Essential Skill: How to Roast Garlic


Roasted garlic is a pretty magical culinary trick. The slow cooking process takes pungent, spicy garlic and turns it into something so wonderfully mellow and even slightly sweet. Roasted garlic reminds me of why I love roasted vegetables so much, there’s nothing better than the depth of flavor provided by a vegetable’s sugar content caramelizing into tasty perfection. Not to mention you don’t have to babysit food that is roasting in the oven. All you have to do is enjoy the aroma that fills your house and let me tell you, roasted garlic smells fantastic.  There are two main ways to roast garlic: the traditional way where you throw an entire head into the oven and roast for an extended period of time and the quick & dirty way where you throw unpeeled cloves of garlic into the oven a roast for half the time.

Roasted garlic can be used in so many different ways. Listed below are some of my favorites. The garlic can be easily mashed with the side of your knife or a fork or pureed with a blender or food processor to make it easier to use in a recipe.

10 Ideas for Roasted Garlic

  1. Mash garlic with softened butter and spread on a baguette before toasting in the oven for roasted garlic bread
  2. Replace raw garlic with roasted in garlic in recipes like pesto, hummus, and vinaigrette for a more mild flavor
  3. Mix in with potatoes for roasted garlic mashed potatoes
  4. Mix in with warm pasta, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and some vegetables like broccoli or asparagus
  5. Stir mashed roasted garlic into a soft cheese such as goat’s cheese or cream cheese and spread on crackers or toasted bread for an easy snack or appetizer
  6. Puree roasted garlic with mayonnaise for a tasty sandwich spread
  7. Spread pureed roasted garlic onto your pizza crust instead of red sauce
  8. Create a paste with the garlic, olive oil, and other herbs to spread over meat or poultry before cooking
  9. If you’re roasting a lot of garlic at once on a rimmed baking pan, strain off the excess olive oil and use as a flavoring agent in other recipes
  10. Add into pureed soups for extra flavor

Traditional Roasted Garlic:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Gather a head of garlic (or a few), salt, olive oil, and some aluminum foil.


Using a sharp knife, slice the very tip of the head off to expose the tops of the cloves inside.

Place the head of garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt.
Wrap the garlic up in the aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the garlic is soft.
Once the garlic has cooled enough to touch, squeeze the cloves out the top of the head. Mash or puree for use in recipes or freeze for future use.
Quick & Dirty Roasted Garlic
Gather olive oil, salt, and a small baking dish. Break apart the cloves of one head of garlic, leaving them unpeeled.
Place unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cloves are soft.
Using a knife or your fingers, gently peel the paper off the garlic cloves. Mash with the side of your knife or a fork or puree with a food processor or blender for use in recipes or freeze for future use.

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  1. #
    Caroline — February 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I am convinced roasted garlic is one of life's greatest simple pleasures 🙂

    I made roasted garlic for the first time exactly 3 years and 1 day ago – Valentine's 2008. We had Paula Deen's bacon-wrapped scallops with creme fraiche roasted garlic mashed potatoes – it's still one of my favorite meals!

  2. #
    nancy — February 16, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I love roasted garlic and make it often. I love it's amazing taste when roasted. Thanks for sharing all the different things to do with it!

  3. #
    inthewabe — February 17, 2011 at 3:33 am

    Yumm, I LOVE roasted garlic! Thanks for the ideas!

  4. #
    RicksterD17 — February 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    My mom gave me an awesome roasted chili salsa recipe that called for raw garlic. But I changed the recipe to use roasted garlic, and the salsa became even better!

  5. #
    Oscar — February 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Girl…the secrete to life is Garlic. I have used large amounts all my life…maybe to the point of everyone Knowing it. Love your ideas. Cheers

  6. #
    Pretty. Good. Food. — February 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Great step-by-step! Your photos are amazing as well:)

  7. #
    Vern — February 24, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I buy the pre-peeled in bulk garlic from Costco. I roast it in the oven then let it cool. Put it in a large jar covered with canola oil. I mash a few pieces to infuse the oil a little more for salad dressings, sandwich spread and the like. I even spread it on multi grain crackers for a delicious snack.

  8. #
    Christian Anderson — October 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Mmm garlic. I love roasted garlic and grilled cheese sandwiches. I use it like peanut butter in them.

  9. #
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