Alioli recipe

Alioli? Aioli? Garlic mayo?! What’s the difference? Look no further.

We demystify this delicious dip, how to make it, and share some tips and tricks to get it right every time. Plus, we share Jamie’s artichoke alioli recipe from his latest cookbook, 5 Ingredients Mediterranean.

First off, what’s alioli made of?

Alioli is commonly made with garlic and olive oil, and sometimes extra flavourings, like lemon juice, vinegar or mustard. In some places, eggs are also used. The clue is actually in the name; ‘alioli’ comes from the Catalan words for garlic (all) and oil (oli).  

Are alioli and aioli the same thing?

Yes! There’s no difference between alioli and aioli – the basic recipe refers to the same thing. Both are used to describe a Mediterranean sauce or dip that originated in Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain, and across the border on the French Mediterranean coast. The term ‘aioli’ is more commonly used in French and English, while ‘alioli’ is also used in Spanish and Catalan.

Why does alioli split?

Alioli is an emulsified sauce, which means it’s made by mixing two liquids that don’t naturally combine. In this case, crushed garlic and oil. When you’re adding one liquid to the other, you’re actually dispersing tiny droplets of one liquid within the other to create alioli’s deliciously creamy texture. When the emulsion breaks – let’s say, too much oil is added too quickly – the two liquids separate and split.

How do I stop alioli from splitting? 

There are a few reasons it may split, and a few ways to stop it from happening:

  • Drizzle in the oil slowly and steadily, whisking continuously. Start with a small amount of oil and gradually increase the flow as the emulsion forms. If the oil is added too quickly or in too large a quantity, the emulsion can break, causing it to separate.
  • Keep ingredients at room temperature. Sometimes, if ingredients are too hot or too cold, it can affect the emulsion from forming properly.
  • Use a blend of oil. While olive oil is the traditional oil used in alioli, it has a strong flavour and can cause your alioli to break more easily. To be on the safe side, you could use a more neutral oil, like rapeseed or sunflower, as well as a bit of olive oil, for flavour.
  • Add a binding agent, like egg yolk, to help to stabilise the emulsion. Although alioli is traditionally made with just garlic and oil, in many parts of Spain, eggs are also added to stabilise the emulsion. After crushing the garlic, whisk in an egg yolk, then continue the process as usual. Vinegar also helps to stabilise it. 

It’s already split! How can I rescue it?

Start the process again by bashing a new clove of garlic into a paste, and slowly whisking in the split alioli until it’s incorporated. Alternatively, add a stabiliser to a clean bowl, such as an egg yolk, a little vinegar, lemon juice or mustard, then slowly whisk in the split mixture. These ingredients can help to bind the oil and water back together.

Can you freeze alioli?

Yes, you can, but the texture can change after freezing and thawing. Emulsified sauces, like alioli, might separate or become slightly grainy when frozen. Use it in recipes where the texture isn’t key to the dish.

Is alioli the same as garlic mayonnaise?

They’re both creamy, garlicky condiments, but the method and ingredients are different. Alioli is made by whisking together (and emulsifying) garlic and oil, contributing to its strong garlic taste. Meanwhile, garlic mayonnaise is made by whisking together eggs and oil, and adding garlic afterwards for flavour. 

Homemade alioli recipe

Here’s Jamie’s artichoke alioli recipe, made using the leftover oil from a jar of artichokes. Give it a go or serve it up alongside Pork & Peppers, with crispy artichokes and chickpeas, from Jamie’s latest cookbook, 5 Ingredients Mediterranean

  1. Peel and bash 3 cloves of garlic in a pestle and mortar with a big pinch of sea salt.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar and muddle together. 
  3. Whisking continuously, slowly add about 100ml of oil, leftover from a 280g jar of artichokes, until thickened and emulsified. 
  4. Taste and season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper. 

Find out more about Jamie’s 5 Ingredient Mediterranean and buy your copy today. 


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