Three medium garlic cloves minced are equal to about one tablespoon. Four medium cloves of garlic measure out to about 1 1/3 tablespoons of minced garlic. A handy guide to remember is that one clove is around 1 tsp.
This answer depends on how big your garlic cloves are, which varies. To give you a guide, we used an average-sized clove. Adjust accordingly if your garlic cloves are bigger or smaller than average.
When recipes call for tablespoons of garlic, they mean fresh minced garlic unless it specifies otherwise. Minced garlic is when you peel and then chop your garlic cloves. Measure for your recipe after you mince the garlic cloves.
What is Garlic?
Garlic is a part of the lily family, which also includes onions and leeks. Garlic is used in almost every cuisine and is probably the most popular flavoring in the world. Garlic comes in heads that contain cloves.
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A clove of garlic can enhance and bring out other flavors in a dish. Garlic is an ingredient that people add according to taste. So too much or too little garlic won’t ruin a dish.
What is a Clove of Garlic?
A clove of garlic is one segment from a head of garlic. The head usually contains 7- 12 cloves covered by thin white skin. Average garlic cloves are about 1.25” in length and about .5″ an inch in width.
Some garlic cloves grow in an artichoke pattern, and now you can even buy huge single cloves. This article from All Recipes goes into great detail about exactly what a clove of garlic is.
Buying and Preparing Your Garlic
There are over 400 varieties of garlic. The most common type sold in shops is called culinary garlic. You may need to adjust the amount if your variety is extra strong or mild.
First, you need to choose your garlic. Check that the garlic bulb has no soft spots or mold. Here is a list of the most common varieties you will encounter:
- Marbled Purple Stripe
- Purple Stripe
- Kettle River
- Red Toch
- Middle Eastern
Some of these will be available at specialty shops or farmer’s markets. Just ask the staff about their flavor and strength. Don’t be afraid to experiment, as garlic is pretty inexpensive.
To get the right amount of tablespoons, start with a few cloves and estimate. For example, you may only need one clove to get a tablespoon of Elephant garlic. Depending on the variety and even on the crop, different types of garlic will have strengths, so experiment with amounts.
When adding garlic to a dish, you can always add more. However, once added, you can not take it away. Too much garlic can make a dish uneatable for some, so be careful.
How to Peel Garlic
Now you have your garlic, you need to remove the papery outer skin first. Next, separate the cloves you want to use. Then you need to peel away the tight skin that encases the individual cloves.
The easiest and safest way is to use water. Place the cloves into a bowl filled with icy water. After about 30 seconds, the skin will loosen and slip off easily.
Another way to peel garlic quickly is by crushing it. Place the broad side of a knife on top of the garlic cloves and hit the side of the blade with the heel of your hand. You will then be able to peel the skin quickly.
Peeling garlic can be a frustrating chore, and some varieties are easier to peel than others. The Guardian Newspaper has published a guide about peeling garlic and the best varieties.
How To Mince Garlic
1. Use a Knife to Mince Garlic
How large or small you mince your garlic is again a matter of taste. Mincing garlic brings the flavor out. The smaller the pieces, the more the flavor releases into your dish.
Mince the garlic cloves into larger chunks for rougher country-style food. For more delicate dishes, mince it more finely. Using a garlic press will give you the finest mince.
First, cut off the root side of each clove. Then, with a sharp knife, cut the cloves into vertical slices. Next, carefully turn the blade and slice horizontally through the garlic cloves. Now cut back and forth over the garlic cloves until they are minced.
If you mince more than you need, put it in oil inside an airtight container. Then, you can store it in the refrigerator until the next time you need garlic. Having larger quantities of garlic prepared ahead of time will speed up your cooking time.
2. Use a Press to Mince Garlic
One tool that can save you time is a garlic press. You can purchase a garlic press at the supermarket, a home goods store, or even online. Using a garlic press can also help avoid getting that invasive garlic smell on your fingers and cutting board.
Place your cloves in the container of the press. Next, press the two handles of the garlic press together. Finally, use the back of a butter knife or small spoon to scrape off any garlic that does not drop into your bowl.
Credits: Rens D
Replacements for Fresh Garlic
There may be times when you don’t have fresh garlic available. If this is the case, there are plenty of alternatives. You must adjust your measurements to make up for the differences in strength.
This is the closest to fresh garlic. However, garlic stored in oil loses some flavor. For this reason, most chefs double the amount a recipe calls for when using pre-minced garlic.
You can also buy garlic mixed with a preservative and sold in a tube. This is a little stronger than garlic stored in oil and so use 1/3 more than you would fresh garlic. This type of garlic can be found at most grocery stores.
If a recipe calls for 3 or 4 cloves, use 2 to 2 and 2/3 tablespoons of pre-minced garlic in oil. If you are using pre-minced from a tube, use 1 and 1/3 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons, equal to 3 or 4 fresh garlic cloves.
Dried Garlic Options
Almost every kitchen has various dried garlic options, and their flavor and strength vary with type and brand. But, of course, it also matters how long it has been sitting in the pantry! Here is a list of the more common types.
- Garlic flakes: This is dehydrated (or dried) minced garlic in flake form, and 1/2 tsp equals one clove. To equal 3 to 4 cloves, use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons.
- Garlic salt: This is dried minced garlic mixed with salt, so decrease the salt in your recipe if you use this. 1/2 tsp is equal to one clove of garlic. To equal 3 to 4 cloves, use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons.
- Granulated garlic: This dried minced garlic is potent; you only need 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic to equal one fresh garlic clove. To equal 3 to 4 cloves of garlic with granulated garlic, use 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of the granulated garlic.
- Garlic powder: This is the strongest and is dried and ground minced garlic. You only need 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder to replace each clove. For example, to replace 3-4 fresh garlic cloves with garlic powder, use 3/8 to half a teaspoon of garlic powder.
Garlic flakes are the closest to fresh garlic and are the best choice if you are out of fresh garlic. Garlic powder is the worst replacement as it can be harsh. However, it is better than no garlic and will do in a pinch!
When using dried alternatives, add them later in the recipe than you would fresh garlic. Fresh garlic needs more time for the flavor to blossom. Adding dried garlic at the beginning can cause the garlic to have a bitter taste.
If you left your fresh garlic too long and it has sprouted green shoots, don’t despair! It might have a more bitter flavor, but it is safe to use. You can remove the green shoots and mince up the cloves or chop up the green shoots.
Garlic keeps for months in a cool, dry place, but it will start sprouting after only a few weeks if you put it in the refrigerator. To extend your garlic’s shelf life, keep it in the cupboard!
Wild garlic, also known as ramps, grows abundantly worldwide, even in cities. The whole plant is safely edible in both raw and cooked forms. Many top chefs use wild garlic for its subtle flavor, and it saves money too!
Credits: Alexander Lyubavin
Wild garlic blooms in early spring but can be harvested throughout the summer. It has a milder flavor than most store-bought garlic, so be generous with your measurements. Be sure to harvest ethically and safely.
How many tablespoons are in a clove of garlic?
Generally, there are about ten tablespoons of garlic in a head of garlic. It depends on how many cloves the garlic head holds and the size of the cloves.
How many teaspoons are 3 or 4 cloves of garlic?
There are five teaspoons in 3 cloves and six teaspoons in 4 cloves.
Can I use any fresh garlic in a recipe?
Yes, you can. Just be aware that you may have to adjust the amount. Different types of garlic have different flavor profiles.
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