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!
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.
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!
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.
Instruction notes and tips
- Puree the garlic and salt to form a paste.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- Mutabal (charred eggplant dip)
- Tyrokafteri (Feta cheese spread)
- Muhamara (roasted red pepper dip)
- Shatta sauce (Middle Eastern chili paste)
Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)
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.
- Some slice each clove and remove any green inner sprout which may give a bitter taste, optional.
- For a less mayonnaise type consistency, feel free to double the lemon juice.
- Used as a condiment for pita, wraps, sandwiches, spread onto grilled bread, place under the skin of chicken prior to roasting, etc.
- This recipe yields 4 cups. Halve the recipe if you don’t plan on using it as often.
- Nutritional information based on 64 tablespoons (1 tablespoon serving).
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.