Who doesn't love soft, mellow, savory, sweet roasted garlic? This simple and easy recipe will show you exactly how to cook roasted garlic to perfection, avoiding any burnt and bitter edges with a moderate temperature and a sheen of olive oil.
What Makes This Recipe Work
Most people will agree that roasted garlic is a thing of beauty. Golden, savory, soft, and sweet, this magic flavor booster can transform an ordinary dish into something truly enticing.
So, what makes this recipe work?
Without delving too deeply into the science of garlic, a compound called allicin is responsible for its pungent smell and flavor. More of this compound is produced the more you cut your garlic.
Cooking garlic inactivates the allicin, so with two factors: 1) relatively little cutting and 2) the heat from the oven the garlic's sharp, powerful flavor becomes mellow and sweet.
Aside from its amazing taste, roasted garlic is incredibly versatile: use it as a spread for toasts, roasted meat, or roasted vegetables, mix it into sauces, butter, or dressings, or toss it straight into a variety of different recipes.
This roasted garlic is so delicious I can eat it straight, so there will be no judgment on my part if you use it on absolutely everything.
The recipe is quick and easy. It's ready in about 30 to 40 minutes and uses only a few ingredients.
It's been tested with different factors to ensure the best possible result: varying temperatures, more or less oil, foil or no foil, peeled and unpeeled, whole roasted garlic versus cloves.
I concluded that the best way to roast garlic is at a moderate temperature. Cooked at too high a temperature, the garlic became too dark and, therefore, bitter. See "Expert Tips" below for more ways to perfect your roasted garlic strategy.
What You'll Need
- Garlic At least one whole head of fresh garlic is needed for this recipe.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil The quality of olive oil matters less for this recipe. Here is a favorite brand of mine that I keep on hand.
- Kosher Salt I always recommend using kosher salt. Diamond Crystal kosher salt coats food evenly and makes it easier to add salt incrementally.
- Tin Foil
How to Make Roasted Garlic
Step One Cut your head of garlic crosswise to expose the interior of the cloves (removing about ¼ to ½ inch of the top).
Step Two Place the garlic on a piece of tin foil. Drizzle or brush the cut side of the garlic with olive oil, trying to get the oil into the crevices between the cloves and coating the top of the garlic completely.
Step Three Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Completely seal the foil ball and place the garlic in the oven.
Step Four Test the garlic for doneness just before the 30-minute mark. When the garlic reaches the level of doneness below, and is easily pierced with a knife, it is ready to remove from the oven.
Step Five Serve in any number of ways! See the "How to Serve" section below for suggestions.
The secret is to avoid high heat. For perfectly soft, golden, mellow, and sweet roasted garlic, patience is key! Garlic does NOT respond well to high heat.
It should be a soft golden or golden brown color, fragrant, and easy to squeeze out of its skin.
A simple way to test for doneness is to use a paring knife. Insert the paring knife into the flesh of the clove and, if there is no resistance, it's ready.
Yep. Place your garlic in an airtight container, and move to the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. Check out the "How to Store" section below for more info on storing roasted garlic.
It freezes very well. Let the garlic cool completely, remove all the skins, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a gallon plastic bag or other airtight, freezer-safe container and use within 2 to 3 months.
It can. It's best to store cooked garlic in an airtight container in the fridge for no longer than a week.
How to Store
Fridge Roasted garlic can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
There is no need to reheat refrigerated garlic. Just add to the dish you are making. If you would like room-temperature garlic, leave it out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour.
Be sure to cool the garlic and move it to the fridge within 2 hours after cooking.
Freezer As shown in the FAQ above, roasted garlic can be frozen as individual cloves out of their skin on a baking sheet. They can then be transferred to a freezer-safe bag, like a gallon plastic bag, and stored for 2 to 3 months.
If needed, you can thaw the garlic in the microwave for a few seconds or in the fridge overnight, but you do not need to thaw the garlic to use it. If adding to a meal, feel free to add directly to the pan while you cook.
Freezing garlic may alter the texture and taste of your garlic. It is likely to be milder than freshly roasted garlic.
How to Serve
Try these suggestions for meals, sides, and snacks!
Charcuterie or Cheese Board Arrange different meats and cheeses, nuts, crackers, veggies, and dips and serve with roasted garlic. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Marinated Brussels Sprouts and Almond Pesto are some of my favorite additions.
Soups Try making a favorite soup, like this Chicken Pastina Soup or Instant Pot Chicken Stew, and serve with a piece of baguette spread with roasted garlic. You can also stir some chopped roasted garlic directly into your soup.
Vegetable Sides This garlic is fantastic mixed with lots of veggie sides, from sautéed zucchini to seared mushrooms to steamed broccoli.
Roast Chicken I made this Basic Roast Chicken in culinary school and was blown away by how delicious it was. I highly recommend this recipe. Spread roasted garlic on the finished chicken for a perfect bite.
Aioli Add to this aioli and spread on sandwiches, wraps, or drizzle over lots of different meals like grain bowls, eggs, salads, and more
- You can roast more than one head of garlic at a time. Add a few heads to the same foil packet. This may take longer than one head, so just check periodically for doneness.
- If you are sensitive to fresh garlic or sautéed garlic, roasted garlic is much milder, sweeter, and has none of the sharpness of other garlic preparations. Give it a try to see if it's a good match for you.
- When making roasted garlic, keep in mind that ovens can vary in size and temperature. Check your garlic before the recommended cook time has elapsed to ensure it is not getting too dark and use an oven thermometer!
- To avoid waste, take the top section you cut off and chop the garlic to use in another meal. I recommend using it right away or storing in an airtight container in the fridge for about a day.
More Recipes You'll Love
If you're in the mood for more roasted garlic recipes, try some of these:
- Cut the head of garlic crosswise, exposing the flesh of the cloves, about ¼ to ½ of an inch.
- Place on a piece of tin foil. Drizzle or brush with the olive oil, ensuring the olive oil gets between the cloves and coats the top thoroughly.
- Seal the tin foil in a ball and place it in the oven. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Check for doneness before 30 minutes have elapsed by carefully removing from the oven, peeling back the foil, and examining the color and texture.
- Poke a paring knife into one of the cloves. If there is no resistance, the color is golden brown, and the garlic is fragrant, it is ready to serve! If not, seal the foil ball again, return to the oven, and continue cooking.
- Once ready, season with a pinch of kosher salt for a more concentrated flavor.
- Roasted garlic can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Be sure to transfer to the fridge within 2 hours.
- Once cooked, garlic can be removed from its skins, frozen on a sheet tray, then transferred to an airtight, freezer-safe container like a locking glass or plastic storage container or a gallon plastic bag and stored for 2 to 3 months.
- There is no need to reheat roasted garlic. Just add to the dish you are making. If you would like room-temperature garlic, leave it out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Approximate calories are for one full head of garlic.
- You can make more than one head of garlic at a time. Add a few heads to a foil packet. This may take longer to cook, so just check periodically.
- Spread onto crackers or toasts, mix into soups, bowls, or vegetables, or use as a flavor booster for your favorite protein.
- To avoid waste, take the top section you cut off and chop the remaining pieces of garlic to use in another meal.
- Ovens can vary in size and temperature. Check your garlic before the recommended cook time has elapsed to ensure it is not getting too dark.
- For best results, use a reliable oven thermometer to verify your oven temperature.