You’ll never just open a jar again. 
Credit: Getty / Oleksandr Todorov

Confession: I'm not a huge fan of mayonnaise. I prefer butter on my sandwiches if I need a spread and tend to use mayonnaise as an ingredient in other dishes, like tuna salad or potato salad, or even in chocolate cake. If I am going to indulge in a mayo, it needs to bring more to the party than bland oiliness. 

But I must admit, particularly in summer, there is a benefit to using some mayo-based dressings to zhuzh up a dish. From a glaze on chicken or fish that helps keep those delicate proteins tender and flavorful, to a dip for fries or veggie skewers, to the perfect schmear on a bun for any type of burger or grilled meat, having some fun mayo sauces in your fridge can bring that little something extra to dinner. 

But that's my point: mayo sauces. And that's where basic ho-hum mayo becomes a mayo I can work with… love even. And I think, with my easy upgrades, you will too.

The three versions of mayonnaise sauces I've developed are Miso Ginger, Lime Chili Cheese, and Spicy Sesame.

In each case, blend all the ingredients in a bowl, and then taste for seasoning. Depending on the mayo you use, you might want or need a pinch of sugar or a bit more salt or pepper. If you like things spicier, add more heat. These zesty mayos will keep in the fridge up to a week in a sealed container. 

Miso Ginger Mayo

This Asian-inspired mayonnaise sauce is a perfect glaze on any fish but also a terrific dunk for grilled shishito peppers or to make a kicked-up potato salad. I like to use the now-cult-classic Japanese brand KEWPIE Mayonnaise for this one if I can get my hands on some. The natural sweetness is a terrific balance in this blend.

Miso Ginger Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons white miso paste

2 tablespoons ginger juice (grate fresh ginger then squeeze to get the juice, which is all the flavor and none of the fiber)

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Lime Chili Cheese Mayo

This blend was inspired by elote, that amazing Mexican street food of grilled corn on the cob slathered in mayo, rolled in salty crumbled cheese sprinkled with chili powder and topped with squeeze of lime. I stir this mix into corn cut off the cob and bake for a gratin, smear on cornbread muffins instead of butter, or use as a dip for quesadillas. 

Lime Chili Cheese Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lime zest

1 teaspoon lime juice

½ cup crumbled cotija cheese

1 teaspoon chili flakes (I like Cobanero Chili Flakes from Burlap and Barrel)

Spicy Sesame Mayo

This mayo blend is amazing on any grilled vegetable or raw vegetable salads, and it's great tossed with noodles for a version of a sesame noodle or spread on the bun of a lamb burger or over a kebab sandwich.

Spicy Sesame Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise

⅓ cup tahini paste

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoons harissa paste