Do you love the sweet buttery flavor of roasted garlic? Learn how to roast garlic at home and you’ll be able to enjoy this delectable (and healthy!) treat whenever you like.
Why you’ll love it: You’ll find that it’s super easy to roast garlic and there are so many ways to enjoy it.
How long it takes: a couple of minutes to prep and 50 to 55 minutes to roast
Equipment you’ll need: oven, small baking sheet
Servings: as many heads as you like
Roasting raw garlic transforms it, mellowing the pungent flavor into a sweet caramelized delight. Even if you (or your stomach) aren’t a big garlic fan, roasted garlic may change your mind.
Think of the difference between raw onions and caramelized onions. The change that occurs when you cook raw onions over low heat is almost magical. The eye-watering pungent raw onion turns into a sweet delight. A raw onion doesn’t look like caramelized onions and definitely doesn’t taste like raw onions, right? (Side note: If you love caramelized onions – make sure to check out our french onion soup and this springtime chimichanga.)
Roasted garlic is much the same. The strong flavor of garlic is mellowed out. It becomes almost sweet-tasting, still a bit garlicky, but in a good way. The texture is soft and creamy, almost buttery.
Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir! Maybe you already love roasted garlic but just aren’t sure how to make it. This how-to post can get you started. Keep reading for lots of ways to use your roasted garlic, too.
P.S. If you’re a garlic lover, be sure to try spicy garlic shrimp. The crispy bits of fried garlic are so good!
More About Roasting Garlic
It’s very easy to roast garlic. If you happen to have the oven on for something else, wrap up a head of garlic and roast it right along with it. Baking potatoes? Why not roast a head of garlic, too? Roasted garlic is a perfect topping for baked potatoes.
Garlic heads are kind of cool. Slice a quarter inch or so from the top of head (opposite the root end), and you’ll see fifteen to twenty cloves all nestled together, perfectly packed in the papery wrapping.
Roasted garlic is easy to use. When the head is roasted, the cloves turn a beautiful shade of golden brown. The aroma is wonderful. The cloves easily separate; they still have an outer layer that is inedible. At that point, you can either carefully peel them to retain the whole cloves or simply squeeze the insides right out of the casing.
I’ll run through the how-tos right here to get you started and hopefully answer any questions you might have. Look for the recipe card below for specific instructions and nutrition information.
Confused about garlic terminology? Is it a clove or a head? What’s the difference?
Garlic is a bulb that grows underground. It has long green leaves that are removed when the garlic is harvested and dried.
When you buy fresh garlic, it’s a dried head of garlic. It’s whitish in color, with layers of papery wrapping. There will be a root end, with short dry root tendrils attached. The other end is where the leaves were attached.
When you peel the papery outer layer off the head, you’ll find several cloves of varying size packed together. Each clove is encased in a papery skin.
Most recipes call for cloves of garlic. To use fresh garlic, remove the papery skin from the clove before slicing, mincing, or pressing it through a garlic press.
What you’ll need
- Whole Head of Garlic: The recipe is written for one head of garlic but it usually makes the most sense to roast multiple heads at a time. The roasted garlic can be refrigerated or frozen.
- Olive Oil: You just need a bit to drizzle over the head of garlic before roasting it, anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon.
- Kosher Salt: Salt is optional but like anything else, roasted garlic tastes a bit better with a little salt.
- Aluminum Foil: The heads are wrapped in aluminum foil to roast. If you prefer, parchment paper can be substituted, but it doesn’t do as good of a job at trapping the steam in with the garlic.
How To Roast Garlic
Turn the oven on to preheat. You’ll need a small baking sheet and either foil or parchment paper. It’s up to you how many heads you want to roast, either one or several.
Prep the garlic. With a very sharp knife, cut the tops off the heads. Which is the top side? The flatter end of the garlic has the remnants of the roots, a topknot of little stringy things. Leave that end on.
The top of the garlic head is where the leaves originally grew. It comes to kind of a point and you’ll be able to see several layers of the papery wrapping. That’s the end that you slice off, about a quarter inch or so. You should be able to see the separate cloves inside.
Set the individual heads on a small sheet of aluminum foil or a square of parchment paper. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over it, and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt, if desired.
Wrap each head separately. The wrapping keeps in the moisture which helps cook the garlic. It also prevents the garlic from getting too brown. If you’re using foil, simply wrap it around the head, with the seams on top. If you’re using parchment, gather up the edges and tie them together tightly with butcher’s twine or kitchen string.
Roast the garlic heads until they are soft and golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes.
Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes or so, until you are able to handle it without burning your fingers. Separate the cloves.
Using the roasted garlic: At this point, you can peel the individual cloves to use whole or to store in olive oil. Or you can squeeze the soft insides out, mash it with a fork, and make a spread or paste. It’s up to you. You can do both if you like.
Keep reading for ideas for how to use your roasted garlic and how to store it. Wasn’t that super easy? So much exciting flavor for such little effort!
Fresh garlic is very pungent and some people find that it’s irritating to their digestive tracts. Roasted garlic is mild in flavor, almost buttery, and is more easily digested.
Why? When you cut a clove of fresh garlic, a chemical reaction occurs which releases the pungent properties. When the garlic is roasted, this reaction no longer can happen, making roasted garlic so much sweeter and more palatable.
Nutritionally, fresh garlic contains a substance called allicin which has significant health benefits. When garlic is roasted or cooked, the allicin content is reduced; however, garlic is still considered a very healthy food, raw or cooked, with good amounts of vitamins and minerals. Garlic has been used for centuries as a medicine for many different ailments.
Roasted garlic can be made ahead. Follow the storage tips below to safely keep your garlic fresh.
How to store raw garlic: Raw garlic can be stored at room temperature so don’t worry about that. Uncooked, unpeeled dried garlic heads will keep up to six months in a dry, cool location. Don’t put them in a plastic bag; they need air circulation. If they begin to sprout, discard the green shoots because they can taste bitter.
Never store cooked garlic at room temperature. Never! Botulism toxins can form which will give you food poisoning.
Refrigerate: Whole roasted garlic cloves can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Peel them and put them in a small jar. Cover the cloves with olive oil, put the cover on the jar, and refrigerate. The USDA recommends that they be used within a week. If you mash the garlic cloves, put the garlic paste in a small container, cover with a thin layer of oil, and refrigerate.
By the way, don’t discard that garlic-scented oil. Use it for salad dressings, bread, etc.
Freeze: Roasted garlic cloves will keep in the freezer for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator. To freeze mashed garlic (roasted garlic paste), I like to use a small ice cube try. Put a tablespoon or so of the garlic paste in each compartment, freeze until firm, then transfer to a freezer safe container.
11 Ways To Use Roasted Garlic
- Spread roasted garlic on warm crusty bread or homemade crostini for an easy appetizer.
- Blend roasted garlic with softened butter to make garlic bread. Substitute it for the fresh garlic in my Texas toast garlic bread recipe.
- Add roasted garlic to restaurant style bread dipping oil.
- Make garlic mashed potatoes. Add roasted garlic to Instant Pot mashed potatoes, mashed red potatoes, or brown butter slow cooker mashed potatoes.
- Enrich soups with roasted garlic. Try my vegan butternut squash soup with roasted garlic or add it to your favorite soup recipe.
- Enhance plain mayonnaise or mustard with roasted garlic.
- Make garlic ranch dressing or add roasted garlic to this creamy Italian dressing.
- Add whole cloves of roasted garlic to your favorite pizza for loads of flavor. Try it on BBQ chicken pizza or grilled pizza with arugula pesto, corn, & ham.
- How about roasted garlic hummus? Yum! Give a huge flavor boost to your veggie wrap with roasted garlic hummus or by simply spreading plain roasted garlic on the wrap.
- Take your guacamole up a notch with roasted garlic.
- Roasted garlic enhances any kind of meat. Mix it into your burgers or meatballs. Spread it on steak or salmon. Add roasted garlic to gravy.
- 1 head garlic (or as many as you want)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (increase for multiple heads)
- Kosher salt, optional
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Cut off the top of a whole head of garlic, so the individual cloves are exposed, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with salt.
- Wrap tightly with foil (see note) and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes or until softened and golden brown.
- Cool slightly until you can handle the garlic. Separate the head into cloves. With your fingers, squeeze from the bottom of the clove to remove the paste. Alternatively, if you want whole cloves, carefully peel off the outer layer from each clove.
- You may use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil if you prefer. Place the garlic on a square of parchment paper and gather up the edges. Tie the gathered edges with butcher’s twine (kitchen string).
- To save time and energy, roast multiple heads of garlic at once. If you have the oven on for something else, you can roast garlic at the same time.
- Storage Suggestions: Whole roasted garlic cloves can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Peel them and put into a small jar. Cover the cloves with olive oil, put the cover on the jar, and refrigerate. The USDA recommends that they be used within a week, or frozen. Roasted garlic can be frozen for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator. If you mash the garlic cloves, put the garlic paste in a small container, cover with a thin layer of oil, and refrigerate. To freeze, I like to use a small ice cube try. Put a tablespoon or so of the garlic paste in each compartment, freeze until firm, then transfer to a freezer safe container. Garlic paste thaws quickly.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.