Mildly sweet and earthy, roasted garlic is a spectacular ingredient to add to so many savory dishes, making them extra delicious. Below, I give you my personal tips on how to roast garlic so that you can have it on hand to add to your favorite soups, sauces, and dips, kicking up the flavor of your favorite recipes a notch!
Roasted Garlic, a Delicious Addition to Most Any Savory Dish
If I had to pick a single ingredient that I could not do without when it comes to recipe preparations, the choice would be an easy one for me: garlic.
Garlic is simply one of those wonderfully (and deliciously) pungent ingredients that helps to create a fragrant, umami-filled “base” to just about every savory recipe; and without it, a dish just seems to taste flat, as if something is missing.
While fresh garlic cloves add a sharp and almost spicy note to a recipe (think warm toast rubbed with a fresh clove of garlic and topped with olive oil), and minced cloves added to a mirepoix of aromatic vegetables sautéing in a hot pot offer warmth, roasted garlic offers something altogether different, a sweet and mild earthiness.
For me, adding roasted garlic into a dip, a marinara sauce, a dressing, a savory, warming soup, or perhaps even softened butter or whipped cream cheese, is a culinary treat. It seems to make things taste just a little extra special!
And because it's so easy to prepare, I thought I'd share my simple method for roasting garlic with you so you can keep a small batch of it on hand to add to your favorite recipes as well!
How to Roast Garlic, in Several Easy Steps
In order to create that soft, mellow, sweet flavor from a head of garlic, you'll only need a few ingredients, some foil, a nice hot oven to roast the heads in, and about 45 minutes.
And when it comes to roasting garlic, the more caramel color and gentle browning you can create, the better. This is where the sweetness comes from—the sugars within the garlic caramelize and create flavor.
Here's a glance at how I roast garlic: (or just jump to the recipe...)
- To begin, preheat your oven to 400°, and have a small baking tray on hand.
- Place a whole head of garlic on a cutting board in front of you, on its side; cut the top off of the garlic (the upper pointed portion), just enough to expose the cloves, and repeat with the other garlic heads.
- Next, place each cut head on a medium-size square of foil, drizzle over each with about 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper; then, wrap each head tightly in the foil, and place onto the baking tray.
- Roast the foil-wrapped garlic heads for about 45 to 50 minutes, until very aromatic, soft and caramel-brown, and allow them to cool just enough so they can be handled.
- Unwrap each head, and squeeze the cloves from their papers by pressing the head from the bottom upward, fully releasing the roasted garlic from the skin.
- To finish, either leave the cloves whole, or mash with a fork or knife to create a roasted garlic paste, and keep in a small ramekin or dish, covered, for 10 to 14 days. Add to soups, dips, pasta sauces, dressings, or to softened butter, to jazz them all up!
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves or paste
Nutrition Info: 32 calories (per tablespoon)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
- 6 whole heads garlic
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°, and prepare a small baking sheet or baking tray.
- Cut 6 medium-size squares of foil, and set them aside for a moment.
- Place one of the heads of garlic, on its side, on a cutting board in front of you; using a sharp knife, cut the top, pointy portion off of the head of garlic, partly exposing the cloves; repeat with the other heads of garlic.
- Next, place each head of garlic onto a square of the prepared foil, cut-side up, and drizzle each with about 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and sprinkle over a generous pinch or two of sea salt and black pepper; wrap each head tightly in the foil, twisting the end a little to create a point for easier lifting, and place onto the baking tray.
- Roast the garlic for 45 to 50 minutes, until it is a golden-brown, caramel color, and very soft; allow the heads to cool, still wrapped in foil, just until they can be handled.
- Once cooled slightly, unwrap the head of garlic from the foil, and squeeze from the bottom upward, to release the roasted cloves from their papers, completely.
- Keep the cloves whole, if desired, or using a fork or knife, mash them into a fine paste; then, place into a small dish or ramekin, cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge for up to 10-14 days, adding a little amount to your favorite savory recipes as desired.
Tips & Tidbits for How to Roast Garlic:
- Fresh, large heads of garlic: When it comes to roasting garlic, opt for larger whole heads that are tightly packed and fresh. Avoid heads of garlic that feel too light, or have brown spots, or are coming apart.
- Sharp knife for easy cutting: While it's not too difficult to cut the tops off the heads of garlic, it definitely helps to have a sharp knife to make things easier and smoother. Just hold the head on its side firmly, and cut just enough off the top to expose the cloves. (You can even use a sharp serrated knife for this.)
- Olive oil, sea salt and pepper, for flavor: To help soften and flavor the heads of garlic as they roast, I always like to drizzle some olive oil over the cut heads, and sprinkle them with a good pinch of sea salt and pepper. This way, the roasted garlic is extra savory and tender.
- Nice, hot oven: Be sure to crank the oven temperature up to 400°, so that the garlic has a chance to caramelize in the foil a bit, rather than only steam.
- How to use roasted garlic: A few of my favorite ways to use roasted garlic are to mash it up and add to my base of veggie ingredients in soup, or mash it and add it to a cream cheese spread, or spicy marinara sauce, or even a hot and cheesy dip. (You can find some scrumptious recipes of mine below that incorporate roasted garlic!)
- Freeze roasted garlic: You can easily freeze the completely cooled roasted garlic cloves or mashed paste by putting it into a ziplock bag, squeezing any excess air out, and placing into the freezer. When ready to use, allow it to thaw in the fridge for a day or two, then use as you like.
Looking for some delicious recipes using roasted garlic? Check out this Roasted Garlic Schmear, this Artichoke Dip, this Roasted Garlic Hummus, this Roasted Garlic Turkey Breast, this Chicken with Garlic Sauce, Parmesan Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce with Fettuccine, or these Garlic Mashed Potatoes!