Alioli sauce Salsa ali-oli o ajoaceite

alioli sauce or garlic oil

This sauce has a base of olive oil and garlic and is one of the star dressings in Meiterranean kitchens. The name alioli comes from the catalán "all-i-olli" which means "oil-and-garlic". However, the denomination of this sauce varies all over Spain: “ajoaceite”, “ajiaceite”, “ajaceite”...  In Aragón one of the most typical names for this garlic and oil dressing is "ajolio". 

The origin of this sauce is heatedly debated. There are some who attribute its origin to the ancient Romans, who in their time copied the recipe from the Egyptians. It would have been the Romans themselves who were responsible for spreading the recipe through the Mediterranean and it would have been the Muslims who would ahve brought it with them to the Iberian Peninsula. Other theories indicate a Catalan origin. Some even claim that the Iberians who inhabited our Peninsula land for various centuries before the change of the era, made a sauce based on the same ingredients.  Wherever the origin may be, what we do know is that the combination of olive oil, garlic and salt result in a very tasty dressing ideal for all types of dishes from meats to fish, potatoes... Below we have the recipe for this delicious sauce.

Sauce with a virgin olive oil and garlic base

Ali oli or Garlic Oil is one of the most popular dressings in the whole of the Mediterranean coast. 


  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Garlic

  • Salt


Peel the garlic cloves and crush them in a mortar with a pinch of salt. The garlic must be well crushed with the pestle, until you are left with a fine paste. Next, with one hand pour the olive oil very slowly, in a very fine trickle, into the mortar; with the other hand you must stir the mixture constantly and vigorously with the pestle, always in the same direction. Little by little the olive oil will bind with the garlic and progressively increase the volume of the sauce. In the end you should be left with a thick creamy sauce that should remain at the bottom of the mortar even if you tilt it. The same sort consistency as mayonnaise for example. If this is not the case, empty the mortar, clean it thoroughly and start again.

You can also use an electric whisk with a suitable mixing container to make the sauce. However, our ancestors used mortars and pestles to make this sauce, and therefore it is the most natural and artisan method.


Ali oli sauce with olive oil and egg yolk

You can also make the garlic oil sauce by adding egg yolk.


There is a variety of alioli sauce that can be made with egg. The recipe is simple to the previous one, the only difference is that you add an egg yolk to the mix. Below we have the recipe for this variation of alioli sauce, the measurements are for 4 to 6 people.


  • 1/4 litre of virgin olive oil

  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic

  • Salt

  • 1 egg yolk

    It is very important that the egg and the olive oil are both at room temperature!


To begin with, you need to crush the peeled garlic cloves in the mortar until you have a paste like in the picture above. Then, add the egg yolk and start strirring with the pestle so that it binds together with the garlic. Add the olive oil in a thin trickle, little by little whilst stirring constantly with the pestle, always in the same direction. Lastly, add salt to taste.  



Recipe taken from: March, L., Ríos, A., El libro del aceite y la aceituna, Alianza, Madrid, 1989.



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