Some days it’s just easier to scoop a spoonful of minced garlic out of a jar than it is to peel and chop fresh garlic cloves. Available preserved in water or dried, minced garlic is a pungent time-saver. Use it in any recipe that doesn’t call for whole garlic cloves.
Proportions: Minced Garlic to Cloves
About 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic equals one clove of fresh garlic. One teaspoon of chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic flakes or garlic juice, 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic or 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder equals one clove.
The proportions are not exact because the size of a garlic clove can vary, but garlic heads typically have 10 to 12 cloves. One head of garlic equals about 5 to 6 teaspoons.
Minced garlic is available packed in water or dried. Both can be found in the spice aisle of the supermarket. Processed garlic may be pasteurized and may have been bleached, which may change the flavor.
Chopped garlic is coarser than minced garlic and typically has more flavor than minced garlic. Minced garlic is less likely to burn when cooked.
How to Mince Garlic
Separate a head of garlic into cloves. Cut off the root end of the cloves and press them with the flat side of a chef’s knife to loosen the papery skin. Slide the skin off.
Hold the knife with one hand on the handle and the other hand on the top. Using a rocking motion, chop the garlic. Continue cutting the garlic into a fine mince. Sprinkle a little salt on top of the minced garlic to help break it down. Use the garlic immediately.
Storing minced garlic in a jar is not advisable unless you plan to use it within two or three days. Store it in the fridge to retard the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which causes botulism. Note that the bacteria is odorless and tasteless, so it’s undetectable to the home cook.
How to Make Garlic Salt
Separate garlic cloves from the bulb, peel them and slice in half. Spread them on a baking sheet and cook at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Decrease the heat to 130 F and continue to dry until the cloves are crisp. If your oven doesn’t have a setting this low, use a dehydrator.
Whirl dried garlic in a food processor, spice grinder or blender to a fine dust. Add four parts salt to one part ground garlic and pulse once or twice. If you process it for any longer, the garlic salt will cake.
Substitute minced or chopped garlic for whole garlic cloves if desired.
- Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season cut-up chicken with salt and pepper and brown both sides in a skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and scatter 40 peeled cloves of garlic over it. Bake, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
- Garlic Soup: Roast 25 unpeeled garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons of olive oil tightly covered in a 350 F oven for about 45 minutes or until tender. Slide the cloves out of the skin and set aside. Cook 2 cups of sliced onions in butter over medium heat for about 6 minutes. Add the roasted garlic and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, add whipping cream and reheat.
- Garlic Butter: Combine room-temperature butter with minced garlic and chopped parsley. Spread on bread and toast in the oven or serve it on top of steak.
- Garlicky Fried Potatoes: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Cut unpeeled potatoes into large cubes and add to the skillet. Sprinkle with 2 or 3 tablespoons of minced garlic. Cover and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are almost tender. Remove the lid, increase the heat and cook until the potatoes are golden brown.
Native New Yorker Meg Jernigan stayed in Washington, D.C. after attending the George Washington University, and worked in the tourism industry with the National Park Service for many years. She’s a dedicated foodie with an extensive cookbook collection and years of experience in the kitchen. Jernigan’s recipes have been published online and in magazines like Southern Living.