The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat mayonnaise. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.


What mayonnaise etiquette is

Mayonnaise etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve, use, and eat mayonnaise. Such rules help avoid behaviors that may disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow mayonnaise etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect mayonnaise etiquette rules to properly use it at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts.

What you should know about mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a sauce used as a table condiment. It is made from oil, egg yolk, and either lemon juice or vinegar. Mayonnaise is creamy and dense in texture. Its color can range from white to pale yellow. Its flavor is usually delicate and slightly acidic.

rules to eat and serve mayonnaise and add it to a dish

Etiquette rules to serve and eat mayonnaise

1) How to store mayonnaise

Store mayonnaise in the fridge. Mayonnaise is an emulsion, so too warm or too cold temperatures can deteriorate its flavor and texture. After opening a bottle of mayonnaise, store it in the fridge in a sealed jar or container.

Consume mayonnaise before the expiration date on the jar. Handmade or fresh mayonnaise can last for up to 3 days.

2) How to clean mayonnaise

Mayonnaise in commerce is ready for consumption. It does not need cleaning or filtering.

However, mayonnaise can easily turn bad. Thus, before using or serving it, you should check that it is still fresh. If the texture is not homogeneous or the smell is foul, discard the mayonnaise immediately.

3) How to prepare & cook with mayonnaise

You can use mayonnaise to make other sauces or as a dressing. Mayonnaise is the basis for tartar sauce, remoulade, fry sauce, and many others. As a dressing, mayonnaise can be served with salads, fried food, salty or spicy dishes, and sandwiches. It is a common ingredient for hors d’oeuvres.

Use mayonnaise sparingly. It is most appropriate to present mayonnaise to your guest separately from food, and let them add it to their liking.

Some guests may avoid mayonnaise in their diets, such as the vegan diet. Others may avoid it for health reasons, such as an intolerance or allergy, or to limit cholesterol. Thus, before hosting a meal, it is considerate to ask your guests whether they have some dietary restrictions.

4) How to serve & present mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is not a necessary seasoning in dining etiquette. It may be placed on the dining table on informal occasions. However, mayonnaise is not most appropriate on formal occasions.

Serve mayonnaise at room temperature or slightly chilled. Take it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before serving it.

It is best to serve mayonnaise in a small bowl with a teaspoon. You can put a small saucer plate under the bowl to prevent mayonnaise from spilling onto the table. Only on very informal occasions, it is appropriate to serve mayonnaise in its jar.

Place mayonnaise at the center of the table, next to the other condiments, so it is easily accessible to most or all guests. If you are hosting a large party, serve one mayonnaise bowl for every 8 guests.

At the end of the meal, before serving a cheese course, fruit, or dessert, it is polite to remove mayonnaise and other condiments from the table.

5) Foods & beverages to pair mayonnaise with

Mayonnaise is appropriate for fried, greasy, salty, and spicy foods. You can pair it with meat that tends to be dry, such as chicken and poultry. Mayonnaise can go well with delicate fish and seafood, such as prawns or shrimp.

Serve mayonnaise to accompany hamburgers, sandwiches, french fries or potato dishes, and salads.

Avoid mayonnaise with cheese or grains, such as rice, pasta, or pizza.

The best drinks to pair mayonnaise with are soft drinks or beer. Mayonnaise can pair with wine too. Pair it with dry white wines, such as dry Rieslings or Albarino.

6) How to use & eat mayonnaise

In general, adding seasoning to a dish risks disrespecting your host. It can signal that you dislike the flavor, or that the dish could have been prepared better. Thus, if you add mayonnaise to a dish, add it in small quantities.

The most polite way to add mayonnaise is by putting a small quantity on a side of your plate, beside the food. Avoid adding mayonnaise directly to the food. The only exception is when you eat street food, such as a hamburger. Add mayonnaise only to the food on your plate. Never add it to food on a shared dish.

When you eat mayonnaise as a dip with finger food, such as french fries, touch the sauce with the food once. Never double-dip.

Avoid eating spoonfuls of mayonnaise, as it is considered impolite.

mayonnaise etiquette mistakes

Mayonnaise etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst mayonnaise etiquette mistakes. 

  • 7/10. Adding mayonnaise in large quantities to your dish.
  • 5/10. Serving mayonnaise warm.

Additional information for properly serving mayonnaise

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Mayonnaise contains about 680 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz). A tablespoon of mayonnaise is 14 grams and contains about 98 calories.

How to buy the best mayonnaise

A crucial factor in mayonnaise etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

Most mayonnaise in commerce is an industrial or semi-industrial product. Try different brands and identify the one that better suits your taste.

Alternatively, you can make your mayonnaise or buy a handmade sauce. Such products can taste better but have a higher risk of deteriorating.

Alternatives to mayonnaise

The most common substitutes for mayonnaise are other sauces or condiments that pair well with the same type of food. Such as ketchup or mustard.


  • Challenges and approaches for production of a healthy and functional mayonnaise sauce: