Garlic is an essential ingredient in our kitchen. Its pungent flavors are essential in everything from venison steak to pasta sauce. Learning how to make garlic powder from homegrown garlic helps preserve the flavors for use in dry rubs, salad dressings, garlic salt, garlic pepper, and more. In this guide, we’ll discuss the tips to make your own powder from homegrown garlic whether you’re using a dehydrator, an oven, or air drying your harvest.
Best Garlic for Preserving
When it comes to growing garlic, you typically have two main types hardneck varieties and softneck varieties. And while both varieties make excellent garlic powder, we tend to stick with our hardneck varieties for preserving.
This isn’t because the flavor is different, simply because these varieties don’t store as long as softneck types do, so we find ways to preserve some of those before they start to go bad. However, if you only grow softneck, that’s just fine, it will make excellent garlic powder as well.
Tips for Making Garlic Powder
We love turning some of our garlic harvests into powder each summer, but you can also wait until your garlic is getting close to its storage limits to make sure you don’t allow it to go to waste. I can attest that it’s well worth the effort, this stuff tastes so much better than storebought garlic powder.
Thinly Slice Your Garlic
Using uniform, thinly sliced pieces will not only speed up the drying process but will help everything dry more evenly. If you have some chunky pieces, be sure you’re checking for doneness on the other pieces and remove them when they are dry so they don’t overcook.
Dry It Low and Slow
The best way to dry garlic is using a dehydrator on a low temp. It can take over 12 hours to dry it using a dehydrator, but it’s worth the wait. Make sure you’re using a low temp (we dry ours at 105°F) for the best results. If you want to speed up the process, you can dry it at 125°F, but you won’t retain as many nutrients this way.
Be patient and allow it to fully dry before trying to make it into powder. If some pieces are still holding on to a little moisture, put them back in to dry a little longer so your powder won’t mold.
Store it With Rice
Once it’s made, add a few grains of rice into the container with it. Just like salt, garlic powder will draw in moisture, but if you put a few grains of rice in the container, it will keep it from drawing in excess moisture and clumping up.
How to Make Homemade Garlic Powder
Making garlic powder is super easy and other than the prep work, it doesn’t take a lot of active time to make. Most of your time is going to be spent waiting for it to dry.
STEP 1: Peel Your Garlic
Garlic can be an absolute pain to peel. Thankfully, there’s a trick to peeling lots of garlic at one time.
One at a time, grab your heads of garlic and push down to loosen the individual cloves.
Stick the fresh cloves into a bowl, glass works best, and place a plate on top of the bowl. Shake it vigorously and it will remove the papery skins. Viola, you have peeled garlic.
Make sure the bowl is quite a bit larger than the amount of garlic you plan to peel and work in batches.
STEP 2: Slice Thinly & Evenly
Using a sharp knife, slice your garlic cloves into thin slices, the thinner, the quicker it will dry. Try to make the slices as even as possible so that everything dries in the same amount of time.
STEP 3: Arrange & Dry
Place the slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Dry at a low temperature of 105°F to 125°F until the garlic is dry. You’ll know it’s dry when the dried slices snap in half and don’t bend. It will be crisp like a potato chip.
Drying Garlic With a Dehydrator
Using a food dehydrator is a great way to dry garlic. It’s going to result in the quickest, most satisfactory results. I highly recommend you use it in a well-ventilated area, though because the aroma of garlic will quickly permeate anything and everything in your home once you turn it on.
We absolutely love our Excalibur dehydrator and I highly recommend the investment to anyone that will be drying many things at home. As I said, we tend to dry our garlic around 105 to preserve as much of the nutrients as possible.
If you’ve cut your garlic thicker or you’re in a hurry, you can up the temp to around 125°F, you just won’t preserve quite as many nutrients.
It’s going to take roughly 12 hours, maybe more to dry garlic using a dehydrator, check it and remove any dry pieces when they’re done. You can turn off your dehydrator at night and start the cycle back up in the morning, with no ill effects.
Using an Oven
You can dry garlic using an oven, though it’s not going to preserve the nutrients like dehydrating will. You’ll want to peel and thinly slice the garlic. Place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and put it in the oven at the lowest temperature setting.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep the temperature at 150°F or below, but for a lot of ovens, the lowest temperature setting is 200°F. Work with what you’ve got and frequently check the garlic for dryness about every half hour or so. This method will take several hours.
Drying Garlic Without an Oven or Dehydrator
While much slower, you can successfully dry garlic without an oven or dehydrator. This method will take several days or more to accomplish.
You can peel and thinly slice your garlic just like you would for the other two methods. Then, you can place it on a drying screen in a cool, dark place or thread it onto a string and hang it, leaving ample space between each slice of garlic.
Check for dryness every few days. This method will also preserve all of the nutrients, it just takes a lot longer to accomplish.
STEP 4: Grind Into Powder
Now that it’s dry, you’ll want to grind the dehydrated garlic into a fine powder. You can use a mortar and pestle, a high-speed blender, an old coffee grinder, a food processor, or a spice grinder for this. We have a spice grinder, but I also occasionally use our mortar and pestle.
After you’ve ground everything into a nice soft powder, put it through a fine-mesh strainer to make sure you don’t have any chunky hard bits that no one wants to be biting into. Then, you’ll put it into the final storage container.
STEP 5: Store In Airtight Container
You’ve made your own garlic powder! Now, make sure you store it in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Mason jars or recycled spice jars are an excellent way to keep it. Like I said, add a few grains of rice to make sure it doesn’t draw moisture and clump up.
We put ours in our spice cabinet with the rest of our spices for later use. Regardless of where you store it, as long as it is stored properly, diy garlic powder will store for a long time, up to 12 months.
Using Garlic Powder in Place of Fresh Garlic
When we’re running low on fresh garlic, I love using garlic powder in place of it. While the flavor isn’t quite as pungent as it is fresh and sauteed, it still has an amazing garlic flavor.
To do this, you’ll want to substitute 1/8 teaspoon for every clove of garlic called for in a recipe. Instead of browning it, you’ll want to add it with whatever dry ingredients are in the recipe or you can also rub it into the meat if it’s a meat recipe.
A great way to preserve fresh garlic for long-term storage is to make homemade garlic powder by dehydrating and grinding garlic into a fluffy powder.
- 5 Heads Garlic
- Remove cloves from heads of garlic. Place cloves in a bowl topped with a plate and shake vigorously to remove the peels.
- Thinly slice the peeled cloves of garlic.
- Using a dehydrator: Place individual slices in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Dry at 105°F for 12 hours, or until completely dry.
- Using an oven: Place slices in a single layer on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Dry at 150°F or lowest setting, checking every 30 minutes, until dry.
- Air drying: Place slices in a single layer on drying screens or thread through a needle. Leave in a cool, dry place until completely dry, checking every few days.
- Grind the dried garlic pieces into a fine powder using a spice grinder, high-speed blender, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.
- Sift the garlic powder to remove any large, hard pieces, store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.