How to Roast Garlic (FYI, It’s Life-Changing)

No aroma is quite as heavenly as garlic, whether it’s sizzling in butter on the stove or glistening on a fresh, olive oil-painted hunk of baguette. But we like to think the smell of it roasting trumps them all. Roasting garlic might sound like extra work compared to mincing it raw and calling it a day, but we promise it’s ridiculously easy and so worth it. Read on to find out how to roast garlic at home (and what to cook with it once you learn).

When to Use Roasted Garlic

Let us be the first to confess that we go rogue with recipes all the time when it comes to garlic. If it calls for two or three cloves, you bet we’re using five or six. Since garlic has such a sharp and spicy flavor (and aroma), it’s always good to have some gum on hand. But roasted garlic is a different story.

After a short snooze in the oven, this versatile veggie mellows and sweetens. Roasted garlic is much subtler and silkier, and adds a depth of flavor to dishes, sauces and condiments without being too overbearing. Garlic’s raw pungency caramelizes into buttery, earthy goodness when roasted, which is also said to make it easier for some people to digest, much like other cooked foods. The cloves also get shockingly soft and almost…melty. We’re talking spread-it-on-a-toasty-piece-of-bread soft. You in yet? Good.

We can’t think of a bad time to use roasted garlic, but highly recommend using it in dishes like mashed potatoes, fondue, hummus, roast chicken and fettucine Alfredo.

How to Roast Garlic

Let us count the ways. You can roast garlic in the microwave, air fryer, sans-foil, on the stove or in batches of peeled cloves (if you buy whole containers of peeled raw garlic, this might be the easiest). But our favorite method to roast garlic is by the head in the oven.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Step 2: Cut the top quarter off a head of garlic and discard. Peel excess skin from the garlic without disconnecting the cloves. Place the garlic on a small piece of aluminum foil large enough to encase the garlic.

Step 3: Drizzle olive oil onto the garlic. Wrap the entire head of garlic in the aluminum foil, covering it without letting the foil touch it. You can also sprinkle or pack the foil with whatever seasoning or herbs you like, like salt and pepper, rosemary or crushed red pepper.

Step 4: Roast in the oven until golden for anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes. The longer you roast, the more caramelized and browned it’ll get. Just keep an eye on the outside of the garlic so it doesn’t start to burn before the middle of the head softens.

Step 5: Squeeze the cloves from the bottom towards the top until they pop out of the roasted head. Now they’re ready to cook with, purée, spread or mash (or just pop ‘em in your mouth, we won’t tell).

Roasted heads of garlic will keep for anywhere from four days to two weeks in the fridge, while loose cloves last for up to 10 days in the fridge submerged in olive oil in a sealed container. That garlic-infused oil can be a game changer for salad dressing, dips and sauces, too, so don’t throw it out once you finish the garlic. Roasted garlic can also keep for up to a year in the freezer.