According to Bon Appétit, true aioli, in the traditional Mediterranean preparation, is the fluffy, creamy result of emulsifying flavorful olive oil, with crushed garlic, using a mortar and pestle. Today’s basic aioli recipes have a few more ingredients, commonly made with a mix of olive oil, eggs, garlic, salt, and lemon. Which, may sound a lot like your favorite mayonnaise recipe — plus garlic. And truthfully, it’s not that far off. This is why some folks, like cookbook author and Cookie and Kate food blogger Kathryn Taylor chose to shortcut the process in her easy-to-make “Cheater’s Aioli,” recipe, starting with jarred mayo and adding the requisite garlic flavor in an infusion.
But aioli’s potential flavor infusions don’t stop at garlic; you’ll find aiolis made with roasted sweet red bell peppers, herbs like basil, rosemary, and saffron, spices like paprika, and fiery chilies from chipotle to sriracha and gochujang. Even bacon gets a top spot in this mouthwatering line-up, as bacon aficionado and cookbook author, Eliza Cross (who founded BENSA Bacon Lovers Society) puts it, “It’s like the creamiest, silkiest homemade mayonnaise with hints of smoky bacon, garlic, and lemon.”