3-minute citrus aioli / mayo in 3 variations: Orange aioli, Lemon Herb aioli, & Lemongrass aioli. A unique & refreshing twist to your aioli!

A rich and creamy citrus mayonnaise dripping from a spoon into the white bowl.

In this post you’ll learn:

Someone stirring a bowl of creamy citrus aioli with a spoon.

Why You Will Love This Citrus Aioli

  • šŸ‹ Bursting with citrusy flavor; it adds a refreshing twist to any dish!
  • šŸŒ± Vegan-friendly, perfect for those seeking plant-based options without compromising on taste.
  • ā° Quick and easy to make
  • šŸ˜‹ This versatile sauce enhances everything from sandwiches to salads with its tangy goodness!
  • šŸŒˆ With 3 flavor options of orange aioli, lemon aioli, and lemongrass aioli, you have plenty of options!
A bowl of citrus mayo with lemongrass and garlic around it.

What is Citrus Aioli Made Of?

In simple terms, it’s mayonnaise + optional garlic + citrus flavoring. The citrus flavoring depends on your choice but the two basic ingredients for aioli are:

  • Mayonnaise: Creamy base for a rich texture. Feel free to use any store-bought version or make a healthy version yourself by following this 3-Minute Vegan Oil-Free Mayonnaise (using either silken tofu or cashews)!
  • (Optional) Garlic: Adds an aromatic kick, perfect when using the aioli as a savory dip.
Ingredients for the 3 varieties of citrus mayo with labels: mayo, garlic, herb, lemon, orange, and lemongrass paste.

And as to what kind of citrus, you have 3 options here.

Option 1: Orange Aioli šŸŠ

  • Orange Juice: Infuses a citrusy sweetness, brightening up the aioli.
  • Orange Zest: Amplifies the orange flavor with its aromatic oils.

Option 2: Lemon Herb Aioli šŸ‹šŸŖ“

  • Lemon Juice: Offers a tangy acidity, balancing the sweetness of the aioli.
  • Lemon Zest: Intensifies the lemony freshness, adding depth to the aioli.
  • Chopped Herb: Provides a hint of herbal freshness, complementing the citrus notes. Some herbs that pair well with lemon are parsley, basil, rosemary, mint, and oregano. But feel free to experiment with your chosen herb!

Option 3: Lemongrass Aioli šŸ‹šŸŒ±

  • Lemongrass Powder or Paste: Imparts a distinct lemony aroma and flavor to the aioli, with a subtle hint of earthiness and that Southeast Asian twist! I’ve attached a picture below if you’d like to see what mine looks like!
Lemongrass paste and lemongrass powder with labels on a white background.

And since we’re speaking of citrus, if you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, go ahead and make my Vegan Yuzu Mayo / Aioli instead for that unique Japanese citrus taste!

What is Real Aioli Made Of and How is Aioli Different from Mayonnaise?

Real traditional aioli is made of just olive oil and garlic, pounded together using a mortar and pestle until you get a thick and creamy paste called. So technically, aioli is supposed to be vegan. The confusion started because some brands and recipes added egg yolk to the aioli, which then became widely accepted that aioli could sometimes also include eggs. You can read more about this here in The TakeOut’s aioli article!

Once an egg is added, then aioli becomes very similar to mayonnaise, except that mayonnaise usually does not contain garlic whereas aioli does. This also means that aioli usually tastes more garlicky. But as always, it depends on the recipe/brand (myself included; for instance, I did not use garlic in my BBQ Aioli and my Smoked Paprika Aioli). At this point, the terms mayonnaise and aioli are interchangeable so if you want the real authentic aioli recipe, just pay extra attention to the ingredients!

Three types of citrus mayonnaise with fresh ingredients around.

Why is Aioli Not Vegan?

As explained above, some brands and recipes add egg yolks to aioli, making it not vegan. But in case you’re wondering whether aioli contains milk, the answer is no. It is therefore naturally lactose-free, even if it may not be vegan.

Step-by-step Instructions

Prep Your Ingredients: If using, finely mince the garlic. Then zest your orange/lemon if you are making the orange or lemon version.

Mix: In a small bowl, combine the (vegan) mayonnaise, (optional) minced garlic, and the flavoring. Give it a good stir until everything is nicely mixed in.

Let It Sit: If you’re using garlic, let your citrus aioli sit for about 10 minutes so all those flavors meld together into a harmonious symphony of citrusy goodness! Skip this step if you’re not using garlic.

Serve and Enjoy: Now you’re ready to serve your citrus aioli! Use it as a dipping sauce for veggies, spread it on sandwiches, or drizzle it over roasted veggies for a burst of fresh flavor!

Top Tips

Zesting the Orange / Lemon: Be sure to only grate the orange/yellow part, but NOT the white pith inside. The white pith is bitter and not something you’d want to add to your citrus mayo.

Experiment with Herbs for the Lemon Herb Aioli: Feel free to experiment with different herbs like parsley, basil, rosemary, or mint to customize the flavor of your aioli!

Wait for Flavor Fusion: Let the aioli sit on the counter / chill it in the fridge for a while before serving to allow the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more harmonious taste. Skipping this step might make you think that the flavor is a bit off because of the garlic, but trust me, you just gotta wait a bit more before you find that they pair well!

Close-up of a spoon of orange aioli with fresh ingredients in the background.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some ways you could use your aioli!

Vegetable Platter: Serve the aioli as a dip alongside a colorful assortment of fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. You can add another dip like this No-Garlic Hummus or this Raspberry Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip for a delicious platter!

Sandwich Spread: Use the aioli as a flavorful spread for sandwiches and wraps. It adds a bright and tangy kick to veggie wraps, bagels (think of using it in my Avocado Bagel recipe), or even burgers.

Salads and Bowls Dressing: Thin out the aioli with a bit of water or citrus juice to create a creamy citrus dressing for salads or veggies bowls (like in my Rainbow Poke Veggie Bowl)

Lemon and herb mayonnaise on a wooden plank, with fresh ingredients around.

Roasted Vegetables: Drizzle the aioli over roasted vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. Or even on top of my Tandoori Vegetables Platter! The citrusy flavor adds a refreshing contrast to the caramelized sweetness of the veggies.

Sushi: Switch up your good old soy sauce with any of this citrus mayonnaise! It pairs well with the good old Cucumber Roll (Kappa Maki), but also with sushi rolls with more fillings such as my Kimchi Vegetables Sushi Roll and my Shiitake Mushroom Roll!

Someone stirring a bowl of lemongrass aioli put on top of a wooden plank.

Storage and Meal Prep Instructions

Storage: Store any leftover citrus aioli sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Meal prep: Whip up a batch and use it throughout the week (for up to one week) to elevate your dinners & lunches. It’s great for spreading on sandwiches, dipping veggies, or topping grilled dishes!

Freezing: Do NOT freeze your aioli because this will change the texture.

Three varities of citrus aioli / mayonnaise in white bowls: lemon herb aioli, lemongrass aioli, and orange aioli.

FAQ

Why is my aioli so bitter?

Make sure that you don’t use too much garlic and use fresh garlic instead of jarred garlic.

What does lemongrass taste like?

Lemongrass has a unique flavor that is citrusy, slightly sweet, and aromatic with a hint of earthiness. It’s often used in Asian cuisine to add depth and freshness to dishes, such as in My Mum’s Authentic Vegan Jackfruit Rendang recipe. It’s quite fibrous so you would either ground it up into a paste, or only use the tender inner parts of the stalk for flavoring (and then throw them away before serving).

Is aioli mayo or butter?

Neither, but aioli is closer to mayo than to butter. Both aioli and mayo are creamy condiments, while butter is a fat-based spread.

Spoonful of lemon herb aioli with lemon zest and oregano.

Want More Sauces & Dips Recipes?

For more creamy mayonnaise-based dips, try:

If you’d like other dips, try:

Citrus Aioli / Mayo, 3 Ways (Orange, Lemon Herb, & Lemongrass)

Creamy citrus aioli dripping from a spoon into the white bowl.
3-minute citrus aioli / mayo in 3 variations: Orange aioli, Lemon Herb aioli, & Lemongrass aioli. A unique & refreshing twist to your aioli!
Jem @ The Fruity Jem
Cook Time 2 minutes
Chilling Time (Only if using garlic) 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Serving Size 8 Tablespoons

Ingredients

  • Ā½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced (optional)

Option 1: Orange Aioli

  • 2 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Option 2: Lemon Herb Aioli

  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Ā½ teaspoon chopped parsley fresh or dried, sub with basil/rosemary/mint/oregano

Option 3: Lemongrass Aioli

  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass powder or lemongrass paste

Instructions

  • Peel and finely mince the garlic. Be sure to chop them really finely to prevent biting into large pieces of garlic. Also zest the orange or lemon if you're making the orange aioli or lemon herb aioli.
  • Combine all the ingredients together and stir until you get an even consistency.
  • If you're using garlic, let it sit for at least 10 minutes up to overnight so the flavor will blend well. Then serve with your favorite snacks as dippings, or use them as spreads!
    If you're NOT using garlic, the citrus aioli is ready to serve right after!

Notes

  • Make sure you let them sit for at least 10 minutes so the garlic flavor has time to blend. Otherwise, you might end up with spicy bits of garlic in your aioli.
  • If making the orange or lemon herb aioli, do NOT skip the zest! They add a slight bitterness which adds another layer to the flavor. Since you’re also using the zest, it’s best to buy organic for this citrus mayonnaise!

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