How to Make Garlic Powder
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Making garlic powder at home is easy and satisfying. Turning your fresh garlic into garlic powder is also an excellent way to preserve garlic. Homemade garlic powder can be made in just a few steps. The whole process to make garlic powder takes about 10-15 hours but most of that time in inactive while the garlic is dehydrating.
Each year, we grow enough garlic to last us all year-round, plus provide seed garlic for the next year. We harvest and store the garlic carefully and use it all winter. But we often have more whole garlic heads than we need, and sometimes we really just want garlic powder for certain recipes.
According to Bevin Clare, in her book Spice Apothecary, high quality garlic powder has several health benefits. While fresh garlic is king, garlic powder can also contribute to “the prevention of hypertension, cardiovascular conditions, immune disregulation, and even some types of cancers.” (p. 58)
How do you make Garlic Powder?
Making homemade garlic powder takes just a few simple steps:
- Peel garlic cloves
- Thinly slice garlic cloves
- Dry garlic slices
- Grind garlic slices into a powder
- Sift ground garlic through a fine mesh strainer
- Store garlic powder in a well-sealed container
But lets get a little bit more specific about the steps for making garlic powder with a few helpful hints (or click here to go straight to the detailed how-to instructions).
What kind of Garlic makes the best Garlic Powder?
Did you know that there are hundreds of varieties of garlic? In addition to the basic two categories of “hardneck vs softneck” there are fun varieties like Georgia Fire, Okenagen Blue, Music, German White, and so many more. While you may not taste a huge difference when cooking with these different varieties, a garlic connoisseur knows that some varieties are spicier or sweeter than others, and that some last longer in storage or form larger heads.
Garlic powder can be made with any type of garlic, but you want to make sure your garlic is FRESH. I would not recommend using grocery store garlic as you never know how long that garlic has been sitting around or how fresh the flavor will be. If you haven’t grown your own garlic, find a nearby farmer who has or ask at your local farm market. You’ll find the freshest garlic in late summer or early fall when the harvest is fairly fresh.
In addition, because you have to slice the garlic cloves, I like working with a variety that forms larger heads like German White or Music. These two varieties are known for good flavor and tend to have large bulbs that are easy to cut and provide a lot of “meat” to work with.
How Much Garlic Powder do you get from one Head of Garlic?
Like many homesteading chores, the answer to this one is “it depends.” It depends on the size of your garlic head, of course, how much powder you will end up with. But you might be surprised but how much garlic powder you get from each head of garlic!
I tend to use larger heads of garlic, and I have found that 5-6 heads will fill 3 trays of my dehydrator when sliced and fill a spice jar with garlic powder after all is said and done.
A typical spice jar is about 2 oz, so if it takes about 6 heads to fill a two ounce jar, I estimate that one large head of garlic makes about 1/4 – 1/3 ounce of garlic. If you want to make enough for gifts or a larger jar, you can use that estimate to calculate how many heads you think you’ll need. But of course results may vary!
Do you Need a Dehydrator to Dry Garlic?
There are a few options when it comes to dehydrating your garlic for garlic powder.
- Dehydrate garlic in a warm, dry room by slicing garlic and laying it on a screen, or using a needle and threat to hang slices to dry.
- Dehydrate garlic in your oven by slicing, laying on a sheet pan (works better on parchment or a cooling rack for air circulation) at the lowest possible temperature.
- Dehydrate garlic in a counter-top electric dehydrator.
I’m going to be honest – the first method (air drying) can take quite a long time and has unpredictable results. It will work, but watch your garlic carefully. The second method (oven) can also be risky because the lowest temperature in an oven is still a little hotter than I’d really like for dehydrating. You risk browning / burning the garlic if you aren’t really attentive.
So, for me, the best method is in my counter-top electric dehydrator. I can control the temperature at a lower setting. I can place the dehydrator in a porch to avoid stinking up the whole house (though I love the smell of garlic, it can get really pungent while drying). I can dry multiple trays at once, and I can keep an eye on the garlic easily to ensure that it doesn’t brown. The how-to method below uses a dehydrator for all of these reasons.
A dehydrator has many other useful applications, and I personally believe it is a worthwhile investment for a homestead. For more information on choosing the right dehydrator for your needs, check out this article.
How to Make Garlic Powder
- Dehydrator (or other drying method)
- Spice Grinder, Coffee Grinder, or Mortar and Pestle
- Cutting Board
- 4-6 large Garlic Heads preferably from your garden or a local farm!
- Separate garlic heads into cloves and peel garlic cloves.
- Slice garlic cloves into thin, uniform slices. Uniform slices will dry at the same rate and help to avoid burning some slices while you wait for others to be ready.
- Lay garlic cloves on your dehydrator trays with room between them for air to flow. Do not overlap.
- Set the dehydrator on a low temperature (95 degrees) and set in a place where there is good air circulation (a porch with open windows works great)
- Check the garlic after 10-12 hours. When it is fully dried, the slices should break in half with a crunch instead of bending. It make take up to 15 hours to reach this point.
- Once dry, use a spice grinder, coffee grinder (used for spices) or mortar and pestle to grind the garlic in batches.
- Sift the ground garlic through a fine meshed strainer to keep larger chunks out of your garlic powder. This will result in a fine powder. Larger pieces may have a higher moisture content and cause the powder to clump up; set these aside and use them sooner in cooking.
- Place garlic powder into a spice jar or other glass container that seals out air and moisture (or a ziploc bag).