March 7, 2018 |

Finish that pizza with an aioli drizzle

By Denise Greer

Red Wagon Pizza Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, pizzeria

Aioli may be the thing to take a pizza from good to great

Every few months, a new list of “the things that should never go on pizza” or the “worst pizza toppings” comes out. Time and again, mayonnaise makes the cut. But, a similar condiment is all the rage as a finishing ingredient on pizza: aioli.

The two are so strikingly similar that many restaurants simply flavor mayonnaise and calling it aioli. In fact, since the 80s it has become an acceptable practice to refer to flavored mayo as aioli.

Aioli and mayo differ in their composition. Mayo is made up of emulsifying oil (typically canola) with egg yolk and vinegar (or sometimes lemon juice). Aioli is quite different. It originated in Spain. In traditional aioli recipes, garlic is crushed in a mortar and pestle and emulsified with olive oil and salt. Nothing else is added.

Whether you go the traditional route or the modern mayo variation, incorporating unique flavors into aioli has made it a hot pizza topping. You’ll notice the recipes I’ve linked below use mayo. It’s your call. Mayo is a time saver in a busy pizzeria because you probably already have it on hand. But if you’re a scratch kitchen, try the original aioli.

Now let’s take a look at some favor blends that go dynamite in aioli:


  • Roasted red pepper
  • Pesto
  • Dijon
  • Chipotle
  • Jalapeno
  • Lemon pepper
  • Sun-dried tomato
  • Honey Sriracha
  • Green onion
  • Orange
  • Cilantro lime
  • Buffalo and bleu cheese
  • Roasted garlic ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Avocado
  • Saffron
  • Chimichurri

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