How many cloves of garlic are in 2 tablespoons?

Garlic is a pungent, flavorful ingredient used in many savory dishes. When a recipe calls for garlic, it is often specified in cloves or in tablespoons. But how many cloves make up 2 tablespoons of garlic? The answer depends on the size and type of garlic used.

Quick Answer

As a general rule of thumb, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic contains about 6 medium cloves of garlic. However, garlic cloves can vary greatly in size. Smaller cloves may yield 8-12 cloves per 2 tablespoons, while larger cloves may only yield 4-5 cloves for 2 tablespoons.

Garlic Basics

Garlic is a bulbous vegetable that grows underground and consists of multiple segments called cloves. Each bulb can contain anywhere from 10-20 cloves or more. When separated from the bulb, individual cloves are usually around 1 inch long and about 1/2 inch wide, though the size can vary.

There are two main types of garlic – softneck and hardneck. Softneck garlic has a flexible stalk and smaller cloves. Hardneck garlic has a stiff central stalk and larger cloves. Different garlic varieties fall under these two main types.

Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic varieties include Artichoke, Silverskin and Creole. The cloves tend to be smaller and grow around the central stalk in concentric circles. On average, softneck garlic contains about 12-15 cloves per bulb.

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic varieties include Purple Stripe, Porcelain and Rocambole. The cloves are larger and grow around a stiff central stalk. Hardneck bulbs usually contain 6-12 cloves.

Estimating Cloves per Tablespoon

Since garlic cloves vary in size, the exact number contained in 2 tablespoons can only be estimated as a range. Here are some general guidelines for estimating:

  • Small softneck cloves (Artichoke, Silverskin): 8-12 cloves per 2 tablespoons
  • Large softneck cloves (Creole): 6-8 cloves per 2 tablespoons
  • Small hardneck cloves (Porcelain): 6-8 cloves per 2 tablespoons
  • Large hardneck cloves (Purple Stripe): 4-6 cloves per 2 tablespoons

As you can see, the smallest cloves may yield up to 12 per 2 tablespoons, while the largest may only have 4-5. Most commonly, 2 tablespoons contains around 6 medium cloves.

Weighing Garlic Cloves

For greater accuracy, the number of cloves in 2 tablespoons can be determined by weighing them. Here is the approximate weight equivalence:

  • 1 small garlic clove = 2-3 grams
  • 1 medium garlic clove = 4-5 grams
  • 1 large garlic clove = 6-7 grams

And the weight of 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) of minced garlic is:

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic = about 28 grams

So for medium cloves weighing 5 grams each, 28 grams would be about 5-6 cloves. For large cloves of 6-7 grams each, 28 grams would be about 4 cloves.

Weight to Volume Garlic Conversion

Whole Garlic Cloves Weight Volume
1 small clove 2-3 grams 1/4 teaspoon
1 medium clove 4-5 grams 1/2 teaspoon
1 large clove 6-7 grams 3/4 teaspoon
2 tablespoons (minced) 28 grams 2 tablespoons

This table provides garlic weights and approximate volumes for whole and minced cloves. You can use it to help convert between weights and tablespoon measurements when precision is important.

Factors Affecting Garlic Cloves per Tablespoon

Several factors beyond clove size can affect the number of garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons:

State of Garlic

2 tablespoons of minced garlic will contain more cloves than 2 tablespoons of sliced garlic. Mincing breaks down the garlic into tinier pieces.

Degree of Mincing

The more finely the garlic is minced, the more cloves may fit into 2 tablespoons. Coarsely minced garlic takes up more volume per clove than finely minced.

Moisture Content

Fresh raw garlic contains moisture, which slightly decreases its density compared to dried garlic. Measuring 2 tablespoons of rehydrated dried garlic may yield slightly more cloves than fresh garlic.


Compressing the minced garlic, such as by pressing down while measuring, can compact it and result in more cloves fitting into 2 tablespoons.

Tips for Measuring Garlic

Here are some tips for achieving accurate and consistent garlic measurements:

  • Weigh garlic cloves for the most precision – especially when uniformity is important for cooking.
  • Select garlic heads with cloves of similar size to minimize variability.
  • Crush/smash cloves first, remove peels, then mince or slice.
  • Aim for a consistent mince or slice size – not too fine or coarse.
  • Measure minced garlic lightly without compacting.
  • Level off the measuring spoon without compressing.
  • Use fresh garlic within a week or two for most accuracy.
  • Note the variety of garlic and clove size to better estimate amounts.

Converting Garlic Amounts in Recipes

When substituting whole garlic cloves for minced garlic, or vice versa, keep these garlic conversions in mind:

  • 1 medium garlic clove = about 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 medium garlic cloves = about 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic = about 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic = 4-6 medium garlic cloves

These conversions account for the difference in density between whole cloves and minced garlic based on average clove sizes. Adjust as needed if your cloves are noticeably smaller or larger.


So how much garlic is in 2 tablespoons? The short answer is around 4-6 medium-sized cloves. However, garlic clove sizes can vary quite a bit. Smaller cloves may yield over 8 cloves per 2 tablespoons, while larger cloves may yield only 4-5. For maximum precision, weigh the garlic cloves. As a general rule of thumb, expect 2 tablespoons of minced garlic to contain about 6 average-sized cloves of garlic.

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