How to Choose a Healthy Mayo

By Nikki Doering, RD, LD
February 1, 2024


Salads made with mayonnaise are a summer favorite. However, you may be wondering, "Is mayonnaise healthy? Can mayo be part of a healthy diet?" The short answer is yes, but with an important caveat: not all commercial mayonnaise brands are created equal. 

So, how do we know if we are eating a healthy mayo made with healthy fats or a refined oil which may be doing more harm than good?  

In this article, we'll cover why eating mayonnaise can be part of your healthy food plan, what to look for in a traditional mayonnaise, and recipes for making your own and using it as part of a balanced diet. 

Let’s take a deeper look into keeping our bodies healthy with mayo as a healing fat. 

Is Mayonnaise Bad For You? 

At Nutritional Weight & Wellness we explain that healthy fats are important for healing our cells and bodies. We say things like, “eat fat to lose weight” and “eating dietary fat doesn’t make you fat.” There are a lot of reasons why healthy fat is important for the body and we recommend folks get a variety of healthy oils and healthy fats, like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and butter.  

For more information on healthy fats (and why we like eggs and the egg yolk too!), the article Heart-Healthy Fats Explained lays out all the details about saturated fat, polyunsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, and a list of our favorite healthy fats to include and fat intake recommendations. 


One fat we include in the list of healthy fats is mayonnaise – but just like any processed food, you need to look at the label to determine what is in the product. Not all brands of mayo are the same or have the same health benefits. 

When looking for a healthy version of mayo, you want to find one that has a cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oil, such as expeller-pressed safflower oil or cold-pressed avocado oil. Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils were made with the least amount of processing, meaning the oil was pressed out of the plant. The less the oil is processed, the healthier it is for our bodies. 

So with those qualifiers in mind (and if you’re writing your grocery list now!) here are our favorite kinds of mayonnaise. 

Look For Mayonnaise With Healthier Oils 

Benefits To Homemade Mayonnaise 

Making your own mayo may seem tedious when there are many mayonnaise brands on the market, but if you have a few minutes, the recipe couldn't be easier and the benefits are huge. You get to choose the quality of ingredients so you know exactly what's in it and the batch will last in a jar that seals well for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

The base for your own homemade mayonnaise is egg yolks, mustard (we like a good Dijon mustard), apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, an expeller-pressed healthy oil, and salt and pepper to taste. That's it!  

Put it all in a blender or use a hand-held mixer and you've got yourself a creamy condiment that hits your healthy fat macronutrient in dishes like tuna salad, egg salad, or potato salad (we like this one filled with other veggies too!). 

If you’re concerned about the risk of using raw eggs, just be sure you do use pasteurized eggs. For elders, pregnant women, children or anyone who’s immune-compromised, we would recommend using pasteurized eggs for this recipe. 

For those who prefer the zing of Miracle Whip, play with the acid ratio in your homemade mayonnaise. Maybe add a little more mustard, vinegar or lemon juice to see if you can get the right tang level for you.  


What To Avoid In Traditional Mayonnaise 

Now that you know the healthier alternatives to look for, let’s focus on what to avoid and why certain mayonnaise options aren’t healthy. Most commercial mayonnaise brands contain damaged vegetable oils in the form of refined oils. 

When a vegetable oil is refined it goes through a lengthy process including chemical processing and high-temperature heating which creates a damaged fat. These damaged fats are harder for our bodies to process and aren’t great for our health since they are inflammatory. 

Chronic inflammation can cause multiple health problems including weight gain and pain. These damaged oils can also increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases. 

Avoid Mayonnaise With Refined Oils 

When shopping for a new jar of mayo, stay away from any with these details on the label: 

  • Mayo made with soybean oil or other vegetable oils 

  • Traditional mayonnaise with olive oil but contains soybean oil and/or canola oil 

  • Miracle Whip made with soybean oil and added sugars, like high fructose corn syrup 

  • Reduced fat mayo or light mayo (more on this below) 

Mayo can be a great healthy fat to include in your balanced eating plan. Just remember to read labels when choosing which mayo to add to a grilled hamburger patty or mix into a chicken salad.  

Plus, don’t be overwhelmed to make your own homemade mayonnaise if you can’t find the brands I listed above; it couldn’t be easier and will probably be the best mayo you’ve ever had! 

Is Low Fat Mayonnaise Healthy? 

Because healthy fat has health benefits, like helping us absorb our fat soluble vitamins, we actually WANT the fat in regular mayonnaise, provided it's made from healthy oils like we listed above. If you are going to incorporate mayonnaise into your meal plans, we don't recommend reduced fat mayonnaise, fat free mayo, or light mayonnaise.  

Healthy fat mayonnaise is a calorie dense condiment, but if you are eating a real, whole foods diet with minimally processed foods, you won't need to worry about weight gain because you're getting in the right macronutrients of healthy fat, animal protein, vegetable and fruit carbohydrates. Our recommendation is to eat a serving of healthy fat at each meal and snack, plus 2 servings at lunch.  

Mayonnaise Alternatives 

Some folks just don't like consuming mayonnaise but need something with a creamy texture for dishes and sauces. Some healthy mayo alternatives would be using a full fat, plain Greek yogurt, mashed avocado, or just a mix of olive oil and an acidic liquid like red wine vinegar or lemon juice, like in this favorite potato salad recipe. These healthy fats also provide essential nutrients for a balanced diet, so it's a win-win. 

Enjoy Mayo In A Healthy Diet 

To recap, mayonnaise made from healthy oils like avocado oil and olive oil are a great healthy fat source to add to meals and snacks that need a creamy texture. Homemade mayo is your best bet for quality and is a simple recipe with egg yolks, mustard, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, expeller-pressed oil, salt and pepper.  

If you'd rather purchase a commercial mayonnaise to have on hand, look for one made with expeller-pressed avocado oil or safflower oil. Avoid mayonnaise with refined oils like canola oil, added sugars, and low fat options.  


Curious on How to Choose (or Make) a Healthy Salad Dressing?  

Additional Resources: 

Listen to the podcast episode All About Fat to learn about the health benefits of natural fat intake and why we don't recommend low fat nutrition. 

Try our favorite Chicken Salad Recipe - with a video for visual learners! 

Listen to the Ask a Nutritionist episode Egg Essentials on all you need to know about choosing the highest quality eggs.  



About the author

Nikki is a licensed dietitian at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Nikki has seen firsthand the tremendous impact nutrition can have on your brain and body. After suffering a concussion with a multitude of related symptoms, Nikki felt lost. “Fortunately I stumbled on a Dishing Up Nutrition podcast on just that topic full of nutrition advice that helped me immensely.” Nikki’s main goal was accomplished when she healed her brain and improved her memory and concentration. Nikki is a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian through the Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received her B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

View all posts by Nikki Doering, RD, LD


Trader Joe's makes a decent mayo, as well, using expeller pressed canola.
August 15, 2019 at 1:24 am


Expeller pressed canola oil is definitely better than regular canola oil and it’s alright to have some of it for most people, but expeller pressed canola oil is still more of an inflammatory fat then using a mayo with avocado oil.

All canola oil is GMO if not organic or specifically stated Non-GMO. I have also heard that safflower oil is not good, but can't remember why. I have not been able to find a safe mayonnaise and sure would like to. They all seem to have something in them that is not healthy.
August 15, 2019 at 4:29 pm


You could try making your own, we have a great recipe here for Homemade Mayo and this way you have full control over the ingredients added. It's easier then you would think. 

I have always thought you need to buy pasteurized eggs if you're making something with eggs that you won't be cooking. I didn't see mention of this in your mayo recipe.
Is it necessary to use pasteurized?
August 15, 2019 at 9:47 pm


If you’re concerned about the risk of using raw eggs, just be sure you do use pasteurized eggs. The elderly, pregnant women, children or anyone who’s immune-compromised we would recommend using pasteurized eggs for this recipe.

How long can you safely store "Eat This Mayonnaise" in the fridge?
August 16, 2019 at 3:03 pm


When stored in a glass jar that seals well, this Homemade Mayo will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Arlene Roehl
What is it that gives Miracle Whip it's 'zing'? If I could add that to home made Mayo, I think I'd be a happy camper. Otherwise, I stick to mustard...
August 17, 2019 at 11:50 pm


You could try this Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe and play with the acid ratio maybe add a little more mustard, lemon juice, or vinegar to see if you can get the right tang level for you. 

I appreciate Nikki Doering's (RD, LD) article about mayo -- and all the subsequent comments!
January 16, 2022 at 10:48 am


We're so glad you foudn the article helpful!

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