Homemade Toum Sauce Recipe- Lebanese Garlic "Mayonnaise" Spread

Mmmmm.... nom nom nom.

I recently was at my friend Tammy's house, and together with dinner she put out this lovely spread called toum, a dip, sauce, or spread made of garlic. Though I am quite familiar with and often enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine, I had never heard of nor had toum before that. But toum, pronounced toom, is spectacular. When Tammy served it, purchased from a local vendor, it was nearly identical to the texture of traditional mayonnaise, but it doesn't always come out quite that thick. However, if I'd have to describe it as something, it would be very garlicky vegan mayonnaise.

As someone who has made very many mayonnaise type dishes, from the standard egg based mayonnaise to vegan rice flour and mustard based mayo to my widely acclaimed flax based vegan mayonnaise (dubbed by TheKitchn as the most successful flax based mayo) and a whacko mayo type sauce made from foraged mallow seeds and even a vegan hollandaise sauce, I am no stranger to making these emulsified sauces, but even I was a bit skeptical about using garlic as an emulsifier. I mean who knew that garlic was even capable of being an emulsidier?

But since I ate it, I knew it could be done, and wanted to replicate it at home.

And I did. But before I tell you about how I did that and share the recipe, I wanted to share some things you can do with this. It is great as a dip for anything- I enjoy dipping (gluten free) bread into it. I used this instead of mayonnaise to make potato salad. Absolutely delicious! My friend, Jacob is vegan and was over at my house when I served this (along with my vegan chickpea based larb) took some home and used it in his vegan scalloped potatoes and loved it, and my friend Babs used it together with dill on her salmon and said it came out amazingly. Toum is traditionally used as a dip for french fries, chicken, and artichoke, and in sandwiches. Any way you'd eat tahini as a sauce can also work with toum, such as with falafel or schawarma.

This recipe is naturally vegan, gluten free, and allergy friendly. It has very few ingredients, and is low cost. You only need garlic, salt, lemon juice, oil and water. The recipes I looked at said to use a food processor for this so I did that, but apparently, you can use a blender, blender stick, or mortar and pestle for this, but I didn't try it with them. They all said not to use already peeled garlic, but to peel it yourself. They generally also said to cut out the garlic cloves and take out the inside to make it less sharp, but I didn't have the energy to do that/couldn't be bothered, and it was still great.

Don't this if you're gluten free, unless you want to risk contaminating your whole bowl when
 it drips off the pita and back into the bowl. Don't ask how I know.

Oh, and you might think that it would be super spicy and sharp because it is based on raw garlic, but it is emulsified with a lot of oil so it actually isn't nearly as spicy as you might think.

To make this, I peeled 4 entire cloves of garlic in one sitting, and I must tell you, by the end of it my hands were burning from that. I'd recommend wearing gloves to do this if you don't use a quick garlic peeling hack.

This is just a stock photo, but hey, garlic! And it's pretty!
But reminder, this recipe uses only 4 heads, not 5.

If you have experience making mayonnaise in the past, this is similar, but a bit more finicky. As with making mayonnaise you need to drizzle the oil extremely extremely slowly or it'll break and you'll just have oily gloop. But unlike regular mayo you need to alternate the oil with water or lemon juice every half cup otherwise it'll also break.

With that said, here is the recipe:

Homemade Toum Sauce Recipe- Lebanese Garlic "Mayonnaise" Spread

1 cup or 4 whole heads of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups mildly flavored oil (I used sunflower but any will do)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

1. Peel your garlic and blend in a food processor with salt for quite a while, until the garlic is completely smooth. You will need to repeatedly scrape down the garlic from the sides so that all of it gets to be the same texture. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice partway through this process and another tablespoon more towards the end.

2. Slowly, slowly, slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of your oil into the food processor. When I do this, if I don't have the patience to stand by drizzling it in the tiniest stream, I poke a tiny hole in the bottom of a disposable cup and put it inside the hole in the lid of my food processor and let it drizzle in slowly through that hole. You want the stream to be incredibly narrow (thinner than a phone charging cable- I know, weird description, but I was looking around trying to find something to compare it to, saw my phone charging, and thought that that worked).

3. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and then repeat with another 1/2 cup of oil.

4. Add  another1 tablespoon lemon juice and repeat with another 1/2 cup oil.

5. Add 1 tablespoon ice water and repeat with another 1/2 cup oil.

6. Add another 1 tablespoon ice water and repeat with another 1/2 cup oil.

7. Add another 1 tablespoon ice water and repeat with another 1/2 cup oil.

8. Add 1 last tablespoon ice water. 

(Why did I write it out like that? Because if I just wrote add one tablespoon then 1/2 cup oil, and you are like me and only measured out 1/2 cup oil at a time instead of the full 3 cups, it is less confusing and you now know when to stop, because otherwise you might be asking yourself, wait, did I get to 3 cups yet? Don't ask me how I know, kay?)

Yup, I think it's ready. See the texture? A little thinner than mayo
but you can still see peaks.

9. Put in a container and refrigerate. This lasts, you can store it for up to one month. 

10. Enjoy with anything you'd like. Ok, maybe not on ice cream, but this will work with any savory dish, as long as you like garlic.

Bon Appetite!

Are you a fan of garlic? Have you ever heard the phrase "Never add just one clove of garlic in any recipe. Unless its a recipe for one clove of garlic, and even then, add two." Yea, that's my motto, but I do often use garlic powder because I can be lazy. But anyhow...
Have you ever heard of toum before? Does it sound like something you'd want? How would you like to eat it? Have you made homemade mayo before? Does this look like a recipe you'd want to try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. This sounds incredible, and incredibly useful. Absolutely trying it thank you!

Previous Post Next Post