How to Roast Garlic in an Oven or on a Grill for Bold Flavor

Learn how to roast garlic in the oven (and on the grill) so it turns into a nutty, sweet, almost-buttery spread that's delicious when slathered on crusty bread.

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 has 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.

Step 1: Prep the Garlic Bulb

garlic bulbs knife cutting board
Jason Donnelly

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, 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 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 on a baking sheet. Drizzle bulb with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Bring foil up and around bulb, folding edges together to enclose loosely.

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.

Step 3: Roast Garlic Until Soft

Roasted Garlic on dark gray background
Blaine Moats

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 ($17, 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

Steaks with Roasted Garlic
Blaine Moats

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.

How to Roast Garlic on the Grill

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
Andy Lyons

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 ($209, 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.

More Ways to Use Roasted Garlic

Few savory dishes 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 bit of 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 pizza sauce.
  • 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 for a roasted garlic appetizer. Give your homemade burger a punch. No matter how you use roasted garlic, it's buttery texture, and sophisticated layers of flavor are sure to take your dishes to the next level.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles