Garlic Powder Uses

Garlic powder is a popular ingredient used in many savory dishes.

Garlic Powder Uses

It is made from dehydrated, ground garlic cloves and often used as a substitute for fresh garlic.

Garlic powder has a strong, pungent flavor that enhances the taste of meats, vegetables, pasta dishes, sauces, and more.

What is Garlic Powder?

Garlic powder is simply garlic cloves that have been finely chopped and dehydrated until all moisture is removed. The dehydrated garlic pieces are then ground into a fine powder.

Garlic powder has an intensely concentrated flavor of garlic due to the dehydration process. A little bit of garlic powder goes a long way when cooking. It is usually used in smaller amounts compared to fresh garlic.

Some key differences between garlic powder and fresh garlic:

  • Garlic powder has a more concentrated, intense garlic flavor. Fresh garlic has a mellower flavor.
  • Garlic powder brings only garlic flavor. Fresh garlic provides flavor and the texture/chunkiness that some dishes require.
  • Garlic powder is shelf-stable for 1-2 years. Fresh garlic expires after a few weeks.
  • Garlic powder is easier to incorporate into recipes. Fresh garlic needs to be chopped, minced, smashed etc.

Garlic powder is ideal when you want to add pure garlic flavor without changing the texture of a dish too much. It also has a longer shelf life compared to fresh garlic.

Popular Uses for Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is a versatile ingredient used to add flavor to all kinds of savory dishes:

Seasoning Meat, Poultry and Fish

Sprinkling garlic powder onto meat, poultry or fish before cooking really boosts the flavor. The garlic notes nicely complement beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, shrimp and more.

A common technique is to combine garlic powder with other dried herbs and spices to create a custom blend for seasoning proteins. For example, this herb-crusted pork tenderloin uses a mixture of garlic powder, oregano, thyme and parsley:

Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mix the garlic powder blend together and rub it evenly over the pork tenderloin before roasting or grilling. This adds incredible flavor to the pork.

You can make similar garlic powder spice blends for rubbing on other types of meat before cooking.

Adding Flavor to Vegetables

Garlic powder is amazing with all kinds of vegetables - potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans and more. Simply sprinkle some on the vegetables before roasting, sautéing or making a veggie casserole.

For example, these oven-baked garlic parmesan potatoes are irresistible:

Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The garlic powder gives so much extra flavor and complements the cheese beautifully. Just bake the potatoes with the garlic powder and other ingredients until crispy.

Adding Depth to Sauces and Soups

Garlic powder works great in tomato sauce, pasta sauce, chili and soups. It adds an extra savory depth and garlicky flavor without having big chunks of garlic in the dish.

For instance, try adding 1 teaspoon of garlic powder the next time you make homemade tomato or pasta sauce. Or add half a teaspoon to your favorite chili or soup recipe. It takes the flavor up a notch!

Boosting Flavor in Pasta and Pizza

Pasta, pizza, calzones - these dishes all pair nicely with the flavor of garlic. Use garlic powder to give an extra garlicky boost to all kinds of Italian food:

  • Add 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder to any homemade or store-bought pasta sauce
  • Sprinkle garlic powder onto pizza crust before adding sauce and toppings
  • Add some to the fillings for calzones or homemade pizza dough
  • Mix garlic powder into pasta salad dressings or dips for breadsticks

A little bit of garlic powder makes a big difference in flavor!

Creating Salad Dressings and Dips

Garlic powder is perfect for homemade salad dressings, especially creamy and vinaigrette dressings. Simply add about 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon per cup of dressing.

It also jazzes up all kinds of dip recipes like hummus, baba ghanoush, artichoke dip and spinach dip. Start with 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder for every 1 to 2 cups of dip and adjust to taste.

Seasoning Snack Foods

Make your own homemade chips, nuts, popcorn and other snack foods more delicious with garlic powder:

  • Toss potato wedges, sweet potato fries or homemade tortilla chips with some garlic powder and olive oil before baking
  • Sprinkle garlic powder onto hot popcorn or trail mix
  • Swirl some garlic powder into melted butter and use it as a dip for breadsticks or pretzels

Adding Garlic Flavor to Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are even better with a dose of garlicky flavor. Simply add 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder when making a batch of mashed potatoes. You can also stir it into potato wedges or home fries.

Using in Bread and Rolls

Garlic powder is nice in homemade bread dough recipes. Add about 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon per loaf. It gives great garlic flavor to bread, rolls, bagels, flatbread and more.

If baking store-bought bread or rolls, try brushing some melted butter mixed with garlic powder over the top before baking.

Key Takeaway: Garlic powder enhances the flavor of meats, vegetables, sauces, pasta, pizza, dressings, dips and snack foods. It adds pure garlicky flavor without texture.

How Much Garlic Powder Should You Use?

Garlic powder has an intense, concentrated flavor. You generally need less garlic powder compared to fresh garlic in recipes. Here are some guidelines on amounts to use:

Rule of Thumb:

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder = 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder = 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder = 5-6 cloves fresh garlic

So if a recipe calls for 2 minced garlic cloves, you would use around 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder instead. Start on the lower end of the substitution ratio then taste and adjust upwards if you want a stronger garlic presence.

Since garlic powder flavors can vary between brands, start with a little and slowly add more until the flavor profile is right where you want it.

Also keep in mind that garlic powder clumps easily because it's so finely ground. Make sure to break up any clumps before measuring out the garlic powder so you get an accurate amount.

Key Takeaway: As a general rule: 1⁄4 tsp garlic powder = 1 clove fresh garlic. Slowly add garlic powder to taste since flavor intensity varies. Break up any clumps before measuring.

What’s the Difference Between Garlic Powder vs. Garlic Salt?

Garlic salt is another common garlic seasoning. So how does it differ from regular garlic powder?

Garlic powder contains only one ingredient - garlic. It is pure dehydrated, ground garlic without any additives. This allows the true garlic flavor to shine.

Garlic salt contains garlic powder plus salt (usually table salt or kosher salt). Some brands also add an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping.

So garlic powder provides just the flavor. Garlic salt contains garlic flavor plus extra saltiness.

Choose garlic powder if you just want to add garlic taste without changing the saltiness of your dish. Use garlic salt to infuse garlic flavor while simultaneously making your food a bit saltier.

Also keep in mind that garlic salt is generally used in smaller amounts compared to garlic powder since it contains salt. Start with just a small pinch of garlic salt and slowly increase to taste.

Key Takeaway: Garlic powder contains only garlic, while garlic salt also contains salt. Garlic powder just enhances flavor. Garlic salt boosts garlic notes while making food saltier. Adjust amounts accordingly when substituting one for the other.

Tips for Cooking with Garlic Powder

Here are some handy tips for cooking with garlic powder:

  • Add it early: The flavor will develop better if the garlic powder cooks with the rest of the ingredients for a longer period of time.
  • Use in marinades: Let meat or veggies hang out in a garlic powder marinade for extra flavor infusion.
  • Bloom in oil: Sauté garlic powder briefly in hot oil to intensify its flavor before adding other ingredients.
  • Combine with herbs/spices: Garlic powder commonly pairs well with onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme and parsley.
  • Store properly: Keep garlic powder in an airtight container away from moisture, heat and sunlight to maximize freshness.

Also keep in mind that burning the garlic powder will result in a bitter taste. Take care not to overheat or blacken it.

Finally, some people are allergic to garlic and garlic powder contains enough allergens to cause a reaction in sensitive individuals. So be aware of this if cooking for someone with a known garlic allergy.


Can garlic powder be substituted evenly for fresh garlic?

Not always. Garlic powder provides the flavor but not the texture or bulk that minced or finely chopped garlic would provide. So it depends on the recipe. Garlic powder works as an equal substitute in dressings, dips, sauces, spice rubs etc. But for recipes where texture is important (such as garlic bread), fresh garlic would be better.

Is garlic powder spicy?

Yes, garlic powder has a spicy, pungent flavor thanks to natural compounds present in garlic. However, garlic powder is usually not nearly as hot and spicy as things like chili powder or cayenne pepper.

What flavors go well with garlic powder?

Some ingredients that pair nicely with garlic powder are olive oil, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley, paprika, lemon juice and butter. Garlic powder also complements eggs, chicken, pork, shrimp and hearty vegetables like potatoes, carrots, broccoli and green beans.

Can you use garlic powder to keep vampires away?

There is no conclusive scientific proof that vampires exist or that garlic does/doesn’t ward them off! However, vampire mythology usually cites the stronger, more pungent flavors of raw, fresh garlic as being the vampire deterrent. Milder garlic powder probably doesn’t pack enough punch. But it couldn’t hurt to sprinkle some around just in case!


Garlic powder is an extremely versatile seasoning that infuses a lovely garlicky flavor into all kinds of savory dishes. It enhances the flavor of meats, vegetables, sauces, pasta, pizza, salads, dressings, dips and more.

While garlic powder makes a good substitute for fresh garlic in certain recipes, it does lack the texture and bulk that chopped or minced garlic would provide. It's all about the flavor when cooking with garlic powder.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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