Saffron garlic mayonnaise is a delicious sauce that pairs wonderfully both with veggies and meat or fish. The addition of saffron takes classic garlic mayo to the next level. Beside giving this mayo flavour, saffron gives it colour. A bowl of this lovely garlic mayo sauce with saffron is sure to brighten up your table anytime! Make it entirely from scratch, or use your favourite mayonnaise as base.
Saffron mayonnaise is a delightful sauce. Its bright colour is beautiful, and the flavour is really unique. But what makes this flavoured mayo stand out is the combination of saffron and garlic. Saffron makes it aromatic while garlic gives it a kick. This flavour combination works surprisingly well in mayo, making it light on the palate and very enticing. Put a bowl of this delicious saffron garlic mayo on your festive table and it will be a total success. It pairs incredibly well with smoked fish or seafood. I love dipping shrimps in pesto and this mayo is a nice alternative. If you’re vegetarian, you’ll love it with steamed vegetables – my favourite is cauliflower!
To make garlic saffron mayonnaise you either need to add garlic and saffron to your favourite mayo, or make it entirely from scratch. Here are the ingredients to make saffron garlic mayo from scratch, if using store-bought skip to the last two.
- Vegetable oil – I like to use rapeseed oil, but if that is not available choose one that is neutral in flavour, and possibly not a mix. I don’t prefer olive oil for mayonnaise, especially when making a flavoured one. Olive oil lends the mayo too much flavour and I’d rather have a more neutral base.
- Egg – for best results always have your eggs at room temperature. If possible, chose organic free-range eggs.
- Lemon juice & salt – these are the basic flavourings for classic mayonnaise.
- Ground saffron – in this recipe I use finely ground saffron, if you have whole threads you need to crush them.
- Garlic paste – I am a big fan of garlic paste, so I use that in my garlic mayo. I always have a tube of garlic paste in my fridge, it spares me the extra work of peeling and grating garlic when I need it (which is often). However, you can sub it with 1 clove of freshly grated garlic if you prefer.
How to make it
The instructions to make mayonnaise with a hand blender are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. One batch yields about 230 g (1 cup), so if you are using ready-made mayonnaise you will need that quantity. Add the crushed saffron and garlic paste to the mayo. Stir thoroughly, to make sure the garlic paste is evenly distributed everywhere. I like to properly fold the garlic paste and saffron in the mayo with a spatula. Cover with cling film and place it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Resting time is necessary to let the flavours set. The garlic flavours the mayo immediately, but the saffron requires some resting time. Besides, saffron needs to stay in a moist environment to release the colour. After the resting time the mayo will appear dotted where the saffron crumbles are. Give it a good stir and the whole sauce will turn a homogeneous yellow like in these pictures.
Saffron garlic mayo tips
- Resting time is necessary to extract the colour and flavour of the saffron. If short on time you could soak the saffron in a small amount of water and add that to the mayo. But this still requires soaking the saffron in advance, which does not cut back on the recipe time.
- Since this garlic mayo sauce will appear dotted at first and needs to be stirred, I recommend to keep it in the mixing bowl for the resting time and moving it to a serving bowl only after stirring it to distribute the yellow colour.
- To make it vegan / egg-free use your favourite store-bought plant-based mayonnaise and add garlic and saffron. Alternatively, there are several recipes for homemade vegan mayonnaise. When I make vegan mayo I like to use soy milk, as it’s a really simple method. Here’s the vegan mayo recipe I usually follow.
- This sauce keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
The inspiration behind this recipe comes from a delicious saffron aioli I tasted recently at a Christmas buffet. I’m not much of an aioli maker, but homemade mayonnaise is something I make pretty often. When you learn to make your own, there’s no going back to store-bought. So inspired by the sauce I had tasted at the restaurant I made my first batch of this saffron garlic mayonnaise. And it’s been a favourite ever since.
Saffron garlic mayo
Garlic mayo with saffron made with homemade mayonnaise or store-bought and flavoured with garlic paste and crushed saffron. Perfect with steamed veggies or smoked fish.
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/3 tsp saffron finely ground
- 1 tsp garlic paste or 1 garlic clove grated
To make homemade mayo
Add the whole egg to a tall container or jar. Blend the egg alone for about 1 minute doing up and down motions until the egg has become frothy. Keep the up and down movement with the blender while pouring the oil in a slow and continuous stream. Keep pouring the oil and blending the mixture until it emulsifies. Put away the blender and stir in the salt and lemon juice.
To flavour the mayonnaise
Add the crushed saffron and garlic paste to the mayo. Stir thoroughly with a spatula to make sure the garlic paste is evenly distributed everywhere. Cover with cling film and place it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
After the resting time the mayo will appear dotted where the saffron bits are. Give it a stir to distribute the saffron until the mixture is a homogeneous yellow. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- The nutrition values in the recipe card are an estimate.
- If using store-bought mayo, you will need about 1 cup (230 g).
- To make this garlic mayo sauce vegan use a plant-based mayonnaise as base.
- If you don't have garlic paste, 1 tsp of paste subs 1 finely grated clove.