How to Roast Garlic to Add Amazing Depth of Flavor to Your Dishes

As garlic roasts, its pungent, aggressive flavor mellows, and the cloves turn into a nutty, sweet, almost buttery spread that's delicious when slathered on crusty bread as a simple appetizer or added to recipes. We'll teach you how to roast garlic in the oven (and even on the grill) so you can serve this savory spread with dinner tonight.

If you've never tried roasting garlic before, now is as good a time as any. And once you find out how easy it is to roast garlic, you'll be stocking up on bulbs of garlic to make it all the time. Roasted garlic achieves a milder flavor, making it great for spreads, compound butters, and sauces. To start, you'll learn how to roast garlic in the oven and get tips on how long to roast garlic (so it always turns out soft and not dry). We also provide instructions on how to "roast garlic" on the grill for an impressive addition to your next cookout menu. From there put your roasted garlic to good use with our delicious recipe ideas.

garlic bulbs knife cutting board
Jason Donnelly

Step 1: Prep the Garlic Bulb

Look for a medium to large bulb (also called a head) of garlic for roasting. Larger cloves are easier to separate and provide more garlic paste per clove. Using a sharp knife ($40, Amazon), cut off the top ½ inch of the garlic bulb to expose the ends of the individual cloves. Leaving the garlic bulb whole, remove any loose, papery outer layers.

Test Kitchen Tip: One medium garlic bulb yields about 15 cloves of garlic or about 1 tablespoon of garlic paste. You can roast multiple bulbs at once.

Step 2: Prepare Garlic for Roasting

Place the bulb, cut end up, on a double thickness of aluminum foil ($16, Amazon) on a baking sheet. Drizzle bulb with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Bring foil up and around bulb, folding edges together to loosely enclose.

Test Kitchen Tip: Our favorite roasted garlic hack is making a big batch using a muffin tin ($10, Amazon). Just place one bulb, cut end up, in each cup, then drizzle with oil and season as desired. Cover the muffin tin with foil before baking.

Roasted Garlic on dark gray background
Blaine Moats

Step 3: Roast Garlic Until Soft

Roast the garlic in a 400°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until garlic feels soft when squeezed. Cool slightly before handling.

Roasting Garlic in a Garlic Baker

If you're a big fan of making roasted garlic, consider using a clay or terra cotta garlic baker ($16, Amazon). The porous texture and steamed vent allow even cooking and maintains enough moisture to prevent the garlic from drying out.

How to Serve the Roasted Garlic

You can serve the roasted garlic warm or cooled to room temperature. For an appetizer, serve the whole bulb warm. Using the tip of a small knife, remove the roasted garlic from each clove. Serve with slices of baguette or crackers for spreading; if desired, add a wedge of cheese. To use roasted garlic in cooking, squeeze the cooled bulb from the bottom of the papery husk, and the garlic paste will pop out.

Steaks with Roasted Garlic
Blaine Moats

How to Roast Garlic on the Grill

Prep the garlic bulb as directed for roasting, except fold a 20x12-inch piece of heavy foil in half crosswise. Place the garlic bulb, cut end up, in the center of the foil square and drizzle with the oil. Bring up opposite edges of the foil and seal with a double fold. Fold the remaining edges together to completely enclose the garlic, leaving space for steam to build.

For a charcoal grill ($219, Amazon), arrange preheated coals around the edge of the grill. Test for medium heat. Place garlic on the grill rack in the center of grill. Grill, covered, about 30 minutes or until garlic feels soft when packet is squeezed.

For a gas grill ($259, Amazon): Preheat grill. Adjust heat for indirect grilling. Reduce heat to medium. Place garlic on the grill rack over the unlit side. Cover and grill as above.

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
Andy Lyons

More Ways to Use Roasted Garlic

There are few savory dishes that wouldn't benefit from that buttery tang of roasted garlic. Here are some of the best ways to use roasted garlic:

  • Mix roasted garlic paste with a little olive oil and toss with hot cooked pasta and grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese.
  • Stir it into plain soft cream cheese, add a little softened butter, and season with a sprinkle of snipped fresh thyme and rosemary or Italian seasoning. Spread onto crackers, toast, or grilled baguette slices.
  • Add it to a vinaigrette made with one part red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar to two parts olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Combine it with softened butter and rub over a roasting chicken.
  • Toss it into tomato sauce or basil pesto and use as a sauce for pizza.
  • Stir it into olive oil or butter, add a squeeze of lemon, and toss with roasted vegetables for an easy side.

Still can't get enough? We've got a slew of recipes featuring roasted garlic. Serve it over baked brie, make a savory bean dip, or sweet and tangy onion jam for a roasted garlic appetizer. Give your homemade burger a punch. No matter how you use roasted garlic, it's butter texture and sophisticated layers of flavor are sure to take your dishes to the next level.

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