Every Fresh Garlic Substitute You Could Ever Need, from Frozen Garlic to Garlic Salt

published Jan 27, 2021
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A spice dish of garlic powder with fresh garlic
Credit: MSPhotographic/Getty Images

Garlic is beloved for its robust, pungent flavor and its ability to make even the most basic foods taste amazing. Think about it: Garlic bread is just butter, bread, and garlic! We’d argue that you should have fresh garlic on hand at all times (it lasts months when stored properly), but sometimes you run low on the fresh stuff and have to reach for a substitute. Not all garlic substitutes are created equal (we have favorites), but no matter which one you have in your kitchen, we can tell you how to make the most of it. Read on for all of our tips and tricks, plus a handy little conversion chart.

Credit: The Kitchn

From Jarred Garlic to Garlic Oil, Here’s How to Substitute These Garlic Products for Fresh Garlic

Garlic products, like the minced jarred stuff and garlic flakes, vary in potency, but generally speaking they have a more concentrated flavor than fresh garlic, so a little goes a long way. Here’s what they are and how to use them (and when to skip them).

  • Minced jarred garlic: Readily available and easy to use, jarred garlic is a handy thing to have in your pantry. The canning process slightly mutes the garlic flavor, but you still only need 1/2 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic for every clove of garlic. You can pretty much use this garlic substitute anywhere you would regular minced garlic — it doesn’t need to be cooked, and can be used in raw applications like salad dressings.
  • Garlic paste: Garlic paste is usually sold in tubes and contains both salt and oil to preserve the garlic and make it squeezable. Some brands are slightly more concentrated than others, giving them a stronger garlic flavor. Take a small taste before adding garlic paste to your recipe. We recommend using 1 teaspoon of the paste for each clove of garlic. It dissolves easily, making it excellent for whisking into marinades, soups, and dressings.
  • Frozen garlic: These golden cubes of goodness are one of our favorite substitutes for fresh garlic. A single cube is equal to one clove of garlic and you can use this anywhere you’d use the fresh stuff — on garlic bread, on chicken thighs, or mashed with buttery potatoes.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic powder is dried, ground garlic. Drying the garlic stores the garlic’s punch for later, making it more potent and slightly sweeter when cooked. You need just 1/8 teaspoon for each clove of garlic. Garlic powder is best for cooked applications, since heating the powder in fat will help the flavor bloom.
  • Dried garlic flakes: While these might seem a little old-school, garlic flakes are essentially garlic powder that hasn’t be pulverized. The flake shape is wonderful for adding some texture as well as flavor when used. Garlic flakes have a slightly sweet but still pungent flavor that’s great in sauces, curries, and braises. Use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic flakes for every clove of garlic.
  • Garlic salt: Garlic salt is one of our favorite seasoned salts — it is so good on popcorn! But because it contains both garlic powder and salt, you have to do a little more math when you’re using it as a substitute. If you’re using as a substitute for fresh garlic, use 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt and reduce the salt in your recipe by 1/2 teaspoon. Use garlic salt where you would garlic powder or fresh garlic in recipes like dry rubs, marinades, and for flavoring snack mixes.
  • Garlic juice: We hardly even knew garlic juice was a thing, but it is popular for savory drinks, like Bloody Marys, and can also be used as a sub for fresh garlic in a pinch. It’s made by puréeing fresh garlic and straining it, so it’s quite potent. You need just 1/2 teaspoon of garlic juice for each clove of garlic.
  • Garlic oil: Garlic oil is one of the modern marvels of culinary science. The volatile oils from fresh garlic are steam distilled to create a super-concentrated oil that is mixed with neutral oils, such as olive oil or canola oil. We like garlic oil for whisking into salad dressings or drizzling on soups or mashed potatoes. Cooking with garlic oil will mute the flavor. Use 1 tablespoon of garlic oil for each clove of garlic.

Do you have a favorite substitute for fresh garlic? What do you keep stocked in your pantry for garlicky flavor in a pinch?