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.
Table of Contents
- What is Mayonnaise?
- What is Mayonnaise Made From?
- Does Mayo Have Dairy?
- How to Know Mayo is Dairy Free
- Can Lactose-Intolerant People Eat Mayonnaise?
- Using Mayonnaise as a Dairy Substitute
- Is Mayo Dairy? Actually, No!
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.
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
- Eggs and egg yolks
- Lemon juice concentrate
- Herbs and spices
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.
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!
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
A typical ingredients list for vegan mayo generally looks like this:
- Avocado or corn oil
- Organic chickpea aquafaba (a vegan egg substitute)
- Protein powder or modified food starch
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.