How many garlic make a pound?

Garlic is a popular aromatic ingredient used in many cuisines around the world. With its distinctive pungent and bold flavor, garlic adds depth and complexity to dishes. When cooking with garlic, it is often useful to know how much garlic equals a certain weight measurement like pounds or ounces. This allows cooks to easily substitute amounts in recipes or prepare the needed quantity for a dish.

Quick Answer

On average, about 15 medium garlic bulbs make up one pound. The exact number can vary depending on the size and variety of the garlic. Very large garlic bulbs may yield closer to 12 per pound, while smaller garlic cloves could reach 17 or more per pound.

Garlic Sizing and Weights

Garlic bulbs come in a range of sizes, from very small cloves to giant garlic bulbs. The most common commercial size is a medium bulb, which has about 8-12 individual garlic cloves per bulb. Giant garlic bulbs may have just 4-6 giant cloves, while very small bulbs could have up to 20 tiny cloves.

In general, the larger the garlic cloves, the fewer will make up a pound. Giant garlic cloves weigh about 1/2 ounce each. Medium cloves are roughly 1/4 ounce each. Tiny cloves may be as light as 1/8 ounce apiece.

Average Garlic Cloves per Pound

  • Giant garlic cloves: 12-14 per pound
  • Extra Large garlic cloves: 15-17 per pound
  • Medium garlic cloves: 16-18 per pound
  • Small garlic cloves: 18-20 per pound

Keep in mind that these numbers are averages. Actual counts will vary based on growing conditions, variety, moisture content, and size grading.

Measuring Garlic Quantities

When a recipe calls for a certain amount of garlic, it can be helpful to know how that translates to cloves and bulbs. Here are some common garlic measurements:

  • 1 medium bulb = about 8-12 cloves = 1 1/2 to 2 ounces
  • 1 large bulb = 12-16 cloves = 2 to 3 ounces
  • 1 extra large bulb = 16-20 cloves = 3 to 4 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic = about 1 medium clove
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic = about 3 medium cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic = about 8 medium cloves or 2 bulbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic = about 16 medium cloves or 4 bulbs

Garlic Equivalents

Amount Cloves Bulbs
1 teaspoon minced 1 medium 1/8 bulb
1 tablespoon minced 3 medium 1/4 bulb
1/4 cup chopped 8 medium 2 bulbs
1/2 cup chopped 16 medium 4 bulbs

Factors Affecting Garlic Weights

Keep in mind that garlic bulb and clove sizes can vary quite a bit based on several factors:

  • Variety – Some garlic types naturally produce larger bulbs and cloves. Elephant garlic has very large cloves.
  • Growing Conditions – Longer growing seasons, ideal soils, and proper fertilization can increase garlic bulb size.
  • Harvesting – Garlic harvested early may have smaller cloves than garlic cured on the plant longer.
  • Grading – Producers may grade bulbs into size categories, with the largest bulbs packaged separately.
  • Processing – Dehydrated, freeze dried, or other processed garlic products have lower moisture content than fresh garlic.

These factors mean that the number of cloves per pound can show quite a bit of variability. Unless you know the specific variety and growing details, the average values provide a good starting point.

Tips for Measuring Garlic

When you need a specific amount of garlic for a recipe, keep these tips in mind:

  • Weigh garlic on a kitchen scale for the most accurate quantity.
  • Count out the needed number of garlic cloves, keeping track as you add them to the dish.
  • Start with the average number of cloves per pound and adjust to suit your specific garlic.
  • Bear in mind moisture content if substituting fresh garlic for jars, tubes, or other prepared products.
  • Chop or slice garlic before using for the most uniform pieces.
  • Consider garlic’s strength and your tastes when using strong varieties like elephant garlic.

Storing Garlic

Fresh garlic bulbs will keep for several months if properly stored, but over time the cloves will slowly dry out. Follow these tips for maintaining freshness:

  • Store whole bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Keep garlic away from moisture and extreme heat.
  • Do not refrigerate or freeze unpeeled garlic bulbs.
  • Use containers that allow air circulation to prevent mold.
  • Wrap peeled cloves or crushed garlic in plastic wrap before refrigerating.
  • Store prepared minced garlic in oil or vinegar in the refrigerator.
  • Discard garlic bulbs that show signs of mold, sprouting, or spoilage.

With proper storage conditions, fresh garlic bulbs should retain their firm texture and robust flavor for several months after harvesting.

Picking Garlic at the Store

When buying garlic at the grocery store, here are some tips for selecting fresh, flavorful bulbs:

  • Look for firm bulbs with tight skin and no soft or missing cloves.
  • Avoid bulbs with green sprouts or significant mold.
  • Gently squeeze bulbs to check for loose papery skins.
  • Select bulbs with large cloves when possible.
  • Choose bulbs of similar size to ensure even cooking.
  • Read packaging labels for harvest date and variety information.

Buying fresh garlic within a few months of harvest and storing properly helps retain maximum flavor and aroma.

Using Garlic in Recipes

To get the most out of your garlic, keep these tips in mind when using it in recipes:

  • Prep – Peel cloves just before using to prevent oxidation. Leave whole or mince/chop as needed.
  • Cook – Crush or slice garlic before sautéing to mellow its bite and bring out sweetness.
  • Roast – Low, slow roasting caramelizes garlic and provides a rich, sweet flavor.
  • Infuse – Steep crushed garlic in oil or vinegar to impart flavor.
  • Substitute – In a pinch, garlic powder or granulated garlic provides a similar taste.

Maximize the flavor of garlic by using it thoughtfully. Its pungency mellows and sweetness increases during cooking.


Determining garlic quantities by weight instead of bulbs or cloves provides the most consistent and reliable results. On average, expect around 15 medium-sized garlic bulbs or 135-150 cloves to make a pound. But garlic bulb and clove sizes can vary quite a bit based on variety, growing conditions, and processing factors. For best results, weigh garlic amounts directly for recipes whenever possible. With properly stored fresh garlic bulbs, a little goes a long way thanks to garlic’s assertive flavor and aroma.

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