Horseradish Aioli is a creamy dip or spread with a spicy kick of horseradish and garlic. You can make aioli from scratch or use store-bought mayonnaise, which makes this luxurious dip a cinch to whisk together.
This dip is flavorful, zippy and so addictive! Serve it with raw or roasted vegetables, fries, shrimp, fish, burgers, sandwiches, it goes with everything!
You can make this recipe with either homemade aioli or store-bought mayo. To be honest, I always use store-bought mayonnaise. The dip turns out really good and only takes 5 minutes to whisk together! It's the perfect easy dip for parties and holidays.
But if you have time and you want to make homemade aioli, go for it! I've included step-by-step photos and instructions for aioli below.
Looking for more easy and flavorful mayonnaise-based sauce recipes? Try sweet and spicy Boom Boom Sauce or spicy Bang Bang Sauce. If you want straight up spicy and garlicky, then go for Sriracha aioli. You can also serve kefir "Ranch" as a dip or dressing.
What is Horseradish?
Fresh horseradish is a plant in the mustard family with spiky green leaves. It's grown primarily for its spicy, pungent roots. It can be found in some well-stocked grocery stores.
Fresh horseradish root can be peeled and grated and then used in sauces or salads. You can use fresh horseradish in this recipe if you want, just keep in mind that it can be more pungent than prepared horseradish from a jar.
Prepared horseradish is a condiment sold in almost every grocery store. White bottled horseradish is preserved in vinegar and red horseradish is preserved in beet juice. It's spicy and pungent and has a soft, almost creamy texture. Some versions also contain salt, sugar, cream or vegetable oil.
Bottled horseradish is often mixed with sour cream to make Prime Rib sauce. This recipe for horseradish mayo tastes slightly different. It's saltier and has a hint of garlic and lemon.
Horseradish Mayo vs Horseradish Aioli
There isn't a whole lot of difference between horseradish aioli and horseradish mayonnaise. They are basically the same thing.
To make horseradish mayo, you simply blend mayonnaise with horseradish, garlic and a squeeze of lemon. It sounds simple, but it's really flavorful and really addictive!
To make horseradish aioli, you first make aioli and then blend the horseradish, garlic and lemon into the aioli. Aioli is essentially homemade mayonnaise with garlic.
What is Aioli?
Aioli is a creamy garlic-infused sauce that is basically garlic mayonnaise. The most common version of aioli is made from just egg yolk, garlic and oil. It's thick, creamy, silky, and garlicky.
However, aioli doesn't have to contain egg. Eggless versions, most common in the Mediterranean, use a mortar and pestle to mash and blend garlic with salt and olive oil.
Aioli is made by creating an emulsion, which is when two ingredients are forced to bind together even though they wouldn't naturally do so (like oil and water or garlic and olive oil).
Egg yolks contain a natural emulsifier (lecithin) which is why egg yolks are used to make many thick sauces, like aioli, mayonnaise, and hollandaise. In the case of aioli, egg yolk helps bind and thicken the oil and garlic to create a sauce that is thick and unctuous.
How to Make Aioli
Making aioli is tricky and even very experienced cooks can end up with a watery sauce instead of a thick, creamy one.
However, with step-by-step instructions and photos plus expert tips, your aioli should turn out perfectly.
Step 1: Mashed garlic blends in better than finely chopped garlic. To mash a clove of garlic, first chop it finely then mash it into a smooth paste on a cutting board with the flat side of a chef's knife.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, combine mashed garlic paste, lemon juice, water, egg yolk and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth.
Step 3: Drizzle a thin stream of oil very slowly into the bowl, whisking constantly as you pour.
Step 4: Take your time slowly pouring all of the oil into the bowl, whisking the whole time, until the aioli is thick and smooth.
Full instructions & ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Expert Tips for Making Aioli
- It might be tempting to use a blender or food processor, but you'll have better luck if you whisk aioli by hand.
- Make sure the egg yolk is at room temperature. If the egg yolk is cold, the sauce won't thicken.
- To bring an egg to room temperature, set it in a warm bowl of water for 3 minutes.
- Drizzle in the oil, very very slowly while constantly whisking.
- Wrapping a towel around the bowl can help hold it steady while you whisk.
- Adding a teaspoon of water helps hold the sauce together so it doesn't "break".
- If the sauce "breaks" (meaning the oil won't whisk in and thicken properly) then whisk a second egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water in a separate bowl. Slowly whisk the additional egg yolk into the aioli, then continue to slowly whisk in the oil.
Homemade aioli or store bought mayo: You can use either one (I always use store bought mayo). This recipe does include instructions for making homemade aioli, if you'd like to do that. But for convenience, feel free to use store-bought mayonnaise instead.
If you'd like to make this dip vegan, use vegan mayonnaise.
Garlic: There's just enough garlic in this recipe to add garlicky flavor without overpowering the horseradish.
Horseradish: Prepared horseradish (sold in a jar on grocery store shelves) is easier to find and more convenient than fresh horseradish root. Buy prepared horseradish that is colored white, not red.
Lemon: Use fresh lemon juice, which has better flavor than bottled. Lemon gives the sauce a needed kick of zesty acidity.
Horseradish has a distinct flavor and it's the best option for this recipe. However, there are some similar ingredients that can be used as a horseradish substitute.
- Wasabi - Use a small amount of wasabi paste for pungent spiciness. A little bit goes a long way!
- Ginger - Grate fresh ginger root or finely minced pickled ginger for spice and zip.
- Red Radish - Not always quite as spicy as horseradish, but it can be finely grated to add a little pungency
- Daikon radish - Very pungent but not very spicy
- Mustard - Add spicy, pungent flavor with your favorite type of mustard
- Hot sauce - If spice is what you're after, then just add hot sauce to mayo for a spicy, creamy dip
Additional ingredients can be whisked in to make variations of horseradish aioli.
- Dijon mustard
- Hot sauce or sriracha
- Fresh herbs (try tarragon, chives, dill or basil)
Serving Suggestions & Uses
Sandwiches: Slather horseradish mayo on turkey, roast beef or fish sandwiches.
Fries and sweet potato fries: Use it as a creamy, slightly spicy dip for anything fried, like French fries and onion rings.
Vegetable platter: This is a memorable dip for raw veggie platters.
Roasted vegetables and/or potatoes: Serve as a sauce at dinner with any type of roasted vegetables. It's especially good with potatoes.
Burgers: Beef, turkey and even veggie burgers are delicious with this special sauce!
Fish sandwiches: Fish sandwiches, fish sticks, grilled salmon....it all tastes better with horseradish aioli!
Shrimp: Serve fresh, grilled or pan-seared shrimp shrimp with horseradish mayo instead of tartar sauce.
Prime Rib and steak: The perfect sauce for red meat, like Prime rib and steak.
According to the Horseradish Information Council, the most widely held theory is that the German name for the radish “meerrettich” (sea radish) was mispronounced by the English as "mare-rettich" which sounds like "mare". Since a mare is a horse, the word ended up as "horseradish" in English.
Bottled horseradish contains preservatives that keep it fresh for a long time, so it rarely goes bad. Check the expiration date on the bottle. As processed horseradish ages, it will darken in color and lose potency.
You can, but I prefer neutral oil like sunflower or grape seed. Olive oil has a very strong flavor and can sometimes taste bitter when whisked with garlic.
Horseradish aioli, made from homemade aioli, keeps well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Horseradish mayo, made from store-bought mayonnaise, keeps well for a week in the refrigerator.
Recipes to Serve with Horseradish Aioli
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Horseradish Aioli Recipe
Horseradish Aioli (also known as horseradish mayo) is a creamy dip or spread with a spicy kick of horseradish and garlic.
To make this recipe, you can use either homemade aioli or store-bought mayonnaise (I prefer using store-bought mayo).
- Prep Time: 5
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: ¾ cup 1x
- Category: side dishes
- Method: whisk
- Cuisine: Meditteranean and American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- ¾ cup store-bought mayonnaise OR ¾ cup homemade aioli (find the ingredients and recipe in the notes section below)
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (drain off any excess liquid)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped and mashed into paste (see notes section below)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt, to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine the store-bought mayo OR homemade aioli with horseradish, mashed garlic, lemon juice and salt.
- Add more horseradish to taste.
How to Mash Garlic: Mashed garlic blends in better than finely chopped garlic. To mash a clove of garlic, first chop it finely then mash it into a smooth paste on a cutting board with the flat side of a chef's knife.
Room Temperature Egg Yolk for Aioli: When making aioli, it's really important to use an egg yolk that is at room temperature, not cold straight from the refrigerator. If the egg yolk is cold, the sauce might not thicken. To warm an egg, set it in a warm bowl of water for 3 minutes.
Homemade Aioli Ingredients and Instructions
(For helpful tips and photos, read the blog post section "how to make aioli)
Homemade Aioli Ingredients
- 1 garlic clove, mashed into a smooth paste
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon warm water
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup neutral oil (such as sunflower or grape seed) OR ½ cup neutral oil and ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a medium bowl, combine the mashed garlic paste, lemon juice, water, egg yolk and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth.
- Pour the oil into a measuring cup with a pour spout. Drizzle a thin stream of oil very slowly into the bowl with the egg yolk, whisking constantly as you pour.
- Continue whisking and slowly drizzling in oil. The mixture will start to thicken and have the consistency of mayonnaise.
- The consistency of the aioli should always look smooth as you whisk, and the oil should immediately blend in. If the consistency looks lumpy or the oil isn’t blending in, stop drizzling the oil for a moment and whisk vigorously until the consistency is smooth and well-blended again.
- Take your time slowly pouring all of the oil into the bowl, whisking the whole time, until the aioli is thick and smooth.
- If the aioli seems too thick when it’s done, you can whisk in water a teaspoon at a time.
Keywords: horseradish aioli, horseradish mayo
This is one of my favorite dips. It's so easy to make and the flavor is more interesting than regular veggie dip.