What is 2 cloves of garlic in tablespoons?

Garlic is a popular ingredient used in many savory dishes. Its pungent flavor adds depth and complexity to soups, sauces, meats, vegetables, and more. When following a recipe, garlic is often called for in cloves, while measuring spoons typically measure in tablespoons and teaspoons. So how do you convert cloves of garlic to tablespoons?

Quick Answer

As a general rule of thumb:

  • 1 medium clove of garlic = 1 teaspoon
  • 3-4 medium cloves = 1 tablespoon

So for 2 average sized cloves of garlic, you would need approximately 2 teaspoons or 2/3 of a tablespoon.

Garlic Basics

Before going further, let’s cover some garlic basics. Garlic comes in bulbs, which contain multiple segments called cloves. The cloves are the individual “pieces” that you use when cooking.

Cloves can vary quite a bit in size. Elephant garlic contains giant cloves that are much larger than regular garlic. On the other end of the spectrum, some heads contain tiny cloves. In most recipes, “clove” refers to an average sized segment.

Clove Size

Average garlic cloves are around 1 teaspoon in size. A teaspoon is equivalent to about 4 grams of garlic. But cloves can range from as small as 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) to as large as 8 grams (2 teaspoons).

Heads and Bulbs

Whole bulbs usually contain anywhere from 10-20 cloves. Less common varieties may have as few as 4 cloves or as many as 40 per bulb!

Converting Cloves of Garlic to Tablespoons

When a recipe calls for cloves of garlic, it’s referring to average sized cloves unless otherwise specified. Here are some common garlc conversions:

  • 1 small clove = 1/4 tablespoon
  • 1 medium clove = 1 teaspoon
  • 1 large clove = 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 2 medium cloves = 2 teaspoons = 2/3 tablespoon
  • 3-5 medium cloves = 1 tablespoon
  • 6-7 medium cloves = 2 tablespoons
  • 1 whole head/bulb garlic = 2-4 tablespoons

As you can see, the exact amount can vary based on the specific size of the cloves. But in general:

2 average sized cloves of garlic is approximately equivalent to 2 teaspoons or 2/3 of a tablespoon.

Tips for Substituting Garlic

What should you do if you don’t have fresh cloves to match what the recipe calls for? Here are some substitution tips:

Garlic Powder

As a general substitution ratio:

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder = 1 teaspoon minced garlic

So for 2 cloves, use around 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Garlic Salt

Garlic salt contains garlic powder as well as salt, so you’ll need to use less:

  • 1/16 teaspoon garlic salt = 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt = 1 teaspoon minced garlic

For 2 cloves, use no more than 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt.

Jarred Minced Garlic

One teaspoon of commercially prepared minced garlic typically equals around 1 clove. For 2 cloves of garlic, substitute 2 teaspoons jarred minced.

Garlic Substitute Products

There are specialized garlic substitute seasonings like Garlic & Herb from Spice Supreme. Use about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of this type of product per clove of garlic.

How Much Garlic is 2 Tablespoons?

Now that you know how to convert garlic cloves to tablespoons, you may be wondering about the reverse situation. If you have garlic measured in tablespoons, how many cloves does that equal?

Here is a simple guide:

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic = 3-5 medium cloves
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic = 6-10 medium cloves
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic = Approx. 16 cloves

So 2 tablespoons of minced garlic is equivalent to about 6-10 average sized fresh garlic cloves.

Tips for Mincing Garlic

Proper mincing leads to maximum garlic flavor. Here are some tips:

  • Use fresh garlic within a week of purchase for optimum flavor.
  • Keep the skin on while mincing to prevent slipping.
  • Slice, dice, or smash cloves to break down cell structure before mincing.
  • Use a sharp knife and cut into tiny even pieces.
  • Add a pinch of salt while mincing to aid breakdown.
  • Or use a garlic press for fast, easy mincing.

How to Store Minced Garlic

Fresh garlic flavor declines rapidly after mincing. For best quality and taste, use within 24 hours. To extend the shelf life of minced garlic:

  • Place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Cover with a thin layer of olive oil to help prevent oxidation.
  • Freeze in ice cube trays for longer term storage. Each cube equals about 1 clove.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Not only does garlic add delicious flavor to dishes, it also boasts an impressive array of health benefits. Studies show that the sulfur compounds and other antioxidants in garlic can provide protective effects against:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Heavy metal toxicity

The antioxidants help combat free radicals that cause cellular damage and oxidative stress. Compounds like allicin also exhibit antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Garlic seems especially beneficial for heart health. It enhances nitric oxide production to relax and dilate blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. It also appears to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol while raising HDL “good” cholesterol. In those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation significantly reduces total and LDL cholesterol.

Cancer Prevention

Population studies link increased garlic consumption with lower incidence of certain cancers, including colon, stomach, esophagus, pancreas and breast cancer. The sulfur compounds inhibit cancer-causing processes and block formation of nitrosamines (carcinogens formed in the digestive system). Garlic may also enhance the cancer-fighting effects of the body’s natural killer cells.

Immune System Boost

Garlic has pronounced antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity that helps fight infections and prevent illness. It may reduce severity of colds and flu. Allicin is thought to be the main bioactive responsible for the germ-killing effects.

Brain Protection

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic help prevent oxidative damage in the brain. They may also reduce accumulation of proteins linked to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This may help slow progression of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration.

To maximize these benefits, aim for at least 2-3 cloves per day, ideally crushed/chopped and consumed raw. Cooked garlic still retains much of its antioxidant content.

Garlic Recipes

Here are some recommended recipes that use garlic:

Garlic Bread

A classic favorite, soft bread loaded with garlic butter and herbs. Uses a whole head of garlic for intense flavor.

Pasta with Roasted Garlic Sauce

A simple yet delicious pasta that lets the roasted garlic shine. Equal parts garlic and olive oil roasted into a sweet, nutty paste.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Creamy mashed potatoes kicked up with lots of garlic. Uses over 10 cloves for a seriously garlicky side.

Garlic Shrimp

Plump shrimp baked with melted garlic butter makes a fast yet impressive dish.

Garlic Green Beans

Fresh green beans sautéed with garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese while hot.

Skillet Garlic Chicken

Boneless chicken breasts cooked in a skillet with an amazing garlic sauce.

Garlic and Herb Salad Dressing

A homemade vinaigrette style dressing with the brightness of fresh garlic and herbs.

Garlic Soup

A simple yet flavorful soup made with potatoes, garlic, herbs and spices.

Garlic Noodles

Buttery garlic noodles make a perfect quick side. Contains over 5 tablespoons minced garlic.

Other Ways to Use Garlic

Besides cooking, garlic can be used:

  • Taken as a supplement – popular in aged/deodorized forms
  • Used topically for skin infections or warts
  • Place in warm socks to relieve congestion or earaches
  • Mosquito repellent – rub cut cloves on skin or area
  • Garden pest deterrent – interplant with crops
  • Pet flea/tick prevention – small amounts in food

Storing Garlic

Follow these tips for optimal storage and shelf life:

  • Store bulbs in cool, dark place with good ventilation
  • Keep garlic separated from other produce like potatoes that release ethylene gas
  • Do not store in refrigerators or freezers
  • Shelflife of whole bulbs is 3-10 months if stored properly
  • Use cloves within 5-7 days for best flavor
  • Preserve peeled cloves in oil or freeze for longer storage

Signs of Spoilage

Look for these signs that garlic is past its prime or spoiled:

  • Dark or graying cloves
  • Soft, mushy, moldy cloves
  • Shriveled, dried out cloves
  • Green sprouting in the center
  • Strong musty odor
  • Bitter, acrid taste

Discard garlic showing these signs of spoilage. Do not try to salvage garlic that is moldy.

Allergy Concerns

Allergic reactions to garlic are rare but can occur. People with garlic allergies may experience:

  • Itchy rash or swelling of lips, face, tongue
  • Runny nose, asthma symptoms
  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis in severe cases

Those with a known garlic allergy should avoid consumption completely. Even topical use may provoke a reaction.

Nutrition Facts

Garlic is low in calories and rich in nutrients. Two raw cloves (6 grams) provide (1):

Calories 13
Fat 0 g
Carbs 3 g
Fiber 0.06 g
Protein 0.5 g
Manganese 4% DV
Vitamin B6 2% DV
Vitamin C 2% DV
Selenium 1% DV
Calcium 1% DV
Iron 1% DV


Garlic is used in a wide variety of savory dishes across many cuisines. Its pungent, potent flavor is delicious but difficult to precisely quantify in recipes. As a rule of thumb, 2 medium sized cloves provides around 2 teaspoons or 2/3 tablespoon of minced garlic.

When substituting, use powdered forms sparingly as a little goes a long way. For health benefits, aim for at least 2-3 cloves per day. Store bulbs in a cool, dry place and use cloves promptly for best flavor.

Leave a Comment