This Lebanese Garlic Sauce takes the traditional recipe and makes it even creamier thanks to a secret ingredient! Made in minutes in a food processor, it’s the perfect flavor enhancer for all your favorite meals.
What Is Toum?
Growing up, we knew Lebanese garlic sauce by its Egyptian name, tomiya. However, it is also referred to at toom, toum, tooma, and skordalia, depending on which region of the world you’re in. In the United States, it’s most often simply called garlic sauce. However, that name is a bit misleading as the recipe resembles a thick paste more than it does a thin sauce.
That said, no matter what it is called, toum is a white, creamy sauce that has a texture similar to mayonnaise. In addition, it has a bold garlic flavor that is married with refreshing lemon for a condiment that is buttery smooth and unbelievably delicious. Easy to make and unlike anything else you’ll ever taste, it’s guaranteed to become your favorite way to boost the flavor of your meals!
What Is Lebanese Garlic Sauce Made Of?
Although the flavors of this garlic sauce are complex, the ingredient list is simple. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Garlic – This is the most important ingredient in the recipe and forms the base of the classic flavor we’re looking to achieve. For the best results, use the freshest garlic cloves you can find. Whatever you do, don’t substitute it for pre-minced or canned varieties! The flavor just won’t be the same. Don’t worry if you end up with too many cloves, you can always store garlic for later.
- Salt – This makes it easier to grate the garlic, helping draw out excess moisture. Plus, it helps enhance the flavor of the sauce!
- Canola Oil – Feel free to use any neutral flavored oil such as canola, vegetable, safflower, or avocado oil. However, we do not recommend using olive oil, because it will alter the color and flavor of the garlic sauce overpowering the strong garlic taste we’re looking to achieve.
- Lemon – Use fresh lemon juice for a vibrant flavor and to help emulsify the ingredients, creating a smooth texture.
- Sour Cream – Not found in most Lebanese garlic sauce recipes, this is our secret to creating an ultra-creamy consistency and adding a little extra tang! If needed, you can omit it for a dairy-free Lebanese garlic sauce recipe.
How to Make Lebanese Garlic Sauce
This garlic sauce comes together in just a few minutes so you can easily whip it up for all your favorite meals!
- Mince the Garlic. Place the garlic and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cloves are finely minced, and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Combine. With the food processor running on a low speed, slowly pour in 1 tablespoon of oil. Then, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and repeat the process slowly adding 1-2 tablespoons of oil at a time alternating with the lemon juice until the ingredients are well combined and creamy.
- Pulse. Next, add the sour cream, and pulse again to combine.
- Enjoy. Serve your Lebanese garlic sauce right away, or place it in the fridge to chill, and enjoy!
Tips for Success
This Lebanese garlic sauce is super easy to make. However, if you follow the tips below, you’re guaranteed to have the best, bold taste and the perfect creamy consistency!
- Use Fresh Garlic. We mentioned this already, but it’s crucial to creating this garlic sauce recipe! You want to find firm, fresh garlic cloves, and remove the green part before you begin.
- Have Patience. Do not rush the process of creating an emulsion. Otherwise, your ingredients won’t combine! It should take about 10-12 minutes to add in all of the oil and lemon juice.
- Don’t Use a Blender. Unlike many sauce recipes, this garlic sauce cannot be combined in a blender. This is because, it is nearly impossible to slowly drizzle in the oil and lemon juice, meaning your ingredients won’t combine. You’ll be left with an oily mess.
- Alternate. It is crucial to alternate adding in the oil and lemon juice. If you add all the oil at once, the mixture will be too heavy to combine properly.
The ways to enjoy this Lebanese garlic sauce are pretty much endless! Most commonly it is served alongside meat. However, it’s also great dolloped over salads and grain bowls, added to sandwiches and wraps, or used as a dip with a side of pita bread! For example, some of our favorite ways to use it are with:
Lebanese Garlic Sauce Common Questions
Both sauces are made with a strong garlic flavor and have a smooth consistency. However, most aioli recipes call for garlic, oil, and eggs. Meanwhile, toum is made using only garlic, oil, salt, and lemon juice (and in our case sour cream, too).
No, it may look like mayonnaise, but the flavor is far from it. Instead of being fairly bland and tangy like mayo, garlic sauce has a bold, pungent garlic flavor with a hint of refreshing acidity.
For the best results and optimum flavor, we recommend using your garlic sauce right away. However, if you have leftovers or want to make it ahead of time it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More Ways to Use Garlic
Everything tastes better with garlic, right? If you love it as much as we do, don’t miss out on more of our favorite recipes below!
- Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Spicy Garlic Confit and Garlic Oil
- Honey Garlic Whole Baked Cauliflower
- Baked Garlic Shrimp Scampi
Lebanese Garlic Sauce Recipe
- 1 1/4 cups garlic cloves (peeled)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups canola oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic cloves and salt. Pulse for 1 minute or until the garlic is finely minced. Scrape down the sides of the food processor.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in 1 tablespoon of oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and repeat alternating between adding 1-2 tablespoons of oil and lemon juice at a time until the mixture is well combined and creamy. This takes 10-12 minutes!
- Add the sour cream, and pulse to combine.
- Serve right away, or place in the fridge to chill.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.