How many calories are in garlic dipping sauce?

Garlic dipping sauce is a popular condiment that can add lots of flavor to various dishes. However, many people wonder just how many calories are in this zesty sauce. The answer depends on the specific ingredients and recipe used. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the typical calorie count of garlic dipping sauce and the factors that impact it.

Quick Answer

On average, a 2 tablespoon serving of garlic dipping sauce contains around 60 calories. However, the calorie content can range from around 30 to over 100 calories depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used.

What Goes Into Garlic Dipping Sauce?

There are many variations when it comes to garlic dipping sauce recipes. But some of the most common ingredients include:

  • Garlic – Fresh garlic or garlic powder provide the quintessential flavor.
  • Oil – Olive oil, vegetable oil, or other oils are used as the base.
  • Herbs & Spices – Oregano, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes add extra flavor.
  • Acid – Lemon juice, vinegar, or wine give a tangy taste.
  • Thickeners – Mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or sour cream help create the right texture.
  • Salt & Pepper – For seasoning.
  • Water or Stock – For thinning out the sauce.

The specific amounts of each ingredient can vary widely depending on the recipe. So the calorie count will also fluctuate. Below we’ll look at how the different components impact the calories in garlic dipping sauce.

Calories From Oil

Since oil is usually the main ingredient in garlic dipping sauce, it contributes the most calories. Different types of oils have the following calories per tablespoon:

Oil Calories per Tbsp
Olive oil 119
Vegetable oil 120
Canola oil 124
Coconut oil 117

As you can see, oils range from about 117 to 124 calories per tablespoon. So in a garlic dipping sauce recipe that calls for 2 tablespoons of olive oil, that would contribute about 238 calories just from the oil alone.

Calories From Garlic

Garlic is the star flavor component in these sauces. Fortunately, garlic is very low in calories:

  • 1 clove of raw garlic: 4 calories
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: 8 calories

Unless an extreme amount of garlic is used, it won’t have a major impact on the overall calorie total. Even in recipes with up to 6 cloves of garlic or 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, the calories from garlic would only be around 20 to 50.

Calories From Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices like oregano, basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes provide flavor complexity. Since they are used in smaller quantities, their calorie contribution is minimal:

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano: 3 calories
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil: 1 calorie
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes: 1 calorie
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes: 5 calories

Even if a sauce uses a total of 2 to 3 tablespoons of assorted dried herbs and spices, that would likely only account for around 20 to 30 calories total.

Calories From Acids

Small amounts of acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar or wine are commonly added to garlic dipping sauces. Here are the typical calories in the amounts often used:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice: 4 calories
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar: 3 calories
  • 1 tablespoon red or white wine: 14 calories

So the acid ingredients generally contribute negligible calories unless a large quantity of wine is used.

Calories From Thickeners

Thickeners like mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or sour cream help give garlic dipping sauce a creamy, dip-able texture. But they can also add extra calories:

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise: 90 calories
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt: 20 calories
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream: 30 calories

Just a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise could add close to 200 calories to the sauce. Sour cream and Greek yogurt have less impact, but can still contribute extra calories.

Calories From Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper are nearly calorie-free and don’t affect the calorie count. Even generous seasoning with salt and pepper would only add around 5 calories total to a garlic dipping sauce.

Putting It All Together

Now that we’ve looked at the calories in each component, let’s see how they come together in some sample recipes:

Low-Calorie Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil: 238 calories
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced: 12 calories
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice: 4 calories
  • 2 teaspoons oregano: 6 calories
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Total: About 260 calories per 2-tablespoon serving

Higher-Calorie Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil: 357 calories
  • 5 cloves garlic: 20 calories
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar: 3 calories
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt: 20 calories
  • 2 teaspoons parsley: 2 calories
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes: 5 calories
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Total: About 407 calories per 2-tablespoon serving

As you can see, the ingredients and amounts used can really vary the calorie content of garlic dipping sauce. Lighter versions keep oil to 2 tablespoons or less and stick to low-calorie flavor boosters. Heavy versions use more oil, extra thickeners like yogurt or mayo, and additional ingredients.

Tips for Lightening Up Garlic Dipping Sauce

Here are some easy ways to create lower-calorie garlic dipping sauces:

  • Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil max
  • Opt for olive, canola or coconut oil
  • Go easy on higher-calorie thickeners like mayo or sour cream
  • Bulk up with low-cal extras like parsley, onions, or chives
  • Add punch with vinegars, mustard, hot sauce, or Greek yogurt
  • Thin to dipping consistency with low-sodium broth or water
  • Spice it up with garlic, herbs, spices, and pepper flakes

With some simple substitutions and savvy recipe adjustments, you can definitely cut back on the calories without losing any of that great garlic flavor.

Common Questions

How many calories in store-bought garlic dipping sauce?

Store-bought garlic dipping sauces can vary widely in their calorie content. Some examples:

  • Wishbone Robusto Garlic Dip: 60 calories per 2 tablespoons
  • Ken’s Steak House Lite Garlic Dipping Sauce: 35 calories per 2 tablespoons
  • Pizza Hut Garlic Dipping Sauce: 140 calories per 2 tablespoons
  • Papa John’s Garlic Sauce: 300 calories per 2 tablespoons

To cut calories, compare nutrition labels and look for products with around 60 calories or less per serving.

What kind of oil is best for light garlic dipping sauce?

Olive, canola, peanut, and coconut oils are all good lower-calorie choices. Avoid oils like sesame, avocado, and olive pomace which are over 120 calories per tablespoon.

Is garlic dipping sauce keto-friendly?

Keto garlic dipping sauces can be made by using keto-approved oils like olive oil or avocado oil and limiting carbs. Some keto recipe ideas:

  • Olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, pepper flakes
  • Avocado oil, garlic powder, lime juice, cilantro
  • Coconut oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, mustard

Just avoid added sugars or thickeners with carbs like flour, cornstarch, or honey.

How can I reduce calories in an existing garlic dipping sauce recipe?

Try these easy swaps:

  • Use half the oil or substitute broth/water for some oil
  • Replace sour cream or mayo with plain Greek yogurt
  • Use skim or low-fat milk instead of heavy cream
  • Add pureed cauliflower to thicken instead of heavy thickeners
  • Sub in olive oil or coconut oil for other high-calorie oils
  • Increase herbs/spices and cut back on salt for flavor

The Bottom Line

Garlic dipping sauce can contain anywhere from about 30 to over 100 calories per 2-tablespoon serving depending on the specific ingredients and amounts. Olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs make up basic lower-calorie versions. Heavier recipes adding multiple tablespoons of oil, sour cream, mayo, or other high-calorie ingredients can push the calorie count significantly higher. Lightening up on portion sizes of oil and other high-calorie components is key to keeping garlic dipping sauce calorie counts in check.

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