The Ultimate Guide: Does Mayo Have Dairy?

Does Mayo have dairy in it? This is a very common question. The answer is no; mayo does not contain any dairy products. People call mayo dairy think this because mayo is usually found near dairy in grocery stores.

However, the ingredients used to make mayonnaise are oil, eggs, and vinegar. So, it is considered a condiment instead of a milk product. So next time you’re at the store, don’t grab the wrong thing! Mayo goes great on sandwiches and salads or as a dip and can be tricky if you have allergies or dietary restrictions.

In this blog post, we’ll rid all misconceptions related to Mayo. Keep reading to find out, “Does mayo have dairy in it?”

Understanding Mayo and Dairy

If you’ve ever gotten food from McDonald’s, then I’m pretty sure you know what mayo tastes like. However, Mayo is known for its creamy texture for those who live under rocks and don’t know what it is.

It’s an emulsion of oil, egg yolk, and an acid (usually vinegar or lemon juice). Despite being creamy, Mayonnaise doesn’t contain dairy at its core. Cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt are all made from milk, which comes from dairy but not mayo.

Mayo is made from eggs, which are not considered dairy products. Dairy refers to products made from the milk of mammals, such as cows, goats, and sheep.

Mayonnaise is typically made by combining oil and egg yolks with an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to create a thick and creamy texture. Some commercial mayonnaise brands may also include ingredients like mustard, sugar, or spices for flavor.

While mayo is often found in the same section as dairy products in grocery stores, it does not contain any milk or milk-derived ingredients. However, it’s important to note that some store-bought mayonnaise brands may add cream or milk powder to their recipes, so it is always a good idea to check the ingredient list if you have dairy allergies or dietary restrictions.

In summary, most mayo often does not have dairy in it as it is made from oil, eggs, and vinegar. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the ingredient list to ensure there are no added dairy products if you have specific dietary needs.

american salad
Image by Sinan COŞKUN from Pixabay

The Importance of Dairy-Free Options

To some people, finding foods that are free from dairy isn’t just important; it’s essential! If someone with a severe dairy allergy1 were to consume a single milk product, they could potentially die!

They might get bloated and feel sick for hours after too though! For these reasons, vegans also choose to exclude anything dairy-free diet that comes from animals including milk because of ethical reasons.

So, knowing whether or not traditional recipes like mayo contain dairy can save lives!

Ingredients in Traditional Mayo

Key Components of Traditional Mayo

Traditional mayonnaise only contains 3 main things:

  1. Oil Can be vegetable, canola, or even olive oil. It’s the base of the emulsion.
  2. Egg yolks — Help to thicken and hold its form together.
  3. An Acid — Adds tanginess and keeps it stable.

Potential Dairy-Derived Ingredients

Dairy has no place in Mayo. But sometimes, natural flavors or modified food starch2 — both of which can come from dairy — sneak their way into the mix.

So unless you see a warning about dairy, there’s no need to worry about hidden dairy ingredients making an unwelcome appearance in your mayo jar.

When Allergens Run Amok

It’s easy enough to understand how eggs and dairy might get confused with one another in a field like food science. If you haven’t seen the memes yet, just know this: They come from different animals (eggs from chickens; milk from mammals like cows).

The reason eggs and yogurt are often placed next to one another at grocery stores is simply because their shelves fit together nicely. “Eggs and dairy are often used interchangeably in recipes for things like baking and cooking,” said Megan Byrd, a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of The Oregon Dietitian.

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

But that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. The same goes for flour and sugar: Just because they look similar doesn’t mean you can swap one out for the two other ingredients without ruining your recipe.

If you’re allergic to other milk products but not egg, then it’s fine. You may proceed with caution when using mayo. But remember that cross-contamination3 can still occur during production, so be sure to choose only brands certified as free from allergen contact.

Otherwise, if eggs are what bother you, then by all means, slather away (as long as it isn’t mixed with any dairy products or egg yolks).

And if neither bothers you?

More power to you if you don’t have any dietary restrictions holding you back from enjoying every condiment known to man at your leisure! You can add mayo to your diet.

How do I Make Homemade Mayo without Eggs?

Yes! And while animal sources like egg yolks are popular emulsifiers4 in this sauce, they’re not the only — or even the most essential — component.

Egg yolks act as a good source of lecithin5 to stabilize the mix. But this fatty compound isn’t exclusive to eggs: It’s also found in soybean and sunflower seeds (making it a common ingredient in many processed foods).

So, while you may not have any trouble replacing eggs when making vegan-friendly pastries or scrambles, mayo demands a more particular set of alternatives.

home cooking
Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

For Your Next Homemade Batch

If your go-to recipe calls for beaten egg yolk plus vinegar or lemon juice (some recipes use both) before adding vegetable or light olive oil, keep these dairy substitutes in mind:

  1. If you need vinegar: Use white wine instead.
  2. Substituting for lemon juice: Lime juice or orange juice.
  3. Replacing vegetable oil: Opt for extra virgin olive oil or sunflower seed oil.

And don’t forget about aquafaba6! This is the liquid from canned chickpeas that can be whipped up into meringue or mayo-like sauces when used as an egg substitute.


Here’s how to make your dairy-free mayo at home:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of aquafaba with 1 tablespoon of vinegar substitute (or citrusy alternative). Whisk together until blended.
  2. Slowly pour ½ cup of your chosen milk alternative into the bowl while continuing to whisk vigorously.
  3. Once everything is well incorporated, you can stop whisking and slowly pour in 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil or a combo of extra virgin and sunflower seed oils. Whisk gently until the mixture thickens to a mayo consistency.
  4. Transfer your creation to a lidded container, refrigerate, and use within two weeks.
  5. Drizzle in 1 cup of avocado oil, sunflower oil, or soybean oil while whisking the mixture. This will create an emulsion and thicken the mayo.
  6. Whisk until the mixture is thick and creamy like traditional mayo.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired by adding salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other preferred seasonings.
  8. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to meld together.

Note: Homemade dairy-free mayo typically has a shorter shelf life than store-bought mayo, so it’s best used within one week.

By following this recipe, you’ll have made dairy-free mayo that can be used by those with allergies, dietary restrictions, or plant-based options!

For health reasons, some people choose to avoid dairy entirely. Traditional mayo is safe for those who are dairy-free due to health reasons. They can also eat eggless or vegan mayo as well!

does mayo have dairy
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Mayo for Vegan/Vegetarian Diets

Vegans and vegetarians don’t eat animal products but they still need their fix of tangy goodness too! While traditional mayo contains eggs there are many vegan alternatives available that use ingredients like soy milk or aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas) etc. Some popular vegan Mayo brands include Just Mayo Vegenaise, Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, and more.

Overall, there are plenty of dairy-free mayonnaise options available for individuals with dietary restrictions/preferences whether store-bought or homemade these alternatives provide the same creamy texture and tangy flavor as traditional mayonnaise making it easy to enjoy your favorite recipes without any negative health effects!

Label Reading & Selection

Interpreting Ingredient Labels

Understanding labels is key when selecting mayonnaise, especially for those with dietary restrictions. Ingredients to look out for include lactose milk protein hydrolysates7 and terms like ‘natural flavor’ that could encompass dairy derivatives. Certifications like ‘dairy-free’ or ‘vegan’ can also guide safe choices.

Several brands offer dairy-free mayo options. These often highlight ‘dairy-free’ or “gluten-free” on the packaging and provide ingredient transparency. Brands known for their vegan-friendly options often extend this to their eggless mayonnaise products, providing alternatives for those avoiding dairy or eggs.

does mayo have dairy
Photo by Kelsey Todd on Unsplash

Final Thoughts on Does Mayo Have Dairy!

Mayonnaise is not considered a dairy- product by classic recipe standards because no milk-based ingredients are used in its creation. For those requiring dairy-free diets due to allergies ethical choices or health reasons – you’re a good baby! There are enough options out there for you, too! With careful consideration of ingredients and clear labeling, everyone can enjoy this delicious condiment regardless of whether they have dietary restrictions/preferences or not!

Whether you choose traditional mayo, lactose-free mayo, vegan mayo, or any other dairy-free alternative, you can still enjoy the creamy texture and tangy flavor that mayo adds to your favorite dishes. Just remember to read labels carefully and look for certifications like ‘dairy-free’ or ‘vegan’ to ensure you make a safe and suitable choice. With so many options available, there’s no need to compromise on taste or dietary needs when it comes to mayo.


  1. Jaiswal, L., & Worku, M. (2022). Recent perspective on cow’s milk allergy and dairy nutrition. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition62(27), 7503-7517. ↩︎
  2. Zhang, B., Qiao, D., Zhao, S., Lin, Q., Wang, J. and Xie, F., 2021. Starch-based food matrices containing protein: Recent understanding of morphology, structure, and properties. Trends in Food Science & Technology114, pp.212-231. ↩︎
  3. Possas, A., & Pérez-Rodríguez, F. (2023). New insights into cross-contamination of fresh-produce. Current Opinion in Food Science49, 100954. ↩︎
  4. Taha, A., Ahmed, E., Ismaiel, A., Ashokkumar, M., Xu, X., Pan, S., & Hu, H. (2020). Ultrasonic emulsification: An overview on the preparation of different emulsifiers-stabilized emulsions. Trends in Food Science & Technology105, 363-377. ↩︎
  5. Bot, Francesca, Daniel Cossuta, and James A. O’Mahony. “Inter-relationships between composition, physicochemical properties and functionality of lecithin ingredients.” Trends in Food Science & Technology 111 (2021): 261-270. ↩︎
  6. He, Yue, et al. “Standardization of aquafaba production and application in vegan mayonnaise analogs.” Foods 10.9 (2021): 1978. ↩︎
  7. Tkaczewska, Joanna. “Peptides and protein hydrolysates as food preservatives and bioactive components of edible films and coatings-A review.” Trends in Food Science & Technology 106 (2020): 298-311. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology


Saket Kumar
Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology

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