Although traditional mayo typically contains no gluten, some grocery store varieties do not state this on their labels.
Mayonnaise, or “mayo”, is a thick and creamy condiment that people commonly add to sandwiches, salads, burgers, and dips.
Sometimes, however, the product labeling on mayo products is not clear on whether they are suitable for people following a gluten-free diet.
This article explores what ingredients traditional mayo consists of, how to make gluten-free mayo at home, and what to look out for when shopping for gluten-free mayo.
Food manufacturers produce traditional mayonnaise by slowly adding oil to raw egg yolks and adding an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice. This creates an emulsion comprising around
Store varieties of mayonnaise contain binding agents and preservatives that extend its life. They may also contain pasteurized eggs, which can help these products keep for longer.
There are many popular mayonnaise variations. Using different oils, acids, mustards, herbs, and spices can change its flavor profile considerably.
Gluten refers to proteins found naturally in cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, and spelt.
Over recent decades, the number of people who suspect they have gluten sensitivity has risen. Research suggests around 1% of the population are affected by celiac disease, the most severe form of gluten sensitivity.
Eating foods containing gluten, such as bread, pasta, cereals, baked goods, and beverages, including beer, triggers an immune response in individuals with celiac disease.
This immune reaction can cause inflammation and damage to the small intestine.
Other symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity include:
With a growing awareness of gluten sensitivity, more people are choosing to follow a gluten-free diet. There is also a wider choice of gluten-free foods available to buy.
When it comes to mayo, its traditional ingredients are usually gluten free.
However, according to the Gluten Intolerance Group, those with celiac disease should avoid mayonnaise made using malt vinegar, as it derives from barley, a gluten-containing grain.
Mayonnaise can also become
Cross-contamination can also occur once a jar is open. For example, reinserting a knife into a jar of mayo might allow breadcrumbs into the pot, which contaminates it with a small amount of gluten. To avoid this problem, a person may consider buying mayo in a squeezable bottle.
Research has found that people with celiac disease should limit their daily gluten intake to no more than
Most food stores now have a dedicated “free-from” aisle where shoppers can find gluten-free foods.
When looking for gluten-free mayo, a person can check the label carefully for the following terms:
- gluten free
- free from gluten
- without gluten
- no gluten
It is also important to note that prepackaged sandwiches and salads can also contain mayo, so check the labels before purchasing.
In addition, at restaurants, ask staff whether they use gluten-free mayo before ordering.
The following brands label their mayonnaise as suitable for gluten-free diets:
- Best foods
- Sir Kensington’s
- Primal Kitchen
- Blue Plate
Making mayonnaise at home is easy and perhaps the way to make sure it does not contain gluten.
Most people already have the ingredients for home-made mayonnaise in their store cupboards.
The following recipe uses regular, raw eggs, but pasteurized eggs can replace them to extend the shelf-life of the mayonnaise. These are available in most grocery stores.
A person can use any oil in this recipe, but flavorsome oils, such as olive oil, might overpower the taste of the mayonnaise. Neutral-tasting oils, such as grapeseed, safflower, avocado, and canola, offer a cleaner taste.
Gluten-free mayonnaise recipe
To make a gluten-free mayo at home, a person can use the following recipe:
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
- 250 ml canola oil
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- After separating the egg yolks and whites, place the yolks in a bowl with the mustard.
- Add salt and pepper, then whisk together well.
- While whisking, drizzle in a drop of oil and whisk until completely combined.
- Add another drop of oil and repeat until they combine and start to thicken.
- Once the mixture thickens, add a bit more oil at a time. Be patient here — adding the oil too quickly will cause the mayo to split and curdle.
- After adding all the oil, whisk the vinegar or lemon juice into the mayonnaise.
- Keep the mayo in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Traditional recipe mayonnaise does not contain gluten. However, there are store varieties that might contain the substance.
Therefore, unless a jar or bottle of mayonnaise states it is gluten free, it is safer to assume it is not.
Making gluten-free mayonnaise at home is a safe option for people who wish to avoid gluten.