You found a great new recipe, but it calls for one clove of garlic. You only have a jar of minced or chopped garlic.
Are you going to have to make a shopping trip just for one clove of garlic? You don’t have to worry. Just use ½ a teaspoon of the minced garlic.
How Much Minced Garlic is One Clove?
Unless otherwise specified, recipes that call for cloves of garlic refer to average-sized cloves of the Artichoke variety, the most common in supermarkets. The conversion rate of chopped or minced garlic to fresh cloves is a ½ teaspoon of minced garlic for every clove. If using garlic powder, use 1/8 to ¼ a teaspoon for every clove.
About Garlic Cloves
When you go to the store to get fresh garlic, you’ll see objects resembling bumpy white onions with a pointy top. Each of those bumps is a clove. They can be easily removed from the rest of the head.
There are many different varieties of garlic, but the types you’ll find the most in stores are variations of the Artichoke garlic called California Early (or Gilroy, the name of the town where it was developed) and Red Early.
When calling for a clove of garlic, recipes usually refer to cloves from these kinds of garlic, unless it specifically calls for another kind of garlic.
You’ll notice that cloves are different in size. You might even find a tiny clove right next to a huge, fat clove in the same head of garlic.
When recipes call for a clove of garlic, they usually mean cloves of average size. This is about 3/8 to ¾ of an inch in diameter.
When we do conversions of other kinds of garlic into cloves, it’s this average clove that is the basis of comparison.
Some recipes will specifically call for a large clove of garlic. In this case, try just ¾ of a teaspoon of minced garlic and taste.
If you can’t taste the garlic, add another quarter of a teaspoon and keep adding quarter teaspoons until you get the taste you want.
Substitutions for Fresh Garlic Cloves
Garlic comes in many different forms – chopped or minced in a jar, powdered, flaked, granulated, juiced, and garlic salt.
There is also wild garlic, a common and delicious plant that grows in the UK and in Europe. We’ll go more into depth on wild garlic later.
Although nothing tastes quite like fresh garlic cloves, they can be a pain to chop. People with arthritis or mobility issues will find chopping garlic cloves extremely difficult.
The other forms of garlic are much easier to use and last longer than fresh cloves.
Here are some basic conversion ratios for other forms of garlic to equal one average-sized clove:
- Garlic powder: 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon, depending on how much you like garlic
- Garlic flakes: ½ teaspoon
- Garlic granules: ¼ teaspoon
- Garlic salt: ½ teaspoon, but this type will also add 3/8 more salt to your dish
- Garlic juice: ½ teaspoon
- Minced or chopped garlic: ½ teaspoon.
Cooking with Minced Garlic
Garlic is a subjective taste. While some enjoy just a hint, still others like garlic to be the main flavor in any dish.
According to many chefs and cooks, minced garlic has a milder and more bitter taste than fresh. Try ½ a teaspoon of minced garlic and taste the dish. If you can’t taste the garlic, add another ½ teaspoon.
Minced garlic burns far more easily than cloves, even chopped-up cloves. If your recipe calls for garlic to be the first ingredient in a pan, do not choose that time to put in minced garlic. Add it towards the end of the recipe.
Although the liquid in minced garlic is a preservative, it does not preserve the minced garlic forever. Toss your minced garlic if:
- It smells really bad or much different than before.
- It’s grown mold.
- If the liquid or minced garlic has drastically changed color or consistency.
Some websites recommend tasting the minced garlic to see if it is off, but that could expose you to nasty bacteria that could get you sick.
If you do taste a dish with minced garlic and the dish tastes weird, the minced garlic or something else in the dish went off. It’s best to throw the dish out and order a pizza.
About Wild Garlic
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is a wonderfully hardy plant that grows so well in the UK and Europe that some consider it a weed. Cooks consider it a delicacy.
It tastes a bit like spinach and garlic combined. The US does have its own wild garlic species, Allium tricoccum, better known as ramps, which tastes like onions and garlic combined.
Although the bulbs (not cloves) are edible, they are illegal to dig up in the UK. The grass-green leaves and flowers are what UK cooks use.
Plants are topped with a white flower that resembles lily-of-the-valley. You can easily tell wild garlic from lily-of-the-valley by the strong garlic smell that the plant puts off.
Unfortunately, there is no standard conversion rate of wild garlic leaves to cloves. Leaves are milder in taste than a fresh garlic clove.
Leaves also shrink when cooked. Also, leaves don’t all taste alike. Some are tougher than others. Some are more garlicky than others.
The Independent notes that leaves at the beginning of the season will taste peppery.
This means you have to taste the leaves to see if the batch you have will work in your dish. How much you use depends on how much you like wild garlic.
Since the leaves cook much faster than cloves, put them in the dish later, taste, and add more if necessary. Wild garlic also works great when eaten raw in salads and sandwiches.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Much Minced Garlic is One Clove?
How Big is a Clove of Garlic?
Cloves can vary in size, even in the same head, from 3/8 of an inch to ¾ of an inch wide. They weigh anywhere from 0.14 oz (4 grams) to 1.59 oz (45 grams.) Gourmet varieties like Porcelain tend to produce larger cloves than the most common type of garlic found in stores, the Artichoke.
Is Sprouted Garlic Safe to Eat?
Over time, garlic bulbs will sprout green shoots. The bulb and the shoot are safe to eat, although shoots taste more bitter than bulbs. Keeping garlic unrefrigerated delays sprouting in garlic bulbs.
Does Minced Garlic Taste the Same as Fresh Garlic?
Some people cannot taste the difference, but many people can. Minced garlic tastes weaker and more bitter than fresh.
You can substitute ½ a teaspoon of minced garlic for every clove that a recipe calls for. Many people find minced garlic tastes milder than fresh, so taste your dish to see if you need to add more. Minced garlic cooks much faster than fresh cloves, so add it at the end of the dish’s cooking time.
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.