1. Home
  2. life
  3. food
  4. news
  5. How to roast garlic to transform a simple staple ingredient into a luxurious one

How to roast garlic to transform a simple staple ingredient into a luxurious one

Kelly Burch   

How to roast garlic to transform a simple staple ingredient into a luxurious one
  • The flavor of roast garlic is sweeter and less pungent than fresh garlic.
  • Roasted garlic is soft and spreadable, making it easy to incorporate into dishes.
  • It lasts for up to two weeks in the fridge, and even longer in the freezer.

With a distinctly sharp and heady smell that permeates the kitchen when cooking, garlic is a staple building block ingredient that can be found in most any dish. But that sharp flavor may not be right for every dish. To soften its harshness, consider roasting it.

"Roasted garlic is awesome because it adds a lot of flavor to a dish and most people already have garlic in their kitchen," says Devan Cameron, chef and owner of Braised & Deglazed.

Roasting garlic at a high temperature caramelizes sugars, resulting in a sweeter, milder flavor that is very versatile. It has a texture similar to butter, making it perfect for spreading or pureeing into dishes like mashed potatoes or soup.

Cameron says roasted garlic also works particularly well with Italian and Greek cuisine because it complements other staples in those cuisines, like olive oil, tomatoes, and vegetables. What's more, it's simple to make and store at home.

How to roast garlic in the oven

Cameron recommends roasting whole heads of garlic wrapped in a foil packet, which helps keep moisture in the garlic. Roasting a whole head rather than individual cloves also protects the garlic from burning, because the paper-like skin insulates the garlic slightly from the heat of the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven. Set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add full convection if you're using a convection oven.
  2. Prepare the garlic. Gather as many full garlic heads as you would like to roast. Cutting horizontally, remove the top and expose the cloves. Remove most of the papery skin around the outside of the garlic head, but leave enough to keep the cloves connected together. The skin that's left will also help protect the cloves from burning.
  3. Prepare and place the garlic in the roasting foil. Lay down a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fold over the garlic heads. Put one layer of parchment paper on top of the foil, then put the garlic with the heads face-up at the center of the foil.
  4. Drizzle oil and season the garlic. Sprinkle a generous amount of vegetable or olive oil on the garlic heads, and season with salt and pepper. If desired, add thyme, rosemary, sage, or bay leaves on top.
  5. Wrap the garlic in the foil. With the garlic in the middle of the foil, bring the edges of the foil together, entirely covering the parchment paper and garlic to create a foil packet. Fold the edges together to create a well-sealed pouch. Place the pouch on a cookie sheet or baking pan.
  6. Roast the garlic. Cook for 40 to 60 minutes, until the garlic is medium brown and soft, but not burned.
  7. Separate the garlic from the skins. This is easiest when the garlic is still hot. Use a garlic press or sieve to separate the roasted garlic from the skin. Push the garlic clove through the press or sieve; the soft roasted garlic will pass through, leaving the skins behind. If you don't have a garlic press or sieve, peel away the skins using a fork and butter knife, then mash the roasted garlic with the fork.

Quick tip: Keep a close eye on the garlic near the end of roasting to ensure it doesn't burn. "If the garlic burns even a little, the entire puree will be bitter and horrible tasting," Cameron says.

Can you roast individual garlic cloves?

Roasting garlic is best if you have full heads. However, if you only have garlic cloves on hand, you can still enjoy roasted garlic using a method called garlic confit. This process involves submerging the cloves in oil to keep them from burning, says Cameron.

To roast individual garlic cloves, start by choosing a roasting pan or cast-iron skillet with a high edge and fill the pan halfway with garlic cloves. Cover the cloves with either vegetable or olive oil. To prevent spills, make sure the amount of oil stays well below the top of the side of the pan. Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings of choice, and cover the pan with foil. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 40 minutes until the garlic is brown and soft.

Don't discard the oil from the confit — it has been infused with garlic taste and is great for dipping bread, making salad dressing, or sautéing.

What to do with roasted garlic

When you're seasoning roasted garlic, Cameron recommends choosing mild herbs that add scent and flavor without overpowering the garlic, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, or bay leaves.

As for what to do with roasted garlic, the smooth, buttery texture makes it very versatile. Plus, the flavor profile is more universally appreciated than fresh garlic.

"It's really quite different than fresh garlic or even cooked garlic. It's sweet, nutty, earthy, and a lot more mellow," Cameron says.

Many recipes utilize roast garlic to build a full profile flavor. Cameron's favorite dishes that he uses roasted garlic in are smoked mac and cheese and quiche florentine, but roasted garlic can be incorporated in a variety of dishes.

  • Mix one head of roasted garlic into two pounds of mashed potatoes to add a sweet, earthy flavor. Season with butter, cream, salt, and pepper.
  • Stirred into butter or olive oil and spread over fresh bread.
  • Incorporate two heads of garlic into a container of hummus (or make your own) for a rich, nutty flavor.
  • Add to mayonnaise to create a roasted garlic mayo dipping sauce for fries.

How to store roasted garlic

Roasted garlic usually goes quickly. But if you find yourself with leftovers, you can refrigerate them in an air-tight container. Place the garlic at the bottom of a container. Then, cover the garlic with a thin layer of olive oil, and seal the container. The garlic will last for up to two weeks.

Alternatively, you can freeze whole heads of roasted garlic for about two months, and defrost them as needed.

Quick tip: Don't store roasted garlic at room temperature, since it can be a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes botulism.

Insider's takeaway

Roasted garlic is an easy and affordable way to level-up dishes ranging from mac and cheese to hummus or dip. It's easiest to roast whole heads of garlic, which helps prevent burning. If you only have garlic gloves available, you can roast those using an approach called garlic confit, which also results in garlic-infused oil. Since roasted garlic can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks and in the freezer even longer, this is a great dish to make in a large batch.


Popular Right Now