Does Hellman’s mayo contain dairy?

Hellmann’s mayonnaise, known as Best Foods mayonnaise west of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most popular mayonnaise brands in the United States and beyond. A staple condiment for sandwiches, salads, and more, Hellmann’s mayo has a creamy, eggy taste that many find hard to resist.

But with food allergies and dietary restrictions like veganism on the rise, more and more consumers are checking ingredient labels to see if products contain milk, eggs, or other animal products. So does Hellmann’s mayonnaise actually contain dairy?

Quick Answers

Yes, Hellmann’s mayonnaise does contain dairy. Specifically, it contains egg yolks, which are considered a dairy product. Hellmann’s mayo is not vegan or dairy-free.

Most Hellmann’s mayonnaise varieties also contain distilled vinegar, soybean oil, and lemon juice in addition to egg yolks. The exception is Hellmann’s Organic mayonnaise, which uses expeller-pressed canola oil instead of soybean oil.

For consumers avoiding dairy, Hellmann’s offers an egg-free vegan mayonnaise alternative made with pea protein instead of eggs. But traditional Hellmann’s mayo is not lactose- or dairy-free.

Ingredients in Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

Hellmann’s mayonnaise, whether sold under the Hellmann’s or Best Foods brand name, contains just five main ingredients:

  • Soybean oil
  • Water
  • Egg yolks
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Lemon juice concentrate

The company makes it clear that all varieties do contain egg yolks, making them unsuitable for vegans or those with egg allergies. But what about lactose and dairy?

Egg Yolks Contain Dairy

While mayonnaise doesn’t contain milk, cheese, butter, or cream, egg yolks are still considered a dairy product. This is because dairy refers to any food products that come from an animal’s mammary glands.

Chicken eggs are the product of a chicken’s ovulatory cycle, not lactation. But eggs are traditionally grouped under the dairy umbrella when it comes to dietary restrictions and allergies. People with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance are often advised to avoid eggs as well as milk from mammals.

So while Hellmann’s mayo doesn’t contain milk, its egg yolk ingredient means it cannot be considered dairy-free. Those avoiding dairy will need to opt for a vegan egg-free mayo instead.

Specific Hellmann’s Products and Ingredients

Hellmann’s makes a variety of mayonnaise products. While the original contains egg yolks, some product lines may differ, so it’s important to check labels.

Hellmann’s Organic

Hellmann’s Organic mayonnaise has similar ingredients to the original. But instead of soybean oil, it contains expeller-pressed canola oil. It still contains egg yolks, so is not vegan or dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise

Hellmann’s Light mayonnaise cuts the fat by using a blend of canola oil and soybean oil instead of soybean oil alone. But it still contains egg yolks, putting it firmly in the dairy category.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Dressing with Olive Oil

Despite the name, Hellmann’s mayo dressing with olive oil does not actually contain more olive oil than other varieties. The main fat is still soybean oil. And like other Hellmann’s mayo, it contains egg yolks and is not dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise with Lime Juice

Hellmann’s mayo with lime juice gives this condiment a citrus twist. But the ingredients otherwise align with original Hellmann’s mayonnaise, including egg yolks. It is not dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Squeeze Bottle

The squeeze bottle packaging makes Hellmann’s mayo easy to use. But the ingredients inside the bottle are identical to other Hellmann’s mayonnaise varieties. The squeeze bottle mayo contains egg yolks and is not dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Singles

Hellmann’s mayo singles provide individually packaged mayonnaise cups. Useful for lunches and picnics, these contain the same dairy-based ingredients as regular Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Hellmann’s Tartar Sauce

In addition to mayonnaise, Hellmann’s makes a popular tartar sauce. This contains the same mayonnaise as the original Hellmann’s, and adds ingredients like pickles, capers, and lemon juice. Hellmann’s tartar sauce contains egg yolks and is not dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo

The one Hellmann’s product without dairy is Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo. Introduced in 2019, this contains no eggs. Instead, it uses pea protein as the primary ingredient to replicate the creaminess of egg yolks without the allergens.

Hellmann’s Vegan has a similar taste and texture to traditional mayo. But without egg yolks, it can be considered dairy-free and vegan. Check the label to be sure, as jars are sometimes misplaced on shelves next to regular Hellmann’s.

Nutrition Info for Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

Here is the nutrition information for a typical serving of Hellmann’s mayonnaise:

Nutrient Per 1 Tbsp serving
Calories 90
Fat 10g
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 90mg

As a high-fat, egg-based condiment, each serving of Hellmann’s mayo packs 90 calories and 10 grams of fat into just one tablespoon. There are also 5 milligrams of cholesterol, from the egg yolks. But there are minimal carbs and no protein or fiber.

Vegans or anyone avoiding cholesterol should opt for vegan mayo instead. But for most, Hellmann’s offers a creamy, time-tested condiment to enhance sandwiches, salads, and more.

Finding Dairy-Free Mayo Alternatives

Because it contains egg yolks, Hellmann’s mayonnaise is off-limits for those avoiding dairy. Here are some popular dairy-free mayo alternatives:

Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo

As mentioned above, Hellmann’s now makes their own vegan mayo variety. Made with pea protein instead of eggs, it has a similar flavor and creamy texture to traditional mayo without the dairy.

Just Mayo

Just Mayo by Hampton Creek Foods is one of the most popular vegan mayo brands. Made from Canadian yellow peas, it mimics the egg taste nicely. Just Mayo comes in original and flavored varieties.


Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart is a nut-based vegan mayo made from vegan ingredients like expeller-pressed canola and safflower oil. It contains no dairy, eggs, or animal products.


Made by Nasoya, Nayonaise uses tofu, vegetable broth, and seasonings to create a vegan mayo. It is completely dairy-free.

Homemade Vegan Mayo

Adventurous home chefs can also find recipes for making vegan mayo at home. This typically uses oil, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, and seasonings.


With its recognizable yellow bottle and creamy texture, Hellmann’s mayonnaise adds flavor and richness to a variety of recipes and sandwiches. However, all varieties of Hellmann’s traditional mayonnaise do contain egg yolks.

While eggs are not technically dairy, they are considered an animal product. This means Hellmann’s mayo is not vegan or dairy-free. Consumers with food allergies or eating plant-based will want to opt for vegan mayo instead.

Fortunately the brand now offers Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, with a near identical taste and texture as the original. Made with pea protein instead of eggs, this allows even the staunchest Hellmann’s fans to enjoy the mayonnaise flavor without the dairy.

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