Years ago a friend of mine showed me how to roast garlic whole and eat the warm, toasty cloves right out of the head. How wonderfully simple! And perfect for garlic lovers.

Roasting garlic changes the chemical makeup of the garlic so that it’s easier to digest. You can eat a lot more garlic if it is completely cooked, with fewer side effects than you would get from eating raw garlic. (If you’re into chemistry, you can read more about this process in the Wikipedia.)

Roasted garlic can take a recipe from 0 to 100 real quick. Unlike raw cloves, there’s no bite in roasted garlic at all. Instead what you get are little golden nuggets of flavor. Insanely creamy and with a punch of umami that will instantly upgrade any meal, you can add roasted garlic to almost anything savory — fall soupsmashed potatoes, salad dressings, and hummus. Or you can simply spread some on toast. After a little less than an hour, it will be soft like butter. 

Trust us. You’ll know the garlic is ready when your kitchen smells outrageously and maddeningly good, and when you can very easily pierce a clove with a knife. When you reach this point, it’s important to let the garlic cool for a bit, then simply use your fingers to squeeze the bottom of the cloves out of the skin. Don’t try to scoop them out or you’ll risk leaving behind some amazing garlic. 

If you’re as obsessed with the flavor as we are, it’s probably a good idea to roast a few heads and freeze the extras. (Seriously, this is a game changer.) Refrigerated roasted garlic will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Frozen, it’ll stay good for a few months. When roasting more than one head of garlic, there’s no need to create individual foil packs; they can all roast together. 

If you’re interested in finding more ways to incorporate garlic into your life, check out our extra garlicky wedge salad recipe where we’ll teach you how to confit garlic. You’ll get the same spreadable cloves but you’ll also be blessed with a pungent oil that is great as the basis of a dressing or tossed with pasta.

Short on time? Separate the cloves (leaving the skins in tact) and wrap them in foil. You’ll cut back on a considerable amount of time and the results will be equally satisfying. 

Leave a comment below with your favorite use for roasted garlic!

Eat the caramelized roasted cloves directly out of the heads, or add them to pasta dishes, mash them up and spread them over toast, or mix them with sour cream for a dip.https://eb79be118daa054e6161dcc66ce358aa.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

If you are sensitive to raw garlic, you may find that you can much more easily eat roasted garlic.

Garlic roasted in foil.
Alison Bickel

Video: How to Make Roasted Garlic

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How to Roast Garlic

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Roasted Garlic

PREP TIME5 minsCOOK TIME35 minsTOTAL TIME40 minsSERVING1 head roasted garlic

Ingredients

  • One or more whole heads of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (205° C):A toaster oven works great for this.
  2. Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb.Leave intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlicFresh garlic on a wooden background.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of cloves.This exposes the individual cloves of garlic.Fresh garlic with the cloves exposed and set on a wooden background.https://eb79be118daa054e6161dcc66ce358aa.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
  4. Put garlic in baking pan or muffin tin:Place the garlic heads in a baking pan, cut side up. (A muffin pan works great for this, as it keeps the garlic bulbs from rolling around.)Fresh garlic with the cloves exposed set in a muffin tin.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil:Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves.
  6. Cover the bulb with aluminum foil.Foil wrapped head of garlic in a muffin tin.
  7. Bake:Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed.Roasted garlic cloves in a muffin tin.
  8. Cool and remove roasted garlic cloves from their skins:Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.Eat as is (I love straight roasted garlic) or mash with a fork and use for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.