Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce


Vampires, back away. I could kill you just by breathing right now. Toum is a garlic sauce that I used to order from this Middle Eastern restaurant in San Diego — Aladdin's in Hillcrest, to be specific. My husband and I even made a special stop there to buy a huge tub of it when we went on our road trip to Joshua Tree so that it could be scooped on top of these lamb meatballs and cucumber salad. And scooped directly into my mouth, because it is everything.

Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce via Worthy Pause

You think you like garlic enough to handle this?

You might not, to be honest.

It is potent, but I love it so much. It goes with just about any meat, any type of cuisine (I mean, maybe not desserts but never say never) and it's a great alternative to mayo if you're looking for a creamy spread.

Before we get to the recipe, I need to give you two quick tips.

First, your food processor is going to get a workout. It runs for about 15-20 minutes to emulsify the sauce and the motor will heat up. Make sure you own a good machine or it might kick the bucket (this is mine — I love it like it's my own child).

Second, make sure you use very good garlic. There's no cooking involved in this recipe, and you can't hide that sharp, spicy flavor even a little bit. The toum-maker from GRLK at the Linden Hills Farmers Market told me that slightly older garlic actually works best because it's a milder. And speaking of, if you don't want to make your own toum and you want to support a Minnesota business, go buy some from GRLK (they have an online shop) or Filfilah on Central Ave in Northeast.

Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce via Worthy Pause
Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce via Worthy Pause
Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce via Worthy Pause


Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free


  • 1 cup garlic cloves
  • peeled 4 cups neutral oil
  • chilled (like canola or grapeseed oil — olive will be too heavy)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 T salt (maybe more to taste)


  1. Using a food processor, puree the garlic cloves with the salt until very smooth. You might need to add just a little bit of water during this process to help things along.
  2. Once the garlic is pureed, drizzle in 1.5 cups of the oil. Do this as slowly as possible so the oil is in a super thin stream. Stop the processor to scrape the sides and turn it back on.
  3. Drizzle in another 1.5 cups of oil. Turn off the process or and scrape the sides again. Back on.
  4. Drizzle in the lemon juice and the ice water the same way you did the oil. VERY slowly to ensure that the emulsion doesn't break.
  5. Drizzle in the last cup of oil. Turn off the processor (finally, it gets a rest!).
  6. Taste. Add more salt if you like. If it's over-the-top garlicky, you can add more oil until it's to your liking. It also mellows a little bit in the fridge.


  • Keeps for about four weeks in the fridge. Fresh lemon juice is great too, but I prefer bottled in this one particular case because of the consistent acid levels.
Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce via Worthy Pause

Can't wait to hear what you guys and your vampire friends think of this stuff!