Make Lebanese garlic sauce (toum) at home with only four ingredients! This creamy dip has a heavenly garlic flavor that’s perfect for grilled chicken, pita bread, or any Lebanese-style dish.
A good sauce can take any meal from so-so to fabulous. And, this thick and creamy Lebanese garlic sauce does just that. Spread it on warmed pita bread or use it as a dip for grilled chicken, falafel, or to have on hand anytime you order Lebanese takeout.
If you’ve ever made mayonnaise at home, you’ll be a pro at making homemade toum. With only four ingredients, a food processor, and a little bit of patience, you’ll have a decadent garlic infused sauce ready to enjoy.
The best part is that once made, this recipe will last up to three months in the refrigerator. But, if you love it as much as I do, you’ll eat it up long before that!
🧄 What is Toum?
Toum is a traditional Lebanese garlic sauce that’s an emulsion of oil and garlic. It’s made in a similar way as mayonnaise, but instead of oil and egg, toum emulsifies oil and garlic and is a vegan sauce.
The texture of toum is more like a spread, as it’s quite thick. It’s easily thinned out and can be used as a sauce in many dishes like grilled or roasted meats, shish kabobs, vegetables and pita bread. Once you try this sauce, there won’t be much you won’t slather it on!
🛒 Ingredients for Lebanese garlic sauce
Garlic – Use the freshest garlic you can for this recipe. Depending on the size of your garlic, it may take two to three heads of garlic to get a half a cup. Some recommend using a paring knife to remove the green sprout (or germ) from the center of the garlic to make it less bitter. I’ve found that not to be necessary if you purchase fresh garlic. Never use pre-minced garlic as the flavor won’t be the same.
Lemon juice – For freshly squeezed lemon juice, roll the lemon on the table for twenty seconds or so to loosen up the juice inside. Slice the lemon in half and juice with a citrus juicer or squeeze the juice out with your hand and then press the inside with a fork to extract as much juice as possible.
Oil – Use a colorless, neutral oil like sunflower, grapeseed, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Avoid olive oil as it will make the coloring slightly more yellow than white and it will a pronounced flavor from the olive oil.
👩🍳 How to make it
Place the garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the garlic is finely chopped.
Add one tablespoon of the lemon juice and continue processing until a smooth paste forms, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.
With the food processor running, start incorporating a half a cup of the oil, drizzling it in very slowly. Try keeping the stream of oil pencil-tip thin. Once the oil is incorporated, slowly stream in another tablespoon of lemon juice.
Repeat this step with another half cup of cup oil and another tablespoon of lemon juice two more times until all of the oil and lemon juice has been used.
The texture should be smooth and creamy.
If the sauce seems too thick, slowly stream in one to two tablespoons of water while the processor is running to loosen the sauce up some.
Once finished, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Toum will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 months.
ℹ️ Recipe FAQs
Toum sauce is made of only four ingredients: oil, garlic, salt, and lemon juice.
Homemade toum can last up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
If your garlic sauce breaks, you can easily fix it with an egg white and more lemon juice. Remove the toum from the food processor. Add one egg white and a tabelspoon of lemon juice into the processor and begin running the machine.
Slowly pour a quarter cup of the broken garlic sauce back into the processor with it running until it begins to thicken, then slowly drizzle in the rest of the broken sauce.
Toum and aioli are very similar. I find that toum has quite a bit more garlic flavor to it. Sometimes aioli can have eggs or other flavorings added to it.
🍴 Ways to use Toum (Lebanese garlic sauce)
Toum is often served with grilled meats, but can truly be served with anything and taste amazing. Try these mouthwatering ways to eat toum:
- Served with grilled or roasted meats
- Spread on sandwiches or warmed pita bread
- Stirred into pasta
- As a dip for french fries
- With falafel
- Spooned over grilled vegetables
- Served as a dip with a crudité plate
- Stirred into soups
- Dolloped onto a baked potato
Did you make this Lebanese garlic dip?
If you loved this creamy garlic sauce I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a ⭐️star review⭐️! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
🥣 More creamy sauces
Try some of these other creamy, flavorful sauces to make any meal an over the top experience!
Lebanese Garlic Sauce Recipe
- ½ cup garlic cloves (peeled )
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups colorless oil (sunflower, grapeseed, or canola)
- Water (as needed)
- Place garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the garlic is finely chopped.
- Add 1 TBSP lemon juice and continue processing until a smooth paste forms, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.
- With the food processor running, start incorporating 1/2 cup of the oil, drizzling it in very slowly. Once the oil is incorporated, stream in another 1 TBSP lemon juice. Repeat this step with another ½ cup oil, then another 1 TBSP lemon juice. Then once more.
- The texture should be smooth and creamy.
- If needed, with the motor running, slowly stream in 1-2 TBSP water to loosen the sauce up a little bit.
- Once finished, transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.