Garlic salt is great for adding precise amounts of both salt and garlic to a dish. This makes it a useful tool if you need to have a meal ready in a short amount of time. In addition, its consistency makes it ideal for sprinkling over everything from popcorn to fries and for use in dry rubs. Garlic salt also has the benefit of being an easy spice blend to replace. If you are out of it, consider one of the many equally flavorful garlic salt alternatives.
Your best bet: Homemade garlic salt
Garlic salt consists of garlic powder and salt, which means that you can simply combine the two spices if you have them on hand. Making your own garlic salt allows you to put them together in your preferred ratio of garlic powder to salt. If you want more garlic, you can make garlic salt with equal amounts of garlic and salt. On the other hand, you can combine the spices in a 3:1 salt-to-garlic ratio if you want something closer in flavor to a commercial pre-mixed blend. Making your own garlic salt allows you to get both the flavor and texture that you want.
Keep the ratio of salt to garlic in mind when using your homemade garlic salt. If you opted for more garlic, you may need to adjust the amount to keep it from overpowering other flavors. If this concerns you, add it in small increments and adjust to taste.
A decent second choice: Fresh garlic and salt paste
The trick of mashing garlic to a paste with salt is one that every cook should know. It is a great way to add a strong garlic flavor to a dish without the risk of encountering large pieces of garlic in the finished dish. Finely chop some cloves of garlic, cover the pieces with salt and mash with a fork. The salt crystals will act as teeth that grind the garlic into a smooth paste before dissolving in the garlic’s juices. The particles of garlic will be small enough to disappear into a sauce or marinade without causing issues later on. This paste provides your dish with the two flavors that you want from garlic salt, but with a stronger garlic flavor since it uses fresh garlic rather than dried. You may need to use less of it than you would garlic powder unless you want the pungency of garlic to stand out.
Note that it is a paste and not a powder; therefore, it is not suitable for all applications. For example, it may not be suitable for a dry barbecue rub but is perfect for wet dishes and wet rubs.
In a pinch: Garlic juice and salt
One of the main benefits of garlic powder is its ability to flavor food without altering textures. The fine particles of the garlic powder in garlic salt allow it to blend perfectly into foods. Garlic juice is a liquid, which means that it can provide the same benefit. Mixing it with salt allows you to have all the flavor qualities of garlic salt in liquid form. You can use garlic juice and salt in marinades and salad dressings as well as in dishes like hummus and soups.
Garlic juice is a little less garlicky than garlic powder, so you will need to combine more of it with the salt to get the same flavor. For every teaspoon of garlic salt in your recipe, use 2 teaspoons of garlic juice with a 2/3 teaspoon of salt.
Garlic oil and salt can work almost as well as the garlic juice and salt combination above. The big difference is that the salt crystals will not dissolve in oil. This will not be an issue in most recipes. Make garlic oil by steeping crushed garlic cloves in hot oil overnight. This is a great garlic salt replacement for marinades and for salad dressings.