Is there dairy in Hellmann’s mayonnaise?

Hellmann’s mayonnaise is one of the most popular mayonnaise brands in the United States and around the world. Many people enjoy using Hellmann’s mayonnaise on sandwiches, in salads, and as a condiment for things like chicken, potatoes, and more.

However, some people wonder if Hellmann’s mayonnaise contains any dairy ingredients. This is an important question for people who have dairy allergies or intolerances like lactose intolerance. Knowing whether a product contains dairy is key to avoiding adverse reactions.

So, does Hellmann’s mayonnaise contain dairy? Let’s take a detailed look at the ingredients list and manufacturing process to find out.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Ingredients

According to the Hellmann’s website, the ingredients in original Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise are:

– Soybean Oil
– Whole Eggs
– Water
– Egg Yolks
– Distilled Vinegar
– Salt
– Sugar
– Spices
– Natural Flavor
– Lemon Juice Concentrate
– Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)

None of these ingredients are dairy products. The main ingredients are soybean oil and eggs. There is no milk, cream, butter, cheese, or any other dairy ingredient listed.

This suggests that Hellmann’s mayonnaise does not contain lactose or any other dairy component. But let’s take a deeper look at some of the specifics just to be thorough.


Eggs themselves are not dairy, although it’s a common misconception. Eggs come from chickens, not cows or any other mammal. So while eggs are an animal product, they are not a dairy product. The egg ingredients in Hellmann’s like whole eggs, egg yolks, etc. do not count as dairy.

Natural Flavors

Some may wonder if the “natural flavors” listing could potentially indicate there are trace amounts of dairy. However, according to Hellmann’s, the natural flavors used are derived from plant-based sources like spices, fruits, and vegetables. So there does not appear to be any dairy hiding in this ingredient either.

Manufacturing Process

In addition to the ingredients list, it’s also helpful to understand the manufacturing process of Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

According to Unilever, the parent company of Hellmann’s, their mayonnaise is made by mixing the oil and egg yolks together and then gently whisking in the remaining ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice. The mayonnaise is aged for a few days to allow the flavors to blend.

Importantly, at no point in this simple process is any type of dairy ingredient incorporated. It’s just the core components of oil, eggs, and seasonings.

Why Some Think Hellmann’s Contains Dairy

Given that the ingredients and manufacturing process show Hellmann’s mayonnaise contains no dairy, why do some people think it has dairy? There are a few potential reasons:

confusion with other mayonnaise brands

While Hellmann’s contains no dairy, some other mayonnaise brands do include milk or cream as ingredients. So someone may see “mayonnaise” and assume all brands have dairy without checking the specific Hellmann’s ingredient list.

similarity in color/texture to dairy-based sauces

The off-white color and creamy texture of mayonnaise is similar to that of some dairy-based sauces and condiments like ranch, sour cream, etc. So the visual similarity may lead some to believe it contains dairy.

association with sandwiches and potato salads

Since mayonnaise is often used in sandwiches, wraps, potato salads and on burgers, people may mentally associate it with dairy products like cheese and sour cream which are also common on those foods. But the association is incorrect when it comes to Hellmann’s.

How to Tell if a Mayonnaise Has Dairy

To avoid confusion and ensure you can identify any mayonnaise that does contain dairy, here are some tips:

– Check the ingredients list for any mention of milk, cream, butter, cheese, whey or other dairy components

– Look on the label for allergy warnings about milk, lactose or dairy

– Contact the manufacturer directly if you’re still unsure after checking the ingredients

– Buy brands that are labeled as “vegan” mayonnaise, as these will always be dairy-free

– Check reputable sites listing dairy-free brands if avoiding dairy due to an allergy or intolerance

Types of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

There are several different varieties and formulations of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. To cover all bases, here is an overview of some of the major types:

Hellmann’s Original Real Mayonnaise

As mentioned, the original Hellmann’s mayo contains no dairy ingredients. The oil and egg version is dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise

This version uses canola oil instead of soybean oil but is still dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise

Hellmann’s Light uses a different formula to cut calories, but remains dairy-free.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Squeeze Bottle

The squeeze bottle version has the same dairy-free original formula.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Packets

The packets for individual use also contain the original dairy-free recipe.

Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise Dressing

Hellmann’s also makes a vegan version contains no dairy, eggs or other animal products. The oil and texture comes from modified food starch instead of eggs.

So in summary, all the major types of Hellmann’s mayonnaise – original, light, squeeze bottle, packets and vegan – are dairy-free.

Dairy-Free Alternatives to Mayonnaise

For those who still wish to avoid mayonnaise or limit eggs, there are some great dairy-free alternatives:

Vegan Mayonnaise

As mentioned, brands like Hellmann’s make egg-free vegan mayonnaise dressings. These contain no dairy or eggs.

Tofu Mayonnaise

Blending silken tofu with lemon juice and oils can produce a mayo-like texture.

Cashew Mayonnaise

Cashews blended into a cream can be used in place of mayo.

Bean Mayonnaise

Black beans or chickpeas pureed with seasoning can provide creaminess without dairy.


Sliced or mashed avocado can replace mayo in sandwiches and wraps.


Hummus has a similar texture to mayonnaise and makes a perfect sandwich spread.

So for those avoiding dairy and eggs, there are still plenty of ways to get a creamy texture in sauces, salads and sandwiches.

Nutrition Facts For Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

To get a full overview of the nutritional content, here is a table comparing 2 tablespoons of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise versus Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise Dressing:

Nutrition Facts Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise (2 Tbsp) Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise Dressing (2 Tbsp)
Calories 190 60
Total Fat 20g 6g
Saturated Fat 2.5g 0.4g
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Cholesterol 15mg 0mg
Sodium 190mg 260mg
Total Carbohydrates 1g 3g
Protein 0g 0g

A few key observations:

– Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise has significantly more calories and fat than the vegan version since it contains egg yolks.

– The vegan version is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol since it has no eggs.

– Both have minimal protein and carbs. There are 0 grams of sugar in either version.

– Sodium levels are relatively similar between the two.

So if you are looking for reduced calories, fat, cholesterol or saturated fat compared to regular mayonnaise, the vegan version provides those benefits. However, the classic Hellmann’s mayonnaise remains dairy-free as well.

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and Food Allergies

In addition to being dairy-free, Hellmann’s mayonnaise is:

– Gluten-free – contains no wheat, barley, rye or gluten ingredients

– Soy-free – the classic version uses soybean oil but through processing should not contain soy proteins

– Nut-free – no nuts or nut derivatives in the ingredients

– Kosher – verified kosher status

However, those with egg allergies need to be aware that both the regular and light varieties of Hellmann’s mayonnaise contain eggs and egg ingredients. The vegan version would be a better choice for those avoiding eggs.

Always check the label given manufacturing can change over time, and check with your doctor if you have food allergy questions.

Storage and Shelf Life of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

Once opened, Hellmann’s mayonnaise lasts 3-4 months refrigerated before going bad. Keep it tightly sealed in the fridge after opening. Signs it may have spoiled include changes in texture, color, smell or taste.

Unopened Hellmann’s mayonnaise has a shelf life of several months to a year or more. Check the “best by” or expiration date on the jar.

The mayonnaise can last a few hours unrefrigerated, such as for a picnic, but it is best stored chilled. If temperatures exceed 90°F for over 8 hours, it’s best to discard the mayonnaise.

As with any food, use properly clean utensils and containers when handling mayonnaise and refrigerate it after use to maximize freshness.

Common Questions about Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Hellmann’s mayonnaise:

Is Hellmann’s mayonnaise gluten-free?

Yes, Hellmann’s mayonnaise is gluten-free. It does not contain wheat, barley, rye or other gluten sources.

Is Hellmann’s mayo safe during pregnancy?

Unless you have a specific pregnancy-related condition your doctor advises dietary changes for, Hellmann’s mayonnaise can be safely consumed during pregnancy. It contains no ingredients that would be inherently unsafe or concerning for pregnant women. However, always check with your OB-GYN.

Does Hellmann’s mayo need to be refrigerated?

Yes, after opening Hellmann’s mayonnaise should always be refrigerated. This helps prevent foodborne illnesses. An unopened jar can be stored in the pantry, but refrigerate once opened.

Is Hellmann’s vegan mayo healthy?

The Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise uses expeller pressed canola and soybean oils. It has zero cholesterol since it contains no eggs, and has small amounts of saturated fat. It can be part of a balanced vegan diet. However, moderate your oil intake from all sources.

Why is Hellmann’s mayo so yellow?

The rich yellow color comes from the egg yolks in Hellmann’s traditional mayonnaise. The egg yolks lend the yellow-orange hue. The vegan version achieves a lighter yellow color mainly from added turmeric and paprika.


To recap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise contains no dairy ingredients or lactose. Both the original and all the alternate formulations like light, squeezable and vegan varieties are dairy-free. Hellmann’s uses a simple manufacturing process of blended oils and eggs.

While dairy-free, those with egg allergies need to be mindful of the egg content in most Hellmann’s mayonnaise. But overall, Hellmann’s can be enjoyed by most people with dairy restrictions or lactose intolerance. Be sure to refrigerate it after opening to keep it safe and fresh.

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