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Behind the Seasoning: Garlic - Uses, Benefits & Conversions

Garlic Powder, Granulated Garlic, Onion & Garlic, Minced Garlic
Sweet, spicy, bitter, aromatic, and warming. These are just a few of the adjectives that describe the flavor of garlic - depending on how it’s prepared.

Freshly minced, garlic has a pungent heat that can be used to give a dip or dressing the kick it was missing. A just-roasted bulb of garlic, sweet and warm, provides the perfect accompaniment to a buttery wedge of Brie. Mostly though, garlic is used as a layering flavor to build depth in a variety of dishes from stews to marinades to curries. Like salt or acid, it’s easy to notice a bland taste when something is “missing” from a dish and, often, that something is garlic. Read on to find out all the ins and outs of garlic, including the history, flavor profiles, versatility, health benefits, and much more. 

What is Garlic?

Garlic is one of the most beloved cooking ingredients of all time. In fact, it is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. If you regularly cook at home, having dehydrated garlic around is essential. Using dehydrated garlic saves time by eliminating peeling and saves your hands from smelling. 

The savory spice, which originated in Asia, grows underground just like its cousin, the onion. The garlic bulbs start on a journey underground, slowly growing into several cloves that are covered in a thin, papery white skin. A typical garlic bulb can have anywhere from ten to twenty cloves. Since garlic grows in the ground, you never know how many you are going to get until it is time to pull it out! 

Raw garlic tends to have a deep, pungent flavor, while dried garlic spice is more subtle due to its concentrated nature. Common varieties of garlic seasoning that you can find in a spice cabinet include garlic powder, granulated garlic, minced garlicroasted garlic, and garlic salt. The dried spices may seem similar in preparation but are vastly different when it comes to flavor and uses. 

Garlic Powder

If you are cooking something savory, chances are there is garlic powder in the recipe. The dehydrated powder packs a bold flavor, seamlessly pairing with most herbs and spices. The staple spice is essential in cooking proteins, sauces, and stews. We love to use it when making Tangy White BBQ Sauce and Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Stir-Fry

Is garlic powder real garlic?

Garlic powder can sometimes get a bad reputation. Many people think using it is cheating in the kitchen, but it is actually quite the opposite. Garlic powder is just as good as the real thing. The dehydrated powder stays fresh longer, and the garlic is just as pungent when it comes to cooking. It also makes a great base for creating your own blends and seasonings.

Granulated Garlic

This is a great building block for creating balanced flavors. This quality makes granulated garlic a great substitute for salt, especially if you’re watching your sodium intake. Granulated garlic has a similar texture to cornmeal. The dehydrated powder is more coarse than garlic powder and works great when mixing into dressings, sauces, and even soups. Chacarero Chilean Steak Sandwich, Egg Yolks Cured 3 Ways, and Peruvian Chile Lime White Bean Hummus are excellent ways to highlight this garlic spice. 

Minced Garlic

Minced garlic is garlic that has been finely chopped and then dehydrated. Perfect for slow-cooked dishes, like roasts or stews, dehydrated minced garlic can be used as-is in marinades, soups, and other applications with longer cooking times where the pieces will soften and mellow. Alternatively, you can rehydrate it by soaking in warm water for about 15 minutes. Once it's rehydrated, you can use it 1 for 1 in place of fresh garlic. The Minced Garlic will rehydrate in Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup and the marinade for Grilled Thai Beef Salad. 

Roasted Granulated Garlic

Roasted garlic provides a rich flavor to whatever you are cooking. The roasting process adds an incomparable depth of sweet toasted flavor to granulated garlic. When the garlic is roasted, it slowly develops a deep and slightly sweet profile. The dehydrated roasted garlic powder is great to add to sauces or rubs for proteins. Try adding it to a homemade vinaigrette or tomato sauce for pizza and pasta. Use it out in our favorites like Classic Creamy Coleslaw, Shredded Barbecue Chicken, and Fire Roasted Salsa. You can also use it as a substitute for salt if you’re on a low-sodium diet.

Garlic Salt

Garlic salt is exactly what it sounds like — a blend of salt and garlic. The combination of pungent granulated garlic and sweet roasted garlic is the secret ingredient that creates the perfect garlic flavor in this salt blend. Layering these two different garlics makes a noticeable difference and it’s why people get hooked on our Garlic Salt. The pairing creates a bold punch and mellow sweetness on the tongue. Shepherd’s Pie with Carrot Mash, Bucksnort Beef Jerky, and Spiced Skillet Potatoes are great ways to enjoy garlic salt.  

Buy Garlic with spill of different types of garlic

What Does Garlic Taste Like?

Garlic can make your tastebuds dance - in the best way possible. How the garlic is prepared can impact the taste. Raw garlic is sharp on the tongue, dehydrated garlic brings out a subtle and balanced flavor, while roasted garlic can sometimes be slightly sweet. The different preparations transform the simple spice so it can be bitter, sharp, sweet, or mild. You can also use them in combination to maximize the flavor.

Black garlic is entirely different! Think of garlic and black garlic as siblings. They come from the same place but are definitely not the same. Black Garlic has been aged or fermented and is black in color. The texture also changes. It has a mild garlic flavor with a fig-like or balsamic sweetness and slightly tangy notes with a subtle garlicky undertone. You can’t use it as a substitute for fresh garlic or for garlic powder but it does make a great addition to dips, sauces, and more.

What is the Difference Between Garlic Salt, Garlic Powder, and Granulated Garlic?

So what is the big difference between garlic salt, garlic powder, and granulated garlic? All three have overlapping qualities but distinct flavor profiles. Garlic salt is rather salty (hence the name), while garlic powder is just plain old garlic. Granulated garlic, on the other hand, is a coarse version of garlic powder, perfect for combining with liquids. Each spice combination has stand-out qualities that make them special. Garlic salt has an excellent finishing quality for many dishes, garlic powder is great for everyday use, and granulated garlic is great for putting in sauces and stocks. You can use granulated garlic and garlic powder interchangeably but might notice a slight difference.

Spoons with Garlic Powder, Granulated Garlic, and Minced Garlic

What Other Spices, Seasonings, and Flavors Pair Well with Garlic?

The real question here is what does garlic not pair well with? Garlic seasoning is a staple spice that is present in almost every cuisine around the world. You'll find garlic in Beef Paprikash (Hungarian Goulash)Ethiopian Doro WatKorean Beef & Broccoli BowlGreek Style ShakshukaRed Pad ThaiJerusalem Tomato SaladCarne Asada Tacos, Slow Cooked Caribbean Spiced RibsKentucky Burgoo, Bacon & Carrot Collard Greens, and more. It pairs well with most herbs and spices.

Garlic and onions are a classic pair and are the base for many recipes.  In fact, we created Onion & Garlic Tableside Sprinkle to make it even easier to use. Garlic is also a stand-out spice in many seasonings, including our Brooklyn Everything Bagel BlendItalian Dressing Ready Mix, Chili Powders, and Hudson Bay Beef Spice (which is our version of a Montreal Steak Seasoning)

Are There Health Benefits of Garlic?

Eating garlic can be beneficial to your health. The spice, which is high in nutrients, is reported to help protect against the common cold, reduce blood pressure, and even reduce the risk of heart disease. This beneficial spice is very simple to add to your everyday diet. 

Garlic Seasoning Nutrition - Benefits of Garlic Powder, Garlic Salt, and Granulated Garlic

The health benefits of garlic do not change when they are dehydrated into a powder. The garlic spices like garlic salt, granulated garlic, and garlic powder can have all of the benefits of raw garlic. The spice is less potent when dehydrated, but the nutrients are still present. 

Is Garlic Powder Good for You?

Incorporating garlic powder into your diet is an excellent idea. Even though the benefits are not as strong as fresh garlic, they are still present. Because the garlic spice is dehydrated, some initial benefits are decreased, but overall the health benefits are still present. 

Garlic Powder Benefits

Garlic powder can aid in regulating high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and boost the immune system. It is also a great resource to help aid in digestion. The simple spice is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin B, calcium, and iron.

Picture of black garlic bulb

What is Garlic Used For?

Garlic has a place in almost all savory recipes. It is traditionally used to enhance flavors in dishes such as soups, sauces, and to season proteins and vegetables. The versatile spice has endless uses. 

How to Use Garlic - Cooking Tips & More

Using garlic is actually pretty simple. The tricky part is understanding how to prepare garlic for its best use. Whole garlic cloves can be added to stocks and soups or roasted, grated and minced garlic is perfect for marinades and for use in sauces and stews, and crushed garlic is a great companion when roasting vegetables and meats.

Garlic Powder to Clove Conversions

How much garlic powder equals a clove?

The garlic powder to clove ratio isn’t one-to-one. A clove is much more pungent than a powder. One garlic clove equals about one-eighth of a teaspoon of garlic powder. Garlic powder can be subbed in for any method of cooking. The flavor is much more concentrated, so be aware of how much you are adding to a recipe. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it out. 

Garlic Powder Uses

When it comes to using garlic powder when cooking, there is really no wrong way to do it. Unlike fresh garlic, there is no need for any extra preparation. It can be added directly into the ingredients or right on the protein at hand. The super simple process of adding the ingredient to your recipe will enhance and elevate whatever you are cooking. For a basic seasoning, mix salt and pepper with granulated onion and garlic powder - adjust to suit your taste.

What is Garlic Powder Used for in Cooking?

Garlic powder balances out the flavor when it comes to cooking. The garlic spice can be used in almost every aspect of cooking. 

Proteins: The spice is perfect for adding to meat, seafood, and chicken dishes. Use the garlic powder in marinades or spice rubs. Don’t be afraid to use garlic powder when it comes to proteins, as it will always balance out the seasoning and add to the flavor. 

Sauces and marinades: Marinades and sauces would not be complete without a sprinkle of garlic powder. The garlic powder joins the other ingredients in the pot to create a powerhouse of flavors. 

  • Tangy White BBQ Sauce: This no-cook recipe takes less than five minutes to make. Add the sauce to meats or roasted veggies for a true party of flavors. 

Toppings: Garlic isn’t what you typically think of for a topping when it comes to a snack. However, a small sprinkle of garlic powder can instantly transform an everyday snack into a knockout bite. 

How Much Garlic Powder Should I Use?

The amount of garlic powder depends on what you are cooking. About one-eighth of a teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove. The “right” amount depends on the dish you’re cooking and your own preference…if you love garlic, add a little bit more!

Where & How to Buy Garlic?

We carry a large selection of garlic products to take your cooking to the next level. Garlic powder, garlic salt, granulated garlic, and roasted garlic are great for a jumping-off point for your spice collection. Head to our store locator to see where you can buy our favorite garlic products in a store near you. 

We also have a number of garlic-heavy spice blends. For example, Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Blend has quickly becomes a go-to favorite for customers who appreciate the bright burst of flavor from lemon and ginger. Santa Maria Sea Salted BBQ Rub highlights the depth of flavor you can achieve with a combination of two types of garlic. The coarse salt and minced garlic forms a nice crust for grilling, while the granulated garlic, black pepper, and parsley build flavor.

Onion and garlic are a classic combination and form the base for many seasonings, not the least of which are barbeque blends. From our Native Texan BBQ Rub to TSM Kansas City BBQ Rub and Memphis BBQ Rub, the combination of onion and garlic create a flavor foundation that can carry everything from paprika to cayenne and coriander to cumin.

When looking to buy fresh garlic, don't get overwhelmed — the whole process is actually super simple. You want to look for bulbs that have a firm feel to them. The outside cloves should not be dry or feel too soft. If the clove feels oddly light, the garlic has probably dehydrated. Also, avoid any garlic that has sprouts coming out of the cloves. While garlic is used year-round, the flavor is at its best during the peak season, which falls during mid-summer and lasts until the fall. 

What can be Substituted for Garlic?

The different types of garlic can be substituted for each other. Dehydrated garlic is also a great substitute for fresh. If you don’t have any garlic on hand, there is no need to panic! While the flavor of garlic is hard to replicate, many spices will do their best to help provide the same kind of flavor profile. Chives, shallots, or even cumin (just use a little less as it’s earthier) can work as a last-minute substitute. They all have sharp, bold flavor profiles that will replicate the taste of garlic seasoning in your recipes. 

Peruvian Turkey Buger

Recipes Using Garlic and Garlic Seasoning

Ideas for cooking with garlic never end. We’ve shared some of our favorite ways to cook with garlic. Here are some more of our favorite recipes to use garlic when cooking. 

Granulated Garlic: Mix this spice into your sauces and proteins for a garlicky flavor that will shine through even after cooking. The coarse spice mixture is perfect for when you want that garlic flavor to stand out. 

  • Peruvian Turkey Burgers: Take your burgers to the next level with this combination of garlic, Peruvian Chile Lime Seasoning, and Jalapeño Chile Powder. The combination will quickly become a favorite. 
  • Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce: Roasted granulated garlic is the perfect spice companion to this pork-on-pork dish. The garlic adds subtle notes alongside a super smoky flavor for a mouthwatering bite. 

Roasted Granulated Garlic: Use our roasted granulated garlic powder to add a depth of flavor to your plate. The roasted garlic adds a level of caramelized notes into the dish for a tasty flavor. 

  • Ghost Curry Wing Sauce: Test your spice level with this ghost curry wing sauce. Roasted garlic powder mixes with ghost pepper curry powder to form a delectable spicy sauce. 
  • Sweet Pepper and Spinach Hummus: Roasted garlic elevates the flavor on this playful spinach hummus. The sweetness from the roasted garlic pairs perfectly with the spinach and chickpeas to make a crowd pleasing dip. 

Black Garlic: When you want a deeper flavor in the kitchen, try out black garlic. The sibling to garlic has a deeper profile, with flavors related to figs and balsamic vinegar. The umami bomb is just what you need when cooking. 

  • Black Garlic Rangoon: Next time you want to impress your friends or family at a gathering, bring these black garlic rangoons. The little bite-sized apps are packed with an umami flavor, thanks to the Black Garlic Salt
  • Black Garlic Dip: If you are a fan of onion dip, you will fall in love with this black garlic dip. The combination of black garlic with crunchy walnuts makes for the perfect umami flavor. 

Garlic Salt: Use garlic salt to add the finishing touches to seasoning or to add a burst of flavor to your meal. The salt and garlic blend melts on the tongue to create a balanced bite every single time. 

  • Summer Succotash: Summer is all about highlighting fresh produce. Adding garlic salt to this summer succotash brings out the fresh vegetables and allows them to shine while being perfectly seasoned. 
  • 3 Bean Chuck Eye Chili: When it comes to chili, it is all about the seasoning. Make sure you get the seasoning just right by adding garlic salt to simmer in the pot. 

Garlic Blends: Sometimes garlic is even better with a few friends. Try our garlic blends to see how perfectly garlic pairs with other herbs and spices. 

  • Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Marinade: This recipe features garlic in our Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Blend. One bite of this marinade and you’ll be transported to a sunny, beautiful beach. The tropical flavors make this great for fish or shrimp for tacos. 
  • Herbed Mashed Potatoes: Ditch the traditional herbed mashed potatoes that next family holiday and try out this recipe instead. Our Bohemian Forest spice mix highlights a garlic blend that will make this dish the stand out of the meal. 

Shop Garlic & Onion or explore the world of onion by going Behind the Seasoning to learn more about OnionShallots, and Chives and Scallions.

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