How Many Cloves in a Head of Garlic: Full Guide


If you’re cooking with garlic or growing garlic, there are a few reasons why it is necessary to know how many cloves a bulb contains. If you’re planting garlic in your garden, you’ll want to know how many cloves in a head of garlic so that you’ll be able to anticipate what your production will be.

garlic heads

Likewise, if you’re cooking with garlic you’ll want to know the number of cloves in a head of garlic so that you don’t overpower the flavor and add too much. Having this knowledge will help you keep the dish’s flavor intact.  

Question: How many cloves in a head of garlic?

Answer: An average head of garlic, purchased at the grocery store contains 10 to 12 cloves per head of garlic. The number of cloves per head will vary depending on the variety of garlic.

What is Garlic

Garlic is a bulbous flowering plant in the Allium family. It is closely related to onions, shallots, chives, and leeks. It can be used for culinary purposes as a seasoning for many dishes providing wonderful flavor.

Garlic can provide health benefits such as boosting one’s immunity, improving heart health, works as an anti-inflammatory, and assists in clear skin.  

What Is a Head of Garlic?

A head of garlic is the whole bulb of garlic covered in white papery skin. When you dig garlic from the ground, it is the whole piece, or the whole bulb. Fresh garlic in the grocery store is typically sold in heads.

Remove the outer white skin of the garlic and you can then see that a head of garlic is then divided into smaller portions called cloves.

garlic cloves and garlic heads

What Is a Clove of Garlic?

What does a garlic clove look like? A clove of garlic is an individual lobe found inside the head of garlic. Each individual lobe, or clove is also covered in its own white papery skin. Each of these lobes is called a clove.

How Big Is a Clove of Garlic

What Is the Size of a Garlic Clove? A clove of garlic typically measures from 1” to 1.5” on average in length. The width of a clove of garlic is usually about 3/8 to ¾” across at the widest part.  

Garlic Clove or Garlic Head?

Does your recipe call for a garlic clove or garlic head? Be sure that you know the difference because there is a difference, it will certainly alter the flavor of your recipe.

What Does a Clove of Garlic Look Like

What Does a Garlic Clove Look Like? A clove of garlic looks like an irregularly shaped tear drop. It has a point on one end and a rough flat surface where the root forms on the other end. Each clove of garlic is individually wrapped in its own white paper skin.

Prep Garlic Quickly with a Garlic Press

There are a variety of ways to prepare garlic when using it in dishes. However, if you don’t already know about it, a garlic press is a great way to prepare fresh garlic for cooking.

To use a garlic press, place one clove of garlic into the chamber and squeeze the handles firmly. In just a few seconds, you’ll have freshly minced garlic that smells wonderful.

How Many Cloves are There in a Garlic Head?

How Many Cloves in a Garlic Head? The number of cloves in a head of garlic that can be purchased at the grocery store typically averages about 10-12 cloves per head. However, the number of cloves per head can vary based on the variety of garlic.

How to Peel Garlic and How to Mince Garlic

There are a variety of methods that can be used to peel garlic and mince garlic. We will go over a few of those methods below.

How to Peel Garlic

To peel garlic means to remove the outer white papery skin that wraps the garlic head and to remove the outer white paper like skin that encases each garlic clove.

How to Peel Garlic By Hand

To peel garlic by hand, the easiest way us to use a sharp knife to cut across the base of the garlic clove, removing the flat portion where the roots form. This will allow the peeling to easily come off.

How to Peel Garlic By Smashing It

You can peel garlic by smashing it. To do this, you’ll want to use a knife. Hold the knife over the clove, while holding the knife handle use the palm of your free hand and smash the garlic to separate the peeling from the clove. To smash the garlic, repeat after removing the skin.

How to Peel Garlic with a Cocktail Shaker

To peel your garlic using a cocktail shaker, cut off the head and tail of the clove of garlic. Place the garlic inside the cocktail shaker. Shake until the skins fall off. But seriously, peeling by hand seems easier to us.

How to Peel Garlic with Two Bowls

Peeling garlic with two bowls works well if you’re peeling a fair amount of garlic. Cut off the head and tail of the garlic and place it in a bowl, with another bowl placed on top of it. Shake well until the peeling is removed and begins to fall off the cloves.

garlic head showing cloves inside

How to Peel Garlic with a Microwave

To peel your garlic with a microwave, cut the tail end of the garlic to loosen the peeling. Then pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds and you should be able to slide the garlic cloves right out of the skin, easily using your fingers.

Is Garlic Easy To Grow?

If you you’re into gardening or really like using garlic, you might want to grow some garlic yourself. Growing garlic can be quite simple. You’ll just need some dirt, sunlight, and water.

If you live in a warm climate, garlic can be grown year-round. But if you live in a location where there are freezing temperatures in the winter, you’ll want to plant garlic in the fall and harvest it late spring to mid-summer.

In our opinion, garlic is easy to grow. Just plant individual garlic cloves, still wrapped in their white papery skins in the ground, spacing them about 6 inches apart. Plant in the fall about 6 weeks before the ground freezes, then harvest them in the late spring to mid-summer.

How to Prepare for Planting Garlic

To prepare garlic for planting, remove each of the cloves from the whole head of garlic. You should leave the individual skins intact when planting garlic. The garlic is ready to be planted.

How to Plant Cloves of Garlic

To plant cloves of garlic, plant the prepared garlic about 2 inches in the ground. Space the cloves so that they have room grow. Cover with dirt.

garlic growing in the ground

How to Harvest Garlic

Garlic should be planted in the fall and harvested late spring to mid-summer. To harvest garlic carefully dig the garlic up being careful not to damage the bulb or the root structure.

How to Store Peeled Garlic

There are a variety of ways to store garlic, depending on its use as well as the length of time you desire to keep it for future use.

How to Store Garlic Cloves: To store peeled garlic, place it in a zipped food storage bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It’s a great way to keep fresh garlic on hand when you know you intend to use it throughout the week. It is perfect for short term garlic storage.

Garlic Long Term Storage

For long term storage, you’ll want to look beyond the refrigerator. Holding garlic at a temperature around 40F degrees causes it to sprout. And garlic that has sprouted is usually on the verge of needing to be planted or thrown away.

Instead, turn to well ventilated, cool, dark place for long-term garlic storage. Garlic can be stored in a mesh bag under these conditions. It will help to keep it perfect for future use.

Does Garlic Go Bad

Yes, garlic is perishable and just like any produce garlic can go bad. If it’s not kept in optimal storage conditions in a cool, dry, dark location, then garlic can go bad. Or in the case of peeled garlic, if it’s kept in the refrigerator for more than a week, it can also go bad.

garlic head beginning to sprout

How to Know If Garlic Has Gone Bad

Knowing if your garlic has gone bad depends on the state the garlic is in. Use your senses to know whether it’s still good to use.

For example, if it has signs of mold, dark spots, appears mushy, has a slimy film that’s developed, smells or tastes off, then likely your garlic has gone bad, and it should be thrown away.

Do no risk using garlic that has rotted. If in doubt, throw it out.

Is it Okay to Freeze Garlic?

Absolutely. Garlic is a great item to freeze for future use. It’s so versatile. Garlic can be frozen in whole heads and as individual cloves that are peeled or unpeeled, minced, sliced, or chopped.

Just place your garlic in a zipped freezer bag or airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

What Is The Difference Between Minced Garlic And Chopped Garlic?

The difference between minced garlic and chopped garlic is that minced garlic is processed much more finely than chopped garlic. In comparing minced vs diced garlic, chopped garlic or diced garlic is often prepared with a knife using a rough chop. It is cut into tiny little pieces.

Minced garlic on the other hand takes it a step further and requires it to be gone over again creating a finer outcome.

Garlic Clove vs Garlic Bulb

Clove of Garlic vs. Head of Garlic

A garlic bulb refers to the whole head of garlic. Those terms are interchangeable. It is the whole item when growing garlic in the ground, or when buying whole garlic at the grocery store or fresh market.

A garlic clove, on the other hand is one portion of the whole garlic bulb. After the paper like skin has been removed from the outside of the head of garlic, you can see smaller garlic portions, each individually wrapped in their own skins. Each of those individual portions is a clove.

garlic cloves and garlic heads

How to Slice Garlic Cloves

To slice garlic cloves, you’ll want to peel the cloves first using one of the 5 methods mentioned above. Then, using a sharp knife, place the cloves on a solid surface cutting board and use your knife to slice each clove, creating several rounds. You have just created sliced garlic cloves.

How to Dice Garlic Cloves

To dice garlic cloves, peel the garlic then give it a rough chop with your sharp knife. This is also how to chop garlic cloves.

How Do You Mince Garlic Cloves

To mince garlic cloves, you’ll first want to peel it and give it a rough chop. Then using a sharp knife rocking back and forth, chop through the garlic again until it’s finely minced.

How to Measure Garlic

There are many ways to measure garlic, depending on its status. Your recipe might call for minced garlic, chopped garlic, diced garlic, a clove of garlic, a whole head of garlic, garlic salt, garlic powder, a teaspoon of garlic, a tablespoon of garlic, or an ounce of garlic. How will you know what each one means? Let’s take a look at specifics.

How Much Minced Garlic is in a Clove?

How many teaspoons in a clove of garlic? A good rule of thumb is know that one clove of fresh garlic contains about ½ teaspoon of minced garlic. However, the amount of minced garlic that’s in a clove varies depending on the size of the clove.

How Much Garlic Powder Is Equivalent to Minced Garlic?

To know how to substitute garlic powder in placed of fresh minced garlic, it’s important to know the garlic powder to freshly minced garlic ratio. You’re to use 1/8tsp of garlic powder for every ½ tsp minced fresh garlic. Therefore 1/8 tsp garlic powder is also the same as 1 clove of garlic.

How Much Garlic Equals One Pound?

There are typically 25-40 garlic cloves per pound, or the equivalent of 3-4 heads of garlic.

How Much Garlic Powder Equals One Clove?

Using the information above we can determine that since 1/8 tsp of garlic powder is the equivalent of ½ tsp minced fresh garlic and ½ tsp of fresh minced garlic is the same as one clove, it is also true that 1/8tsp garlic powder is the same as 1 clove of garlic.

How Many Cloves of Garlic are in a Teaspoon?

There are approximately two cloves of garlic in a teaspoon.

How Much Pure Garlic is in one Clove?

How Much Is a Clove of Garlic? There is approximately ½ teaspoon of garlic in a clove.

How Much is an Ounce of Garlic?

An ounce of garlic is equivalent to about 3 1/3 tablespoons.

How Much Does A Garlic Clove Weigh?

The average clove of garlic purchased at the grocery store weighs approximately 4-7 grams.

How to Roast Garlic

Here is our step-by-step guide for how to roast delicious garlic. You might wonder what does roasted garlic taste like? Roasted garlic still has a wonderful garlic flavor, only we would describe it as being richer. You can roast garlic in the oven, on the grill, in a smoker, or on the stovetop. And there are so many ways to use roasted garlic.

Easy Grilled Garlic recipe image

What is Garlic Powder?

Garlic powder is a dried version of garlic and is used as a spice. It has been processed into a very fine powder and can generally be used in a shaker.

How Much Garlic Powder Equals Minced Garlic

1/8 tsp of garlic powder is the equivalent of ½ tsp fresh minced garlic. Keep in mind that garlic powder typically has a more condensed flavor than fresh garlic so less is used to achieve the same flavor ratio.

How to Cut Garlic Cloves

The best way to cut garlic cloves is by using a sharp paring knife and peeling it first using one of the methods above. Garlic can be cut in slices, chopped, diced, or minced.

Substitute for Garlic Cloves

There are many seasonings that can potentially work as a substitute for garlic. Depending how the garlic is used in the recipe, you might opt for the obvious garlic powder or garlic salt as the first option to use in place of fresh garlic. You can surely substitute garlic powder for fresh or pre-minced garlic.

Other possible substitutes include onion, leeks, and seasonings such as peppercorns, horseradish, ginger, and cumin. Or there is the option to simply leave it out of the recipe altogether.

Is Garlic Bad for Dogs

Yes, garlic is considered unsafe for dogs to eat, just like anything in the allium family. The risks outweigh the benefits, therefore garlic is considered toxic for dogs.

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Recipes to Use Up Garlic

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how many cloves in a head of garlic. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below. 

​Does the type of garlic matter regarding the number of cloves?

Our answer to how many cloves are in a head of garlic is the average number of cloves tends to be 10-12 per head. Sometimes these are smaller cloves, sometimes you’d classify them as large clove, and you’d consider them to be different sizes. 

Most of the garlic purchased here in the United States in grocery stores is grown outside of our country, mainly China. It is single bulb garlic and can have fewer cloves in the entire head of garlic.

You can also purchase jars of already skinned single clove garlic that comes in liquid. These are generally sold as whole cloves, and in this case, the size of the garlic bulb and the size of the cloves doesn’t matter so much. 

Whether you’re working with hardneck garlic varieties or softneck garlic, the number of garlic cloves should be similar. Different varieties of garlic sometimes consist of a small clove compared to other varieties, as far as size is concerned. 

Does the paper-like skin of garlic serve a purpose?

The very outer layer of garlic consists of a thin papery skin that’s usually white in color. This covers the entire garlic bulb as well as each individual clove. But it doesn’t affect the clove count. 

The paper-like skin helps to preserve the fresh garlic cloves for later use when stored in a cool, dry place. 

The first step when using raw garlic from the local grocery store is to remove the papery skin from the entire bulb. Then you can remove the skins from each of the cloves that you plan to use. The most common way to do this is to cut the top and bottom using a sharp knife, then peel it back using your fingers.

After this has been completed, the garlic is ready to be used for making garlic bread or added to your pasta dish or your favorite recipe. 

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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