How many mg is a clove of garlic?

Garlic is a popular ingredient used in cooking for its pungent flavor and aroma. But when following recipes, it can be tricky to figure out exactly how much garlic to use, especially when the recipe calls for cloves of garlic instead of a minced amount.

So how many milligrams are in a clove of garlic? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Clove of Garlic?

A clove of garlic refers to one segment of a whole garlic bulb. Garlic bulbs are made up of multiple cloves grouped together, usually around 10-20 cloves per bulb.

Each clove is covered with a thin papery skin that needs to be peeled off before using. Underneath the skin is an individual segment of garlic that has a tapered shape and pointed end.

When recipes call for “cloves of garlic”, they are referring to using the number of these single segments specified, rather than a minced amount.

Garlic Clove Sizes Vary

One complication with determining the exact milligram amount per clove is that not all garlic cloves are the same size. Just like other fruits and vegetables, there can be variation in size depending on the specific type and growth conditions of the garlic.

Some factors that affect garlic clove size:

  • Garlic variety – There are over 100 varieties of garlic, each with different characteristics.
  • Growing conditions – Factors like sunlight, soil quality, and water affect size.
  • Bulb size – Large bulbs tend to have larger cloves than small bulbs.
  • Position in bulb – Outer cloves tend to be larger than inner cloves.

So a “clove of garlic” could range in size depending on these variables. Larger cloves can be twice the size of smaller cloves from the same bulb.

Average Garlic Clove Size

Even with the variation in size, there are some general averages that can provide a baseline for understanding how many milligrams are in a clove of garlic.

According to research studies on garlic composition and weight, the average clove of garlic weighs around 3-7 grams.

This average clove size translates to:

  • 3,000 – 7,000 mg per clove
  • or 3 – 7 grams per clove

So for cooking purposes, it’s reasonable to estimate that the average clove of garlic provides around 5,000 milligrams, or 5 grams, by weight.

Milligrams of Garlic Per Teaspoon and Tablespoons

When garlic is used in cooking, it is most often minced or crushed before adding to a dish. Knowing how many milligrams of minced garlic are in a teaspoon or tablespoon can be helpful for recipes.

Approximate minced garlic amounts:

  • 1 teaspoon = 5,000 mg (or 1 medium clove)
  • 1 tablespoon = 15,000 mg (or 3 cloves)

So when a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, you would need about 3 average sized cloves to reach the 15,000 milligram amount.

Garlic Powder Milligrams

Garlic powder is a popular dried form of garlic used for convenience. The drying process concentrates the flavor and aroma compounds in garlic.

To convert cloves to garlic powder, keep in mind that:

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon = 250 mg

So for garlic powder, 250 milligrams is equivalent to the flavor provided by one clove of fresh garlic.

Mincing Garlic Cloves

When cooking with fresh garlic, mincing or crushing releases more of the flavorful compounds compared to using the clove whole.

Here are some tips for mincing garlic:

  • Use a chef’s knife or garlic press for mincing.
  • Remove any dried or loose papery skin, but leave root end intact.
  • Lay clove flat and slice thin strips horizontally across clove.
  • Turn garlic and cut thin strips vertically to dice into small pieces.
  • Keep chopping until the garlic is minced to desired consistency.
  • Mince garlic just before using for maximum flavor and aroma.

Storing Garlic

To maintain freshness and flavor of garlic bulbs and cloves:

  • Store bulbs loose, not bundled together
  • Keep in cool, dry place away from sunlight
  • Do not store garlic in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Once bulb is broken into individual cloves, use within a few days
  • Wrap leftover minced garlic tightly and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days

Picking Good Garlic

When selecting fresh garlic bulbs at the grocery store, look for these signs of quality:

  • Firm bulbs with no soft or shriveled cloves
  • Tight papery skin covering cloves
  • Heavy for their size
  • Fresh, spicy aroma when broken apart

Health Benefits of Garlic

In addition to providing a flavor boost to recipes, garlic offers some health benefits:

  • Rich in manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium
  • Contains antioxidants that support immune system
  • May have antimicrobial, anticancer properties
  • Allicin compound may help lower blood pressure

Enjoying garlic in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle can provide a nutritious boost from this flavorful bulb.

Cooking With Garlic

Garlic is very versatile in cooking. Here are some tips for adding its signature flavor to dishes:

  • Sauté minced garlic in oil or butter before adding other ingredients
  • Rub a halved clove around a heated pan or pot to infuse garlic flavor
  • Add minced or whole cloves to pasta sauce, soups, stews, etc.
  • Roast whole unpeeled cloves alongside vegetables
  • Make garlic bread by spreading butter and minced garlic on bread before broiling

Start with 1-2 cloves at a time and adjust amounts to suit your taste preferences. Crushing or mincing before heating will develop more robust garlic flavor.

Garlic Equivalents and Conversions

When substituting whole cloves for minced garlic or garlic powder, keep these garlic conversion equivalents in mind:

1 clove garlic 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
5,000 mg 2,500 mg 250 mg


An average clove of garlic provides around 3,000 – 7,000 mg, or 3-7 grams, by weight. The exact size can vary based on the specific variety and growth conditions of the garlic bulb.

When cooking with garlic, one medium clove is approximately 1 teaspoon or 5,000 mg minced. Garlic powder is more concentrated at about 250 mg per 1/8 teaspoon.

Knowing the approximate milligram amounts in cloves, teaspoons, and tablespoons makes it easier to adapt recipes and use substituted forms of garlic. Taking garlic’s health benefits and robust flavor into account, enjoying this versatile ingredient can add a nutritious and tasty boost to all kinds of dishes.

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