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Fresh Garlic – The Best Substitutes

alternatives for fresh garlic

Fresh garlic is one of those ingredients that you can’t really go wrong with. It will completely save any dull dish.

Fresh garlic can be roasted, fried or added to sauces and even eaten raw, so your replacement will need to be suitable for the cooking method. Choose from garlic paste, powder, flakes, oils and more or go allium free with cumin, asofoetida or ginger.

Let’s look at each option in more detail and see which is the best fit.

Best Replacements For Fresh Garlic

Even when you grow your own it is sometimes possible to run out of fresh garlic at home. Here are some of our best replacements in a recipe.

There is some variation with when you would use each of these replacements for fresh garlic and really it is down to the recipe. Here are our favorite alternative to fresh garlic that are still derived from the allium. Including, flakes, frozen, powder, oil and even juice.

There are other non garlic alternatives to think about as well!

1. Garlic Paste Vs Fresh Garlic

This would be our top alternative to fresh.

If you are looking to replace a fresh garlic clove with garlic paste, then you can use around one teaspoon of the paste. This is a great replacement as it will keep well in the refrigerator and is easy to add to fried onions for the full rich flavor of fresh garlic.

I would go as far as to say that garlic paste is also super convenient and wont leave your hands smelling of fresh garlic for the rest of the day. Garlic paste also has the same health benefits of fresh cloves.

2. Garlic Oil Vs Fresh Garlic

We like to make the most of flavored cooking oils and garlic oil is a great option.

Use garlic oil in dressings over salads or even as you toss freshly steamed vegetables. If you are using garlic oil in cooking, remember the heating process will dull the flavor somewhat. Go for around 1 tablespoon of garlic oil to replace 1 clove of fresh garlic.

Traditional uses for garlic oil include using in ear infection to reduce the swelling and for antibacterial properties.

3. Garlic Powder Vs Fresh Garlic

Garlic powder will retain it’s potency for around 18 months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark cupboard.

Garlic powder needs to be used in moderation when compared to fresh garlic. Go for around 1/2 teaspoon of powder for every 4 cloves of garlic. This can be used in oil and heated to really bring out the alium taste.

Garlic powder is really just dehydrated fresh garlic, so it is meant to be used in smaller quantities as the moisture that has been removed does not contain the flavor.

4. Frozen Garlic Vs Fresh Garlic

You can freeze your own garlic and this is a great option for those of us who grow our own. You can buy ready frozen garlic from larger supermarkets and they work out relatively expensive, but easy to convert as one frozen clove is the same as one fresh clove.

How To Freeze Your Own Garlic

Make up ice cube trays with olive oil and one clove of garlic in each.

Peel the garlic first and place into the ice cube tray. Then pour olive oil until it is about a third of the way full. Freeze for a few hours and then top up and freeze overnight. Pop the cubes out and place into a zip lock bag. Keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.

The cloves don’t tend to float too much in the oil but by freezing just a third first, it then holds the cloves in place to make sure no freezer burn occurs. You will need ice cube trays with a lid to minimize the risk of freezer burn. We use these ones available here as they are made form silicon and are also very flexible when it comes to popping the garlic out again.

5. Minced Garlic Vs Fresh Garlic

Minced garlic is a useful replacement for fresh as it can be used raw or cooked. Look out for ones that have added vinegar as this is not to everyone’s taste. I don’t mind it and find the cooking process will kill off the acidic flavors. Use 1/2 teaspoon of minced to a medium sized fresh garlic clove.

Once opened the jar will need storing in a refrigerator and will keep for around 3 months, check the individual item that you buy to be sure.

6. Garlic Flakes Vs Fresh Garlic

Garlic flakes are just dehydrated fresh garlic, that has not yet made it to the grinder. Use around 1/2 teaspoon of garlic flakes to replace one clove of fresh garlic. They hold their flavor when heated well and can be stored for longer than fresh.

Store garlic flakes in an airtight container in a cool and dark cupboard.

7. Garlic Juice Vs Fresh Garlic

Garlic juice may well be the ultimate in vampire weaponry as it is taken from pureed garlic and distilled even further. Use it sparingly when replacing fresh garlic and use 1/4 teaspoon garlic juice for one fresh clove.

You may have come across garlic juice in very high end cocktail bars, used in Bloody Mary’s for a bit of an extra kick.

8. Garlic Salt Vs Fresh Garlic

I am a bit of a fan of garlic salt in general and will use this alongside fresh garlic to really draw out the flavors. Perfect for dry rubs and added to herb mixes. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic salt for 2 cloves of fresh garlic and reduce the salt in the recipe by 1 teaspoon as a result.

9. Pickled Garlic Vs Fresh Garlic

This is a bit of a last ditch attempt as pickled garlic is a tasty treat in it’s own right, but not one with an overpowering garlic taste. Use as a like for like replacement and then remember to cook it off a little before adding other ingredients.

Using fresh garlic is always preferable in recipes due to it’s health benefits and unmistakable flavor. But sometimes we may find our dinner guests have allergies that mean using garlic is not possible.

fresh garlic replacements

What Tastes Like Garlic But Isn’t Garlic

Not everyone can eat garlic and those who suffer from an allergic reaction can have symptoms ranging from a skin rash to an asthma attack. Because of this it can be useful to know what other herbs and spices taste like garlic, but aren’t!

1. Asafoetida Vs Fresh Garlic

If you haven’t heard of asofoetida before, no worries it was a new one to me at first. From India and offering a lovely pungency.

Asofoetida is a nice replacement for fresh garlic as when gently heated it smells very much like a cross between onions and garlic. It has warmth and sweetness that is needed to replace garlic, but without the fructans that can cause irritation. Use sparingly. One sprinkle then taste!

Sometimes called hing or fung you can buy Asafoetida (Hing) here and should really be very gentle with how much you add to each dish!

2. Garlic Chives Vs Fresh Garlic

Be careful here as the reason the flavor is so similar in garlic chives and fresh garlic is the naughty little fructans, that are also found in leeks and onions. Known for their link to irritable bowel syndrome. This means they are not the perfect replacement for garlic, if you are sensitive.

3. Cumin Vs Fresh Garlic

Cumin is a great aromatic to add to any dish and can be added when you are frying off your onions. This will give you a lovely warm and slightly spicy aroma and a nice mature flavor in the dish. Not perfect as a substitute for garlic, but great if you want to stop a dish being bland by it’s omission.

4. Szechuan Peppercorns Vs Fresh Garlic

Szechuan peppercorns are spicier than white or black and offer a slightly more bitter flavor with a sweet level, meaning they are a great replacement for garlic if you want to perk a meal up.

5. Horseradish Vs Fresh Garlic

Horseradish can be fiery when compared to garlic, but it does offer you a good little kick to bring a bland dish into a new light. Use fresh grated on top of a dish as a small garnish or use powered in soups and stews.

6. Ginger Vs Fresh Garlic

Ginger can be a fiery and healthy alternative to garlic. Ideal for those who want to avoid a bland dish, but not really in the same flavor profile as garlic.

7. Galangal Vs Fresh Garlic

Galangal is another spice that will pick a dish up but it not really comparable to garlic. There are notes of pine, citrus and a sharp pungency that mean a few pieces of root grated over the top of a dish can completely transform it.

8. Celeriac Vs Fresh Garlic

Celeriac is a nice vegetable to add a bit of a different flavor to a dish, certainly not a direct replacement or alternative to garlic. More just a suitable ingredient to save a dish from being a bit monotonous.

In Conclusion

If you have run out of fresh garlic, then using a mix of garlic salt, puree, minced, frozen, powder or even pickled can be useful. If you are looking to replace the ill-effect of garlic in a dish, low FODMAP for example then you can choose from a range of spices and herbs like cumin, peppercorns or asofoetida.

In reality we know there is no real substitute for garlic, but if you have an intolerance it is good to have some tasty options available. I will even admit that some people just don’t like the flavor. I’m not one of them, but if you have guests or know anyone who doesn’t it can be useful to have some alternatives.

What Next & Further Reading

If you are interested in growing your own, or even in other substitutes have a look at some of our articles below.

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