How to Roast Garlic
Buttery, caramelized garlic adds a sweet, mellow complexity and depth to many dishes. It's also really easy to make.
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By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.
Garlic cloves add aromatic compounds and a punch of flavor to a variety of dishes, from pasta to pilaf to stir fry. Fresh garlic is sold in bulb-like heads covered in papery skin; peel back the papery outer layer and you’ll see that each bulb is comprised of many individual lobes, each one of which is called a clove. For more information on garlic, check out our primer What Is a Clove of Garlic?.
Roasted garlic calls for whole bulbs of garlic, making the prep easy as can be: you don’t have to peel a single clove. While you roast trimmed heads of garlic whole in the oven, each clove becomes creamy, caramelized and so soft, it just slips out of its skin. Roasting garlic also transforms its pungent, raw flavor into a sweet and mellow ingredient that adds savory-sweet depth to dishes such as mashed potatoes or sauteed or roasted vegetables. Here's how to do it.
How to Roast Garlic
Choose and Trim Your Garlic
Start with whole heads of garlic. The cloves should feel firm and the bulbs should be tightly closed with no brown spots. Avoid garlic that is sprouting. Peel away a few of the papery outer layers while keeping the bulb intact. Slice about 1/2 inch off the top, just enough to expose the cloves.
Season the Garlic
Place the garlic cut-side up on a piece of aluminum foil, then drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. If you like, add a few sprigs of fresh herbs.
Fold Garlic In a Foil Packet
Fold the foil over the garlic and seal the edges tightly to make a packet.
Roast Until Golden and Fragrant
Place the packet on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the packet from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. The roasted garlic should be golden and caramelized, with tender cloves that have pulled away from the peel.
Squeeze It Out
Once cool, the cloves will easily squeeze out. Spread roasted garlic on toasted bread, mix it into mashed potatoes or soup, or toss with pasta. The garlicky possibilities are endless--and you didn't have to peel a single clove!
How Long to Roast Garlic
How long it takes to roast garlic depends on the size of the garlic bulb and the oven temperature. Our technique, as outlined above, takes heads of garlic 45 minutes to 1 hour to roast in a 400-degree F oven. Look for visual indicators: the garlic should be deeply golden and caramelized, and the cloves should have started pulling away from the peel. Once cooled, the cloves should easily squeeze out from their papery skins. Another tell-tale sign that your roasted garlic is done—your kitchen will smell like caramelized, toasty garlic goodness.
These specially designed garlic roasters encourage caramelization without drying out the cloves.
Roasted Garlic Recipes
If you just need to roast one head of garlic, this is your recipe. Once you’ve trimmed the garlic, drizzle it with olive oil, seal it in a foil packet and roast for 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees F until the garlic is tender and soft.
Ree Drummond makes good use of time by roasting a big batch of garlic—to the tune of 8 bulbs. Heads of garlic are trimmed, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, then roasted in a foil-covered pie pan in a 375-degree F oven for 45 minutes until the garlic is buttery soft.
If you’re short on time, turn to Katie Lee Biegel’s method for making roasted garlic in a microwave. While you might not get the same depth of caramelization, it’s a sure-fire shortcut to achieving roasted garlic’s trademark flavor.
How to Use Roasted Garlic
Roasted garlic can be used to add a mellow-sweet, savory depth to a variety of dishes, from sauces to mashed potatoes to soup. But first, garlic bread. Once you learn to roast your own garlic, you’ll never go back to store-bought again. Roast a whole head of garlic and then smush cloves onto broiled slices of crusty bread to make rustic Roasted Garlic Bruschetta, or spread the roasted garlic cloves on a baguette and bake with Parmesan and parsley to make Roasted Garlic Bread (pictured above). Mash roasted garlic to add to potato dishes, like these Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, or this Vegan Roasted-Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe. Use roasted garlic to flavor or thicken sauces and dressings, as with this maple-Dijon spiked Roasted Garlic Mustard, a roasted garlic aioli to accompany rack of lamb, or this game-day-ready Roasted Garlic-Bacon Dip. Make roasted garlic the star of your midday meal with Guy Fieri’s bold Roasted Garlic Soup.