Garlic’s richness and depth and flavor can take almost any dish to new levels of goodness. Striking a good balance is essential. Too much garlic and your food will be inedible. Too little garlic and your food will be bland. Measuring garlic with some degree of accuracy keeps your flavors on target. How many tablespoons in a clove of garlic? That depends on what kind of garlic you are measuring.
What is a Clove of Garlic?
Let’s start by defining garlic. Garlic is a bulbous plant in the same family as onions, leeks, and shallots. The bulb of the plant grows underground and is the form most commonly used in cooking.
It has an intense flavor and can bring a little heat to your dish as well. Each bulb, or head of garlic has between ten and twenty individual cloves of garlic.
Each clove of garlic is wrapped in its own skin inside the skin of the bulb. The cloves are attached to the bulb on one end.
How to Remove a Clove of Garlic
To separate the cloves of garlic from the bulb, the easiest method is to smash it. You can use the palm of your hand or the back of a heavy measuring cup or pan to press down until all of the cloves break off.
You can break all of them off at once, or break off one or two at a time depending on your preference. To break off a few at a time, you might need to use a knife to pry them off.
How to Measure Fresh Garlic Cloves
Each garlic clove will equal 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon by volume. The cloves themselves vary in size so you cannot expect uniformity of measurement.
If a recipe calls for one clove, use one medium-sized clove or two small cloves equaling about one teaspoon.
It’s easy to find out how many tablespoons are in a clove of garlic. A tablespoon is three teaspoons. So a clove of garlic is about 1/3 of a tablespoon.
You will need 3 medium to large cloves of garlic to equal one tablespoon. Two tablespoons will require six cloves of garlic and so on.
Freshly minced garlic can be measured using your dry ingredient measuring tools and you should use one teaspoon for each clove of garlic required.
How to Measure Preserved Garlic
Preserved garlic has been altered and cannot be measured exactly as a fresh clove would be measured for your recipe.
Dried garlic has had all of the water content removed and is therefore more concentrated. Use this simple chart to see how to measure dried garlic for recipes where a tablespoon of fresh is needed.
Remember, you have 1/3 tablespoons in a clove of garlic.
|Type of Garlic
|One Clove Equals
|One Tablespoon Fresh Equals
|Fresh Garlic Clove
|Dried Minced Garlic
|Jarred Minced Garlic
|1 1/2 Teaspoons
|1/8 -1/4 Teaspoon
|1 1/2 Teaspoons
|1 1/2 Teaspoons
Types of Garlic Explained
Fresh Garlic. This can be bought in the form of a bulb at your grocery store and is sold still in its original skin. Usually, you find fresh garlic bulbs near the onions and potatoes in the produce department.
Peeled Cloves. These are whole cloves that have been peeled and jarred in oil and must be refrigerated once the jar is opened.
Dried Minced Garlic. Garlic that is minced and then dried. Sold in bottles where spices are found.
Jarred Minced Garlic. Minced garlic is placed in a jar and then preserved in oil. An open jar of minced garlic needs to be refrigerated. Find jarred minced garlic near the produce in your grocery store, usually on the end of an aisle near the avocados.
Garlic Powder. Dried garlic is ground into a powder and then placed in a shaker bottle and sold as a spice. Interestingly, garlic powder can be very finely ground like the texture of baby powder, or more coarsely ground like the texture of table salt. See our garlic powder substitutes guide for cooking alternatives.
Granulated Garlic. Slightly smaller than minced garlic and larger than garlic powder, the granulated form is about the size and texture of coarsely ground salt.
Garlic Flakes. A flaked form of dried garlic.
Freeze-Dried Garlic. This form of preservation removes all moisture and keeps more of the flavor over traditional drying methods.
Garlic Salt. Salt infused with garlic sometimes with sugar or other ingredients added as well. The various ingredients are different sizes and settle in the jar, so shake your jar each time before using the garlic salt.
Cooking with Garlic
This incredibly versatile spice lives in every good cook’s kitchen. Once you start cooking with garlic, you will want to add it to everything savory!
Garlic added at the beginning of the cooking process adds sweetness, depth, and resonance to the flavor. Garlic added near the end of the cooking process adds a bright, intense flavor. Try one of our favorite garlic recipes:
- Garlic Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe w/Video
- Air Fryer Frozen Garlic Bread
- Air Fryer Garlic Butter Naan
- Parmesan Garlic Roasted Green Beans Recipe
- Roasted Garlic Cloves
Keeping It Fresh
Fresh garlic is best stored at room temperature in a cool, dry location with air circulation. Do not put it in the back of a cabinet or keep it near the stovetop or any other heat source such as a toaster or microwave.
I like to keep mine in a basket or bowl on the counter. Garlic bulbs will eventually sprout or rot, so keep an eye out for leafy greens or mushy skin and dispose of the garlic when that occurs.
Peeled garlic cloves should be refrigerated or frozen to prevent spoiling. Refrigerated garlic cloves will last for a couple of weeks in an airtight container. Frozen peeled garlic will keep for up to six months.
All forms of dried garlic will have a good flavor for up to six months as long as they are kept sealed in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.
Fresh garlic has the best flavor but it’s not always feasible to keep fresh garlic around. If you can only keep one type in your pantry I would buy minced jarred garlic. It stores nicely in the refrigerator, has the best flavor of the preserved garlic forms, and works in a huge variety of dishes. Dried minced garlic would be my second choice.
Yes. Use whole cloves or sliced garlic, spread it out on a cookie sheet, and bake it at 140ºF for a couple of hours. Then reduce the temperature by ten or twenty degrees and continue baking it until it becomes golden brown and completely dry.
Raw garlic is pungent and peppery hot. Roasted garlic is slightly sweet with a nutty, earthy flavor. Garlic that is past its prime can be excessively strong or bitter.
Ginny Collins is a passionate foodie and recipe creator of Savor and Savvy and Kitchenlaughter. Indoors she focuses on easy, quick recipes for busy families and kitchen basics. Outdoors, she focuses on backyard grilling and smoking to bring family and friends together. She is a lifelong learner who is always taking cooking classes on her travels overseas and stateside. Her work has been featured on MSN, Parade, Fox News, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many local news outlets. She lives in Florida where you will find her outside on the water in her kayak, riding her bike on trails, and planning her next overseas adventure.