There is something about garlic that appeals to people all over the world. People have cultivated garlic for over 5,000 years, and you’ll find it in almost every culture’s cuisine. This beloved allium is considered a vegetable and an essential culinary seasoning.
Being such a well-loved and widely used ingredient also means you’re likely to come across it in A LOT of recipes. So, knowing a couple (or 8) good substitutes can be useful information to keep on hand.
Garlic’s aromatic, intense, and savory flavor may seem difficult to replicate, but it’s not impossible. If you find yourself all out of fresh garlic, there are many alternatives that you can use in a pinch to achieve a mouth-watering dish.
8 Garlic Alternatives & How To Use Them
Jarred Minced Garlic
Although jarred minced garlic doesn’t have quite the same punchy flavor as a fresh clove, it’ll still give you a delicious garlic flavor.
If you’re a fan of a more mild garlic flavor in your dishes, you might even prefer the jarred alternative to the fresh stuff.
Use jarred minced garlic for any and all applications for which you would have used regular fresh garlic. You’ll even cut down on prep time because all the chopping has been done for you.
Because the taste can be a bit flat, this isn’t my favorite swap flavor-wise. But, you can’t beat the ease of this alternative, so if I’m in a rush to get something on the table, you bet I’ll reach for it.
Use ½ teaspoon jarred minced garlic per 1 clove fresh garlic in your recipe.
For dishes with short cooking times, garlic powder is an excellent option since its finely milled texture can release flavor quickly. That means it will seamlessly incorporate into whatever you’re making for a completely homogeneous mixture.
Garlic powder is a seasoning that should be in everyone’s spice cabinet. It’s essential in my kitchen because it has a long shelf life, and it’s so simple to incorporate into any recipe and provides delicious garlic flavor.
Also, garlic powder won’t burn as fast as fresh garlic in applications like roasting or broiling. So skip the fresh stuff for out-of-this-world garlic bread, pizza crust, or a large roast.
Since garlic powder is incredibly potent, you’ll only need to use ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder in place of 1 fresh clove.
Granulated garlic is more coarsely ground than garlic powder and has a sand-like consistency. This means the flavor isn’t as intense, so you don’t have to be quite as careful when using it.
Since granulated garlic takes longer to incorporate into a dish, it works best in recipes with longer cooking times. For example, if I’m making a big pot of slow-cooked pasta sauce and I’m out of fresh garlic, I would reach for the granulated garlic over the powder.
Dry rubs and snack mixes also benefit from granulated garlic since its texture is similar to most other seasonings.
Substitute ½ teaspoon granulated garlic for 1 fresh garlic clove in all your recipes.
If all you have on hand is garlic salt, that can still work in place of fresh garlic in all kinds of dishes. Garlic salt is made from dried minced garlic mixed with sea salt, so using it in place of fresh garlic is a no-brainer.
Simply use ¾ teaspoon garlic salt for 1 clove of garlic and lessen the overall salt in the dish by about ½ teaspoon.
This swap can work for virtually all recipes, but it is especially well suited for dry rubs, marinades, snack seasoning mixes, and garlic bread. Keep in mind that you will be adding even more salt to the dish, so go lighter on other sodium additions in the recipe when possible.
If you’ve never heard of garlic scapes before, don’t worry. They aren’t prevalent at most grocery stores. But, if you frequent farmer’s markets, you’ll probably see these twisty, coiled bunches on vendor tables in the springtime.
These garlic stems and buds are harvested before the bud can bloom so that the plant won’t waste the energy from the garlic bulb. Garlic scapes taste like an amalgamation of scallions, onions, and garlic.
You can slice them up, give them a quick sauteé, and then use them in place of garlic in recipes ranging from soups, pickles, pestos, and more.
Pro-Tip: If you’re using garlic scapes in pickling, you can skip the sauteéing step and use them raw.
The flavor of garlic scapes is milder than fresh garlic, so you’ll want to use 2 or 3 scapes to equate to the same pungency as 1 fresh clove.
For those who suffer from IBS and other gastrointestinal discomforts, fresh garlic can be a triggering food. Thankfully, garlic-infused oil is the perfect low-FODMAP alternative to fresh garlic.
It’s super simple to swap fresh garlic for garlic-infused oil. You can cook with the oil or drizzle it on to dress the food once you’ve finished preparing it.
It will add the perfect punch of garlic flavor without the resulting upset stomach. Use it in dressings, dips, to sauteé with, or try adding a glug to your tomato sauce.
Whether you buy it or try making your own, garlic oil is a great option to keep in your cabinet if you ever run out of the fresh stuff.
Swap 1 tablespoon of garlic oil per fresh clove of garlic in all of your recipes and kiss those tummy troubles goodbye.
Chives & Garlic Chives
Chives are an excellent substitution for fresh garlic in any recipe, but if you can get your hands on garlic chives, that’s even better.
Regular chives look like skinny tubes and have a more onion-like flavor, whereas garlic chives are flat and thin with a great garlic taste.
Mince the chives into small bits, and use them to replace fresh garlic in marinades, sauces, soups, dips, or any other application.
You could even use dried chives if that’s all you have on hand, just use a bit less than if you were to use fresh ones.
No matter the chives you have on hand, you can swap each fresh garlic clove for 1 tablespoon of fresh minced chives or 1 teaspoon of dried chives.
Shallots have a more mild and sweet flavor than garlic, but if you’re in a tight spot, they will deliver on the allium taste you’re after.
Shallots are a perfect garlic substitute in wet recipes because the flavor will be able to permeate throughout the entire dish. Think things like sauces, marinades, stews, dips, and soups.
Whereas, if you were making a dry rub or seasoning paste, it can be hard to mince a shallot fine enough to distribute it evenly throughout the recipe.
For suitable recipes, substitute 1 tablespoon of minced shallot for 1 fresh garlic clove.
Tips For Working With Garlic Alternatives
If your recipe calls for garlic powder in the case of marinades, dry rubs, or sauces, you can replace it with onion powder, and the flavor will still be complex, garlic-y, and almost spot on.
Use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic when roasting or broiling to avoid fast-burning. However, don’t try to sauteé garlic powder instead of fresh garlic as an aromatic because it will burn in the pan almost instantly.
Granulated garlic is best for slow-cooked meals, whereas garlic powder is great for a dish that doesn’t have as much time for flavors to release and meld.
For a low-FODMAP garlic swap, try using garlic-infused oil for all applications. Whether you plan to cook with it or garnish with it, it’s sure to deliver that sought-after garlicky flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I substitute for garlic in a recipe?
Great substitutes for garlic are its dried and powdered forms like garlic powder, granulated garlic, or even garlic salt. For fresh alternatives, try garlic chives, garlic scapes, or shallots.
What can I use instead of minced garlic?
For dry applications, use garlic powder or granulated garlic instead of minced garlic. Try garlic oil, chives, or shallots to flavor your marinades, stews, and other liquid-based recipes.
Is powdered garlic as good as fresh garlic?
Powdered garlic is just dehydrated fresh garlic and is as good or better than using fresh garlic when making dry rubs for meats or veggies. Also, garlic powder won’t burn as fast as fresh garlic when roasting or broiling, so skip the fresh stuff for out-of-this-world garlic bread.