How many tablespoons is 2 cloves garlic minced?

Garlic is a popular ingredient used in many savory dishes. Its pungent and sharp flavor adds delicious depth and aroma to soups, stews, sauces, marinades, dressings, and more. When a recipe calls for minced garlic, it’s handy to know how much minced garlic equals a certain number of garlic cloves. This allows you to prepare the exact amount needed.

So how many tablespoons is 2 cloves of garlic when minced? The answer depends on a few factors. Keep reading to find out how big garlic cloves can vary in size, how minced garlic is measured, and how many tablespoons 2 average-sized peeled garlic cloves produce when minced.

Garlic Cloves Vary in Size

Garlic bulbs contain individual cloves that can range quite a bit in size. Some cloves may be small and slender, while others are plump and large. Here are some reasons for this variability:

  • Genetics – Some garlic varieties and strains naturally produce larger cloves than others.
  • Growing Conditions – Factors like soil quality, watering, and sunlight impact clove development.
  • Time of Harvest – Garlic harvested earlier may have smaller cloves than garlic harvested later.
  • Bulb Size – Larger bulbs tend to have larger cloves than smaller bulbs.

Because of this natural variability, the number of cloves in an ounce or pound can fluctuate. Smaller cloves means more will be needed to yield a specific quantity.

How Minced Garlic is Measured

When garlic is minced, it’s broken down into tiny pieces. To measure minced garlic, the standard unit used is teaspoons and tablespoons. A teaspoon is equivalent to about 1 small clove, while a tablespoon is about 3 teaspoons or 3 small cloves.

These equivalencies are based on averages, but can vary based on the size of the original garlic cloves. Just remember that a tablespoon of minced garlic will always be 3 times the amount of a teaspoon.

2 Average-Size Garlic Cloves = 1 Tablespoon When Minced

As a general rule of thumb, most sources agree that 2 medium garlic cloves produce about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Of course, cloves on the smaller or larger side may produce a little less or more minced garlic. But 1 tablespoon per 2 cloves is a handy standard ratio to remember.

To determine if your 2 cloves align with this average, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Peel 2 medium-sized garlic cloves.
  2. Mince the garlic thoroughly with a chef’s knife, until a paste forms.
  3. Measure 1 level tablespoon of the minced garlic.

If the minced garlic fills the tablespoon, then your 2 cloves contained the average amount. If it falls short or overflows, then your cloves were on the smaller or larger end.

Tips for Measuring Minced Garlic

Here are some tips to accurately measure minced garlic:

  • Use fresh, firm cloves – Older or soft garlic contains more moisture and yields less minced garlic per clove.
  • Peel carefully – Remove the papery skin without cutting away garlic flesh.
  • Mince thoroughly – Continue chopping until no large pieces remain and a paste forms.
  • Level the tablespoons – Use the flat side of a knife to level scoops for accurate measuring.
  • Pack lightly – Minced garlic can fluff up and appear more voluminous than its actual amount.

Following these steps helps ensure precision when portioning minced garlic for recipes.

When garlic gets down to the 2 clove level…

When a recipe calls for just 2 cloves of garlic, it pays to be extra precise in your prep work. Follow these tips:

  • Select 2 nice-sized, plump cloves rather than small ones.
  • Peel the cloves carefully without cutting away any flesh.
  • Mince thoroughly into a fine paste.
  • Use a small 1/2 teaspoon measure to portion it out.

Taking this care will provide the full garlic punch that the recipe creator intended with just 2 cloves.

Can you use garlic powder instead?

What if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand? Can you substitute garlic powder? The short answer is yes, but you’ll need to use more. Here’s a comparison:

  • 1 clove fresh garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic = about 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Garlic powder provides concentrated flavor, but the texture will be different with no fresh garlic chunks or paste. You may need to increase other seasonings like salt to compensate.

Other Ways to Substitute 2 Cloves of Garlic

If you don’t have garlic powder, here are some other options:

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder plus pinch of garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant minced garlic or garlic paste from a jar

While not exactly the same, these substitutions will provide a similar essence of garlic flavor.

How Much Garlic is Needed for Common Recipes?

Wondering how much garlic a typical recipe requires? Here are some examples:

Marinara Sauce

4-6 cloves

Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

3-5 cloves

Herb Roasted Chicken

2-4 cloves

Beef Stew

2-3 cloves


2-4 cloves

Garlic Bread

3-6 cloves

For most savory dishes that serve 4-6 people, you’ll want 2-4 tablespoons of minced garlic or 4-8 small cloves. Recipes with garlic in starring role may call for even more!

Tips for Prepping Garlic in Bulk

When making food for a crowd, you’ll likely need a lot of garlic. Here are some tips:

  • Buy fresh garlic heads and break into individual cloves as you need them.
  • Peel a bunch of cloves at once, then store them covered in olive oil in the fridge for a few days.
  • Roast a head of garlic whole, then squeeze out the soft roasted cloves as needed.
  • Make a double or triple batch of minced garlic, divide it up, and freeze portions to save for later.

Prepping garlic in bulk can streamline cooking for a party while ensuring you always have some on hand.

Is Raw Garlic More Potent Than Cooked?

You may have heard claims that raw garlic is healthier and more pungent tasting than cooked garlic. Is this true?

It is true that raw garlic has more potent aromatic compounds that provide health benefits. Heating garlic activates an enzyme called alliinase that converts these compounds into other sulfur-containing compounds that have different (but still beneficial) effects.

However, the overall garlic flavor mellows and sweetens when cooked. So raw garlic packs more of a spicy, pungent punch. Depending on the dish, that powerful raw garlic bite may be too strong.

Both raw and cooked garlic have their place in the kitchen. Striking the right balance is a matter of personal taste. Slow cooking or roasting will mellow the garlic, while a quick sauté or using it raw preserves the sharper flavor.

Pickled Garlic

Pickled garlic is whole garlic cloves that have been pickled and preserved in vinegar. This process tenderizes the garlic and gives it a tangy, mellow flavor. It has many culinary uses:

  • Chop it up to add to salads, salsa, guacamole, etc.
  • Skewer it on toothpicks as an appetizer.
  • Add it to sandwiches, wraps, and pitas for a flavor punch.
  • Chop and mix into burger patties before grilling.

You can easily pickle garlic at home with a simple brine of vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Enjoy it as a condiment, ingredient, or snack.


So how much minced garlic is in 2 cloves? The general rule is 2 medium-sized garlic cloves will produce about 1 tablespoon when minced. But garlic clove size can vary quite a bit. For precision, peel 2 average cloves, mince finely, then measure 1 level tablespoon. If short or overflowing, adjust accordingly for true garlic impact.

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