If you’re anything like me—born in the ’80s with a strong love for commercials from the ’90s and a desire to reference them whenever possible—Dijonnaise probably makes you break out into song. Dij, dij, Dijonnaise…
The commercial’s song was a parody of “Duke of Earl,” and it’s been in my head since 1993, when it first filled commercial breaks with its wonder. However, despite having an apparent affection for the commercial, I never thought much about Dijonnaise itself. Until now.
Recently, my husband came home from a trip to Boston raving about a breakfast sandwich he had. I found it hard to believe that a breakfast sandwich could be transformative, so I asked him what was on it. “Dijonnaise,” he said.
“Dij, dij, Dijonnaise…” I sang, in response (really, I did). But then I got curious about the condiment and its potential uses, including egg sandwiches.
Hellmann’s Dijonnaise hit the scene in the early 1990s. Following its debut, some people named their children Dijonnaise. Nancy’s Baby Names, a baby name blog with a focus on history, posits that the babies likely weren’t named because of how good the sandwich spread was, but rather because “The sound of the word Dijonnaise happened to be relatively trendy at the time. Three of the names that debuted in the baby name data the year before, for instance, were Dijonnae, Daijanae and Dajonae.”
Regardless of why people were naming their babies Dijonnaise, it’s true that the sandwich spread was fairly ubiquitous. In recent years, though, it’s fallen away. In 2013, Hellmann’s replied to sad Twitter user Jim McDonough, who couldn’t find the stuff; the brand vowed that Dijonnaise hadn’t been discontinued. Then in 2021, the brand replied to another frustrated Twitter user to say it had, indeed, been removed from the product lineup.
Earlier that summer, McDonough had replied in his original (and nearly decade-old) tweet thread to lament the passing of Dijonnaise.
“It’s gone,” he wrote. “Not enough of us, apparently.”
Beyond Hellmann’s, there have been other products that mix mayo and mustard. Yet much like the demise of Dijonnaise, which was never officially announced and takes some Twitter digging to find proof of, there’s a lack of clarity around whether the alternative brands are still available.
People in the reviews for Walmart’s listing for Mayomust, Kraft’s yellow mustard and mayo combo, say they can’t find it in stores, and Kraft’s listing for the product shows no sellers. A Dijonnaise product from Maille, French maker of Dijon mustard, is listed at oddly high prices and without much ubiquity. It may have been part of a 2020 decision from the company to stop selling most of its stock online. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t find either of these options in my local grocery stores.
Never fear: You can make Dijonnaise at home, very simply, and then you can use it for all sorts of good stuff. I scoured a few recipes with varying ratios of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and landed on a 1:1 for my own home experiment. I added a pinch of smoked paprika, a synthesis of suggestions I saw in several recipes, and mixed it all together. I ended up with a creamy, delightful sauce.
I dipped chicken tenders in it, which seemed like a natural thing to do since I love honey mustard on chicken tenders and it was an oft-suggested use across the internet. Indeed, it was a good pairing. Instead of the sweetness of honey mustard, this stuff packs a vinegar kick from the dijon. But, as one would expect, the mayonnaise undercuts that kick significantly, making it suitable for chicken tenders in the first place. Though I’m a Dijon mustard fan, even I would not dip a chicken tender in straight Dijon.
I already use Dijon mustard when I make deviled eggs, which ultimately meant I was dipping my chicken tenders in deviled egg dressing (fine with me). I dipped some fries in, it, too, which was also good, plus some steamed broccoli, which was delicious. I’m now convinced I can and should dip most things in it.
Back to that magical breakfast sandwich my husband had in Boston. It turns out the sandwich was from Flour Bakery, and he’s not the only one who loves it, nor was he the only one to latch onto the Dijonnaise as the most interesting aspect of it. It’s a pretty famous menu item, and the chef behind it, Joanne Chang, shared the recipe in her 2013 book, Flour, Too. (The recipe was reprinted on Food 52 in 2020.)
I’ve actually been putting straight Dijon mustard on my own egg sandwiches for years (an English muffin, dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg, to be exact). Dijonnaise, a creamier, more approachable version of Dijon, is a natural fit for an egg sandwich.
“Our homemade focaccia roll is slathered with Dijonnaise, a mix of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise that we dub our (not any longer) ‘secret sauce,’” said Chang in the intro to her recipe. She noted that although she never intended to become known for egg sandwiches, she has anyway. “These egg sandwiches have become so beloved that now we offer them seven days a week all day long, and some customers only know us as the Egg Sandwich Place.”
Chang’s recipe reflects simplicity in that special sauce—even more simple than my initial take at home. Just 1/3 cup good-quality mayonnaise + 1/4 cup Dijon mustard. That’s it! Who needs Hellmann’s when anyone with a bowl and a spoon can pull this off?