Lebanese Cuisine,  Side Dishes

Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

This Lebanese toum recipe is the best Mediterranean garlic sauce ever. Toum sauce is similar to mayo, but without any egg. Yes, this is a completely vegan toum and is the perfect garlic dipping sauce to serve with shawarma and a variety of other Middle Eastern foods.

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Toum, Lebanese Garlic Sauce

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What is toum?

Lebanese toum sauce is probably one of the most underrated condiments on planet earth. It is a spicy and creamy sauce that is made with raw garlic cloves in a food processor which transforms to become an amazing garlic whip to dollop on your Lebanese sandwiches.

In essence this Lebanese garlic sauce is slowly processed with oil to become an emulsion of intense garlic. It has to be done properly, and with a food processor in order for it to turn into the creamy garlic sauce of your dreams.

Some recipes for toum call for egg whites, however this particular one is a toum without egg whites.

Wanna to find out more about Lebanese Cuisine? Check out this article >>The Ultimate Guide To Lebanese Food

What is toum made from?

So what is Lebanese garlic sauce made of anyway? It only has 4 easy ingredients!

  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Lemon juice

Lots of fresh cloves of garlic are used in this recipe! You can make a small batch toum recipe, just cut this in half. I never make a small batch recipe, since it keeps so long in the fridge. But really, you are going to need about 1-2 heads of fresh garlic for this garlic sauce recipe.

cloves of garlic for how to make garlic sauce

Using salt will not only give flavor to your Lebanese toum recipe, but it will also help in the breakdown of the garlic, and the emulsifying of everything together.

Normally I use extra virgin olive oil in most of my recipes that call for oil, HOWEVER for this particular toum recipe, I use either canola oil or vegetable oil because of its mild flavor and lighter color. If you make toum with olive oil, the color will not be as light, and the flavor of the olive oil may negatively overpower your Lebanese garlic paste. It is important to use a neutral oil in this toum garlic sauce recipe.

If you insist on using olive oil, you must use light olive oil.

The acid from the fresh lemon juice is key to a stable toum sauce.

Toum vs aioli

So what is the difference between toum and aioli anyway? Simply put, toum is WAY more garlicky than aioli, due to its use of raw garlic and lack of use of egg whites. Aioli in its original form, is basically a garlic mayo, but it is much less sharp or spicy, due to either the garlic having been simmered prior to processing, or due to using less garlic.

Both garlic toum and aioli are emulsions of oil and garlic. Toum does not normally use olive oil in its emulsion and turns out to be a very white looking Middle Eastern garlic sauce. On the other hand, aioli is an emulsion of olive oil and garlic, which looks much more like a mayonnaise and not quite as white as Arabic garlic sauce.

Toum is basically a vegan mayo that’s lit with a ton of garlic.

If you are wanting to make a garlic Mediterranean sauce, packed with a punch, then this Lebanese garlic sauce recipe is what you are looking for!

How to make Lebanese toum recipe

Making homemade toum from scratch is actually quite easy with a food processor! My ancestors used to make toum mortar and pestle version, which really was not easy at all. It was quite painstaking. You had to mash all of the garlic by hand and slowly, slowly, little by little, add drops of oil.

Now with modern conveniences of things like food processors, we can drastically cut out much of the labor and time.

Having said that, I also do not recommend making toum in a blender or with an immersion blender! Your garlic sauce WILL NOT emulsify correctly to become that lovely garlic whip we all envision. It will turn into an oily garlic paste. It is necessary to use a food processor.

How to make Lebanese garlic sauce video

It is important to keep all of the ingredients cold when making this authentic toum recipe. If the ingredients are not cold enough it might not emulsify, or come together correctly.

Measure and place the oil in the freezer for about 20 minutes before making this recipe. It will become less runny and slightly thicker, that is ok. You want it to be cold. If it is not cold then you need to add some ice water during processing, but I don’t like to do that, I just make sure that my ingredients are cold.

cold oil for making garlic Lebanese sauce
Here you can see the oil is cold and less runny, perfect for making Toum Lebanese style

You are going to need about 1/2 cup garlic cloves. This comes out to between 1 to 2 heads of garlic. Make sure to peel the skin off of all of the garlic cloves and cut of the woody end or any green stems.

Add the peeled garlic cloves, salt and lemon juice to the food processor and process until all of the garlic is minced. You will need to scrape down the sides of the food processor several times in order for it all to combine.

Now slowly drizzle in the cold oil while keeping food processor running. This process should take about 10 minutes. If you do it too quickly, your ingredients will not combine and become creamy.

How to get rid of garlic smell from hands

While we are talking about garlic, let’s talk about this for a moment. You just peeled a bunch of garlic and now your thinking, “my hands smell like garlic… How do I get the smell of garlic off of my fingers?”. Well, fortunately there is an answer. Did you know that stainless steel can get the smell of garlic off of your hands? They actually sell stainless steel bars of soap that you use while rinsing your hands in the sink.

I cut onions and garlic all the time and regularly run into this same problem. It’s actually quite easy to get the smell of onions and garlic off of your hands with a stainless steel bar of soap and they aren’t expensive either! Check it out!

Should I make Lebanese toum with egg white?

Many recipes call for using egg whites in order to stabilize the toum sauce. This recipe does not call for it at all. If you follow all of the steps in the recipe, then it should be a foolproof toum recipe and should turn out great.

If, by chance, your garlic sauce doesn’t come together as anticipated, you can add an egg white to stabilize it, but I don’t anticipate that happening, if you follow the recipe.

How long can you keep toum? How to store Lebanese toum sauce?

Lebanese garlic sauce can last for up to 3 months in the fridge when sealed in an airtight container. It will not last as long if you use egg whites in your recipe.

Can you freeze toum?

You can freeze Lebanese toum, however the freezer life is about as long as the fridge life, so I don’t recommend freezing toum.

My garlic sauce is spicy! How do I tone it down?

Ok, toum is supposed to be pretty strong. If you buy it from the store, it will be toned down for you already, but real toum is spicy! If you want it to be toned down a little, make it a day ahead of time, it should become a little less sharp if it sits in the fridge overnight.

How can I thicken my toum?

How to fix watery toum? Or is it runny? You can either add an egg white (I avoid this) or there is another solution… One of the big reasons that your toum is thin is because your ingredients got too warm while processing. All you need to do is take a tablespoon of ice cold water and drizzle it into the processor while it is on. Let it process and watch it thicken up. If it is still not thick enough, add another tablespoon of water.

Is Lebanese Garlic Sauce healthy?

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free and vegan and chalk full of garlic. There are many MANY health benefits of garlic and I love this tasty Lebanese spread on many different foods!

How do you eat Lebanese garlic sauce

Toum sauce is the best garlicky condiment to add to sandwiches. Go ahead and dip pita your bread into it! You can even use it as a dip for vegetables. This is the perfect garlic sauce for shawarma recipe. Have you ever been to a Middle Eastern restaurant and ordered shawarma? You know that white sauce that most of them serve with it? That’s this shawarma garlic sauce and you can have it on hand at home!

Here are some ways to eat Lebanese garlic sauce along with some other great recipes…

  • Chicken Shawarma (garlic sauce is served alongside shawarma in most Middle Eastern restaurants as previously stated)
  • As a spread on any sandwich, it can be used as a substitute for mayo
  • In salad dressing
  • On Arayes, which are Lebanese grilled pita sandwiches stuffed with kafta
  • As a dip for veggies
  • As a dip for chips or breads like Pita Bread and Za’atar Bread
  • Use it as a fry sauce and it’s perfect for these Truffle Fries
  • With Falafel
  • As a dip for any grilled meats including shish tawook, shish kabob, and kafta
Lebanese Toum Sauce

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Toum, Lebanese Garlic Sauce

Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

Emily Ackerman
This Lebanese toum recipe is the best Mediterranean garlic sauce ever. Toum sauce is similar to mayo, but without any egg. Yes, this is a completely vegan toum and is the perfect garlic dipping sauce to serve with shawarma and a variety of other Middle Eastern foods.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cuisine Lebanese Cuisine, middle eastern
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 heads garlic about 1/2 cup garlic cloves, or a little more than 1/2
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teas salt
  • 1 ½ cups neutral oil canola oil or vegetable oil, something light in color and flavor

Instructions
 

  • Measure the oil and put it into the freezer until cold, about 20 minutes
  • Peel all of skin off of the garlic cloves
  • Put the peeled garlic cloves, salt and lemon juice into the food processor and process until minced, scraping down the sides when needed
  • With the processor running, take the cold oil and slowly drizzle it into the garlic mixture so that it incorporates and the whole mixture emulsifies. The process of incorporating the oil should take about 10 minutes.
  • Serve with shawarma or however you desire. Enjoy!
Keyword Arabic Garlic Sauce, garlic sauce mediterranean, homemade toum sauce, Lebanese garlic sauce, Middle Eastern garic sauce, toum, toum sauce
This Toum garlic sauce recipe is easy and requires only 4 ingredients! Small batch toum sauce is the best Lebanese garlic sauce recipe and is like a substitute for may. This egg free garlic sauce is perfect for many different uses (like it's the best shawarma sauce ever!). In this Lebanese garlic toum recipe is a video and step by step instructions of how to make toum sauce.
This Toum garlic sauce recipe is easy and requires only 4 ingredients! Small batch toum sauce is the best Lebanese garlic sauce recipe and is like a substitute for may. This egg free garlic sauce is perfect for many different uses (like it's the best shawarma sauce ever!). In this Lebanese garlic toum recipe is a video and step by step instructions of how to make toum sauce.
This Toum garlic sauce recipe is easy and requires only 4 ingredients! Small batch toum sauce is the best Lebanese garlic sauce recipe and is like a substitute for may. This egg free garlic sauce is perfect for many different uses (like it's the best shawarma sauce ever!). In this Lebanese garlic toum recipe is a video and step by step instructions of how to make toum sauce.

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