Mayonnaise is a classic sandwich topping, along with other mayonnaise-type dressings like Miracle Whip. You can use any sort of topping on your sandwiches but it seems like mayo never gets old. It holds a timeless place in the sandwich lineup.
Mayonnaise has a lot of alternative uses as well. Now there are numerous recipes (hot and cold) that call for mayo and even if you are not a fan of mayo these foods always turn out delicious! You might just find you really are a fan after all.
Sometimes I like my sandwiches heated or toasted because warm food just sounds better.
But can you microwave mayo on your sandwich? Mayo has a lot of eggs and dairy, right? Is it safe to microwave or eat warm? Yes, you can microwave mayo and it is perfectly safe to do so as long as you do not overheat since mayo is an oil-based condiment. The best way to do this is to microwave it in 15-second intervals until it is warm.
In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about mayo, including how it is made and just why it is safe for you to microwave mayo on your sandwich. We will share with you some tips for your microwaving skills as well.
Keep reading to get all of the details about safely microwaving mayo on your sandwich, and more.
A Mayo Guide
We’re mostly here to talk about using mayo on your sandwich and being able to safely microwave it but did you know that mayo has an extensive list of benefits and uses? Not only is mayo good for a topping or an add-in but it has health benefits as well.
Here are some uses for mayo you may never have known about:
- Killing head lice
- Soak your fingernails to strengthen them
- Sunburn relief
- Take off stickers and bump stickers without leaving residue
- Soothe and treat acne or breakouts
These are just a few examples of things you can do with mayonnaise and these options have nothing to do with eating the mayonnaise.
However, here is a list of food dishes that commonly use mayonnaise as a binder or additive:
- Tuna salad
- Broccoli salad
- Deviled eggs
- Tomato pie
- Various dips (particularly french onion or artichoke dips)
- Shrimp or lobster rolls
- Potato salad
This list could really go on and on. What you should notice most about this list is some of these items use mayonnaise and are served cold while some of these dishes are served hot and use mayonnaise.
The point here is that mayonnaise can be served hot or cold. It can be warmed through baking or the microwave and in the end, it is perfectly safe either way.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into how mayonnaise is made.
How Mayo is Made
It is an unfortunate misperception that some people believe heating mayonnaise will make it poisonous. The people who believe this dirty rumor are surely missing out on all of the things you can do with mayonnaise.
We felt it important to share with you just what is really in mayonnaise and walk you through the process of making mayo in order to fully communicate how it can be safe to heat mayo. We believe in leaving no stone unturned.
You can make your own mayo from home or of course you can always buy mayo from your local grocery store.
Either way, it will be safe to heat the mayo in the end because the results are still mayo.
Ultimately, mayo is made through a combination of egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Do any of those things sound like ingredients that can’t be heated up? Food for thought – pun intended.
There is a unique process to making mayonnaise because typically you wouldn’t combine vinegar with egg but in this process, it totally works! And aren’t you glad someone did try this and made mayonnaise for us to enjoy?
Here is a homemade mayonnaise recipe to give you a general idea of the process.
- You will need an egg, a neutral oil (you can choose olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.), ground mustard, lemon juice, and salt. If you really want a simple recipe, use a food processor for mixing.
- Use the whole egg or divide the yolk and just use the yolk. Processed mayo in the stores typically just uses the yolk but most homemade recipes tell you to just use the whole egg.
On a side note: if the raw egg concerns you, you could use pasteurized eggs instead. Again, most store-bought mayo options use pasteurized eggs for salmonella safety purposes.
- Combine a portion of the oil, egg, ground mustard, and salt and process together. Then add the remaining oil to the thin mixture while processing. Pour this in slowly so the mixture can thicken up.
- Add lemon juice and process. You can use vinegar rather than lemon juice if you prefer.
That’s it! Mayonnaise truly is that simple.
Mayonnaise and the Microwave
The primary reason that people are concerned about consuming mayonnaise tends to circle back to salmonella. In homemade recipes, you just see that they use raw eggs.
Rest assured that you can use pasteurized eggs if you choose to make your own. When you are purchasing mayonnaise from the store, pasteurized eggs are used for this very reason.
Another thing you might want to be aware of is that it is safer to heat or microwave store-bought mayonnaise because of the overall process it has gone through. Homemade mayonnaise can be microwaved but does hold a higher risk.
Here are some things about mayonnaise that make it OK to microwave on your sandwich.
- Pasteurized eggs are used.
- Lemon juice or vinegar is acidic and therefore eliminates and prevents bacterial growth.
- It is not mayonnaise that can make you sick, but rather bacteria that can form.
- Use commercially made mayonnaise for the best microwaving results.
These 4 list items are crucial so you fully understand why microwaving mayonnaise can be safe.
There are a few more things you should know. Store your mayo in the fridge below 40 degrees when it is not in use. The warmth of the food invites bacteria to grow. However, it takes more than just microwaving your mayo for a sandwich to cause bacterial growth if you treat your mayo right for storage and use.
Next, mayo only heats well in limited heat and times. Mayo is an oil-based product so if you overheat it you might find the oil separating from the egg and it might just be yucky and greasy instead. You just don’t want to overheat it in the microwave.
Microwaving A Sandwich with Mayo
Now that we’ve determined that you can microwave your sandwich with mayo and be fully safe (with commercial mayonnaise), it’s time we talk about best practice for doing so.
Microwaving mayo and baking mayo have different results. Tomato pie and quiche often are baked and can use mayo but this is a totally different process. If you’re going to microwave your sandwich with mayo, you should know your limitations.
Here are some basic steps for microwaving a sandwich that has mayonnaise on it, and doing so safely.
- Remove sandwich toppings from the fridge and make your sandwich (mayo and all). If you are just heating a sandwich that was already made that is fine too.
- Microwave in 15-second intervals (up to 1 minute), just until warm.
- Eat fairly quickly.
The key is you don’t want to leave the mayonnaise sitting out at room temperature for an extended period of time. As long as your mayonnaise is properly stored before you microwave it and you don’t let your sandwich sit out for an hour before you eat it, everything should be fine.
So stop worrying about salmonella and bacteria and just enjoy that sandwich with mayo, heated in the microwave.
Here are your top 3 takeaways to remember:
- For this purpose, it is best to use commercially made mayo rather than homemade.
- Store your mayonnaise properly in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth.
- Do not overheat in the microwave as it could cause separation of ingredients.
We hope that you have found this guide to be a good resource as to the details you need to know about microwaving a sandwich with mayo on it.
We have included a question and answer section that includes further information you may find valuable. We invite you to take a look and see if it could be of use to you.
How Long Does Mayo Stay Good?
Typically, store-bought mayo will have a best by date stamped on the jar. As a rule of thumb, if stored properly, it should last 2-3 months.
Homemade mayo, on the other hand, is only good for about 5-7 days.
What is the Purpose of Lemon Juice or Vinegar in Mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise goes through a process known as emulsification in order to mix the eggs and the oil and get them to stick. Lemon juice or vinegar helps to bind these together and also protects the mixture from growing bacteria too easily.