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Want a wicked sear? Grab the mayonnaise!


You pull that perfectly juicy steak from the water bath. All that's left between you and heaven is a quick sear to crisp up the crust. We've heard of all the common methods: canola oil, butter, etc. What if we told you there’s a better way? Mayonnaise. Yes. When mayo is suggested an option, people usually stop listening - but before you brush past this method, hear us out.

There are good reasons this popular sandwich spread produces a superior sear. Learn more below and unlock the secrets to some seriously superb sears.

This all started last week at the Anova Kitchen - our experience space at the HQ. We were cooking a whole pile of prime New York Strip steaks and getting ready to sear 'em when we remembered how many people in our Facebook community seemed to love searing with mayonnaise. It goes against what we normally think of when searing. Hot oil and a scorching skillet.

How in the world would our favorite condiment be an option here? Strip mayo down to it's core and it's essentially two things: oil and eggs. Both of these are commonly used in culinary applications for browning. Think egg wash on bread for a golden crust when baking, and so on. So what happens when they get used together? Magic. Maillard reaction magic.

Getting Started with Mayo Seared Steak

For a quick explanation, lets turn to #anovafoodnerd and food scientist Erika Turk: "The protein and sugar in the mayo makes the difference in searing. You also have the emulsification of the oil and egg which means that they’ve already done the work in incorporating water into the oil so it’ll stick to the meat rather than want to repel (the old oil and water issue) like plain oil, and it accelerates the Maillard reaction through a non-enzymatic reaction. Restaurants and the food industry in general have been using this for years and years."

In short: it just works. Super, super well. And we know what you’re gonna say – its gonna taste like mayo. It doesn’t. At all. The mayo as we know it is quickly burned down to the bits that make the sear special.

Lets walk you through it step by step! Oh…and it works for all things, not just steak. If it needs searing, mayo will be your searing angel.

How to Add Mayo on Steak to Sear

1. Season steak with salt and pepper.

2. Set your Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to your desired doneness using our
sous vide steak guide. Sous vide steak for 1-4 hours.

3. Apply a thin, almost translucent, mayo binder on steak. Season again with salt and pepper.

4. Heat a skillet over high heat. Cast-iron is our favorite option. Do not add any oil. Place steak in pan and sear for 1 minute.

5. Flip mayo crusted steak and sear one minute longer.

6. Remove mayo sear steak from pan. LOOK AT THAT SEAR!

7. Slice, serve, and receive endless praise from your dinner guests.

Wrapping Up That Wicked Mayo Sear

Be sure to head to our recipes site and find some inspiration for your next sous vide cook! Give us a follow on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop with all things #anovafoodnerd.
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Also use a fork to spread the Mayo like you’d use a tile grout trowel.
It will help you spread the Mayo more evenly.

Anthony Norkus

When applying the Mayo just do one side first – put that side in the CI pan THEN apply the Mayo to the second side. Keeps the Mayo from messing up your cutting board.
Those “squirt” bottles of Mayo are meant for this!

Anthony Norkus

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