Plus, how many teaspoons of minced garlic equals one clove?

So, your recipe calls for a clove of minced or smashed garlic — but what the heck does that mean? Here's what you need to know about the difference between a garlic clove and a garlic head (plus, how to substitute pre-minced garlic for fresh): 

What Is a Clove of Garlic? 

Close-Up Of Garlic On White Background
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First thing's first: A clove of garlic is not the same thing as a head of garlic. The head is the entire bulb that's covered in papery skin. When you peel back the skin, you'll find individual segments — these wedge-shaped sections are called cloves. The cloves are easy to separate from each other, allowing you to use a few cloves and leave the rest of the head (which is also called a bulb or a knob) mostly intact. 

While individual cloves are small, they pack a potent punch. This is why garlic, even though it's technically a vegetable, is typically used in small amounts as a seasoning to add flavor to recipes. 

How Much Is a Clove of Garlic?

Peel a head of garlic and you'll notice that some cloves are larger than others. So what do you do when your recipe calls for three cloves, but you have a jar of pre-minced garlic? Well, there's not a precise measurement because cloves come in different sizes. Here's the general rule of thumb: Use 1 teaspoon of pre-minced garlic for every clove your recipe calls for. So, if your recipe calls for three cloves of garlic, use three teaspoons of the jarred stuff. 

What if you're dealing with a head that has unusually large or small cloves? Don't panic. One clove of garlic won't make a huge difference in the overall flavor of most dishes, so just use your best judgment. Of course, you can always use more or less garlic than a recipe calls for depending on your personal preference. 

Close-Up Of Garlic With Wooden Spoon Over White Background
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Can You Substitute Garlic Powder for Fresh or Pre-Minced Garlic?

It's best not to use garlic powder in place of fresh or pre-minced garlic. Garlic powder has a more concentrated, slightly different flavor. In a pinch, though, it'll work: Substitute ¼ teaspoon garlic powder for one clove of garlic

How Many Cloves Are In a Head of Garlic?

Every head is different. Some will have five cloves or fewer and some will have 20 or more. Most garlic bulbs you'll find at the grocery store contain 10-12 cloves. 

Garlic Recipes

Now that you're a garlic expert, it's time to get cooking. Try one of our favorite recipes that highlight garlic: 

Hungry for more? Explore our entire collection of Garlic Recipes.