What Is Aioli?

Aioli is a classic French dressing / sauce that’s known for being loaded with garlic. The name translates literally as “garlic oil” – which makes this a good time to remind you never to store raw galic in oil at room temperature.


There are many different recipes for aioli, however the classic is simply a combination of olive oil and crushed garlic. A common variant also uses egg yolks to thicken and give body to the sauce – here the aioli becomes more of a garlic mayonnaise. Making this can be a delicate process as there’s always a danger of the egg curdling. Other seasonings such as salt, pepper and lemon juice can be added, one of my favourites being mustard. Some people even like to include spicy ingredients such as chili peppers or hot sauce.

Aioli can be served with almost anything and is frequently eaten with fish, chicken or pasta. It can also be used as or dip or added to a sandwich (I love a thick sandwich made with strong cheddar and a good dollop of garlic mayo!).

Make or Buy?

I’m not giving a specific recipe for aioli because of the risks of garlic and oil. Since I learned of these dangers I prefer to play safe and no longer make it myself but instead think it best to buy it ready made.

If you do this, check the ingredients list for the product – some manufacturers label any old garlic flavoured sauce or mayonnaise as “aioli” or “aioli style”. Some of these concoctions are pretty foul, however there are also some brands out there which taste almost as good as home made. Obviously, for garlic lover the more garlic the better!