5 Best Garlic Clove Substitutes

You might be wondering, “What can I possibly use in place of fresh garlic.”

 Swapping garlic for something else can be a nightmare. It feels like there is no way around this one because nothing is like garlic. 

 And it’s true!!! Because I’ve been there before. 

When I was in a pinch, I surfed the internet for some recommendations, but shallots, chives, and other members of the allium family kept popping up —which are not so good.

Fortunately, after digging a bit further, I bumped into options that are even MUCH closer to the real deal.

The best garlic clove substitutes are minced garlic, garlic flake, granulated garlic, garlic powder, and garlic salt. 

And in this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how these options differ. More importantly, showing you how to swap them, so you don’t ruin your meal properly. 

What Is Garlic Clove? 

The garlic clove is the section of the bulb that has been covered with papery skin. A white-like papery skin also protects the pale paper-like skin that covers a garlic bulb.

Garlic is a bulbous plant that grows underground and has been used as food and medicine for centuries.

It is a member of the genus Allium. That means it is closely related to the onion, shallot, leek, and chive.

Garlic can be eaten in many forms. You can either eat it raw or cooked.

Surprisingly, the leaves and flowers on the head of garlic are milder than cloves but also edible.

However, inedible parts of garlic are the “skin” covering each clove and root cluster. These protective and papery layers are generally discarded during preparation for most culinary uses.

The bulbs are harvested and pressed to extract the juice, which can then be fermented into vinegar or used in cooking.

Although the flavor of garlic varies according to its preparation, the uses of garlic are almost limitless.

You can use it to flavor sauces and stews by being added after cooking, although this can result in solid flavors that overpower other ingredients.

But garlic is often used in many different ways, such as in soups, stews, baked goods (such as bread), vegetable dishes (such as bruschetta), sauces (such as vinaigrette), marinades (such as Korean BBQ), casseroles (such as macaroni & cheese), ice cream toppings (such as chocolate chip cookies), and even candies!

Top 5 Garlic Clove Substitutes

1. Minced Garlic

The gap between these two types of garlic isn’t big.

Fresh garlic is a whole clove. Conversely, minced garlic has been chopped into pieces from fresh garlic cloves.

You can make this at home or purchase minced garlic at your local grocery store.

However, the store-bought version is preserved in oil, salt, or water —or probably sold dried.

Those additional ingredients could serve as preservatives to keep the garlic fresh. On the contrary, it could alter its flavor.

Garlic releases sulfur compounds when cut, making minced garlic stronger than intact cloves. The smaller the pieces are chopped, the stronger the smell and taste of garlic.

So whenever you desire mild garlic flavor, you should use fresh whole cloves instead. 

But if you want a more potent taste, opt for the minced variety. A ½ teaspoon of jarred minced garlic can be substituted for each fresh clove used in your recipe.

2. Garlic Flakes

Garlic flake is another excellent substitute for both fresh whole cloves and minced. 

It is another version of minced garlic, but it’s made from dried or dehydrated garlic, which is then sliced into flakes. 

More importantly, they are versatile in culinary uses. 

They are an easy way to add extra garlic flavor to your cooking.

You can use them anywhere you would use fresh garlic, including in soups and stews, sauces and dips, and rice dishes.

They’re also suitable for sprinkling roasted potatoes or roasted vegetables for extra flavor. Just crush the flakes into small pieces and add them right before cooking or serving.

If you want something new with garlic flakes, try adding them to bread dough in place of fresh chopped garlic. You’ll be amazed at how much better your bread turns out!

To make the proper substitution, use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic flakes in place of each clove.

3. Granulated Garlic

While granulated garlic might differ from the fresh version, it is still a suitable alternative whenever you are in a pinch.

Granulated garlic is coarsely ground dried garlic to a sand-like consistency.

You can make granulated garlic by drying fresh cloves in the oven and grinding them into small pieces with a spice grinder. You can usually find bottled granulated garlic in the seasoning aisle at your local grocery store.

It is preferable for baked goods. And because granulated garlic distributes flavor without adding moisture to dishes, it is often used in sauces and dry rubs as a seasoning.

Most people consider granulated garlic a convenient option because the flavor of this type of garlic remains constant throughout its shelf life, while fresh garlic can go bitter and sprout.

Fresh garlic lasts only 4-6 months, but granulated garlic can keep for 2-3 years if stored properly. Granulated garlic has a more potent and concentrated flavor than fresh; its taste is less subtle.

Therefore, you want to use 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic for a fresh garlic clove.

4. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is a form of garlic that has been finely ground to a flour-like consistency.

Its fine texture mixes quickly and easily into a recipe, making it a top pick for baked goods.

And due to its small granule size, it is a more concentrated and pungent flavor than other varieties of garlic.

Most people will argue that granulated garlic and garlic powder are the same, but they are not.

The significant difference is the granule size. Granulated garlic is coarsely grounded to a sand consistency, while garlic powder to a flour-like consistency.

They are also different in pungency.

And when compared across the board, garlic powder is the most convenient to use, with quite impressive longevity.

However, fresh garlic would be best for recipes where you want other flavors to shine through, such as pasta sauces, pizza sauces, and stir-fries.

On the other hand, garlic powder is an excellent substitute for fresh garlic in recipes that rely heavily on garlic flavorings, such as marinades, cream-based soups, and salad dressings.

The proper substitution should be a ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder in place of each clove.

5. Garlic Salt

Even if garlic salt is a timesaver in the kitchen, it is the least of my favorites.

Don’t get me wrong; it still does the job. But the salt adjustment in my recipe is a wrestle for me. 

Garlic salt combines granulated garlic or garlic powder with table salt. The garlic salt is a mixture: one part garlic powder and three parts salt with added anti-caking agent.

It’s different than garlic powder and granulated garlic because of the salt addition.

Regardless, it can still be a good stand-in for the fresh clove whenever you are in a pinch.

But you have to be mindful, so you don’t over-salt your meal.

You will have to decrease the salt in your recipe accordingly.

For instance, if you’re substituting it for a fresh clove, use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt for each clove.

This swap only has automatically added an extra 3/8 teaspoon of salt to your meal.

That aside, you can use it to season ground beef for tacos, hamburgers, and chili instead of grabbing two ingredients from your pantry.

Garlic salt will also give your french fries a unique twist.

And most home cooks cherish it the most for flavoring roasted asparagus. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Cloves Are In One Garlic?

The number of cloves in a head of garlic is determined by the size of the bulb and the thickness of its skin.

The average head of garlic has between 8-12 cloves, although some wide varieties may have up to 20 cloves per head.

Also, a clove is considered one piece or entity, even if it looks like two halves glued together.

This means that when you’re counting your cloves and looking for a pattern, you should count each clove and not just look at how many there are on the stem!

Would You Eat Garlic Cloves Raw?

Oh, wow—that’s a good question. I’m not sure I would. I’ve tried it once, but I think I’d be nervous doing it again.

First, I don’t adore the pungent aroma.

Secondly, I’m trying to avoid the most concentrated garlic flavor hitting my taste bud.

There is nothing wrong with eating a clove or two. It is safe to consume.

Besides, raw garlic has most of its beneficial health effects still intact, especially allicin. But once it is cooked, they reduce.

What Is The Easiest Way To Remove Garlic Cloves?

Removing garlic cloves isn’t tricky, but it does take some finesse.

Usually, you will peel them off with your finger. But what if you’re removing a whole bulb or more?

Now that will be a bit of a hassle and time-consuming.

The easiest traditional way to remove garlic cloves is by placing them in a bowl, pouring water over them, and leaving them for several minutes.

The water will soften the garlic cloves and make it easier to remove them from the skin.

The second method is to place the garlic bulb in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a damp paper towel, and cook high for 15-20 seconds.

Remove it from the microwave. Use your hand to rub lightly with a paper towel. The garlic skins will come off quickly.

Lastly, is to use a compact garlic peeling machine. This is the fastest way to peel off those annoying papery skin without touching them.

Why Shouldn’t You Put Garlic In The Fridge?

We’ve all heard the myth that garlic should never be in the fridge. But what are the real reasons not to put garlic in your fridge?

Let me give you the lowdown:

Many people make the mistake of refrigerating their bulbs. Refrigeration will cause your fresh garlic to deteriorate.

If you don’t know, it will inject more moisture into it. And this may cause them to become moldy. The best and most secure place to store your bulb is in a cool, dry area in your kitchen.

I’d recommend the kitchen pantry, cupboard, or shady corners on your countertop.


So, in conclusion, even if you don’t always have fresh garlic in your kitchen, chances are that you have its dried form in your pantry due to its shelf life.

And you can still use them in any recipe for fresh clove.

All of the garlic clove substitute we have discussed so far are options thousands of home cooks and professional chefs are using whenever they’re running out.

Remember the conversions for replacing a medium-sized clove

  • Garlic Salt: 1/2 tsp. = 1 clove + 3/8 tsp. Salt
  • Garlic Powder: 1/8 tsp to 1 clove
  • Granulated Garlic: 1/4 tsp to 1 clove
  • Minced Garlic: 1/2 tsp to 1 clove

However, if you have a garlic allergy or are out of all these options but still crave that garlicky flavor, you can chop some shallots or chives to your meal.