The Best Way To Rescue Frozen Mayo, According To J. Kenji López-Alt

Mayonnaise is a delicious emulsion that goes with a vast array of flavors, and a secret ingredient to sweet and savory delicacies alike. For an imaginative cook, the sky is the limit with mayo — at least as long as you don't confuse it with aioli

Of course, even this highly versatile sauce does have its limitations. Perhaps most notably, it's one of the many foods that you should never, ever store in your freezer. This is because mayo is an emulsion and the freezing process causes the acid, the egg yolk and the oil to separate, which makes for a less than awesome eating experience once you melt it. But must this always be the case? Could there be some trick that enables you to both have your cake and eat it — or in this case, freeze your mayo and keep it delicious? According to chef and food writer J. Kenji López-Alt, the answer is yes. In fact, he recently revealed just how to rescue that frozen mayonnaise. 

The food processor is the key for keeping frozen mayonnaise edible

When Twitter user David Morgenthaler asked López-Alt how to safely thaw a frozen emulsion like mayo, the chef was happy to reveal that some creative chopping and blending should do the trick. "Emulsions will typically not survive freezing because ice crystals," López-Alt wrote. "Some (like mayo) you can rescue by chopping up the frozen pieces, dropping them in a food processor, then running it so that the pieces slowly melt through friction and get re-emulsified as they melt."

While the fact that frozen mayo can be rescued with this trick is great news for anyone who finds themselves in the dreaded "freezer full of mayo" situation, Morgenthaler wasn't done yet. He asked about alternative preservation methods, with a very specific end goal in mind, "Follow-up: is there a better method for preserving and/or shelf-stabilizing an emulsion E.g. Citric Acid? Goal was to closely emulate Zankou Chicken LA's garlic sauce. [If I remember correctly,] they sell it in little cups that don't require refrigeration. Perhaps taste/texture would suffer too much?" 

López-Alt was happy to provide an answer to this, too. "Most likely something like modified food starch or xanthan gum," he wrote. "That's how fast food places keep their dips and sauces stable through a wide range of temps." That's an interesting bit of news about fast food dips, as well as something to keep in mind if you don't feel like chopping and blending frosty mayo.