For any home cook who loves using garlic to add big flavor to dishes, having a jar of garlic powder in the pantry is a must.
This versatile seasoning can be used in everything from marinades to dressings to spice rubs. But for the freshest, most intense garlic flavor, nothing beats making your own homemade garlic powder.
Transform fresh garlic into a convenient dried powder with just a few simple steps.
Read on to learn the easy process of dehydrating and grinding garlic into a flavor-packed powder to use.
Gather Your Ingredients
The main ingredient you'll need for homemade garlic powder is fresh garlic. For best results, use garlic that is fresh, firm, and hasn't sprouted. Soft or sprouted garlic will lead to an inferior finished product. You can use conventional garlic from the grocery store, but for maximum flavor, seek out fresh, local garlic from a farmer's market or specialty grocer.
Figure on using about one pound of garlic to yield around 1/2 cup of garlic powder. One pound is usually around 3-4 whole bulbs of garlic. Buy a few extra bulbs than you think you'll need in case any go bad when you peel them.
While not a necessity, you may want to invest in a pair of food prep gloves to wear while handling the garlic. The oils from the garlic can really linger on your skin. Gloves help minimize this.
Prep the Garlic for Dehydrating
Start by breaking the bulbs into individual cloves of garlic. Lay them out on a cutting board or work surface.
Next, peel the papery outer skin off each clove. This can be one of the more tedious steps. There are a few tricks to make it go faster:
- Use a silicone garlic peeler tube to roll and squeeze the cloves inside and eject the peeled garlic out the other end.
- Place unpeeled cloves in a large bowl, cover with another bowl, and shake vigorously to loosen skins.
- Press down on a clove with the flat side of a chef's knife to break the skin's grip.
Once peeled, trim off the hard nub at the bottom of each clove and discard. Then, slice the garlic as thinly as possible, around 1/8 inch thick. The thinner the slices, the faster they will dehydrate.
Lay the slices out in a single layer on parchment paper on a baking sheet, dehydrator trays, or a silicone drying mat. Make sure the slices are in a single layer and aren't overlapping or they won't dehydrate evenly.
Dehydrate the Garlic
You can dehydrate garlic in your oven or a food dehydrator. The dehydrator is preferred for the best flavor retention.
- Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, usually between 150-200°F.
- Place garlic slices in the oven on the middle rack.
- Dehydrate for 1-2 hours, checking and stirring every 30 minutes.
- Arrange garlic slices on dehydrator trays.
- Set the temperature to 125°F.
- Dehydrate for 4-12 hours.
No matter which method you use, the garlic is ready when the slices are completely dried out and brittle. They should snap cleanly when bent. If any bend, keep drying.
Grind the Dehydrated Garlic
Once the garlic slices are crispy and dry, you're ready to grind them into a fine powder. Let them cool completely first if they were in the oven.
You can use a spice grinder, blender, food processor, or coffee grinder to grind the garlic. Work in small batches and pulse to a fine powder. Avoid over-grinding which can cause the garlic to become gummy.
For the finest powder, sift the ground garlic through a fine mesh strainer to remove any large pieces or chunks. You can regrind these to extract more powder.
Plain garlic powder is delicious, but you can also experiment with infused garlic powders:
- Smoke the garlic before dehydrating for smoked garlic powder
- Dehydrate roasted garlic cloves for a mellower flavor
- Blend with dried herbs like parsley or oregano
- Add chili powder or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick
- Mix in onion powder for a robust blend
Store and Use Your Homemade Garlic Powder
Transfer the finished garlic powder to an airtight container like a mason jar or empty spice jar. Store in a cool, dry place away from light. For maximum freshness, use within a year.
Then get ready to use your homemade garlic powder in all sorts of dishes:
- Sprinkle on meats, potatoes, vegetables, eggs
- Blend into spice rubs and marinades
- Mix into salad dressings, sauces and dips
- Add to soups, stews and chilis
- Use in place of fresh garlic in any recipe
With its concentrated flavor, a little garlic powder goes a long way! Start with 1/8 teaspoon equivalent to one fresh garlic clove. Adjust to taste.
Making your own garlic powder allows you to control the quality and flavor. Once you try homemade, you'll never go back to the store-bought powder again!
Garlic Powder Recipe
- 1 pound fresh garlic cloves (about 3-4 bulbs)
- Parchment paper
- Food dehydrator or oven
- Blender, food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle
- Fine mesh strainer
- Airtight containers for storage
- Break bulbs into individual cloves and peel. Trim hard nub at the bottom of each clove.
- Thinly slice cloves, about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet or dehydrator tray.
- Dehydrate garlic slices at 125°F in a dehydrator for 4-12 hours, or at 150-200°F in the oven for 1-2 hours. Check frequently and remove slices as they fully dry and become brittle.
- Allow dried garlic slices to cool completely. Transfer to a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder. Work in batches and avoid over-grinding.
- Sift powder through a fine mesh strainer to remove any chunks. Re-grind chunks if needed to extract more powder.
- Transfer garlic powder to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place. Use within 1 year for the best flavor.
Can I use a garlic press instead of slicing the cloves?
Using a garlic press to mince the garlic into very small pieces can work instead of slicing. However, take care to spread the minced garlic out in a thin layer on the dehydrator trays or baking sheet so it dries evenly. Clumped minced garlic may not dehydrate fully.
Is smoked garlic powder safe to eat if some pieces look burnt?
Some black speckles or charred edges on smoked garlic cloves are normal and safe to eat. However, if the garlic cloves are mostly blackened or have a bitter, acrid taste when sampled before grinding, it is best to discard them. Only use cloves that taste pleasantly caramelized and smoky.
Can I use a coffee grinder that I also use for coffee beans?
It is best to use a dedicated coffee grinder just for spices and dried herbs, not your everyday coffee bean grinder. The potent flavors will linger between uses. If you do use a shared grinder, grind some raw rice first to absorb coffee oils, then thoroughly clean it before and after grinding garlic.
How long does homemade garlic powder last in the pantry?
Properly dried and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, homemade garlic powder will stay fresh for up to 1 year. After that, it is still safe to use but the flavor and potency will start to diminish over time. For maximum flavor, make garlic powder in small batches and use within a few months.
Can I use roasted garlic instead of fresh to make the powder?
Yes, you can use pre-roasted garlic cloves or roasted garlic paste to make garlic powder. The flavor will be a bit mellower and sweeter than powder made from fresh cloves. Follow the same dehydrating and grinding steps. Just be sure the roasted garlic is dried fully before grinding.
With the step-by-step instructions provided, you can easily make your own garlic powder at home.
Once you experience the superior flavor of homemade versus store-bought, you'll never buy the pre-ground powder again!
Making your own allows you to control the freshness and customize the flavor exactly how you like it.
Plus, you can make big batches to keep your pantry well-stocked.
Use your homemade garlic powder to add instant flavor to all your go-to meals and recipes.