lemon juice once just to see how it turned out, and it wasn't terrible, but its not good. Read More
(10)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
10/27/2018
In the future I'm just going to not care about whether or not my aioli is "real" because I need an egg yolk here. I've already (successfully and satisfactorily) made regular mayonnaise from scratch, so I know that I can really pour slow and whisk fast to get that emulsion. I've got that skill down. IT TOOK ME 45 MINUTES TO WIND UP WITH A BOWL OF GREEN GARLIC SOUP. John also uses clever video editing so you never really know how long he took for each step, just that it somehow all comes together in 15 minutes. Yeah right John, I'm sure. He also doesn't tell you what to do if your emulsion breaks. I added a little water the first time and got it back on track. Please don't follow John's advice and do it all in the mortar, and don't start adding a little more oil each time after you get going. Once you get a good paste going just switch to a bigger bowl and whisk, and keep adding only by a teaspoon at a time. I did it John's way and paid the price. My emulsion broke the second time near the end and now I can't get it back. Gonna add an egg yolk. Oh well at least it tastes good. Thoughts for "next time" are that I'm just going to use my mayonnaise recipe and add garlic from a garlic press. I won't call it aioli I promise. I'll call it John's garlic mayo. Read More
(2)
13 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
05/02/2019
Real aioli is really good. However, I have some tips from many failed attempts at getting this right so that any aspiring aioli artisans can learn from my mistakes. 1) You need to get your garlic as fine as possible before you start building your sauce. You don't HAVE TO, but it will take a really long time to come together if you don't. I recommend a garlic press, as it will get your garlic basically all the way there. 2) Chef John might say your choice of mortar and pestle doesn't make a difference, but that is only if you don't care how long it takes you to get this thing to come together. I have multiple M&Ps and the harder and rougher the material, the easier this is to do. Skip the wooden ones and go with granite or marble if you have it. 3) This emulsion is NOT surprisingly stable. If you add even a drop too much of oil while you are making this, you are screwed. You need to be adding this 1/2 a teaspoon at a time for most of the process, and only towards the end can you start going full teaspoons. If at any point you pour oil into this, its gone. 4) He is right about being careful with the lemon juice, not only is flavor a concern, but you might start to break the sauce if you introduce too much liquid. 5) Because this is so simple, use the best quality ingredients you can. I made this with industrial olive oil, minced garlic from a container, and bottled lemon juice once just to see how it turned out, and it wasn't terrible, but its not good. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
02/03/2017
I used my mortar and pestle and although it took a good bit of time to get it thoroughly emulsified it was definitely worth it! So yummy! It's certainly not mayonnaise. And it's suitable for those who choose a vegan diet. I think it will go great with several of my favorite things:) Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
11/08/2017
I made this exactly as written in my mortar and pestle. It does take some time to come together but it's so worth the wait. This packs a lot garlic flavour and a little goes a long way. Thanks! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 2 stars
10/27/2018
In the future I'm just going to not care about whether or not my aioli is "real" because I need an egg yolk here. I've already (successfully and satisfactorily) made regular mayonnaise from scratch, so I know that I can really pour slow and whisk fast to get that emulsion. I've got that skill down. IT TOOK ME 45 MINUTES TO WIND UP WITH A BOWL OF GREEN GARLIC SOUP. John also uses clever video editing so you never really know how long he took for each step, just that it somehow all comes together in 15 minutes. Yeah right John, I'm sure. He also doesn't tell you what to do if your emulsion breaks. I added a little water the first time and got it back on track. Please don't follow John's advice and do it all in the mortar, and don't start adding a little more oil each time after you get going. Once you get a good paste going just switch to a bigger bowl and whisk, and keep adding only by a teaspoon at a time. I did it John's way and paid the price. My emulsion broke the second time near the end and now I can't get it back. Gonna add an egg yolk. Oh well at least it tastes good. Thoughts for "next time" are that I'm just going to use my mayonnaise recipe and add garlic from a garlic press. I won't call it aioli I promise. I'll call it John's garlic mayo. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
01/08/2018
I absolutely love this Aoli... I have never had Aoli until I saw chef johns recipe. I never even heard of it. I LOVE garlic. I use it on so many things now.... Tostones is a Spanish snack I guess you d say... I never even eat them with putting homemade Aoli on them... I put it on steak too. Thank you chef John. I know how to make this by heart... Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
01/11/2019
The recipe is perfect. The Aoli was delicious. I messed up by adding the oil too quickly an error that will be corrected the next time I make this! Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2019
It was delicious but to be fair I'm not used to using a mortar and pestle... I'll have to make it again. I added the oil much too quickly... Read More
Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2019
I made it with the type of M&P Chef uses and it was garlic soup no matter what I did. Then I used a fancy italian marble one with wooden pestle and it came together easily very thick. So the tool makes a difference. Williams Sonoma has them in stock where I live. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2018
Fantastic! Used mortar and pestle and plenty of elbow grease but came out perfect. Awesome for making garlic bread. Read More