My Lebanese family's easy-to-follow, never-fail, traditional fluffy toum recipe. This creamy garlic dipping sauce can be used in shawarma, pasta, fries, and more. It is super garlicky! Suitable for a vegan and gluten-free diet.
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Do you really love garlic? If yes, then this traditional Lebanese garlic sauce is for you.
Toum (Toom) is always found at any Lebanese mezze table. It’s just not right that it’s not there. It's also the best shawarma sauce.
It’s loved by so many, especially my Mom, she will happily eat a spoonful with nothing else.
I personally can’t pass it up either.
Having grown up on toum, and having the recipe handed to me, I just thought most Lebanese cooks knew how to make it.
(I’d like to take a moment to appreciate our elders, who used to make this by hand (mortar & pestle) - even my mom back in the day)
I was surprised when my friend, who is an amazing cook, told me, that every time she tried to make it, it just fell apart.
Because of this, I am compelled to share how to make toum, the way my family does.
With a little bit of patience, you'll be making this easy traditional recipe a staple in your kitchen.
😋Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s a never fail recipe - works every time!
- Stores for months in the fridge
- Pairs well with so many foods
- Can be used as a dip, in a sandwich (shawarma sauce), as a sauce for pastas, in bakes, in salads and so much more
- Is super garlicky!
- Naturally gluten free, dairy free, egg free (vegan) and nut free
✔️What You’ll Need
🧄 Ingredients Notes
Garlic is best used in its fresh form, this will yield the best and strongest flavor. Select good quality firm bulbs. Add the peeled cloves directly into the blender/food processor/immersion blender.
If you must, frozen garlic is okay to use. DO NOT use garlic powder.
Oil should be neutral such as sunflower, canola, or vegetable oil.
Lemon juice should be freshly squeezed. It helps to flavor (a nice light sourness), bind, and brighten this garlic dipping sauce. Only add a tablespoon at a time until all used up.
Salt helps to boost the flavor.
🔪 Step by step guide
Step 1 - Place garlic and salt into a food processor or an immersion blender and pulse until garlic is finely minced (this is no more than a minute) You will need to scrape the sides of the food processor/blender, to ensure even mincing.
Step 2 - If using a food processor, drizzle a ¼ cup of oil via a very fine pour line (hairlike - DO NOT pour in oil) blend until it starts to thicken, once this happens add a tablespoon of lemon juice and blend to start the emulsification process.
Drizzle in another ¼ cup of oil and then a tablespoon of lemon juice, repeat this process until all is used up.
Step 2 - If using an immersion blender, add one tablespoon of oil and blend until it starts to thicken, then add another tablespoon of oil and blend for another minute. Repeat this once more. Add in a tablespoon of lemon juice and blend until completely blended.
From here on you’ll want to add a 4:1 ratio of oil:lemon juice, i.e., blend a tablespoon of oil four times (not together) and then add in the lemon juice. Continue to do this until all have been used up.
Step 3 - Transfer the toum into a jar, allow it to cool down to room temperature, and then seal (making sure it is airtight) store in the refrigerator for a couple of months.
Traditionally, toum is eaten with Lebanese kebab, shish tawook (try my vegan shish tawook sandwich), shawarma (it's the best shawarma sauce ever! Check out my mouthwatering vegan shawarma), charcoal chicken, or even a falafel wrap (check out my Lebanese falafel recipe).
Here are some other suggestions for what toum is used for;
- As a spread in a sandwich
- On the side with grilled vegetables
- Make fresh crusty garlic bread, smear it on your bread rolls and bake in the oven
- Add it to pasta sauces
- With roasts, check out this list of different vegan roasts including sauces and sides.
⭐ Pro Tips
Following the process of blending the ingredients together is vital to the success of this garlic dipping sauce. Don’t take shortcuts.
A high powered blender (affiliate link) is best.
Avoid water at all costs. Ensure the area, utensils, and equipment you are using to make your toum is free from water. Water will separate the oil.
During step one, ensure that all the garlic is chopped finely. You will need to scrape down the sides.
About halfway into blending you will notice the blender starts to sound a little different, this is normal, as it is at this point the paste starts to lighten up.
Immersion blender - During the last blending phase, the toum becomes thick and fluffy, able to hold peaks. Because of this, when pouring the oil in, it will pool at the top, you will need to help it by mixing it through with a spatula and then blending.
Once you're happy with the consistency of your garlic sauce, allow it to cool down (sometimes the blender heats up) before sealing it in a container as condensation drops will cause your toum to separate.
Toum will keep in the fridge for a couple of months, store in an airtight container
Chilli can be added for a kick. Add a small amount of chili paste or a small bird's eye chili or use a small spoonful of chili oil.
Toum is garlic in Arabic. It is pronounced as "toom". It is also a garlic dipping sauce from Lebanon, a crown jewel of Lebanese condiments. It is thick emulsification of oil, fresh garlic, lemon, and salt. Traditionally made with mortar and pestle, it is now easily made with blenders. Toum is paired with meats, vegetables, shawarma, shish tawook, charcoal chicken, French fries and so much more. Nowadays, it has also been adopted as an ingredient in soups, stews, pasta, and salads.
There are a few reasons why toum can separate whilst making it. Either too much oil was added whilst blending or water is present in the mix or too much lemon juice was added at one time, these all contribute to breaking the emulsification process.
Another famous Lebanese food that is a must-have is zaatar, a versatile herb blend that can be used in so many foods.
Otherwise looking for another dip? Try this 5 minute vegan bean dip.
Did you enjoy making this garlic dipping sauce recipe? I would love to hear from you, leave me a comment below and give me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating. This will help me sustain Plant Based Folk.
Alternatively, did you happen to take a photo of your toum? Tag me @plantbasedfolk on Instagram to be featured via stories. If you love sharing your vegan food pics, join the PBF community group. If you’re into fast cooking vids, join me on Tiktok.
Garlic Dipping Sauce (Lebanese Toum)
- ½ cup Garlic cloves peeled
- 1½ cups Vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- ½ medium - large Lemon (juice) freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Place garlic and salt into a food processor or an immersion blender and pulse until garlic is finely minced (this is no more than a minute, you'll need to scrape down the sides and blend to ensure garlic is evenly minced)½ cup Garlic cloves, ¼ teaspoon Salt
Hand held / immersion blender
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil every thirty seconds and blend well before adding the next lot. Repeat this 3 times then add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Repeat until all is blended.1½ cups Vegetable oil, ½ medium - large Lemon (juice)
Blender / Food processor
- Continually drizzle oil (hairlike pour) into blender / food processor. Every so often, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. (DO NOT over add - this will cause the sauce to break up) Continue to add oil and lemon juice until all blended.1½ cups Vegetable oil, ½ medium - large Lemon (juice)
- Seal in an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for a couple of months.
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.