Easy Lemon Garlic Sauce

garlic sauce

Today’s post is all about garlic sauce, which is the favorite condiment in our household. We top baked chicken, kebabs, and sandwiches, pan seared fish and roasted potatoes with it.  I usually have a batch in the fridge; it stays fresh for 2 weeks or so.

My husband is the one that introduced me to garlic sauce. In Saudi Arabia it’s a common condiment with broasted chicken (deep fried chicken cooked in a pressurized fryer). I did some research on what garlic sauce is and how to make it.  Garlic sauce is derived from Middle Eastern origin, used to top everything similar to how Americans use ketchup.

Some recipes require two heads of garlic, which I find overpowering. So I cut it down to 8-10 cloves, which is still strong. So if you’re not used to the raw taste of garlic, I advise you start with 2-3 cloves and work your way up. And remember a little goes a long way especially if it’s new to you. It’s strong and pungent with a slight sting. Just a friendly reminder keeps some mints on hand.

Here are some variations you can try. I like the addition of cilantro and lemon zest, it adds an element of freshness. You could substitute with parsley or opt it out completely.

base for garlic sauce

Above is a picture of the grated garlic, chopped cilantro, lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper. I streamed olive oil in the sauce; you could see how it’s emulsified and glossy. This state as is great for anyone that doesn’t consume diary. Or a great marinate for chicken or fish.

Mayo in garlic base

This picture is with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. The mayonnaise adds a creaminess which compliments the pungent sting of garlic. If you really hate the taste of raw garlic, I would try roasted garlic. It becomes sweet and buttery, the strong bite is mellowed out. To roast garlic, cut a head of garlic in half and drizzle with olive oil and salt n pepper to taste. Wrap it in an aluminum foil like a pouch and bake in the oven at 375 degree for an hour.

To avoid the heaviness of mayonnaise, I substitute with strained yogurt to achieve the same texture. Regular yogurt can make the sauce watery and dilutes down the flavor.  To strain yogurt, just line a strainer with a cheese cloth and leave the strainer over a bowl for an hour or so. If your grocery store carries Labna, use that instead, it’s a yogurt cheese but it has the same consistency of strained yogurt without the wait.

If your anything like my husband and prefers some heat to the sauce, add a finely chopped chili. I like to add thai chilies because it has great level heat and flavor.

If you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to grate garlic cloves. Add crushed garlic, with the lemon juice, lemon zest, cilantro, and olive in mini food processor or handheld emulsifier and blend away. Then just fold in the mayo or yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Easy eh?!

Garlic Sauce
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20 servings
  • • 8-10 cloves of garlic peeled
  • • 1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • • 2 tbsps. Extra virgin olive oil
  • • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • • 2 tbsps. mayonnaise or strained yogurt
  • • Salt to taste
  1. In a small bowl, grate the garlic cloves with a microplane or cheese grater.
  2. Add the finely chopped cilantro, lemon zest, black pepper and lemon juice.
  3. Stream in the olive oil whisking continuously, the sauce will become a glossy emulsified
  4. mixture.
  5. Now add mayonnaise or strained yogurt. Whisk until fully incorporate and smooth.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. All done! Enjoy!


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