Saffron Aioli


This is a luxurious sauce for roasted potatoes, meats, and much more.

1 cup

Martha's saffron aioli is a rich sauce that can elevate even the most basic dishes. Aioli, which originated in Provence, France, is similar to mayonnaise. It's an emulsion of egg yolks and olive oil with garlic. Traditionally, the ingredients are gently whisked together in a mortar and pestle. This luxurious version adds saffron, the world's most expensive spice, which gives the aioli a golden hue and a unique earthy-sweet aroma and flavor.

We like to serve the saffron aioli with roasted potatoes or meats—or alongside a big platter of fresh vegetables, boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and shrimp or crab for Le Grand Aioli.


  • Pinch of saffron

  • 1 tablespoon warm water

  • 3 small garlic cloves

  • Coarse salt

  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Steep the saffron in water:

    Place saffron in a small bowl with water; set aside.

  2. Make the garlic paste:

    Use a mortar and pestle to mash garlic and a pinch of salt to a fine paste. Add mustard and incorporate.

  3. Add the egg yolks and saffron water:

    Add egg yolks and mix well. Add saffron-water mixture and stir to incorporate.

  4. Add the olive oil:

    Slowly add half the oil, drop by drop at first, and then in a slow steady stream, while mixing with the pestle. (Thin with about a tablespoon of warm water if the mixture is too thick.) Continue incorporating oil until all of it is absorbed. Thin with additional water if needed, and season with salt to taste.

aioli sauce in bowl

David M. Russell

The egg yolks in this recipe are not cooked. It should not be prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.

Related Articles