Toum in Less Time

Makes: 2 cups

Toum, the fluffy, garlicky, tangy condiment, originated in Lebanon but is found throughout the Middle East. It is the mandatory condiment for chicken shawarma. Accept no substitutions. Usually, toum means you need to spend loads of time peeling and degerming garlic, juicing lemons, and lugging your food processor onto the counter. This method sacrifices some of the fluffiness for ease. Using an immersion blender to create the emulsion, you can skip the delicate drizzling of oil and blend your way to toum town in a matter of seconds.


  • 1 large head of garlic, peeled (about 65 grams)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from one lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 ½ cups neutral oil like grapeseed

  • 1 teaspoon citric acid (optional)


  1. Place garlic, lemon juice, and kosher salt in a tall, narrow container. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and no garlic bits remain.

  2. Let the garlic sit in the mixture for at least ten minutes.

  3. Dump the measured oil on top, then lower the immersion blender to the bottom of the container. Turn the blender on. When the mixture starts emulsifying and thickening, slowly raise the blender to the top of the mix. Plunge the blender up and down until the toum is fully emulsified and thick.

  4. Add the citric acid (if using), stir well, and taste. Adjust with more salt and lemon juice/ citric acid as needed. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.

  5. Toum can be stored for up to a month, although some garlic punch will dissipate.