Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)

190 reader reviews / 4.58 stars average

Naturally vegan and gluten-free, this mayo-free Garlic Sauce is thick, creamy, and packed with flavor. Serve with grilled meats or warm pita. 

Garlic Sauce being spread on pita bread with a knife

It’s no secret that the kitchen is my happy place. However, as much as I would love to say that I am a self-taught, self-made home chef, I really can’t take the credit. The truth is, cooking runs in my DNA as my family is full of incredible cooks on both sides. However, today’s post is about one woman in particular, my Aunt Paula.

Aunt Paula
Aunt Paula

As you know, I’m a bit camera happy and always have it out at family gatherings and parties. Due to the fact that Aunt Paula won’t let anyone photograph her, ever, she immediately looks away when she sees me near. Luckily, I was able to snap the picture above at a past family gathering.

Creamy Lebanese Garlic Sauce Recipe

In addition to her dislike of photos, my Aunt Paula is known for gifting friends and family with food all year round. If you’re sick, she will defrost homemade chicken soup and deliver it with a bag of Fritos – the best chicken soup topping in the world. Just have a baby? She’ll stop by at dinner with a platter of Hushwee rice.

Lebanese Garlic Sauce

As you may have guessed, this garlic sauce was her most recent gift to my family, and it was so mouthwatering I knew I had to create it for all of you!

While it does require a little knowledge and know-how, my Lebanese garlic sauce recipe uses just four simple ingredients. Garlic cloves, salt, canola oil, and lemon juice are all you need to prepare this thick and creamy spread. Grab your food processor, and you’re only 15 minutes away from enjoying this addictive sauce. If you’re a visual person like me, I encourage you to watch this step-by-step video. It explains the entire process from start to finish.

Traditionally, this sauce is served on pita sandwiches, served with Beef Shawarma, or used for dipping with Chicken Tawook. However, feel free to get creative! The recipe is just four simple ingredients, but with a little love it turns into a magical, intoxicating, and addictive sauce

Common questions:

Is there mayonnaise in garlic sauce?

One of the best qualities of garlic sauce is that there is no mayo – making it a much healthier alternative.

Is Lebanese Garlic Sauce spicy?

Since the recipe does call for a larger amount of garlic, it can tend to be a little bit on the spicy side. If you’re looking to tone down the spice level, you can certainly use less garlic. Additionally, the type of garlic you use does make a difference. If you’re using elephant garlic, it’s going to make the sauce a little milder. If you’re looking for a spicier sauce, then use fresh garlic.

How long does Lebanese Garlic Sauce last in the refrigerator?

You can store the sauce for up to 1 month in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Your fork is waiting.

garlic sauce being spread onto pita bread

Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)

190 reader reviews / 4.58 stars average
Naturally vegan and gluten-free, this mayo free Garlic Sauce is thick, creamy, and packed with flavor. Serve with grilled meat, shish kebobs, or warm pita. 
PREP: 10 mins
TOTAL: 10 mins
Servings: 64 servings


  • 1 cup garlic cloves (peeled (roughly 3 heads of garlic))
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups canola oil (*you may not need all of this*)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice ((about one lemon))


  • Place the garlic cloves and salt in a large food processor and puree until smooth. It's a good idea to scrape down the sides two or three times to ensure that all of the garlic is finely processed.
  • Turn the machine back on and slowly drizzle in the oil through the lid starting with 1/2 cup. After the first 1/2 cup has been added, pour in a teaspoon of the lemon juice.
  • Continue alternating between 1/2 cup of the canola oil and a teaspoon of the lemon juice until you've added all of the oil and lemon juice. Alternating between the two is the key to proper emulsification which creates the light and fluffy garlic sauce. One tip is to let the machine run between oil additions to let the emulsion thicken. NOTE: This process requires you to drizzle in the oil — not dump in the oil right away. When you see it begin to thicken up THEN you start with the lemon juice.
  • You know it’s done when the sauce is white and thick with a similar consistency of mayonnaise. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes.



Do not replace canola oil with olive oil, it will ruin the end result.


Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 37mgPotassium: 10mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE? Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!

Need more delicious, homemade Lebanese food in your life? Check out my Pinterest board!

331 thoughts on “Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)”

  1. Simple recipe and love the sauce but I can attest for certain that if you use high quality extra virgin olive oil it works just fine.

  2. Hi! I’ve made this successfully and also had a few rather unsuccessful tries – I suspect because I halved the recipe and my small food processor wasn’t good enough to chop the garlic fine enough for it to properly thicken? Wondering if I could use a Vitamix blender instead of a food processor here?

  3. At first, this did not turn out well for me. The flavor was just off. I was in a hurry so I used pre-chopped garlic from a jar. What a waste I thought. Well, it’s been in the fridge a little over 2 days and I just tasted it again. It’s fantastic! Not sure how long it lasts but it’s very good at 2 days! Also, I used avocado oil, which never fails me!

    1. Ashley @ The Lemon Bowl

      Hi Lori, I’m glad it turned out well for you with your modifications! With this recipe, you can store the sauce in an airtight container for up to one month in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

  4. Pingback: 25 Authentic Lebanese Recipes - Insanely Good

  5. What a flavour bomb! It paired perfectly with the falafel and flat breads I’d made. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  6. Hello- can I halve or quarter this recipe or will that mess it up? I haven’t tried making twice and both times the mixture broke so I want to test out again but with less ingredients (to avoid food going to waste if it doesn’t work for me again).

  7. I am trying to imitate the garlic sauce at a Turkish kebab restaurant I go to. Their toum/sauce seems more creamy and opaque than regular toum. Do you think they add mayo or egg white? Also, it had little pieces of herbs and vegetables. I’m thinking parsley for the herbs but not sure about the other little chunks. If you have any ideas, I would appreciate it!

  8. I got the right texture but it’s incredibly bitter! So bitter it’s inedible. What did I do wrong or anything I can do to salvage it?

  9. This turned out amazing. The key to this recipe is patience. Don’t try to rush anything, take it slow. I took it a step further with my next batch. I added 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning and took it to a new level. I have both versions in my fridge and can’t stop eating this stuff. I keep spreading it on pita bread. When I run out of pita bread, I am just going to eat it with a spoon. Ok,I already tried that and it was delicious also. Us greeks have a version of this called Skordalia, which also contains potatoes. I prefer this by far over the Skordalia.

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