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11 Best Garlic Substitute for Cooking To Impress Your Grandma

Garlic is one of the most important and widely used ingredients for almost all kinds of recipes or dishes. It can be eaten cooked or raw. Regardless of which, it is absolutely essential as it provides a significant flavor to food that is savory and pungent, almost difficult to explain.

Garlic is commonly used as a seasoning ingredient, but it can also be consumed as a vegetable. However, sometimes, because its use is high in demand, we don’t realize that we don’t have it anymore in the pantry or the grocery is out of stock.  Here are some substitutes you can consider. 

  1. Garlic Powder
  2. Roasted Garlic Oil
  3. Mustard Powder
  4. Minced Garlic
  5. Chives
  6. Cumin
  7. Shallots
  8. Fennel
  9. Lemon

Read on if you are still unable to find the above substitutes and will want to know the full comprehensive garlic alternatives you can consider for your cooking recipe.

11 Best Substitutes For Garlic

Garlic Substitute

In any of these situations, it’s helpful to know that you have a variety of garlic replacements on hand. While these components won’t quite match the flavor of fresh garlic, they should suffice as a suitable substitute.

Thus, we’ve compiled a list of potential garlic alternatives along with instructions on how to identify which one is best for your cooking needs.

Garlic Powder


The best way to substitute garlic or garlic flavor is to use garlic powder. Garlic powder is the closest alternative to fresh garlic since its primary purpose is to mimic the taste of real garlic.

Although most garlic powder is made from fresh garlic, others are mixed with a lot of additives. Sure, it doesn’t have the same allure as fresh garlic, but it may provide a delicious note to prepared foods.

Garlic powder is usually added to rubs, sauces, marinades, as well as meat recipes and soups. A pinch of it is so flavorful that it can be equivalent to a medium clove of garlic.

Unlike granulated garlic, garlic powder has a finer and smoother texture, almost similar to flour. And since it is also dried, the powder is more concentrated, resulting in a stronger tang.

Garlic powder can be used in any dish that requires fresh or dried garlic. The distinction lies in the level of intensity. Typically, garlic powder goes well with meats like hamburgers and the like.

It can be either sprinkled on top or mixed. It is also great for bread as a complementary to any dinner and with snacks such as nuts and seeds.  

Roasted Garlic Oil


Others don’t like garlic or even garlic bits for different reasons. Besides the fact that it could make your breath smell bad, others don’t like it for health reasons. If you’re trying to avoid garlic due to digestive troubles, one great alternative to give you that same taste and aroma is garlic oil. 

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Garlic oil is a great substitute because the flavors are soluble in oil, but the fibrous bits that can trigger IBS aren’t. As a result, you can enjoy the flavor without discomfort.

Commercial garlic oils can be bought in the supermarket. But you can also make your own.

Simply smash a couple of garlic cloves and soak them in olive oil for around an hour or more until the garlic has been marinated and its flavors come out.

Separate the garlic from the oil to enjoy it. You can use this garlic-infused oil for various dishes like pasta, steaks, meats, mashed vegetables, and soups.  

Mustard Powder


If you have kidney or heart problems, garlic is totally not an option in your pantry. In this scenario, the mustard powder would work well in place of garlic salt.

Mustard powder is a light yellow powder that can change the color of your food to some extent. The flavor of this spice is pungent, earthy, and highly spicy. That’s why, instead of a teaspoon of garlic salt, use half a teaspoon of mustard powder.

Of course, if you are making garlic bread, the taste may not be the same, but it will suffice as a garlic alternative. The aroma of mustard powder is overpowering and spicy, similar to that of garlic salt. So, if the need arises, you can resort to this option.

Minced Garlic


Fresh garlic that has been pre-minced and packed into little granules, usually with citric acid added, keeps garlic fresh.

Minced garlic, like garlic paste, is excellent for sautéing meats and vegetables, but it also works well with pizzas. Only keep in mind that this option will add some acid to your dish, so be careful when and where to use it.

A half teaspoon of minced garlic can be used to replace one teaspoon of garlic powder. This is an excellent option to keep on hand because it can be stored in your pantry and then kept in the refrigerator for a long time once opened. 

Fortunately, there are jarred minced garlic that is available in the market that you can buy whenever you need instant garlic in your pantry. Or if you have the time, you can actually make your own. 

The amount of minced garlic to use on your dishes is just similar to how you would use fresh garlic. But sometimes, jarred minced garlic may taste stronger than fresh ones, so use accordingly.

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Chives have a subtle oniony garlic flavor that reminds you of garlic’s wonderful aroma. They’re related to garlic and belong to the same plant family. It’s not flawless, but it’s a good start. This goes well with fresh garlic spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and a variety of veggie recipes.       

Chives are typically used to garnish dishes but they can also be used while cooking soups and sauces. When preparing food, mince 1 tbsp. of chives and mix it into your dish. This should be equivalent to one medium-sized garlic clove.



Cumin has to be one of the most unexpected garlic alternatives. Cumin will not have an intense fragrance, but it will impart a distinct flavor to your food.

Its earthy, pungent, rich, sweet flavor will give you that garlicky vibe you’re looking for. Although cumin cannot be considered a good substitute for garlic in terms of flavor, the complexity it adds to the dish can be compared to that of garlic.

The perfect ratio to achieve a hint of garlic is 1/8 tsp. of cumin. This should be equivalent to one medium-sized garlic clove.



Shallots are commonly used in dishes that need a hint of some onion. Known for its oniony garlic flavor, the smell and taste of shallots can also remind you of garlic.

Although it’s not ideal, it comes close to garlic. However, just like chives, shallots should not be used in recipes that call for dry powder.

The perfect ratio to achieve the garlic taste is 1 tbsp. of minced shallots. This should be equivalent to ¼ tsp. of garlic powder. If you are fond of dips, dressings, and sauces, chopped shallots will be a perfect alternative to garlic.

You can even sauté it with other ingredients to enhance its taste in soups and stews.



Known for its powerful aroma and a savory flavor, fennel is also a superb garlic alternative. But unlike garlic which has a hint of spiciness and has a strong, overpowering taste, fennel is on the sweeter side. When cooked, it almost resembles the texture of onions. 

Fennel has a licorice scent, and when caramelized, takes on a strong and sharp pungent flavor that is similar to garlic. Plus, it is also good for digestion.

Perfect as an ingredient to a lot of fine dining cuisines, the seeds, bulbs, and even the pollen are edible in addition to the leaves. 

The best way to enjoy fennel is to caramelize its bulbs, chop them, and mix with chicken and fish. Then, you can also add the leaf-like parts at the end of your cooking.

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Although lemon could be far different from garlic in terms of spiciness, finely grated lemon zest can be used in place of raw garlic in recipes that call for it.

Lemon offers a different level of freshness that is distinct from raw garlic’s harsh pungency, but it will boost the flavors of your food in the same way.

Take note that lemon could not always replace garlic. But given its strong flavor, you can use it to enhance the flavor of dishes that need a hint of acid.

For instance, you can replace garlic with lemon juice in salads to get that perfect aroma and freshness. Lemon also goes well with dishes that contain butter.

So if you are preparing fish with garlic butter sauce, for instance, you can replace it with lemon butter.

Truffle Oil

Truffle Oil

Truffle oil is popularly known as a flavoring agent to various dishes, most especially in Italy.  And according to food experts, there are three different kinds of truffle oil that you should take note of.

However, as much as they are all produced from one main ingredient which is olive, experts say that not all truffles are created equal and that those from the Umbria region of Italy are the ones where you can actually taste that garlic hint. 

Thus, truffle oil, when mixed with olive oil, can help simulate the flavor of actual garlic in dishes.

However, if you’re searching for a strong garlic flavor, go for the white truffle, which has a flavor that’s a blend of garlic and shallots. This is, however, the most expensive of all the truffle oils.



If you are after the heat, peppercorns are perfect as an alternative to garlic’s fieriness. In almost any dish, pepper is always present because you can never go wrong with it.

Aside from the fact that it won’t totally change the taste of the dish, peppercorns are perfect in reducing the amount of salt that other seasonings have loads of. 

There are many kinds of peppercorns, but if you want to achieve the same intense flavor of garlic, use white, green, pink, or Szechuan peppercorns.

Although nothing can match the flavor and smell of chopped garlic, peppercorns can help you replace some of the flavor and aroma that would otherwise be lost in the dish. 

Begin with a little amount and gradually increase until you are satisfied with the results. Slightly increase the amount of peppercorns you would normally use in any meal to achieve a crisp note of chopped garlic.