Place of originCatalonia/Occitan regions of France and Spain
Main ingredientsOlive oil, garlic

Aioli, allioli, or aïoli (/ˈli/ or /ˈli/; Provençal Occitan: alhòli [aˈʎɔli] or aiòli [aˈjɔli]; Catalan: allioli [ˌaʎiˈɔli]; Spanish: alioli [ˌaliˈoli]) is a cold sauce consisting of garlic and olive oil; it is found in the cuisines of the northwest Mediterranean.

The names mean "garlic and oil" in Catalan and Provençal.[1] It is found in the cuisines of the Mediterranean coasts of Spain (Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, and eastern Andalusia) and France (Provence, Languedoc, Roussilon).[2]

Some versions of the sauce are closer to a garlic mayonnaise, incorporating egg yolks and lemon juice, whereas other versions lack egg yolk and contain more garlic. The latter gives the sauce a pastier texture, making it more laborious to produce as the emulsion is harder to stabilise.[3][4][5][6] There are many variations, such as adding lemon juice or other seasonings. In France, it may include mustard.[7][8]

In Malta, the term arjoli or ajjoli is used for a different preparation made with galletti (a type of cracker), tomato, onion, garlic, and herbs.[9]

Like mayonnaise, aioli is an emulsion or suspension of small globules of oil and oil-soluble compounds in water and water-soluble compounds. Purists believe aioli should not include egg, but nowadays, egg or egg yolk is the usual emulsifier.[citation needed]

Since about 1990, it has become common in the United States to call all flavored mayonnaises aioli.[citation needed] Purists insist that flavored mayonnaise can contain garlic, but true aioli contains garlic and no other seasoning (except salt).[10]


The word is a transparent compound of the words meaning "garlic" and "oil".[11]

The English spelling comes from the French aïoli, which itself comes from Occitan. The spelling in Occitan may be alhòli, following the classical norm, or aiòli, following the Mistralian norm.[12] In Catalan it is spelled allioli (pronounced [ˌaʎiˈɔli]). The most common term in Spanish is alioli, an adaptation from Catalan, although it is also called ajoaceite, ajiaceite, ajolio or ajaceite.[13] It is also spelled alioli in Galician.[14]

Basic recipe

The sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle

Garlic is crushed in a mortar and pestle and emulsified with salt and olive oil.

Today, aioli is often made in a food processor or blender, but some traditionalists object that this does not give the same result.[6]


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Aioli served with olives

In Occitan cuisine, aioli is typically served with seafood, fish soup, and croutons. An example is a dish called merluça amb alhòli. In the Occitan Alps it is served with potatoes[15] boiled with salt and bay laurel.

In Provençal cuisine, aioli or, more formally, le grand aïoli, aioli garni, or aïoli monstre is a dish consisting of various boiled vegetables (usually carrots, potatoes, artichokes, and green beans), poached fish (normally soaked salt cod), snails, canned tuna, other seafood, and boiled eggs, all served with aioli. This dish is often served during the festivities on the feast days of the patron saint of Provençal villages and towns. It is traditional to serve it with snails for Christmas Eve and with cod on Ash Wednesday.[6] Aïoli is so strongly associated with Provence that when the poet Frédéric Mistral started a regionalist Provençal-language newspaper in 1891, he called it L'Aiòli.[4][16]

The Provençal cuisine fish soup bourride is generally served with aioli.[17]

In Spain, particularly in Catalan cuisine and Valencian cuisine, allioli is often served with arròs negre, arròs a banda, fideuà, with grilled snails (cargols a la llauna), grilled meat, lamb, rabbit, vegetables, boiled cod (bacallà a la catalana, bacallà amb patates) and comes in other varieties such as allioli de codony (allioli with boiled quince, not the preserve) or allioli with boiled pear.[7] Other commonly used vegetables are beets, fennel, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, chickpeas, and raw tomato.[6][8]

See also


  1. ^ Stevenson, Angus (2010-08-19). Oxford Dictionary of English. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-957112-3.
  2. ^ Larousse, Librairie (2009-10-13). Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-0-307-46491-0.
  3. ^ J.-B. Reboul, La Cuisinière Provençale 1910 (1st edition); 1989 (25th edition), p. 88
  4. ^ a b Robert Courtine, The Hundred Glories of French Cooking (tr. Derek Coldman), 1973, p. 140
  5. ^ Henri Philippon, Cuisine de Provence, 1977 (2nd ed), p. 20
  6. ^ a b c d Mireille Johnston, The Cuisine of the Sun, 1976; Johnston gives one recipe without extra flavorings (p. 75) and one with mustard (p. 229)
  7. ^ a b Prosper Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique (1938, tr. 1961), s.v.
  8. ^ a b Olney, Richard (1994). Lulu's Provençal table: the exuberant food and wine from Domaine Tempier Vineyard. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 124–5. ISBN 0-06-016922-2.
  9. ^ apronandwhisk (2022-03-27). "Maltese Arjoli Dip". Apron & Whisk. Retrieved 2023-11-10.
  10. ^ David Tanis, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, ISBN 1579653464, 2008, p. 102
  11. ^ Stevenson, Angus (2010-08-19). Oxford Dictionary of English. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-957112-3.
  12. ^ cf. Occitan writing systems
  13. ^ Real Academia Española and Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española (2005). "ajiaceite", Diccionario panhispánico de dudas. Retrieved on 16 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Dicionario". Real Academia Galega (in Galician). Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  15. ^ "La cucina occitana (area cuneese)" (in Italian). Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  16. ^ Julian Wright, The Regionalist Movement in France 1890-1914: Jean Charles-Brun and French Political Thought, ISBN 0199264880, p. 47-48 and passim
  17. ^ Waverly Root, The Food of France, 1958-1992, ISBN 0679738975, p. 359