Garlic is a popular seasoning in every major food culture and most of the minor ones as well. This relative of the onion offers a pungent, savory flavor that works well in everything from stews to pickles. Garlic powder and granulated garlic are two forms of this spice that offer much of the flavor of fresh garlic, but without the hassle of peeling and chopping the cloves. How similar are granulated garlic and garlic powder? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each? These and other questions will be answered in this edition of SPICEography Showdown.
Is there a difference in flavor between granulated garlic and garlic powder?
Both consist of ground dehydrated garlic. To make dehydrated garlic, garlic cloves are first peeled, then minced. The minced garlic is dried in ovens and then ground to different degrees of fineness. Garlic powder has been ground to a finer consistency than granulated garlic and is closer in texture to cornstarch; granulated garlic is closer to cornmeal. In both cases, the product consists of pure garlic though some manufacturers do add anti-caking agents to ensure that the spice flows freely. Because the primary ingredient in both is the same, they typically have the same flavor.
Can you use granulated garlic in place of garlic powder and vice versa?
Each of these spices can be used as substitutes for the other as long as you keep the different granule sizes in mind. The larger irregular particles that make up granulated garlic trap more air, which means that there is less garlic in an equivalent amount. Because it is finer, garlic powder traps less air and yields a more intense flavor than an equivalent amount of granulated garlic. To use granulated garlic as a substitute for garlic powder, double the amount that the recipe specifies for garlic powder. To use garlic powder in place of granulated garlic, use half of what the recipe specifies for granulated garlic.
Is garlic powder healthier than granulated garlic or vice versa?
Since both are made from dehydrated garlic, they both share a similar nutritional profile. The dehydration process removes much of the nutritional value of garlic, so neither will be as good for you as fresh garlic; however, they both still retain some nutrients including vitamin B6 and iron.
Which dishes are a better fit for garlic powder and which are a better fit for granulated garlic?
Both are effective in salad dressings and sauces; however, granulated garlic is a better fit for soups and other wet dishes. It has larger granules that are less likely to form clumps. Because of how fine it is, garlic powder can clump up when added to liquids. Granulated garlic may also be slightly better for barbecue rubs since it is easier to mix in evenly and is less likely to sift to the bottom of a spice blend. Garlic powder’s fineness can be an asset in dishes with short cooking times as it releases its flavors faster when compared to granulated garlic. Garlic powder is also better for injecting into meat when brining it. Its small particle size is less likely to clog up an injector.
Neither garlic powder nor granulated garlic work well in recipes that require them to be fried as they both burn quickly.