Garlic Paste Uses

Garlic paste is a versatile kitchen staple that can add flavor to all kinds of savory dishes.

Garlic Paste Uses

Made by blending garlic cloves into a smooth paste, it provides an easy way to incorporate the taste of fresh garlic without having to chop cloves every time.

Garlic paste can be prepared ahead in batches and refrigerated or frozen for future use.

With its pungent and slightly sweet flavor, garlic paste enhances meats, vegetables, grains, legumes, and more. It’s a quick way to add a flavor boost without too much effort.

Making and Storing Your Own Garlic Paste

Before diving into the best uses for garlic paste, let’s go over the basics of making and storing your own to have on hand.

With just a few simple steps, you can prepare enough to last for weeks:

  1. Peel the garlic cloves. For ease, you can purchase pre-peeled garlic cloves or peel them yourself.
  2. Place the peeled garlic in a food processor or blender. For 1 pound of cloves, add approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The oil helps facilitate the blending.
  3. Blend to a smooth, paste-like consistency. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add a small amount of extra oil or water if it’s too thick.
  4. Transfer the garlic paste to an airtight container and smooth out the top. Top with a thin later of olive oil to help prevent oxidation.
  5. Refrigerate and use within 1-2 weeks, or freeze cubed portions to store longer term.

Enhancing Meat and Seafood

Meat and seafood dishes pair perfectly with the bold flavor of garlic. Garlic paste blends seamlessly into tasty marinades, spice rubs, sautés, and more to give these protein-packed dishes a flavor boost.

Easy Marinades

Marinating meat, chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, or tofu in garlic paste builds incredible flavor in the protein. For a fast marinade, combine:

  • Garlic paste
  • Olive oil or yogurt
  • Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, oregano or cilantro
  • Spices such as cumin, paprika, chili powder or curry powder
  • Acidic components like lemon juice, vinegar or wine

Slather the mixture all over the protein, marinate for anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight, then cook as desired. The garlic paste infuses the meat or seafood with its signature flavor for delicious results every time.

For example, a Mediterranean chicken marinade with garlic paste, olive oil, lemon, oregano and parsley takes the chicken next level. Skewered shrimp marinated in garlic paste, oil, lime juice and cumin then grilled perfectly blends delicious flavors.

Savory Rubs and Seasonings

In the realm of spice rubs and coatings, garlic paste always plays nicely with other flavors. Mix it with olive oil plus an array of spices for a general purpose rub that works beautifully on most proteins.

Get creative with ethnic flavor profiles by blending garlic paste into rubs with ingredients like chili powder, cumin and oregano for Mexican-style dishes or curry powder, coriander and ginger for Indian cuisine.

Coat proteins generously with the rub and let sit for 15-30 minutes before pan searing, baking, grilling or broiling. The paste in the rub both tenderizes and infuses savory garlic flavor right into the meat, poultry, seafood or tofu.

Sauté Base

Another fantastic way to utilize garlic paste is as a flavor base for sautéing protein. Heat up some olive oil in a pan, then sauté a tablespoon or two of garlic paste for 30-60 seconds before adding in slices of meat, chicken, fish fillets, shrimp and so on.

As the garlic paste sizzles, it becomes incredibly aromatic and develops deeper flavors. Mingling the browned garlic paste with the protein as it cooks builds amazing taste right into the dish.

Stir Fries and Curries

When making flavorful stir fries or curries, ginger garlic paste combines beautifully with the other ingredients. Sauté the paste briefly in oil before adding veggies, protein and sauce ingredients.

The blended ginger and garlic infuse the entire dish with their heady flavors and also help tenderize meats like chicken, beef, pork or lamb.

So for flavorful protein dishes bursting with savory garlic goodness, don’t hesitate to utilize garlic paste in marinades, rubs, sautés and more. It takes the flavor up a notch with little effort required.

Key Takeaway: Blend garlic paste into marinades, rubs, stir fries and sautés to infuse proteins with big flavor.

Pumping Up Vegetables

Garlic paste not only excels at bringing out flavor in animal proteins, but makes vegetables taste even better too. It provides the perfect flavor bridge to marry vegetables with herbs, spices, vinegars and oils.

Sautéed Veggies

Sautéing garlic paste briefly in olive oil then adding vegetables is an easy route to heightened flavors. Try it out with heartier veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower or potatoes.

Or for a Mediterranean twist, sauté garlic paste as the base for eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes or peppers. No matter what veggies you choose, the garlic paste enhances their inherent flavors and adds an extra depth.

Finish off the sautéed veggies simply with lemon juice and parsley, or spice it up with additions like cumin, paprika or Italian herbs.

Roasting Garlic Flavor

When roasting vegetables in the oven, rub them first with a blend of garlic paste, olive oil and spices. Coat vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, squash, onions or eggplant with the infused oil before roasting.

As the vegetables caramelize in the oven, the garlic paste concentrates into a sweet, aromatic flavor that perfectly balances out the vegetables’ natural sugars.

Pasta Sauces and Stews

Garlic paste can make a flavorful addition to all sorts of chunky vegetable sauces and stews. Sauté it briefly with aromatics like onions and carrots before adding vegetables, stock and seasonings.

For example, try adding garlic paste when preparing ratatouille, minestrone soup, beef and barley stew, vegetable chili or lentil dal. The garlic perfectly bridges the different components with its heady flavor and aroma.

So put garlic paste to good use in all kinds of veggie dishes, from sautés and roasts to hearty stews and sauces. It adds wonderful dimension without overpowering the natural flavors of the vegetables themselves.

Key Takeaway: Sauté, roast or simmer garlic paste with veggies to add flavor depth without overpowering.

Infusing Flavor into Grains and Beans

In addition to protein and veggies, garlic paste can bolster the flavor of grains and beans. It enhances staple side dishes and turns them into something special.

Rice, Quinoa and Couscous

For elevated rice, quinoa or couscous, start by briefly sautéing garlic paste in olive or coconut oil before adding the grain itself. As the grains toast, the garlic paste infuses them with its heady aroma.

Then simply finish cooking the grains in broth, stock or water per usual. The garlic-studded grains perfectly accompany all different types of protein and vegetable pairings.

You can keep it simple with just garlic paste or expand the flavor layers by adding extras like lemon zest, parsley, cumin or curry powder too.

Beans and Lentils

Just as with grains, sauté garlic paste as the starting point when cooking beans or lentils. Cook briefly with oil or ghee to develop the flavors before adding beans/lentils and liquid.

Garlic paste is especially complementary with boldly flavored beans like chickpeas, black beans and red kidney beans. But the flavor also nicely balances the earthiness of lentils and cannellini beans.

Finish beans/lentils simply with olive oil, smoked paprika and cilantro or expand the flavors with additions like onions, tomato, ginger and chili powder.

So across the board when preparing grains, beans or lentils, don’t hesitate to start off with some garlic paste for an instant injection of flavor. It takes these humble side dishes from boring to brilliant with minimal effort.

Key Takeaway: Quickly sauté garlic paste in oil before cooking grains or beans for next-level side dishes bursting with flavor.


How long does homemade garlic paste last?

  • Refrigerated: 5-7 days
  • Frozen: 6 months

What kind of oil is best for making garlic paste?

Olive, vegetable, coconut, avocado and grapeseed oil all work well. Olive oil adds its own flavor profile.

Can garlic paste be frozen?

Yes! Freeze cubed portions in ice cube trays, then transfer to airtight bags or containers.

What is garlic paste used for?

Enhancing the flavor of meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, grains, beans and many other savory dishes.

Is garlic paste the same as minced garlic?

No. Garlic paste has a more concentrated flavor since the cloves are finely puréed rather than roughly chopped. Use about 1 teaspoon garlic paste per clove.

Does garlic paste need to be refrigerated after opening?

Yes. Keep refrigerated a maximum of 5-7 days for food safety. Discard if mold develops.


With its versatile flavor that enhances all sorts of savory dishes, garlic paste is a handy staple for every home cook.

Use it to lift flavors in everything from meaty main dishes to satisfying vegetable and grain sides.

Unlimited Recipes
Unlimited Recipes

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