Can You Use Mayonnaise As Butter Substitute?

No sandwich is quite complete without a smear of mayonnaise as the finishing touch. But can mayonnaise be used as a butter substitute?

Yes, mayonnaise can be used as a replacement for butter. Despite your likely protests, the oil content in mayonnaise allows it to be interchanged with butter in many recipes. You can use mayonnaise in place of butter in cakes, on grilled cheese sandwiches, and even in frying chicken. 

From sweet to savory, many dishes would taste just fine with mayonnaise as a butter substitute. Although you might be leering of this alternative, let us explain to you why this substitution works so well. 

The Science Behind Using Mayonnaise In Place Of Butter

Someone didn’t just come up with the fanatical idea to use mayonnaise in place of butter. This is been a long-standing practice in some communities, especially those where shelf-stable mayonnaise keeps better than refrigerated butter. 

Not only does mayonnaise last longer on the shelf and in your fridge, but its texture is similar to that of butter. Essentially, mayonnaise is an emulsion of fat and water that is bound together by egg yolk and other additives. 

Reasons To Use Mayo As An Alternative To Butter

As we already mentioned, mayonnaise stores better than butter. Yet, there are additional reasons why you should choose this sandwich spread over butter in other recipes, too. 

  • Mayonnaise spreads easier than butter. When you are using butter or mayonnaise on soft bread, like brioche, this can be important. Making grilled cheese is made easier with smooth-spreading mayonnaise that won’t stick to or tear your bread. 
  • Mayo has a higher smoke point, which prevents it from burning as easily as butter. Have you ever put butter in a pan to melt only to see that it has turned brown or scorched? Mayonnaise isn’t as likely to do that. 
  • Mayonnaise can add a creamy flavor to any dish. Some people even claim to use mayonnaise in the dough for crusts, because it browns nicely and gives it a creamier flavor and texture. 
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Recipes That Work Well With Mayonnaise Substituted For Butter

While mayonnaise is a versatile ingredient that can be substituted for butter in many recipes, there are a few uses for this condiment that are more common than others. Here are a few of our favorite recipes with butter swapped out for mayonnaise:

Cooking Eggs

There are a few ways you can use mayonnaise to your advantage when cooking eggs. You can put it in your eggs, whisk them up, and scramble them. In this way, the mayonnaise adds more oil to the eggs, which gives them a creamier texture.

You can also put mayonnaise into a hot skillet and use it in place of butter to scramble or fry eggs. The oil in mayonnaise reacts much like butter, frothing when it gets hot. 

Baking A Cake

The next time you find yourself short on butter when baking a cake, don’t panic. Mayonnaise works just as well and can give your baked goods some added moisture. 

Mayonnaise works well in cakes because it keeps them from getting dry and cuts through the sugary taste. Some chocolate cakes are evenly famously made with mayonnaise. 

Macaroni and Cheese

Butter is an essential ingredient in macaroni and cheese, so if you run out your dish may be dry and sticky. However, mayonnaise is a good substitute for butter in this instance, too. 

Take note that mayonnaise can separate when it gets hot, so be sure to add it in after the pasta is done cooking. Otherwise, mayonnaise can add a creamier texture to your macaroni and cheese dish. 

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On Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

We already know mayo spreads better than butter, but these two ingredients are completely interchangeable when making grilled cheese sandwiches. You can spread mayonnaise on the outside of your sandwich to make a nice crust, on the inside to preserve its gooeyness or both. 

While many people wouldn’t ever think of substituting mayonnaise for butter, this swap out definitely has its perks. Mayonnaise can be used in place of butter in a variety of recipes, and it is easier to store, spread, and mix than its butter counterpart.