Are you a sucker for condiments? I love a good sauce or spread and this Basil Pesto Aioli, sometimes called Pesto Mayo, is moving to the top of my list pretty fast.
What's In This Article
Pesto aioli is the perfect condiment for so many different foods. With fresh flavors of basil and garlic, slather it on sandwiches, paninis or just use it to dip French fries.
Most people think that pesto aioli is as simple as mixing basil pesto with mayonnaise and essentially, that would make sense.
Ingredients for pesto are typically fresh basil, pine nuts, seasoning and olive oil. Mayonnaise made from eggs, oil and salt. But you can even make this version with a spinach pesto or sundried tomato pesto.
Actually, aioli and flavored mayonnaise are a little different, but for quick and easy aioli sauces, using mayo as a base is acceptable. At least in my world…
PRO TIP: Use fresh garlic opposed to pre minced jarred garlic. Jarred garlic is sweet while fresh will be more garlicky.
But if you simply mix the two together, the olive from pesto will not emulsify correctly with the mayonnaise making a sloppy mess with an oil slick on top.
Instead, you want to start with a basic garlic aioli, just mayo and fresh garlic, and then add the other ingredients that make pesto, well, pesto. That means basil!
I also used pine nuts, but these can be easily omitted should someone in you family be allergic to nuts. Or they are just to darn expensive (pine nuts are $$$$).
Lemon juice is also an element that gives this aioli sauce a small acidic kick. It, too, can be omitted. Fresh lemon juice is always more vibrant and bright than bottled, but again, bottled will do.
I like to make mine in a small food processor just because it is easy, but you can also finely chop all the ingredients and fold them together.
How to make Pesto Aioli:
Gather all your ingredients including:
- Fresh Garlic
- Fresh Basil
- Pine Nuts
- Lemon Juice
In the food processor, combine roughly chopped garlic, basil, pine nuts and lemon juice. Pulse until chopped.
Add mayonnaise and blend well. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 30 minutes to allow flavors to marry.
How do I store Pesto Aioli?
In an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
We do not suggest freezing aioli.
Commonly asked questions about how to make basil aioli sauce:
Why do you use jarred mayo?
Don’t assume I meant I was using jarred! I actually make my own mayonnaise. But you can easily buy a GOOD jarred mayo and use that too to save time.
Can I use dried basil?
This is one recipe where fresh basil is really a key element, so I am going to say no. Dried basil doesn’t have the same aromatics or oils to give the mayo enough flavor.
What can I use aioli for?
Aioli is excellent as a dipping sauces or condiment to slather on sandwiches or burgers. You can dip olives, carrots or potato chips and even put a dollop on top of cooked veggies or crab cakes.
Even more recipes that use basil:
And more aioli recipes:
Pesto Aioli (Pesto Mayo)
- 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves , roughly torn
- 2 cloves fresh garlic* , roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts , toasted
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- Combine basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and salt in a small food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. You might need to scrape down the sides and do this several times.
- Add mayonnaise and blend until fairly smooth.
- Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 30 minutes before using.
- If you liked this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!
What do you classify as “good mayo” any brand you can name?
I prefer anything that has an olive oil base, as I feel like it has more flavor. Hellman’s or Dukes are usually my preferences. I would shy away from the store brands, which often don’t have any flavor at all and sometimes have less body. Lower fat mayos are often the same.
This was delicious! Great on so many dishes, saving to make again soon!
This is a 5-star recipe! Absolutely delicious!