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How to Soften Garlic Powder – Best Ways to Do It

Garlic powder is a well-loved ingredient used by chefs and amateur cooks everywhere. It’s easy to use and convenient, but when it becomes lumpy or hard, all that convenience goes out the door.

If you’re looking for ways to get your garlic powder back to its former glory, I’ve got you covered. I’ll teach you how to soften garlic powder in a jiffy so you can get back to using it as you please!

How to Soften Garlic Powder

You can soften hardened garlic powder in a number of ways, from using a blender or food processor to heating it up inside a jar using hot water. You can also use uncooked rice by shaking the powder and the rice in a plastic bag.

How to Soften Garlic Powder
How to Soften Garlic Powder

Softening Garlic Powder

There are multiple avenues to take if you’ve noticed that your beloved garlic powder has clumped or become too hard to use. I’ll share them all with you, don’t worry!

Food Processor/Blender

Using either a blender or food processor is one of the first things I’d suggest. Simply put the lumpy garlic powder into either of these kitchen appliances and let them do the hard work for you.

You likely won’t have to run the machines too long, the powder will return to its former state quickly.

If there are some stubborn chunky parts, however, use a wooden spoon or your fingers to break them into smaller chunks that can be dealt with by the food processor or blender.

A blender of food processor is a quick, easy way to break up clumpy garlic powder.
A blender or food processor is a quick, easy way to break up clumpy garlic powder.

Hot Water

Another good option to consider is hot water. Transfer your garlic powder into a jar that can be closed tightly and won’t burst when exposed to heat. Put the jar in your kitchen basin and run the hot water to heat it up.

If you don’t have a jar, a plastic container will work too. Loosen the garlic powder with a wooden spoon as much as you can before putting it into the container or jar.

Uncooked Rice

The roughness of the rice will help break up your hardened garlic powder in no time. Place the powder into a jar or container and add a teaspoon of uncooked rice. Now, shake the container vigorously. This should have your powder in good enough condition to use again.

The roughness of the rice will help break up hardened garlic powder.
The roughness of the rice will help break up hardened garlic powder.

Meat Tenderizer

This may be a last resort, but you can also use a meat tenderizer to smack the powder back into its proper state. This might also serve as a bit of a de-stresser if you’re having a bad day!

Place the powder in a plastic bag, make sure there are no air bubbles, and start hitting it with the tenderizer.

Why Your Garlic Powder Goes Hard

You now know just how to deal with garlic powder that has become hard and unusable. But why did that happen in the first place?

There are several reasons for this annoying occurrence, actually.


Although we won’t all admit to it, we tend to keep spices a lot longer than we should, and it happens with garlic powder too. When a spice has reached its use-by date, it will start acting in ways we don’t like.

On average, spices like garlic powder should only be kept for two or three years at most, and only when stored properly.


Moisture is more often than not the reason why garlic powder clumps up and becomes hard. The moisture is absorbed and leads to a mess that you don’t want when cooking.

Exposure to air, moisture and humidity causes garlic powder to clump.
Exposure to air, moisture and humidity causes garlic powder to clump.

Unsealed Container

Garlic powder stored in an unsealed jar or container will definitely form clumps and harden as it’s exposed to the elements in your kitchen. This is especially true if the area you live in is quite humid.

Keep Garlic Powder From Getting Hard

Prevention is always better than treatment, so it’s best to protect your garlic powder against situations that will make it clumpy and hard.

Airtight Jar Or Container

As obvious as this prevention method may sound, it’s surprising how many times folks like me neglect to store their garlic powder in airtight containers. Always make sure that whatever you use to store your powder can be sealed properly.

It’s a good idea to keep your old spice jars and reuse them because they were made to keep spices sealed inside tightly.

Store In A Cool and Dry Area

It’s a bad idea to store spices like garlic powder anywhere near warm and humid areas. So avoid storing your powder close to your stove and other heat sources. If you’re using a spice rack, don’t place it in sunlight.

For the best outcome, store your garlic powder in a cupboard that is dark and dry so you won’t accidentally mess up.

Storing spices in airtight jars in a cool, dry place will help prolong its shelf life and prevent unwanted texture changes.
Storing spices in airtight jars in a cool, dry place will help prolong its shelf life and prevent unwanted texture changes.

Add Rice

This is a really good tip because rice has hygroscopic properties, which means it’s great at absorbing moisture from the air. If you add a few grains of rice (nothing more than a teaspoon at most) to your powder, it will absorb any moisture that could interfere with its quality.

Don’t Buy In Bulk

Garlic powder isn’t meant to last forever – three years (sometimes five years) at most. But since you don’t use heaps of it at a time, you should avoid buying huge amounts because you’ll end up wasting a lot of it because it has aged and became unusable.

Easily Soften Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is amazing and can take an ordinary dish and turn it into something absolutely delicious. Although the powder can clump and become hard, you don’t have to worry, there is more than one solution to this problem.

Follow the advice I shared here and you’ll no longer have to throw away your hardened garlic powder, or any spice, for that matter!

Frequently Asked Questions to How to Soften Garlic Powder

How Do You Rehydrate Garlic Powder?

Rehydrating garlic powder usually isn’t a problem because it naturally happens as the dishes you prepare are cooked. However, you can mix your powder with equal parts of water and let it stand for roughly ten minutes before you use it.

How Do You Soften Garlic and Onion Powder?

To soften your garlic or onion powder, place it in your blender or food processor to be worked, or add a teaspoon of uncooked rice to the container and shake it very well.

Can You Rehydrate Garlic Powder?

Yes, you can rehydrate garlic powder, and it’s actually recommended. Rehydrating garlic powder with water helps to bring out its full flavor and enhance your cooking.

Author Bio

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.