Lemon garlic aioli is an easy dipping sauce that jazz's up any vegetable like blanched asparagus or roasted brussel sprouts. It's a simple dipping sauce made with freshly mashed garlic, squeezed lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Aioli is traditionally an emulsion sauce made from garlic and olive oil. In fact, it's just like Lebanese toum garlic sauce. For this lemon garlic aioli, I use mayonnaise to make things easier.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love that his sauce comes together in 5 minutes, and it tastes fabulous. It's a great dipping sauce for any type of roasted or steamed vegetable: blanched asparagus, roasted zucchini, fried cauliflower, roasted brussel sprouts, homemade french fries, and roasted butter baby Yukon potatoes.
- Mayonnaise: The base of this sauce uses mayonnaise. Any type will work.
- Fresh garlic: I recommend using fresh garlic cloves that will either be mashed using a mortar and pestle or pressed using a garlic press.
- Lemon: Use fresh lemon juice from a whole lemon.
- High quality olive oil: I recommend extra virgin olive oil.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Lemon Garlic Aioli
Peel and cut off the ends of the garlic cloves. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic cloves with some salt and pepper. Add the mashed garlic to a bowl.
Measure out the mayonnaise into the bowl with the mashed garlic. Squeeze the lemon making sure not to get any seeds inside the lemon garlic aioli. Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mashed garlic together.
Mix in the olive oil gradually until fully blended.
Serve with blanched asparagus, roasted brussel sprouts, or as a hamburger spread.
Tips and Tricks
- The biggest tip in making this sauce is mashing the garlic. A garlic press creates a similar end result, but the best way to finely mash garlic is using a mortar and pestle. I don't recommend using minced garlic from a jar for this sauce.
- Use freshly squeezed lemons. I don't recommend using lemon juice from a bottle.
- Add freshly ground black pepper. Ground pepper is an appropriate substitute, however, if you have a black pepper grinder, use it.
Variations and Substitutions
- Reduce the garlic cloves. Maybe you aren't as much of a garlic lover like me, and 3 cloves of garlic feel like a big committment. Start with 1 clove and add more if you desire.
- Add some spice. Add some chili oil or mash some fresh spicy pepper with the garlic using a mortar and pestle. Make sure to mash the fresh pepper really well so there aren't large chunks in the sauce.
I highly recommend investing in a marble or wooden mortar and pestle. There are several recipes on the blog that use mashed garlic (creamy hummus, better than baba ganoush, steelhead trout with garlic lime butter to name a few).
An alternative to crushing garlic is using a garlic press. Squeeze the lemon using a lemon squeezer.
Store the lemon garlic aioli sauce in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this sauce.
Both aioli and mayonnaise are emulsion sauces, however, they are made from different ingredients. Aioli is made from garlic and olive oil whereas mayonnaise is made from egg yolks and oil.
This aioli recipe is made with mayonnaise, garlic, lemon, and olive oil, and therefore is dairy-free.
Mayo does not contain dairy because it is made from oil, egg yolks, and some type of acid.
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Lemon Garlic Aioli
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 garlic cloves mashed or pressed
- 1 lemon ¼ cup lemon juice
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste about ⅛ teaspoon each
- Peel and mash the garlic with salt and pepper using a mortar and pestle. Mash the garlic very finely, so it will disperse evenly in the dipping sauce. Alternatively, use a garlic press to press the garlic. If using the garlic press, there's no need to add the salt and pepper at this stage.
- Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the lemon juice and remove the seeds.
- In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, mashed garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add the olive oil slowly while continuing to stir the sauce. Mix until the olive oil is fully blended.
- Use freshly mashed garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best banging lemon garlic aioli sauce.