How much is two cloves of garlic in tbsp?

Quick Answer

Two cloves of garlic are approximately equivalent to 1 teaspoon (tbsp) of minced garlic. On average, one medium clove of garlic weighs about 3-5 grams and yields around 1 teaspoon when minced. So two average cloves should provide about 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.

Calculating Garlic Measurements

When a recipe calls for garlic, it’s helpful to know how to convert between whole cloves, minced garlic, and other common measurements. Here are some general guidelines for working with garlic:

  • 1 small clove of garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced
  • 1 medium clove of garlic = 1 teaspoon minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic = 1 1/2 teaspoons minced
  • 1 extra large clove of garlic = 2 teaspoons minced

On average across small, medium and large cloves:

  • 1 clove of garlic = 1 teaspoon minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic = 2 teaspoons minced = 1 tablespoon
  • 3 cloves of garlic = 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
  • 6 cloves of garlic = 2 tablespoons
  • 12 cloves of garlic = 1/4 cup

However, keep in mind that clove size can vary quite a bit. An exceptionally small clove may yield less than 1 tsp while an extra large clove could be 2 tsp or more.

Why Clove Size Matters

Garlic cloves can range in size from small to extra large. Here are some average sizes:

  • Small: 1 inch long, 1/4 inch wide (2-3g)
  • Medium: 1 1/4 inches long, 1/3 inch wide (3-5g)
  • Large: 1 1/2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide (5-7g)
  • Extra Large: 2 inches long, 5/8 inch wide (8-10g)

As you can see, an extra large clove weighs nearly twice as much as a small clove. When minced or pressed, large cloves will produce much more volume than smaller ones.

That’s why when a recipe simply calls for a certain number of “cloves of garlic,” it’s hard to know exactly how much garlic flavor you’ll end up with. The amount could vary significantly based on the actual clove size.

Tips for Converting Garlic Measurements

When a recipe calls for minced garlic, here are some tips for converting cloves to tablespoons or teaspoons:

  • Look at the size of the cloves and estimate how many teaspoons each one will produce when minced.
  • Err on the side of using slightly more garlic than less – you can always adjust to taste.
  • Start with the average guideline of 1 clove = 1 tsp minced garlic.
  • If cloves seem small, use slightly less than 1 tsp per clove.
  • For larger cloves, estimate 1 to 1 1/2 tsp per clove.
  • If a recipe calls for 2 tbsp minced garlic, start with 4 medium cloves and adjust from there.

When cooking, taste the dish as you go and add more garlic if needed. Aim for a balance where the garlic flavor comes through but isn’t overpowering.

Converting Garlic Measurements in Recipes

Here are some examples of converting clove measurements to tablespoons and teaspoons in recipes:

Recipe Calls for 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • If cloves look small, use 3/4 tsp minced garlic per clove, for 1 1/2 tsp total.
  • For medium cloves, use 1 tsp per clove, for 2 tsp or 1 tbsp total.
  • If very large, use up to 1 1/2 tsp per clove, for 3 tsp or just over 1 tbsp.

Recipe Calls for 1/4 Cup Minced Garlic

  • Use about 12 medium cloves (1 tsp per clove = 12 tsp = 1/4 cup)
  • For smaller cloves, use 14-16 cloves.
  • For larger cloves, use 10-11 cloves.

Recipe Calls for 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic

  • Use about 4 medium cloves (1 tsp per clove = 4 tsp = 2 tbsp)
  • For smaller cloves, use up to 6 cloves.
  • For larger cloves, use 3-4 cloves.

Keep the garlic size and strength of flavor in mind as you adjust quantities when cooking. Track how many cloves are needed for your desired garlic flavor as you prepare different recipes.

Tips for Mincing Garlic

To mince garlic, first remove the papery outer skin. There are a few ways to mince it:

  • Use a garlic press to squeeze cloves through small holes into a pulp.
  • Finely chop cloves with a sharp knife, or use a rocking motion to mince garlic to a paste.
  • Use a microplane grater and grate the garlic across it into a fine pulp.

A garlic press or microplane makes quick work of mincing garlic to a paste-like consistency. A knife gives you a little more control over the texture.

Pro tips for mincing garlic:

  • Mince it just before cooking to maximize flavor and aroma.
  • Let minced garlic sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking to bring out more flavor.
  • Add a pinch of salt to help break down the garlic as you mince.
  • To avoid garlic odor on hands, rinse after mincing and rub fingers on stainless steel.

Storing Garlic

Proper storage keeps garlic fresher for longer:

  • Store whole bulbs of garlic in a cool, dry, dark place with good air circulation.
  • Avoid plastic bags or containers which can trap moisture – use paper or mesh bags instead.
  • Once split, cloves and peeled garlic can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.
  • You can also freeze peeled cloves for several months in an airtight freezer bag.

With proper storage, whole bulbs of garlic can last for 4-8 months before drying out.

Picking Good Garlic

Look for fresh garlic bulbs that are:

  • Firm without soft or shriveled cloves.
  • Tightly closed skins without sprouting.
  • Heavy for their size indicating good moisture content.
  • Free from mold, bruising, or dark spots.

Larger heads tend to have larger cloves, while smaller heads have smaller, more compact cloves.

Common Types of Garlic

There are over 600 varieties of garlic. Some common types include:

  • Softneck garlic – Typically have smaller cloves around the bulb center. Better for braiding and storing long-term. Flavor is mildly garlicky.
  • Hardneck garlic – Contain one row of larger cloves around a stiff central stalk. Shelflife is shorter but flavor is often stronger. Includes sub-varieties like Purple Stripe and Porcelain.
  • Elephant garlic – Actually more closely related to leeks with a mild onion-garlic flavor. The bulbs and cloves are much larger than regular garlic.

For the strongest, most pungent garlic flavor, choose hardneck varieties like Rocambole or Purple Stripe. For milder garlic taste, opt for softneck or elephant garlic.

Garlic Substitutes

In a pinch, here are some substitutes for minced garlic:

  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder per clove
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic per clove
  • 1/2 tsp garlic flakes per clove
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder (provides some allium flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onion or chives

Garlic salt is not recommended as direct substitute, since it contains added salt while garlic alone provides mainly flavor. Season with salt separately to avoid over-salting food.

Cooking with Garlic

Here are some tips for cooking with garlic:

  • Saute minced garlic briefly in oil or butter over low heat to mellow its bite and bring out aroma.
  • Roast whole garlic heads and squeeze out the pulp for sweet, softened garlic flavor.
  • Add it early in long-cooked recipes like soups, sauces, braises so the flavor has time to develop.
  • For fresh garlic punch, add it towards the end of cooking or sprinkle raw minced garlic on finished dishes.

Go easy with garlic when using it raw to avoid harsh, bitter notes. Infuse oil or butter with garlic cloves and allow it to slowly perfume the fat. Play around with different forms of garlic like roasted, fried chips, or blackened cloves.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic is more than just a flavorful culinary ingredient – it also offers some potential health benefits:

  • Antimicrobial properties – Compounds in garlic may help fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Supports immune function – Garlic’s antimicrobial effects and antioxidants may boost immunity.
  • Promotes heart health – Garlic may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Compounds in garlic have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit arthritis and other conditions.
  • Potential anticancer properties – Some research shows compounds in garlic may deter or slow cancer growth.

Further human research is needed to make specific recommendations, but enjoying garlic regularly as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle may have some benefits.

Risks and Precautions with Garlic

While garlic is very healthy for most people, there are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Botulism risk – Never give raw garlic or garlic-in-oil preparations to infants and young children due to botulism risk.
  • Bleeding risk – High doses of garlic supplements may increase bleeding risk. Stop taking garlic supplements 1-2 weeks before surgery.
  • Medication interactions – Garlic may interact with some medications like blood thinners and HIV drugs. Consult your doctor.
  • Heartburn or digestive upset – Large amounts of raw garlic may aggravate reflux or irritation. Cook garlic or take it in moderation if you experience digestive discomfort.

Unless you have a known garlic allergy, enjoy garlic safely by using normal culinary amounts in your foods. Speak to your doctor if taking garlic supplements or using medicinally.


Knowing how to convert between garlic cloves and other measurements allows you to adapt recipes and alter garlic amounts to suit your taste. As a general rule, two medium garlic cloves provides about 1 tablespoon minced garlic.

But garlic clove size can vary quite a bit, so judge each clove and adjust amounts accordingly. Let your taste preferences and the flavors of the particular dish guide you in how much garlic to use. Aim for a rounded garlic flavor that enhances other ingredients rather than overtaking them.

With its versatility, flavor, and potential health benefits, garlic is an invaluable ingredient in cuisines around the world. By learning how to select, store, prep, and cook with garlic properly, you can make the most of its flavors and aromas in your own kitchen.

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