How to make roasted garlic
Have you ever wondered how to make roasted garlic? It’s a seriously easy way to add incredible flavour to all sorts of dishes!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, pretty much every vegetable is improved by roasting*. Some roasted veggies can form the bulk of your meal, whereas others, like roasted garlic, are just great at adding an incredible flavour to your food.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make roasted garlic, this is the post for you! We welcome you aboard the roasted garlic train – it’s smelly but delicious here. And at the very least, you won’t have any trouble with vampires for a good 24 hours after eating.
* I was going to say this doesn’t apply to cucumbers, but then I Googled it and it turns out roasted cucumbers is actually a thing! Who knew…?!
What’s the difference between a garlic clove and a garlic bulb / head?
First, I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page when I’m talking about garlic cloves / garlic bulbs.
A clove of garlic is just one of the small pieces that you pull out of the bulb. In a recipe, you’d usually aim for 1-2 of these cloves per portion, depending on their size (and how much you like garlic!).
A bulb (or head) of garlic is the whole thing, made up of around 6-10 individual cloves.
Here’s a beautiful little graphic I made, just in case I’m not being clear:
How to make roasted garlic
Ideally, you want to make roasted garlic in bulk. It seems a little pointless to just roast one or two cloves at a time – I promise, you’ll eat your way through this stuff in no time, so don’t be afraid to make a lot!
It takes about the same amount of effort to roast one head of garlic as to roast 3 or 4 (or more!), so you may as well do that. This time, I roasted 3 full heads.
Step 1: Remove the papery skins
To begin, remove most of the papery skin from the outside of your head of garlic. It doesn’t matter if some bits remain (it won’t burn or anything), but later on it will be easier to remove the roasted garlic from the skin if there aren’t too many extra papery bits flapping around.
Step 2: Cut the top off the garlic
Next, use a sharp knife to cut the top off the head of garlic. The stalk in the middle can be a little tough to get through – sometimes a bit of a sawing motion can help!
Obviously you don’t want to lose too much of the garlic flesh, but you do want each clove to be cut open so that you can remove the beautiful roasted garlic from them later.
Step 3: Drizzle with oil
Place the cut heads of garlic in a foil-lined dish. If your garlic is awkwardly shaped, and you’re having trouble getting it to stand upright, try using a muffin tray instead! The little cups will help the garlic to sit up straight.
Drizzle each head of garlic generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I’m not entirely convinced the salt and pepper makes much of a difference, since it’s only sitting on a tiiiny proportion of the bit of garlic you’ll actually end up eating… but it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something.
If you have some fresh thyme to hand (or any other woody herb, like rosemary, oregano or sage), you can also stick a few sprigs under the garlic. As everything roasts, the herbs will infuse the garlic to make it extra tasty. But don’t worry if you don’t have any herbs! Roasted garlic is still incredible on its own.
Step 4: Wrap it up
Wrap up the garlic in foil, creating a little parcel. The foil doesn’t need to be tight around the garlic, but you want it to be pretty well sealed. Any steam that’s produced, as well as the beautiful aroma from the thyme, will stay in the packet to keep your roasted garlic moist and flavourful.
Step 5: Roast!
There’s no hard and fast rule for how long you need to roast your garlic for. Anything from about 30 minutes onwards will be tasty – I find that with my oven, about 45-50 minutes is ideal. Check your garlic every ten minutes or so from the 30 minute mark onwards, until you’re happy.
The longer you roast your garlic for, the softer it will get, and the sweeter and more intense the flavour will become.
Step 6: Squeeze out the roasted garlic
When it’s cool enough to handle, you can squeeze out the soft roasted garlic from inside each clove. Depending on how long you roasted it for, sometimes it will pop out of its skin in one whole piece, and other times it squeezes out in a ready-made garlic puree (it gets softer the longer it cooks).
You can also use a small fork or spoon to scoop out the garlic if that’s easier!
It’s up to you how you serve your roasted garlic – depending on what you’re planning to use it for, you can either leave the cloves whole (if they came out that way), or mash all of the roasted garlic up together to make a paste.
What can I use roasted garlic for?
Roasted garlic obviously isn’t a meal on its own (although…), but instead it’s a versatile ingredient that can be used to add an amazing flavour to all sorts of other dishes.
Here are some ways to use roasted garlic:
- spread it directly onto toasted bread or slices of crusty baguette
- mix it into mashed potatoes, with plenty of butter
- serve whole cloves of roasted garlic on a platter with olives, cheese, crackers, etc.
- spread it over a jacket potato instead of (or as well as!) butter
- mix it through pasta with butter and a little grated cheese
- puree the roasted garlic to use in dressings and marinades
- blitz it into hummus and dips
- mix it with mayonnaise for perfect garlic mayo
- stir it into scrambled eggs
- make your own garlic butter for garlic bread!
- or just use it instead of regular garlic in any of your favourite recipes
How long can I store roasted garlic for?
If you don’t use all of your roasted garlic straight away, you can store it in the fridge to use later.
There are a few options:
- Store the roasted garlic in its skin in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 3 days.
- Store the cloves (already removed from the skin) in a little pot in the fridge, fully submerged in oil, for up to a week.
- Freeze individual cloves of roasted garlic in ice cube trays, covered in oil.
Just remember to always use your common sense, and if it looks like your roasted garlic has gone bad (if it’s become more brown or mushy, or smells funny), then don’t eat it.
You can find more details about the different methods for storing roasted garlic here.
Have you ever tried making roasted garlic?
How to make roasted garlic
To make 1 head of roasted garlic (double or triple as required):
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Black pepper
- Small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano or sage (optional)
- Peel most of the papery skin from the head of garlic, and cut off the top, exposing the garlic inside each clove. Place inside a foil-lined dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you have some woody herbs to hand (e.g. thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage), adding a few sprigs underneath the garlic can add extra flavour.
- Fold the foil up around the garlic, and scrunch or fold it tightly to seal.
- Roast at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the garlic every 10 minutes or so, and take it out when it’s cooked to your liking. I find about 45 minutes is perfect.
- When the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze each clove out of its skin. You can serve the cloves whole, or mash them thoroughly to make a roasted garlic paste.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/2 head of roasted garlic.