Mayo Is The Unexpected Butter Substitute You Need To Try

The odds are pretty good that you've eaten mayonnaise in one form or another within recent memory. It is often seen slathered on a sandwich, where it provides much-needed moisture. However, there are countless ways for you to imbibe this class condiment. This spicy sriracha aioli, for instance, brings mayo and hot sauce together to create a creamy concoction, which is the perfect accoutrement to whatever you're dipping. 

According to Statista, a majority of Americans use mayonnaise every year. A FiveThirtyEight poll reveals that mayo is the most popular sandwich condiment in the country. However, there is a sizable contingent of folks who despise mayo out there. The Facebook group I Hate Mayonnaise has over 2,000 members, who come together to revel in how much they revile the creamy condiment.

Nevertheless, for those of you who are riding the mayo train, there's a cooking hack centered around the condiment that you can use in a wide variety of dishes, and bring them to the next level.

Is mayonnaise the better butter?

Often, when you're attempting to cook something, you'll find it difficult to ensure that your cooking fat of choice is adhering to its surface. If you're looking for a solution to this problem, mayo could be your sticky savior.

The Los Angeles Times, citing Boston University professor Greg Blonder, explains that mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil in egg yolk. The result is a thick spread, which can be generously applied to your food. When mayo is introduced to heat, the eggs will act as a semi-porous barrier, allowing the oil to slowly escape. This may result in a more consistent cook, and could also help your food retain moisture.

One of the best times to try swapping out butter for mayo is when you're making a grilled cheese sandwich. The oil content of mayo has a considerably higher smoke point than butter, which means that you're less likely to burn your grilled cheese, per Southern Living.

These dishes call for a mayonnaise makeover

However, you don't need to stop your investigation into the myriad uses of mayonnaise with grilled cheese. In a 2018 Instagram post, celebrity chef Alton Brown shared pictures of a steak cooking in mayo. Though it's unclear exactly how he seared the steak, the pictures suggest that he delicately brushed the cut of meat on both sides with a thin layer of mayonnaise, followed by a light sprinkling of seasoning. A similar brushing process is employed in this mayo grilled salmon recipe. According to The New York Times, the way that mayonnaise coats meat as it cooks allows it to remain moist while still developing a perfect sear.

However, in certain circumstances, you shouldn't substitute mayonnaise for butter. While mayo might be good for searing and sandwiches, it isn't always right for baking. When swapped into the recipes of certain butter-centric snacks, like shortbread, laminated pastry dough, or flaky biscuits, mayo won't cause the same chemical reactions as butter, which can have disastrous effects on the taste and texture of your baked goods, per Lifehacker.