This bacon aioli is perfect as a dip with vegetables, spread on bread or served with salads and potatoes all year round.
With the smooth flavour of garlic confit, garlic infused oil and smokey bacon. it packs a flavour punch that is very hard to resist.
And, of course, everything is better with bacon too!
More importantly, it's easy to make from scratch and beats anything that you can buy in a jar.
Aioli is very similar to mayonnaise and is found primarily in Spain, but also in the Provence region of France, Italy and Malta.
Like mayonnaise, one of the French mother sauces, aioli is an emulsion of oil and other water soluble ingredients. It is a daughter sauce like tartare, Marie rose and Elizabeth.
Mayonnaise is made with vegetable oil and egg yolks, however Spanish aioli is traditionally an emulsion of olive oil and garlic.
In France, it is typically made with raw garlic, extra virgin olive oil and eggs or egg yolks.
Over the years other flavours have been added, but bacon seems to be a very modern variation.
In emulsion sauces the sauce is made by emulsifying egg yolks with oil. The egg yolks contain lecithin, which is a protein.
Normally, if you had a jug of oil and added water, the two ingredients would form different layers. The lecithin is able to combine with water and oil and create a stable sauce. The water in the sauce being lemon juice or vinegar or both.
Raw garlic tends to be very strong and pungent, so in my version I have cooked the garlic lightly first, which removes the bitterness.
The garlic is gently cooked in oil, which is also known as a garlic confit. This has the added benefit that the oil will also be infused with the garlic flavour.
❤️ Why you will love this dish
- Use the garlic confit in oil in lots of other dishes and salad dressings.
- Great as a dip, spread or ingredient.
- Make in advance.
- Everyone will love it!
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- Eggs - large free range egg yolks. See notes below.
- Lemon - fresh lemon juice or use lemon juice from a bottle.
- Oil - normally this would be extra virgin olive oil for the best flavour in a dressing. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed and is not heated in any way, so it has the best natural flavour and nutrients. However, as this recipe uses oil to cook the garlic, I've used standard, refined olive oil. There are so may other flavours in the bacon aioli, that extra virgin olive oil would be wasted.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Salt - as the bacon is naturally salty, you may not need any salt. Use flaked sea salt for dressings if you need to.
- Mustard - Dijon mustard. This French mustard is tyoically used in dressings and has a smooth, rich flavour.
- Garlic - garlic cloves. Garlic powder or granules won't work in this dish.
- Bacon - I've used smoked streaky or belly bacon, as the fat adds so much flavour.
💭 Top Tip
- I normally store my eggs at room temperature, but if you put your eggs in the fridge for an hour or so before you are ready to use them, then they will be easier to separate.
- Separate each egg putting the yolk and whites in separate bowls, using the half shell or your hand to let the egg white drain away. This makes it easier in case you come across a bad egg without wasting the rest.
- If you don't need the egg whites straightaway they can be frozen. The easiest way is to pour them into a small container or ice cube tray, then transfer into another container when frozen. They will keep for up to 12 months.
- Eggs whites are often used in cakes. Try Nutella Chocolate Meringues, Gluten Free Friands , Almond Financiers, or how about Macarons?
The printable recipe card with full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found at the bottom of the article.
- food processor – optional
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- mixing bowl
- balloon whisk
- frying pan / skillet
- wooden spoon
- measuring jug
Chop the bacon into pieces and place in the frying pan.
💭 Top Tip
- There is no need to add any oil, as the bacon can cook in its own fat and this will make it crispier.
⏲️ Cooking Time
Cook over a medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the bacon pieces are crisp and the fat rendered.
Leave the bacon to cool.
Set aside a few pieces of bacon to garnish.
Peel the garlic and place it in a small saucepan with the oil.
Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
There should be a few bubbles, but the oil should not be boiling. The garlic will be a rich golden colour, but not burnt.
Let the oil and garlic cool.
💭 Top Tip
- The oil will take time to cool. To speed up the process, transfer the oil to a new heat proof container, such as a measuring jug. Place the jug in dish filled with cold water.
Put the garlic, mustard, pepper, lemon juice, egg yolks and bacon in a small bowl of a food processor.
Blend until mostly smooth.
It's good to have a few larger pieces of bacon for little bursts of flavour.
If you don't have a food processor, chop the bacon by hand as finely as you can and combine the ingredients in a large bowl.
Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl.
Start whisking and gradually add the cooled oil from the measuring jug in a steady stream, whisking continuously.
Stop if you need to, to make sure that the oil is incorporating into the mix and not separated.
Keep adding the oil until the mixture is thick and glossy.
It's possible to use a blender or food processor to mix but I find that you have much more control if you do it by hand.
💭 Top Tip - How to rescue broken mayonnaise or aioli
- If the bacon aioli separates and will not emulsify, despite whisking it can be rescued.
- Place a fresh egg yolk into a different bowl and very gradually whisk in the mixture until it combines.
- Add a little water or extra lemon juice if it becomes too thick.
Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required.
Transfer the bacon aioli to a clean bowl and garnish with the reserved bacon pieces before serving.
🥗 Serve with
- Confit Potatoes
- Potatoes Rissolé
- Sarladaise Potatoes
- Parmentier Potatoes
- Halloumi Fries
- Baked Garlic Mushrooms
- Cheese and Herb Fougasse Bread
- Savoury Cake
- Ham and Cheese Palmiers
- Quail Scotch Eggs
- Fresh lemon juice - use lemon juice from a bottle if you prefer.
- Black pepper - many French cooks preder to use white pepper in sauces to avoild the black flecks.
- Saffron- add a pinch of saffron to a tablespoon of boiling water and leave to steep and cool. Stir into the aioli before seasoning.
- Herbs - add a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs such as basil or parsley. Tarragon is delicious in a chicken sandwich with the aioli as a spread. Add some chopped chives and use as a basics for an egg mayonnaise sandwich.
- Smoked garlic - if you can get hold of smoked garlic, this will really enhance the flavour.
- Spicy - add a small amount of chilli powder, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika or cajun spice to add a kick.
- Refrigerator - cover and store for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - not suitable for freezing.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Make up to 2 days in advance and store in the fridge.
More French sauces
- Béarnaise Mayonnaise
- Sauce Forestière
- Creamy Mushroom Brandy Sauce
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Mousseline Sauce
- Sauce Soubise
- Redcurrant Sauce
- Thermidor Sauce
- Food processor - optional
- Frying pan / skillet
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- Mixing bowl
- balloon whisk
- wooden spoon
- Measuring jug
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 250 ml olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 slices smoked bacon
- Chop the bacon into pieces and place in the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the bacon pieces are crisp and the fat rendered.
- Leave the bacon to cool and set aside a few pieces of bacon to garnish.
- Peel the garlic and place it in a small saucepan with the oil.
- Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes. Let the oil and garlic cool.
- Put the garlic, mustard, pepper, lemon juice, egg yolks and bacon in a small bowl of a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth.
- Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl.
- Start whisking and gradually add the cooled oil from the measuring jug in a steady stream, whisking continuously.
- Keep adding the oil until the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required.
- Transfer the bacon aioli to a clean bowl and garnish with the reserved bacon pieces before serving.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
More French Sauces
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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