[ ahy-oh-lee, ey-oh-; French a-yaw-lee ]
/ aɪˈoʊ li, eɪˈoʊ-; French a yɔˈli /
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noun Cooking.
a garlic-flavored mayonnaise of Provence, served with fish and seafood and often with vegetables.


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Origin of aioli

1895–1900; <French aïoli<Provençal, equivalent to ai garlic (<Latin allium) + oli oil (<Latin oleum;see oil)

Words nearby aioli

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does aioli mean?

Aioli is a sauce made by mashing garlic and olive oil into a paste, sometimes with the addition of egg.

Traditionally, Spanish-style aioli is a thick paste made only from garlic and olive oil, while French-style aioli often includes egg. Sometimes aioli is used as a fancier word for mayonnaise, especially when it has garlic in it. In all of its forms, aioli is an emulsion, meaning its ingredients are specially blended into smooth consistency.

Example: The menu says aioli, but I’m pretty sure this is just mayo.

Where does aioli come from?

Is aioli the same as mayonnaise? To find out, let’s look at the ingredients. Aioli comes from French, from a combination of the words ai (meaning “garlic”) and oli (meaning “oil”)—making both the word and the food itself literally a mashup of garlic and oil. Those two ingredients are staples of the Mediterranean region, so it’s no wonder the people there have been combining them for thousands of years—even the Ancient Romans made something like aioli.

The word aioli is a more recent addition to English, with the first records of its use from around the late 1800s. Aioli is a staple in the Provence region of France, where it’s traditional to add egg to the mixture to help emulsify it (bond it into a paste so the oil doesn’t separate from the rest). Farther down the Mediterranean coast, in Spain, it’s traditional to make it by mashing garlic (and a little bit of salt) into a paste with a mortar and pestle and slowly adding oil until it comes together.

Mayonnaise is traditionally made with egg yolks, lemon juice, and oil, making it pretty close to French-style aioli, especially if it’s seasoned with garlic.

In the Mediterranean region, aioli is often used to top seafood and vegetables. In the United States and other places where the term is used more loosely, aioli often shows up on menus as a fancier way of saying mayo, especially when served as a dip or as a condiment for burgers and other sandwiches.

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What are some synonyms for aioli?

What are some words that often get used in discussing aioli?

How is aioli used in real life?

It depends where you are. Aioli can mean different things in different places, but it’s always a creamy condiment and usually involves garlic.

Here’s a video of a chef making aioli with just garlic and olive oil:


Quiz yourself!

The difference between French and Spanish aioli is that French aioli is typically made with which of the following ingredients?

A. wine
B. vinegar
C. egg yolk
D. paprika

How to use aioli in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for aioli

/ (aɪˈəʊlɪ, eɪ-) /

garlic mayonnaise

Word Origin for aïoli

from French ail garlic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012