Is Mayo Dairy? Is Mayonnaise A Dairy Product Or Not? Answered!

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Spread it on a sandwich. Mix it into a sauce. Blend it with potatoes. What condiments are we talking about? Mayonnaise! Delicious, creamy, and versatile, mayo is a condiment with worldwide popularity. If you’re making a change to a dairy-free lifestyle, though, you might be worried that you’ll have to say goodbye to your favorite condiment forever.

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Does mayo have dairy? It’s creamy, rich, and delicious, so it must, right?

Turns out, that mayonnaise is dairy free. Dairy refers to products that are made from the milk of other mammals, such as cows, sheep, and goats. Mayonnaise doesn’t have any milk products in it. This means that mayo doesn’t have dairy and it is dairy free.

Based on the recipe or brand mayonnaise ingredients vary. Most mayo is made by mixing egg yolks, oil, and an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, with preferred spices.

Is Mayo Dairy? Is Mayonnaise A Dairy Product Or Not? Answered!

What is Mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise is a high-fat condiment that is used in a variety of ways. In Japan, they might squirt a healthy dose of mayo on some takoyaki or pizza. In the US, mayonnaise is for sandwiches and burgers. And in Mexico, it’s for street corn.

How is the magic of mayonnaise possible? Through a process that involves emulsifying eggs, acid, and oil. The acid is usually either lemon juice or vinegar (or both). Emulsification is what happens when two or more liquids that usually cannot be mixed or combined do get blended together.

There are two forms of emulsion: temporary and permanent.

An example of a temporary emulsion would be vinaigrette, which blends vinegar and oil. Over time, the two ingredients separate. Fortunately, all you need to do to blend them back up is shake the salad dressing bottle.

Mayonnaise, on the other hand, is a permanent emulsion. Using the lecithin found in egg, the oil and acid are forced to stick together. That also explains why it’s so dense and creamy.

What is Mayonnaise Made From?

Most commercial mayo products have the following ingredients:

  • Soybean oil
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Eggs and egg yolks
  • Lemon juice concentrate
  • Herbs and spices
  • Preservatives

As you can see, there are no dairy ingredients, and mayo is dairy free. Eggs are not considered dairy and do not contain lactose. Those are the most common ingredients with homemade mayonnaise as well, minus the preservatives.

That said, if you are looking at an eggless version of mayonnaise, it could potentially contain milk and might not be dairy free.

Here is the ingredients list of three popular mayonnaise brands:

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise

Ingredients: Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, calcium disodium EDTA, and natural flavors.

Kraft Mayo With Olive Oil

Ingredients: Water, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, modified food starch, vinegar, sugar, maltodextrin, salt, egg yolks, natural flavor, mustard flour, lactic acid, potassium sorbate, phosphoric acid, dried onions, dried garlic, calcium disodium EDTA, beta carotene.

Duke’s Light Mayonnaise

Ingredients: Water, soybean oil, modified corn starch, eggs and egg yolks, distilled apple cider vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, sugar, lemon juice, spice, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, DL alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), beta carotene, natural flavors.

You can see from the examples that, even though some brands add more fillers, none of them are dairy-based.

The only ingredient that might throw someone would be lactic acid. Don’t confuse lactic acid with lactose so this means that mayo is completely dairy free.

Lactic acid is a form of organic acid that occurs during fermentation. It is sometimes added to products to enhance flavor and ward off spoilage. So while some brands are healthier than others, none of the mayo shown here contains dairy.

Is Mayo Dairy? Is Mayonnaise A Dairy Product Or Not? Answered!

What Constitutes a Dairy Product?

When we talk about dairy, we’re referring to foods produced from the milk of mammals like cows, goats, and sheep. The most common dairy products you’ll find at the grocery store include:


The foundation of all dairy, milk is a nutrient-rich liquid produced by female mammals. Cow’s milk is the most commonly consumed type in the US. It’s available in various forms, from whole to non-fat.


Cheese is made by curdling milk and separating out the solid parts (curds) from the liquid (whey). There are hundreds of types of cheese, from mild cheddar to pungent blue cheese. Cheese can be made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, and even buffalo.


Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with live bacterial cultures. The bacteria convert the milk’s sugar (lactose) into lactic acid, giving yogurt its tangy flavor and creamy texture. Yogurt can be made from cow, goat, or sheep milk.


To make butter, cream is churned to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk. The result is a rich, creamy spread perfect for baking or slathering on toast. Most butter in the US is made from cow’s milk.

So in a nutshell, for a food to be considered a dairy product, it must contain or be produced from the milk of a mammal. This is why mayo, which is made from eggs and oil, doesn’t fall into the dairy category, even though it has a rich, creamy consistency similar to some dairy foods.

Does Mayo Have Dairy?

According to the USDA, the dairy group contains milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as some non-dairy sources of calcium, like soy milk and yogurt. If you consider the ingredients in mayonnaise, you’ll notice that it is dairy free as it does not contain any dairies or milk-derived ingredients, like butter or cream.

So does mayo have dairy? No, it doesn’t; it is dairy free. Mayo is suitable for a dairy free diet and isn’t considered a dairy product.

How to Know Mayo is Dairy Free

You may be opting to ask does mayo have dairy because of religious, health, or personal reasons. Whatever the reason, the best way to ensure your mayo is dairy free is to read the ingredients.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required that any food with allergens like milk print the warning on the label. You will see this indicated in bold, right below the ingredients.

However, it’s still a good idea to check out the mental list. If the ingredients contain butter, cheese, milk, casein, whey, or milk protein hydrolysates, there is dairy in the mayo.

Top Dairy Free Mayo Brands

Here is a list of common mayonnaise brands that are well-known for being dairy free:

  • Hellman’s Original Mayonnaise
  • Miracle Whip
  • Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
  • Duke’s Real, Light, or Organic Mayonnaise
  • Heinz Real Mayonnaise
  • Kraft Real Mayonnaise
  • Great Value (Walmart) Mayonnaise
  • Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Mayonnaise
  • Flying Goose Sriracha Mayonnaise

Give them a try!

Kewpie Mayonaise, 17.64-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 2)
Buy on Amazon

Does Mayo Have Lactose?

Considering that mayonnaise doesn’t contain any milk-based ingredients, it makes sense that it wouldn’t contain lactose. Yes, the creamy texture of mayo can be misleading, but that comes from the eggs and egg yolks.

Since mayonnaise doesn’t contain lactose, anyone who is lactose intolerant can use it in their diet. This also means you can use mayonnaise in recipes calling for milk fats.

Keep in mind that there are some rare occasions where a mayonnaise brand might include milk powder. That said, most brands on the shelves are dairy free and lactose free.

Can Lactose-Intolerant People Eat Mayonnaise?

Yes! Lactose-intolerant people can most certainly have mayonnaise.

It’s best to double-check the ingredients of your favorite brand, but most mayonnaise is a combination of eggs, oil, and vinegar or lemon juice.

A word of warning, though. If you find something made with mayonnaise, such as ranch dressing or a creamy Italian dressing, it could still have milk-based ingredients in it. Read the label to find out.

Try Vegan Mayonnaise Alternatives

Perhaps you want to be safe than sorry and try something that is guaranteed to not have any dairy in it. That’s when you can go the vegan route.

Vegan mayonnaise won’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, including eggs, egg yolks and dairy.

Here are some options that taste just as good as traditional mayo:

  • Best Foods Vegan Mayo
  • Earth Balance Mindful Mayo
  • Chosen Foods Vegan Avocado Oil Mayo
  • Hellman’s Vegan
  • JUST Mayo
  • Sir Kensington’s Vegan Mayo
  • Whole Foods 365 Everyday Vegan Mayo
  • Thrive Market Vegan Mayo
  • Nasoya Vegan Mayonnaise
  • Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
  • Nando’s Vegan Perinaise
Best Foods Vegan Mayonnaise Jar Made with Non GMO Sourced Ingredients, No Artificial Flavors or Colors, No Cholesterol, Gluten Free, 1 gallon
Buy on Amazon

You can also make your own vegan mayo! A typical ingredients list for vegan mayo generally looks like this:

  • Avocado or corn oil
  • Organic chickpea aquafaba (a vegan egg substitute)
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Protein powder or modified food starch
  • Salt
  • Flavorings (like mustard and paprika)

Some vegan brands do contain preservatives, like calcium disodium EDTA and sorbic acid. This helps preserve the shelf life of the mayonnaise and doesn’t affect the flavor.

Types of Mayonnaise: Regular vs. Vegan

When it comes to mayo, you’ve got options! The two main types are regular mayo and vegan mayo. So, what’s the deal with these two? Let’s break it down.

Regular Mayonnaise

Your classic, tried-and-true mayo is made with a few key ingredients: eggs, oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and seasonings. It’s creamy, tangy, and perfect for slathering on sandwiches or mixing into salads. But, if you follow a plant-based diet or have an egg allergy, regular mayo is off the table.

Vegan Mayonnaise

That’s where vegan mayo comes in! This eggless alternative uses plant-based ingredients to mimic the texture and flavor of traditional mayo. Instead of eggs, vegan mayo relies on things like:

  • Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • Soy milk
  • Silken tofu
  • Plant-based oils (like avocado or olive oil)

These ingredients are blended up with vinegar, lemon juice, and seasonings to create a creamy, delicious spread that’s totally egg-free and dairy-free.

Which One Should You Choose?

It all comes down to your dietary preferences and needs. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, vegan mayo is a great option. It’s got that same rich, tangy flavor without the animal products.

On the other hand, if you’re a die-hard regular mayo fan and have no dietary restrictions, stick with the classic! It’s hard to beat the flavor and texture of traditional mayo made with real eggs.

Using Mayonnaise as a Dairy Substitute

Because mayo looks and feels like something that has dairy in it (though it doesn’t), many people have found it can also be utilized as a dairy substitute. If you are looking to make a lactose-free cream sauce, for instance, a little bit of mayonnaise goes a long way.

Add mayonnaise (regular or vegan) to cheesy dishes to add creaminess and texture. Mayonnaise spread on a sandwich makes it feel more hearty and filling. Plus, you get a nice tang from the vinegar and egg yolks!

Lastly, a little mayonnaise spread on both sides of a grilled cheese can be used in place of butter. You will still get a great crust on the outside of the sandwich. Sub in some plant-based cheese for the center, and you’ll have an excellent meal ahead of you.

How to Make Dairy-Free Mayonnaise at Home

Whipping up a batch of homemade dairy-free mayo is easier than you might think! With just a few simple ingredients and a little elbow grease, you can have creamy, tangy mayo without any milk or lactose. Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of neutral oil (like avocado, grapeseed, or light olive oil)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Optional: garlic powder, paprika, or other seasonings to taste

Step-by-Step Preparation

  1. Whisk it up: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon juice (or vinegar), Dijon mustard, and salt until combined and slightly frothy.
  2. Drizzle in the oil: While whisking vigorously, slowly drizzle in the oil a little bit at a time. As you whisk, the mixture will start to thicken and emulsify.
  3. Keep whisking: Continue adding the oil slowly while whisking non-stop. The key is to add the oil gradually so it has time to incorporate and emulsify with the egg mixture.
  4. Season to taste: Once all the oil is added and the mayo is thick and creamy, taste and season with additional salt or other seasonings as desired.
  5. Store and enjoy: Transfer the mayo to a jar or airtight container and store in the fridge for up to one week. Use it just like you would store-bought mayo – on sandwiches, in salads, or as a base for dips and dressings.

Tips for Mayo Success

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before starting. This helps them emulsify more easily.
  • If your mayo starts to separate or curdle, don’t panic! You can often save it by whisking in a tablespoon of hot water until it comes back together.
  • Experiment with different oils and add-ins to customize your mayo. Try using half olive oil for a richer flavor, or whisk in some chipotle peppers for a spicy kick.

Dietary Considerations for Mayonnaise

While mayo is dairy-free and generally safe for most people to consume, there are a few dietary considerations to keep in mind.

Egg Allergies

One of the main ingredients in traditional mayonnaise is eggs. If you have an egg allergy, it’s crucial to steer clear of regular mayo. Luckily, there are plenty of egg-free and vegan mayo options on the market that use ingredients like aquafaba (chickpea liquid) or tofu as a base instead of eggs.

High Cholesterol Concerns

Mayo is high in fat and calories, which can be a concern for those watching their cholesterol levels. A single tablespoon of mayo contains around 90 calories and 10 grams of fat, most of which is unsaturated fat. While unsaturated fats are considered “healthy” fats, it’s still important to consume them in moderation, especially if you have a history of high cholesterol.

If you’re looking to cut back on fat and calories, opt for reduced-fat or light mayo varieties. You can also swap mayo for other creamy spreads like mashed avocado, hummus, or Greek yogurt in recipes.

Soy Allergies

Some mayo brands, particularly vegan ones, may use soy-based ingredients as an emulsifier or thickening agent. If you have a soy allergy, be sure to read the label carefully and look for soy-free options. Brands like Sir Kensington’s and Chosen Foods offer soy-free vegan mayo made with aquafaba and avocado oil.

Gluten Sensitivities

While most mayo is naturally gluten-free, it’s always a good idea to double-check the label, especially if you have Celiac disease or a severe gluten sensitivity. Some brands may add gluten-containing ingredients like wheat starch or malt vinegar, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Is Mayo Dairy? Is Mayonnaise A Dairy Product Or Not? Answered!

Is Mayo Dairy? Actually, No!

Does mayo have dairy in it? Nope. You don’t have to worry about eating dairy or lactose while enjoying mayonnaise. Because of that, you can use mayonnaise as a substitute for dairy in many recipes. Now that you know what’s in mayo, you shouldn’t have any qualms about slathering a generous portion on your next sandwich.


Which mayo has dairy?

There are few, if any, mayo brands these days that sell mayonnaise with dairy. Some might contain milk powder, but most of the popular brands on the shelves, including Hellman’s, Kraft, Sir Kensington’s, Kewpie, Heinz, Nando’s, and Whole Foods contain no dairy whatsoever. When in doubt, look at the ingredients list.

Is Hellman’s mayo dairy free?

Yes, Hellman’s mayo is dairy free so you can eat it if you are on a dairy free diet. Both the organic and original recipes contain soybean oil, eggs, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and natural flavorings.

What mayonnaise does not have milk?

Most mayonnaise does not contain milk. Mayonnaise is typically a mixture of oil and eggs, along with some vinegar, lemon juice, and flavorings. Sometimes it is also mixed with mustard or other spices. However, mayo rarely, if ever, contains milk.

Does mayo contain dairy or gluten?

You will be glad to know that if you are following a dairy-free and gluten-free diet that mayonnaise generally does not contain gluten. Most shelf-stable brands contain eggs, salt, sugar, lemon juice, flavoring, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, and a preservative. This means that you can eat mayonnaise if you are on a gluten-free diet.
However, it is always a good idea to double check the ingredients label and any allergen warnings from the manufacturer. There can also be cross-contamination if the mayonnaise was produced in a plant that handles foods containing gluten, but that should be listed near the ingredients.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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