You're preparing dinner, and the recipe you're following calls for 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. You look at the head of garlic on your counter and wonder how many you should cut up. Alternatively, you have a jar of pre-minced garlic, and your recipe calls for one clove of minced garlic. While there might be some variations based on the size of the cloves of garlic, generally speaking, one clove will give you 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic.
How Many Cloves in a Head of Garlic?
The number of cloves in a head of garlic varies based on the type of garlic and the size of the head. Fine Cooking states that hardneck varieties of garlic typically have between six and eight cloves. The hardneck garlic cloves tend to be equal or nearly equal in size. A head of hardneck garlic might give you anywhere from three to four teaspoons of minced garlic.
Softneck varieties of garlic typically have more cloves per head, anywhere from 12 to 24. The size of the cloves can also vary considerably in a single head of softneck garlic, with some being much smaller than others. A head of softneck garlic might give you anywhere from six to 12 teaspoons of minced garlic.
Using Jarred Minced Garlic
If you don't have time to peel and mince garlic, you might be interested in swapping out fresh cloves for jarred, pre-minced garlic. Just as there is variety among garlic cloves, there is also variety among brands of minced garlic. Depending on the size of the mince, anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic can equal one clove of garlic.
The packaging might give you conversions to help you prepare recipes. For example, Brand A of minced garlic might tell you that 1/2 teaspoon of it equals a clove of garlic. The label of Brand B might tell you that 1 teaspoon of its garlic is the same as a clove of fresh garlic.
Minced vs. Crushed vs. Chopped Garlic
Depending on the recipe you're preparing, you might see minced garlic, chopped garlic, or crushed garlic included in the list of ingredients. Minced, chopped, and crushed refers to the size of the garlic pieces. Chopped garlic has the biggest pieces while crushed garlic is paste-like. While one clove of garlic will typically produce 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic, it will produce 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
How small you cut up a clove of garlic not only affects the volume of garlic you use in a recipe. It also affects the taste of the garlic. The smaller the pieces of garlic, the more pungent the flavor will be. Chopped garlic will usually have a milder flavor compared to minced or crushed garlic.
Substitutes for Minced Garlic
If a recipe calls for minced garlic, and you don't have any, you aren't out of luck. Some substitutes are available. For example, if you have garlic powder, you can use 1/8 teaspoon for every clove of garlic called for in a recipe.
Another option is to use granulated garlic in place of fresh cloves or jarred minced garlic. Use 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic for every clove needed. You can also substitute garlic flakes for fresh garlic. Use 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes instead of one clove fresh garlic.