lemon garlic sauce
lemon garlic sauce

Essential Lemon Garlic Sauce

This sauce is so versatile and fresh, you will want to memorize it. It's 5 ingredients and comes together quickly in a blender. Serve with greens as a salad dressing or toss with pasta for a quick meal.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

yellow lemon garlic sauce with measuring spoons

Everybody needs a universal sauce for drizzling over roasted vegetables, tossing with finely chopped kale, or marinating meat. This creamy sauce is such a workhorse in my kitchen, I thought it deserved to be moved to the front of the blog with a new video.

When people see and taste this pale yellow sauce, they often assume it contains dairy or that it’s complicated to make. That’s the simple science of an emulsion. It’s just garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes whipped into submission.

Since I’ve been making this sauce for a decade, I often just make it to taste. Regardless of the exact number of garlic cloves you use, I’ve found that the absolute best way to prepare it is in the blender after you’ve really mashed or chopped the garlic. Otherwise, the garlic has a knack for avoiding the blender blades, and then you end up with a slightly less creamy sauce (and we can’t have that).

Just a quick note on blending, I use a bullet style blender for small quantity sauces, like this one. If you find that your liquid sits below the blades of your regular blender, you may want to finely mince or paste the garlic instead (watch how in this garlic knife skills tutorial) and then whisk.

What I love about this particular sauce is the balance of acidity, heat, and richness. It’s acidic enough to compliment chopped kale and delicate enough to finish fresh seafood (thank you lemon, I worship you). It’s especially tasty drizzled over roasted broccoli or as a marinade for roasted lamb ribs.

What’s an emulsion and how does it work?

An emulsion is where you force two ingredients to combine that normally don’t. Often, an emulsion is the unification of oil and water-based substances. Mayonnaise, hollandaise, and salad dressings are all emulsions of fat and acid. In this case, we use garlic and a blender to bind olive oil and lemon juice for a luxuriously creamy, smooth texture. It may look like it contains dairy, but that’s the power of an emulsion.

Making and Storing Salad Dressing

You can blend this sauce ahead and refrigerate for about 1 week. Separation is normal – just give it a good shake before using. If the olive oil solidifies in the fridge, you can run the container under warm water or let it sit on the counter for a bit to melt. Squeeze bottles are a convenient storage solution because you can easily drizzle and shake right out of the fridge.

Recipes that Use This Lemon Garlic Sauce

tuscan kale salad with grilled chicken

Tuscan Kale Salad with Grilled Chicken

lamb riblets roasted with garlic lemon sauce and roasted broccoli

Irresistible Lemon Roasted Lamb Ribs

kale salmon salad

Kale Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon

There’s so much potential for this sauce, and I can’t wait to see how you end up using it.

Essential Lemon Garlic Sauce

This sauce is so versatile and fresh, you will want to memorize it. It's 5 ingredients and comes together quickly in a blender. Serve with greens as a salad dressing or toss with pasta for a quick meal.
5 from 16 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, dressing, garlic, gluten free, lemon, marinade, paleo, sauce, vegan, vinaigrette
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 112kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini


  • blender


  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1 1/2 large lemons or 4 small, depending on the juiciness
  • 2 large cloves garlic smashed into a paste or roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Pulse on high for up to 1 minute until no garlic chunks remain and the dressing is very smooth and pale yellow. Use at room temperature or store in the fridge for up to 1 week.



Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

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1 year ago

This is my second time making this recipe and it’s seriously amazing! It took 3 lemons this time and I blended it longer until the red pepper flakes were more incorporated. I’d give this 10 stars if I could!

Elsie Casimir
Elsie Casimir
1 year ago

I made it and used it in a one dish penne pasta with chicken and broccoli for my young adult son. He loved it and said that he wants it in everything.

Wendy Nichols
Wendy Nichols
1 year ago

This is the bomb and we put it with everything, quinoa bowls, antipasti platters and on occasion chicken. Great easy recipe and thank you for sharing!

Travis Merkle
Travis Merkle
5 months ago

Can I used minced garlic instead of garlic cloves?

Mehnaz Ali
Mehnaz Ali
5 months ago

This was a HIT! I served ut with fried fish and everyone loved it. I just added 2 tablespoons of chopped gherkins in it and cut down a bit on lemon juice. It’s a keeper and have added it to my recipe book. Thank you so much for sharing it…

2 months ago

Looks yummy. Am trying this tonight with my lamb ribs!!!

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