Trying to figure out how many garlic cloves are in a tablespoon? With so many recipes calling for garlic (and we have TONS!), this is a problem you’ll come across, eventually. Converting crushed or minced garlic to whole cloves is not something you can do by eye, so here’s what you need to know!
The job is much easier when a recipe asks for garlic by weight. Even when the amount required is in teaspoons or tablespoons, we can still measure it.
Clove Of Garlic vs. Head Of Garlic
Are you just starting out your culinary adventures? Many beginners mistake the garlic head with the garlic clove and we’re about to fix that!
In most cases, fresh garlic is sold whole, in heads. The head of garlic is a large cluster covered in white papery skin. It’s also called a “bulb” or a “knob”.
When you remove the outer papery skin and start breaking up the head of garlic, you’ll notice it’s formed of many segments, each wrapped in another layer of skin. Those are the individual garlic cloves.
For cooking, most recipes will call for several peeled garlic cloves and they can be whole, chopped, minced, or even turned into a paste.
I recommend you use the recommended amount first, do a taste test, and add more if needed. Garlic has a strong flavor and as lovely as it is, some recipes may be overpowered if you add too much.
How Many Cloves Are In A Head Of Garlic?
Depending on the garlic variety, a head of garlic can have between 4 and 30 or even more cloves.
On average, the garlic we buy in the supermarket will have 10-15 cloves.
How Many Garlic Cloves Are In A Tablespoon?
Garlic is not uniform, and the cloves will have varying sizes. The randomness is what makes it difficult to figure out how many cloves you need to produce a tablespoon.
The general answer is: 1 Tablespoon of garlic = 3 Medium-sized garlic cloves
If you’re dealing with larger or smaller cloves, here are two more formulas that can help you measure the garlic needed for a recipe:
1 Tablespoon of garlic = 2 Large garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon of garlic = 4 Small garlic cloves
Does your recipe list the amount of required garlic in teaspoons? Here’s the basic conversion for fresh garlic:
1 Teaspoon of minced garlic = 1 Medium-sized garlic clove
How many tablespoons of garlic paste are in a clove?
You can buy garlic paste from supermarkets or grocery stores, but it’s really easy to make it at home.
Peel and chop or crush the garlic cloves, place them in a food processor and process them until they turn into a paste.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a mortar and pestle.
For recipes requiring garlic paste, here’s the basic conversion formula:
1 Teaspoon of garlic paste = 2 Medium-sized garlic cloves
If your recipe calls for a tablespoon of garlic paste, use the standard teaspoon to tablespoon conversion:
3 Teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon
Now, let’s apply this to our garlic paste formula:
1 Tablespoon of garlic paste = 6 Medium-sized garlic cloves
Basic Garlic Conversions In Any Form!
Because garlic is so widely used for cooking, we also use it in many forms: crushed, minced, chopped, powdered, granulated, flakes, and the list goes on.
Here’s a list of quick tablespoon garlic conversions that will help you easily substitute fresh garlic in any recipe:
|One Tablespoon||How Many Medium Garlic Cloves|
Other forms of garlic such as powdered, granulated, garlic juice, flakes, and salt, are also excellent for cooking and some recipes will specifically require them.
They have a more concentrated flavor, so you will probably need smaller amounts, which is why the conversions below are using teaspoons instead of tablespoons.
|Garlic Form||Number of Medium Garlic Cloves|
|¼ tsp Granulated Garlic||1|
|⅛ tsp Garlic Powder||1|
|½ tsp Garlic Salt||1|
|½ tsp Garlic Juice||1|
|½ tsp Garlic Flakes||1|
If you’re making a very strong dish or one for feeding a crowd that uses larger quantities of garlic and you need to convert any of the above formulas to tablespoons, remember the standard conversion: 1 Tablespoon = 3 Teaspoons.
Is Minced Garlic Stronger Than Chopped?
Yes it is! When you mince garlic, you effectively dice it in tiny pieces, releasing more of its natural juices which also make it more flavorful.
Of course, the minced garlic in a jar you can buy won’t have such a strong flavor as the fresh variety, so you might need to use a bit more. I recommend you start with the general conversion formula and add more if needed.
Tip: Use the conversion recommendation written on the label, if there is one.
When Should You Use Granulated Garlic?
Granulated garlic is great to have on hand, and not just to substitute fresh garlic if you don’t have it.
It’s dehydrated garlic turned into a powder with the texture of sand. Because most of the water has been removed, it has a long shelf-life.
This type of garlic is excellent when roasting or grilling because it will spread evenly and doesn’t get that slightly bitter taste fresh garlic may have when exposed to high heat.
You can use it for dry rubs, marinades, and also to add a subtle garlic flavor to soups, stews, and dips.
Best Tips For Making Garlic Paste Last Longer
Technically, you can make garlic paste from just one ingredient: peeled garlic cloves. If you want to make more than for one time use, it’s a good idea to add some other ingredients that act as natural preservatives.
Salt, olive oil, and white vinegar are excellent additions that will keep your garlic paste from going bad too soon.
For every one cup of garlic paste you can add one teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of olive oil. You can add them after the paste is formed, but process it a bit longer so everything is well mixed.
You can also add a teaspoon of white vinegar per cup of garlic paste which will not just add to the shelf life, it will also help preserve the paste’s color and taste.
How To Store Garlic Cloves
At room temperature, you should keep fresh garlic in an open or breathable container (basket, paper or textile bag) in a cool, dark location such as a pantry or cupboard.
Whole garlic heads can last up to 8 weeks, while individual unpeeled cloves can be stored up to 3 weeks.
It’s worth peeling more garlic cloves if you know you’ll soon be using them in other recipes. Even as leftovers, they are worth keeping!
Peeled garlic cloves will last up to a week in the fridge, while chopped garlic will be good for only one day. You can store it covered in olive oil, in which case it can last for up to three days.
Can You Freeze Garlic?
Yes! And it’s very easy too!
For whole bulbs, clean them and keep them in freezer-safe bags for up to 6 months. You can also store your garlic separated into cloves and optionally peel them.
For the best flavor, I recommend using them within 3-4 months, though.
To freeze garlic paste, you can portion it using an ice cube tray or by laying teaspoon portions on a baking sheet and freezing them before placing in a freezer-safe bag.
Chopped garlic can also be portioned using ice cube trays but you can also freeze it in a thin layer in a Ziploc bag and simply break a small amount whenever you need to.
Our Favorite Garlic Recipes
Garlic will add a magic touch to so many dishes! Most people enjoy an intense garlicky flavor, so don’t worry if you accidentally add too much.
If you’re looking for some inspiration and want to try new ways to cook with garlic, try some of our favorite garlic recipes:
- Grilled Roasted Garlic In Foil
- Grilled Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings
- Grilled Baby Potatoes with Garlic
- Smoked Fingerling Potatoes With Garlic Butter
- Grilled Halibut with a Garlic Lemon Butter
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
I’m sure we can all agree garlic is a kitchen staple for most of us and all the forms it’s available in make it even more fun to use it!
Whether you enjoy to take a bite straight out of a garlic clove, fix an extra garlicky dip, or make a dry rub that keeps vampires away, you shouldn’t have any problem converting from garlic cloves to tablespoons or teaspoons from now on.