In the Kitchen

From Minced to Mashed: 5 Key Ways to Use Garlic

At Plated, we believe in the power of garlic—not to keep the vampires at bay (though that’s definitely a plus!) but to enhance every dish it touches with deep, savory flavor. What’s amazing about this little allium (from the same family as shallots, onions, and scallions) is that its flavor changes depending on how it’s prepared. Raw minced garlic or garlic paste packs a pungent heat, while sautéed garlic is less sharp, more savory. The real magic happens when whole garlic cloves are wrapped in foil and roasted in the oven: They become buttery, mellow, and sweet. We love to pair each garlic preparation with exactly the right dish to make it shine. Ready to become a garlic pro? Below are some of our favorite ways to use this versatile ingredient, plus tips and videos for mincing, roasting, smashing, and more.


A mince is basically a very fine chop. The more the whole garlic clove is broken down, the more intense the aroma and flavor that’s released. Once sautéed, it’s an excellent flavor starter for soups and sauces. It also works beautifully in the butter drizzle for our Garlic Pull-Apart Bread, coating every nook and cranny of the rolls with garlicky goodness. To see our technique, check out our how-to video straight from our Test Kitchen.


A paste takes the mince one step further by pressing and dragging the flat side of your knife over the garlic until smooth. Garlic paste is ideal for salad dressings because it emulsifies into the mixture—you get a pungent kick without having to bite down on the occasional piece of raw garlic. We use garlic paste in a classic, creamy Caesar dressing for these Caesar Steak Lettuce Cups. Head to our step-by-step video for the best way to make it.


Garlic chips are thin slices of garlic that are shallow fried until deep golden and crisp. They add fantastic crunch to the rice in our Sticky Apricot-Glazed Salmon. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll want to sprinkle the chips over everything, like soups, roasted vegetables, and pasta.


Roasted garlic couldn’t be simpler, and the results couldn’t be more delicious. Place whole garlic cloves in foil, drizzle with olive oil, seal, and bake until meltingly tender and sweet. That’s it! The mellow sweetness of the roasted garlic is just what we wanted to complement the nutty cauliflower and spicy honey in our Roasted Cauliflower Pizza. You can also try stirring it into mashed potatoes or spreading on crostini for a spectacular appetizer.


Smashing a garlic clove is usually the first step in mincing (see our how-to video on minced garlic). To smash, cover a whole garlic clove with the side of your knife and whack it with the heel of your hand so that it breaks and lies flat (this is also the easiest way to remove the papery skin). Smashed garlic cloves are great for infusing oils and liquids with flavor; minced or chopped garlic would be too strong and be hard to fish out later. In our Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi, we infuse the olive oil that sautés both the asparagus and peas.

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