Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

4.87 from 22 votes

This toum recipe makes a creamy spread to use on bread, as a dip or marinade. Make this delicious Lebanese garlic sauce with 4 ingredients!

close up of lebanese garlic sauce in a food processor

If you’re new to Silk Road Recipes, you may not know that this is my second recipe site. I launched Kevin is Cooking back in 2013, and I share a lot of homemade spice blends and condiment recipes there. This first appeared there in 2014, and I felt it best to move here on Silk Road Recipes, to which it’s better suited to the cuisines.

I make this because of course, condiments and spice blends are always best when they’re made fresh. Besides, I don’t see the benefit of buying premade spice blends, spreads, and dips when they are SO simple to make at home!

New Version Tip!

I’ve been making this more and more in smaller batches (cut this recipe into thirds) and use an immersion blender. It’s amazingly creamy and made in under 3 minutes! See the recipe card below for details.

Toum recipe – Lebanese garlic sauce

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

This garlic sauce, also known as toum (the Arabic word for garlic), is a simple condiment with a big and bold garlic and lemon flavor.

The consistency is creamy and thick, similar to mayonnaise, but there are no eggs in this spread. The thick consistency is why it’s sometimes referred to as a dip.

Like aioli, mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce, toum is an emulsified sauce. The ingredients are combined using a high speed food processor to keep the oil molecules from separating.

lebanon circled on map of middle east

Make this simple toum recipe and keep a batch on hand in your fridge. Although, fair warning- if you’re like me, it won’t last long because you’ll be spreading it on everything!

jar of lebanese toum

Ingredient notes and substitutions

  • Garlic – As the primary flavor in toum, I recommend using fresh, raw garlic cloves.
  • Vegetable oil – You should be able to replace this with another neutral cooking oil, depending on your flavor preference or what you have on hand.

    Olive, avocado, and sunflower oils would make great substitutes, but try a small test batch first, to make sure it emulsifies properly and that you like the flavor.

Toum recipe video

If you’ve never made an emulsion before, I recommend watching my video, which is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Making Lebanese garlic sauce isn’t difficult, but how the ingredients are incorporated makes a big difference in the overall consistency.

collage of steps to make toum recipe

Instruction notes and tips

  1. Puree the garlic and salt to form a paste.
  2. Add the oil and lemon juice:

    This step is VERY important to do correctly. While the food processor runs continuously, slowly drizzle in the oil and lemon juice in alternating amounts. If you add too much too quickly, it will break the emulsification and the sauce will come out too thin.
  3. Finish and store: Once all of the oil and lemon juice has been added, the consistency should be thick like mayonnaise. Transfer to a lidded jar or airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Uses for Lebanese garlic sauce

  • Deli wraps – This is a popular addition to gyros and shawarma. Spread a thin layer on a piece of flatbread or lettuce leaf before making your wrap. You can even use it on cold sandwiches or hamburgers in place of regular mayonnaise.
  • Kabob plates – Pair with beef and lamb koobideh, or spread it onto other grilled meats and vegetables.
  • Grilled cheese – Use toum instead of butter or mayo on the outside of bread for an amazing grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Roasted poultry – I actually rubbed this garlic sauce under the skin of my holiday turkey once. It added a ton of flavor and kept the turkey moist.
    It would taste great on roasted chicken or Cornish hens as well.
  • Garlic bread – Spread a layer on fresh bread and top with herbs for a delicious side to any meal.
making toum in bowl of food processor

Toum recipe notes

  • Storage – The garlic sauce will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
  • Adjust the quantity – If you don’t plan on using the condiment very often, simply halve the recipe to make a smaller batch. We go through a batch quickly at my house!
  • Kitchen tools – You should be able to use a high-speed blender if you don’t have a food processor. It can also be made with an immersion blender, but I don’t recommend using that until you have made the toum sauce a few times successfully.

Other flavor-packed dips and spreads to make

Just like toum, any one of these recipes can be made to use as a spread on wraps, sandwiches, or grilled meats. Make a platter with a little bit of each and see which is your favorite!

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close up of lebanese garlic sauce in a food processor

Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

4.87 from 22 votes
This toum recipe makes a creamy spread to use on bread, as a dip or marinade. Make this delicious Lebanese garlic sauce with 4 ingredients!
Servings: 4 cups
Prep: 12 minutes
Total: 12 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

Food Processor Method

  • Add the garlic and salt in the food processor and run for 10-20 seconds to purée.
  • Stop the processor and scrape down the sides, then process again until you have a fine paste.
  • NOTE: From this point forward, keep processor running until the sauce is finished.
    With food processor on, slowly pour in 1 cup oil. The garlic will begin to emulsify and turn into a paste.
    Next, slowly add in 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Wait a few seconds, until the lemon juice is well absorbed, then add another 1 cup of oil.
    Repeat this step, alternating with 1 cup oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice, until you’ve incorporate 3 cups of oil and 4 tablespoons lemon juice. This process will take 8-10 minutes.
  • The result should be a thick sauce, with a thick, creamy consistency (like mayonnaise). Transfer garlic sauce to an airtight jar and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Immersion Blend Method (my new favorite) Small Batch

  • Add the 9 or 10 cloves of garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the oil to jar or immersion blender container and run for 10-20 seconds to purée. Add remaining 2/3 cups oil and puree to emulsify completely (for a less mayonnaise type consistency, feel free to double the lemon juice). Finished product should resemble mayonnaise in texture.

Video

Notes

  1. Some slice each clove and remove any green inner sprout which may give a bitter taste, optional.
  2. For a less mayonnaise type consistency, feel free to double the lemon juice.
  3. Used as a condiment for pita, wraps, sandwiches, spread onto grilled bread, place under the skin of chicken prior to roasting, etc.
  4. This recipe yields 4 cups. Halve the recipe if you don’t plan on using it as often.
  5. Nutritional information based on 64 tablespoons (1 tablespoon serving).

Nutrition

Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: condiments
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
toum sauce on pita with jar behind

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating




57 Comments

    1. Like I wrote in the recipe card, vegetable oil (or other neutral oil) will work here Elizabeth. I don’t like the stronger olive oil flavor in this myself, but by all means, use if desired.

  1. 5 stars
    Holy smokes, this stuff is *phenomenal.* Added the oil in a stream ½ the width of a pencil lead and the lemon juice by drops. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  2. What happened? The video hot link is missing!

    I also want to know if I can use an old fashioned blender to make this.

    1. The video is in the recipe card for viewing? Do you have an ad blocker on your browser? Sometimes they block the video. Yes, you can use an old fashioned blender, but it make sit hard to scoop everything out. Let me know!

      1. 2 stars
        This was a fail for me as written. I followed directions to an T other than using a few extra cloves of garlic. I can’t imagine that made the difference. After 10 minutes of continuous blending, I never got an emulsion and was left with a separated garlic oil. I decided to make aioli with the oil by using my immersion blender, a slender cup, and 4 whole eggs. That came out perfect and delicious so I’m really glad I was able to salvage the ingredients from this failed recipe.

        1. So sorry to read that was your experience Audrey. It should have worked as written, but maybe try my other way to see? My go to way to make now is using my immersion blender for quick and smaller batches. The recipe card notes this, too. Hope you give it a try.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you! We are trying new things in our home and transitioning to all food made from scratch. This fits right in! Do you think it would be freezer friendly?

    1. That’s great, thanks so much for following along Janine! I would not freeze it. As it thaws, that emulsion will break, leaving you with the liquid, acidic ingredients, and oil floating on top.

    1. You sure can Rick although sometimes it can have a slightly bitter taste. Stick to vegetable, corn or canola oil.

    2. I have heard that olive oil will yield a bitter taste, so a neutral oil, like canola or vegetable, is recommended.

  4. I was very excited to make this and it’s very straight forward but all I got was oily garlic liquid it smells wonderful but it now seems unusable. I am Using my food processor and added everything very slowly…wondering what I did wrong?

    1. Working the garlic into a paste and then adding a little oil and then the acid (lemon juice) in intervals is key. Too much, too soon “breaks” the emulsion. My only other thought, and I added this to the recipe card Notes, is to use an immersion blender. Works EVERY time!

  5. I started this using my immersion blender but I think my jar was slightly too wide. I transferred it to my food processor but am not getting an emulsification. Any tips?

    1. At this point I’d go with another cup, preferably tall and one that fits your immersion blender, and go that route.

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this sauce and it is delicious!! The ingredient list says 4 TBSP of lemon juice, however the instructions below say 4 TSP lemon juice. Could you clarify please.

    1. Thanks for the question and for following along here Kathy. It’s a total of 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, sorry if there was confusion.

  7. 5 stars
    I followed the recipe using a Ninja blender on the lowest setting and prepeeled garlic cloves from an Asian supermarket. It turned out perfectly flavored with a beautiful pudding like texture. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. 5 stars
        I do need to make this and put it on everything😇. Would olive oil be too strong a flavor to use in this?

        1. I have heard that olive oil will yield a bitter taste, so a neutral oil, like canola or vegetable, is recommended.

        2. You could use olive oil, but sometimes it can have a slightly bitter taste. Stick to vegetable, corn or canola oil.

  8. 5 stars
    As a Lebanese and this garlic is one of our staple condiments, I can say that you nailed it. You are the first person to make it the right way. Thanks so much. If you want to make the red toum you just add tomato paste by the tsp. Till you get the desired taste. You can also add some chili powder not flakes with the red toum if you wanted spicy. Enjoy

  9. I love garlic sauce! And this one looks great. What would you do to make it thinner, kinda like a dressing? Thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    Hi! If I have a jar of minced garlic in oil, do you know how much I should use for this recipe? Thanks!

  11. 5 stars
    What a tasty recipe; can practically smell all that delicious garlic through my computer! Excited to give this a try, indeed!

    1. I have heard that olive oil will yield a bitter taste, so a neutral oil, like canola or vegetable, is recommended.

  12. 5 stars
    I have always wanted to know how to make this sauce. Wow!!! Just wow!! This sauce alone makes me want to buy a rotisserie, for chicken, FOR THIS SAUCE! Sooooo sooooooo good!

  13. 5 stars
    I haven’t actually made it yet, but I know from the ingredients this is a winner, and no more buying from a local restaurant which may have ingredients not so clean as this one. I have a lot of garlic to use, so will be doing it this week.