Toum (Lebanese Garlic Dip) by Georgie and Carolina, Zahle, Bekka Valley, Lebanon

Toum is a Lebanese garlic sauce and it’s one of our favorites. It’s garlicky with a lovely and surprisingly light texture, and goes great with everything. Several weeks before we left California, a young woman selling toum based on her family recipe showed up at our local farmers market. I’d never even heard of this sauce, and with COVID restrictions, she couldn’t offer samples. But I bought a jar to support her, a first-time female food entrepreneur.** Our first jar lasted about 2 days, since James and Corbin started putting it on everything – meat, pasta, veggies. From then on, we stocked up every Saturday. Then, at one of our first meals in Lebanon, at a table laden with different delicious mezze, I dipped a pita into some white stuff and – bam! – the memory of tasting toum for the first time came back. Needless to say, we ordered more for the table. Our gracious, welcoming and enthusiastic Airbnb hosts in Zahle, Georgie and Carolina, shared their recipe and toum-making tricks with us. I’ll still stock up every Saturday at the Anne’s Toum cart at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, but it’s nice to know that I can make a batch on my own if I run out! 


  • 1 cup very fresh garlic cloves, peeled (from 3-4 heads of garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/4 cup (60g) fresh lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60g) crushed ice
  • 3 cups (600g) neutral oil (e.g. sunflower, grapeseed, avocado, canola)


  1. Put all ingredients, as well as the food processor bowl and blades, in the refrigerator until cold
  2. In the food processor, blend the garlic cloves and salt, scraping down the sides regularly, until it’s a smooth paste. If you need to add a bit of liquid to make it paste-like, add a tablespoon of the lemon juice.
  3. With the processor running, drizzle in oil in a very very thin stream, very very slowly*. After the first ½ cup of oil, add a tablespoon of the lemon juice. Continue to alternate ½ cup oil and tablespoon of lemon juice, and when you’re out of lemon juice, start alternating the oil with a bit of the crushed ice a little at a time until everything is incorporated.
  4. Serve alongside grilled meat or veggies (or anything!) 

*You are making an emulsion which requires drizzling the oil in super-slowly – don’t let any pools of oil form! This is what makes the texture light and fluffy, not goopy with separated oil.  

**Anne’s Toum is doing pretty well now – I just looked up her website and was excited to see that her product is now sold through Williams-Sonoma!

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s delicious!

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