fb-pixel Skip to main content

Recipe: Homemade aioli with lemon and tarragon whips up quickly in a blender

Lemon-tarragon aioliSally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Makes 1¼ cups

Aioli, a versatile cold sauce of olive oil and garlic, made like mayonnaise, is native to the Mediterranean and on menus everywhere. This one, which whips up quickly in a blender, is bright with lemon and has a spicy, licorice-like note from fresh tarragon. First pulse the emulsifying agents — an egg yolk, Dijon mustard, lemon juice — then, with the machine running, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil (like canola), then olive oil (take care because extra-virgin olive oil will become bitter if over-processed). Stir in the chopped herb by hand at the end. Use aioli as a dip for crispy potatoes or roasted vegetables, or dollop the creamy sauce beside grilled fish or steamed artichokes.


1egg yolk
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
1tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
1clove garlic, finely chopped
¼teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black pepper
½cup canola oil
½cup olive oil
1tablespoon warm water
5sprigs tarragon, leaves chopped

1. In a blender, combine the yolk, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse for 10 seconds.

2. With the blender running, remove the insert in the lid. Slowly drizzle in a few tablespoons of canola oil; blend for 10 seconds. Stop the blender, remove the lid, and scrape down the sides of the jar with a rubber spatula.

3. Replace the lid, start the machine again, and slowly drizzle in the remaining canola oil, followed by the olive oil. Blend just until a smooth mayonnaise forms.

4. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the tarragon. If the mixture seems thick, stir in 1 tablespoon water a few drops at a time. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, and more salt and pepper, if you like. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; cover and refrigerate. Michelle-Marie Gilkeson

Michelle-Marie Gilkeson can be reached at michelle.marie.gilkeson@gmail.com.