Find out the difference between a clove of garlic and a head of garlic.

When it comes to cooking with garlic, people often fall into two categories: those who add as much as the recipe calls for and those who let their heart decide how much garlic is enough. Personally, I'm in the former category, but I can understand both perspectives, as garlic adds a delicious, pungent flavor to any recipe. But before you use the flavorful allium in your next dish, you may be wondering, "What is a clove of garlic, exactly?"

Well, keep reading to find out the answer and more, like what the difference is between a clove and a head of garlic and how to substitute garlic powder for a clove of garlic in recipes. 

What Is a Clove of Garlic?

Garlic is often sold as a whole bulb, covered with papery white skin. A garlic bulb, also known as a head of garlic, is made up of individual lobes that are attached to the main root. A clove of garlic is one of those individual lobes. Cloves of garlic can vary in size within a head.

a photo of garlic with cloves
Credit: Getty Images

How Many Cloves Are in a Bulb of Garlic?

The number of cloves in a head of garlic varies depending on the type. A bulb of regular white garlic is typically made up of 10 to 12 cloves of garlic. Elephant garlic, which is a larger variety with a milder flavor, features an average of four cloves of garlic in a head.

How Many Teaspoons Is in a Clove of Garlic?

A clove of garlic contains 1 teaspoon on average. Of course, this exact measurement may vary depending on the size of your garlic clove and how you're prepping the garlic, whether it's diced or minced. Most recipes call for the number of cloves, so it's easier to measure.

How Much Garlic Powder Equals One Clove of Garlic?

If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can substitute garlic powder. However, garlic powder packs a more concentrated flavor, so less is needed to achieve the same taste as fresh. As a rule of thumb, use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder for every clove of garlic. You can always add more garlic powder if you prefer a stronger flavor.

The Bottom Line

A clove of garlic is one individual lobe within a head of garlic. Cloves of garlic can vary in size and there is about 1 teaspoon per clove. Garlic powder can be used in place of cloves of garlic, but less should be used as the powder has a stronger flavor.