How to Make Roasted Garlic

Everything you need to know about garlic. Learn how to roast garlic, ways to store it and ideas where to use garlic in your favorite recipes.

whole heads of roasted garlic in a muffin tin

To say that garlic is a cornerstone ingredient in Italian cooking is an understatement. I don’t think I even have to explain why we are having this conversation. And one of the best ways to enjoy, use and eat garlic is when it’s all mellow and roasted. Sure, you can buy already roasted garlic at the grocery store but wouldn’t you rather learn how to make roasted garlic yourself?

My friend—this is the easiest cooking technique (other than boiling water) that offers the biggest bang for your buck.

heads of garlic on a white plate with a black wire charger

Why roast garlic yourself?

There are so many reasons to roast garlic at home. While I’ll admit that opening a jar of pre-roasted garlic might be somewhat of a time saver, I can promise you that it won’t nearly be as good as doing it yourself.

Here’s why:

  • Inexpensive: (translated: cheap) Roasting garlic is so inexpensive since all you need is a head of garlic (which costs pennies), some olive oil and seasoning.
  • Guaranteed freshness: When you buy a jar of roasted garlic and it says you can keep it for a year, there’s something in it preserving the garlic. And who needs that?
  • Versatile – You don’t have to roast the whole head of garlic. Roasting a few cloves is totally fine and allows you to save the rest for another recipe like this Easy Lemon Garlic Pasta with Zesty Breadcrumbs.
head of bad garlic on a light wood background

How to tell if garlic is bad

Garlic, potatoes and most root vegetables are considered staples because they have a long shelf life. Once picked from the farm, they spend a lot of time sitting in trucks and warehouses before you see them in the grocery store.

When you’re at the store, look for heads of garlic that:

  • are firm, intact and sealed – the photo above shows a head that wouldn’t be my first choice because it looks old and dry. Look for heads of garlic with paper that completely surrounds the cloves, is firm when squeezed (not soft), isn’t peeling and is smooth. However, if you have a head of garlic that looks like that in your pantry, you could use it in a pinch.
  • bright white in color – Look for garlic that is a clean white. Avoid the heads that look like they have a gray, brown or black cast to any of the skin or cloves. It sometimes looks like mold.
  • aren’t sprouting – While it’s ok to use garlic when it has some sprouts, choose a head of garlic that has a short clean tip and isn’t growing green sprouts. I’m told you can plant cloves that have begun to sprout to grow more garlic but I haven’t tried it myself. If you do, I’d love to hear about it!

How to roast garlic (with or without aluminum foil)

My method for roasting garlic uses aluminum foil. That being said, you don’t have to use foil if you don’t want to. And this method results in a caramelized garlic that has sooo much flavor!

METHOD #1: aluminum foil method

  • Place the whole head of garlic on a square of foil.
  • Slice the whole head of garlic right below the crown to expose each clove and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper [image 1 & 2].
  • Wrap the foil completely around the bulb and place in an oven safe dish. Roast in a 350˚ preheated oven for about 40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and squeeze out the cloves [image 3].

METHOD #2: No aluminum foil

  • Place cut, whole head or cloves (in paper) in muffin tin or small custard cup with sides.
  • Drizzle over olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast in a 350˚ preheated oven for about 30 minutes until caramelized.

TIP

To remove the smell of garlic on your hands, lightly wet them and rub along something that is stainless steel, like a faucet. Works like a charm!

-Josie + Nina

Helpful Tips

whole heads of garlic ready for roasting with salt and pepper

Make ahead

The whole benefit of roasting your own garlic is so that it’s ready whenever the recipe or mood strikes. You can make it right before you need it or up to a week ahead.

Storing

In a jar: There are lots of theories on how to store roasted garlic but one of my favorite is putting the roasted, peeled cloves in a jar covered with olive oil. Voila! Now you have garlic flavored olive oil that can be used in salad dressings, for sauteeing veggies or chicken and more. Store for up to 2 weeks.

In a ziploc: Store for up to 7 days.

Freezing

Roasted garlic can be frozen. Just lie flat on a baking sheet and freeze the individual cloves until firm. Then place in a freezer safe storage bag or container and use within 3 months.

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whole heads of roasted garlic in a muffin tin.
5 from 3 votes

Roasted Garlic

Everything you need to know about garlic. Learn how to roast garlic, ways to store it and ideas where to use garlic in your favorite recipes.
Prep Time:1 minute
Cook Time:40 minutes
Total Time:41 minutes
Servings 1 head of garlic

Equipment

  • foil
  • muffin tin or small dish with sides

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Using a sharp knife. slice off the top of the head of garlic about ¼-½" to expose the tops of each clove.
  • Place the whole head on a small square of foil, large enough to wrap around the garlic.
  • Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over salt and pepper.
  • Pull the foil up around the sides of the garlic making a little purse shape.
  • Roast in the oven for 40 minutes. (p.s. your house is going to smell great!)
  • Cool until the garlic can be handled without burning your hands. Hold the head of garlic in your palm and gently squeeze until each clove pops out of the skin.
  • Store in a glass jar covered with olive oil for up to two weeks. Or freeze the peeled cloves on a parchment covered baking sheet for 30 minutes until firm. Toss in a freezer bag or container for up to three months.

Notes

To roast without aluminum foil:
  • Place cut, whole head or cloves (in paper) in muffin tin or small custard cup with sides.
  • Drizzle over olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast in a 350˚ preheated oven for about 30 minutes until caramelized.
  • Follow directions above for removing garlic from head.
Storage:
In a jar: There are lots of theories on how to store roasted garlic but one of my favorite is putting the roasted, peeled cloves in a jar covered with olive oil. Voila! Now you have garlic flavored olive oil that can be used in salad dressings, for sauteeing veggies or chicken and more. Store for up to 2 weeks.
Freezer: Remove cloves from the garlic once roasted. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm. Remove to a freezer safe container or ziploc for up to 3 months. Pull out what you need and let soften on the counter for about 10-15 minutes.
Air fryer instructions. Preheat your air fryer according to the manufacturer’s directions to 375˚. Follow the directions for preparing the garlic and place the garlic in the air fryer basket and roast for 15 minutes until golden.
Course: Appetizer, bread, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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2 Comments

    1. Thanks Kat! It works like a charm – especially if you’re doing a lot at one time to have on hand. Is there ever enough garlic? 🧄