What is Aioli?

Put very simply it means Garlic and Oil in Catalan and Provencal, but that’s not its entirety and if you try and blend garlic and oil together, then I’m sorry to disappoint but it’s not going to work out too well.


What’s most similar to Aioli is Mayonnaise. So are they the same? Well they are both emulsions. “And what is that exactly?” Well an emulsion is when you combine ingredients, that put simply, don’t want to be; sounds very coercive I know. The best example is oil and water, if you pour one into the other they will remain separate. However, add some lemon juice and give it all a mix and you’ll end up with a union of oil, water and lemon juice. Just like that, you have an Emulsion.

There are certain ingredients such as mustard, lemon, garlic and egg that are natural emulsifiers and will help bind water and oil. This is where Aioli and Mayonnaise differ, traditional Aioli is made without any egg, whereas Mayonnaise does have egg. Making it without egg makes it a more precarious process and (as we’ve found out) during certain times of the year when the garlic cloves holds more or less water, will cause your Aioli to split.

A tip from me to you, the best time to make Aioli is during July to September as the garlic has been left to dry further in the sun.


You can often tell the difference between a traditional Aioli and an Aioli that has egg. Traditionally the texture isn’t so much creamy like a Mayonnaise, instead it is quite buttery, like in the picture. In fact, it is nicknamed the ‘Beurre de Provence’ (butter of Provence).

Since I was a kid my favourite way to have Aioli has always been straight out of the jar without a nice crusty baguette, which if i’m lucky, will be warm.

Want some more ideas? Try some of our Aioli ‘recipes’

Want to learn more about Aioli? Visit: https://forknplate.com/2015/02/25/aioli-sauce-ancients/