Published March 1, 2003. From Cook's Illustrated.
Is it possible for a light mayo to be as flavorful as the full-fat original?
Because mayonnaise is fatty both by nature and definition, reduced-fat mayonnaise is a popular product among the diet-conscious. But is it possible for a light mayo to be as flavorful as the full-fat original?
We put five brands to the test, all with a fat content between 2.5 and 5 grams per serving. To see if tasters could tell the difference, we also threw the winner of the full-fat mayonnaise tasting into the mix. We sampled these products spread on bread and tossed in macaroni salad.
The results? Tasters were unanimous in thinking our last-place finisher bore no resemblance to mayonnaise. One taster said it tasted like "a cross between pureed cottage cheese and tofu." Two other products didn't fare much better. Tasters thought our second-place finisher was too sweet but made a fairly decent macaroni salad. Our winner very nearly beat out the full-fat mayonnaise. Although this light version had a pastier texture than the regular, the bright, balanced flavors were similar when tasted on bread, and the two products were virtually identical in the macaroni salad. Even our most finicky taster admitted that the salad made with the top-place finisher was "not bad."