Basil aioli is made with fresh basil, garlic, and lemon juice - bright, flavorful, and perfect for summer! It makes a great spread for sandwiches and burgers, or dipping sauce for fries.
Basil aioli is the perfect way to use up extra basil from the summer garden. It's bright and filled with fresh basil, with a flavor similar to a pesto aioli.
Aioli is a cold sauce that's traditionally made with garlic, salt, and olive oil (and sometimes eggs). It has a similar texture to mayonnaise, which is why mayonnaise often used as a base for quick aioli recipes (like this one!).
This basil aioli is made with mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and fresh basil leaves. Using a food processor eliminates most of the prep work involved. Simply toss in your ingredients and blend until smooth.
What is aioli?
Traditionally, aioli is a creamy sauce that's made from an emulsion of olive oil and mashed garlic. Some versions of aioli drift closer to a mayonnaise and include eggs and lemon juice.
Since about 1990 (per Wikipedia), it is common for any type of flavored mayonnaise to be referred to as an aioli. The two have a similar consistency and are often used in the same ways, but can contain different ingredients.
If you'd like to learn more, here's a great article on the subject: Bon Appetit - OK, What is Aioli, Anyway?
Ingredients and substitutions
- Mayonnaise - Feel free to use homemade or store bought mayonnaise.
- Basil - You'll need about 30 fresh basil leaves, about ½ cup lightly packed, for this recipe.
- Lemon juice - Can be substituted with apple cider vinegar.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic adds the best flavor to your aioli, but it can be substituted with garlic powder if needed. Add ½ teaspoon of garlic powder to substitute two cloves of garlic.
- Salt - Salt enhances the flavor of the other ingredients. Feel free to adjust as desired to suit your tastes.
How long does aioli last?
Basil aioli will keep for up to 7 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
After preparing your aioli, I highly recommend allowing to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld.
If you're making aioli for an event or party, I highly recommend serving it within one day of preparing for freshest flavor.
Preparing without a food processor
You may be thinking, can I make basil aioli without a food processor? Of course! All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board.
Mince your basil leaves and garlic cloves as small as possible. Then, add to a bowl along with your mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk until combined.
Ways to use basil aioli
Aioli can be used as a spread or a thick dipping sauce. Use it in any situation where you'd normally use a creamy sauce or spread (like mayonnaise on a sandwich).
- On a hamburger
- On a tomato sandwich
- With crab cakes
- On a grilled chicken sandwich
- With French fries
- With chicken tenders
- As a dip for a veggie tray
- With oven roasted potatoes
- With shrimp
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup basil leaves, lightly packed (about 30 leaves)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a food processor, add mayonnaise, basil leaves, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and salt. Cover and blend until smooth. (If you don't have a food processor, mince basil leaves and garlic cloves as small as possible, add to a bowl with remaining ingredients, and whisk until incorporated).
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Use as a condiment on sandwiches or as a dipping sauce for fries, chicken tenders, and more.
- Aioli will keep for about 7 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator, but is best served within 1-2 days for freshest flavor.