Whole Roasted Garlic

by Caroline
Published: Last Updated on

If you’ve never roasted a whole garlic bulb, you’re missing out. Learn how to roast a whole head of garlic for a buttery, caramelized, sweet, and nutty spreadable garlic clove. Super easy to make, and can be used for a variety of recipes or dishes!

I can’t remember the first time I roasted a whole head of garlic, but I’m glad I did. 

It takes a bit of time in the oven, but it’s a delicious treat that’s so versatile for sauces, appetizers, dips, spreads, and more. 

In this post, I’ll go over two ways you can roast the whole head of garlic in the oven. 

Raw garlic can be finicky to work with (in my humble opinion). When you add it to recipes raw (if you don’t take care), it can possess a bitter, even pungent taste. 

Oven roasted garlic, on the other hand, is simple and creates a wonderfully caramelized garlic clove. It’s spreadable, sweet, mellow, buttery, and smooth. 

All you need for this recipe is garlic, olive oil, and some tin foil. It’s really that simple. 


whole roasted garlic

How to Roast Garlic in the Oven: 

  • First, pick a nice head of garlic (fresh looking, firm, and no sprouts growing from it!). 
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Decide if you prefer to do the “top only” method, or sliced in half. See below for additional instructions. 

Option 1:  Top Only 

Peel away the loose, papery outer layers around the head of garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.

whole roasted garlic

Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic, so that the tops of most of the garlic cloves are exposed. 

Drizzle olive oil on the exposed parts of the garlic cloves. 

whole roasted garlic

Place on a square of tin foil large enough to enclose the whole bulb. 

whole roasted garlic

Seal the bulb in tin foil, so it is closed entirely.

Roast for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees. When fully caramelized, the casing should be a golden brown color and the cloves should be soft when pressed. 
If you wish to caramelize the garlic further, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 to 50 minutes until it reaches your desired consistency. 
whole roasted garlic

Allow the bulb to cool before squeezing the soft, roasted garlic out of its shell. Alternatively, leave the garlic in the shells until you are ready to use. 

whole roasted garlic

Option 2:  Cut in Half

If you don’t want to have to squeeze the garlic from the cloves, option 2 is a bit easier to eat, and equally delicious!

Follow the instructions above, but you can leave the outer layer of the clove in tact. 

Instead of cutting off 1/2 inch, cut the whole head of garlic in half horizontally. 
whole roasted garlic

Loosely wrap the cloves in one large piece of tin foil. Alternatively, use two pieces of tin foil to create a fully sealed pocket. 

Try not to have the tin foil tightly touching the open cloves, it may get sticky due to caramelization. 

whole roasted garlic

Bake the cloves according to the previous instructions. 

whole roasted garlic

When you remove it from the oven, you’ll clearly be able to see golden browning and caramelization. 

The cloves will be soft to the touch. If you want additional caramelization, bake longer at a reduced temperature of 350 degrees. 

whole roasted garlic

Allow to cool for a few minutes before scraping the garlic cloves out to enjoy. 

whole roasted garlic

What to do with Oven Roasted Garlic: 

  • It spreads phenomenally on garlic bread.
  • Use it on the base of a pizza. Spread evenly on dough, top with sauce, cheese, and other toppings. 
  • Add roasted garlic to soups and sauces
  • Mix garlic into butter, spread on bread, and use for a grilled cheese
  • Mix into homemade or store-bought hummus
  • Stir with olive oil and seasoning for a delicious bread dip
  • Whip into a garlic sauce for salads or chicken. 
  • Add to whipped mashed potatoes.
  • Spread on a wrap, top with chicken, fresh mozzarella, and tomato. 

Really, roasted garlic goes with just about everything! 

whole roasted garlic

How to Store Roasted Garlic

If you plan on using the garlic in the next few days, place the garlic heads in a ziplock bag or airtight container. You can keep the cloves in the outer peel. They will last up to three days in the refrigerator.

To freeze the garlic, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their outer peel and transfer to an airtight container or plastic bag. Alternatively, you can put them in individual slots of an ice cube tray to freeze.  

When you are ready to use the garlic, simply remove the amount required from the freezer, and allow to defrost at room temperature or microwave for a few seconds. 

If you loved this recipe for whole roasted garlic, make sure to rate and comment below!

whole roasted garlic

Whole Roasted Garlic

Two ways to easily roast full heads of garlic in the oven, for a delicious caramelized and spreadable garlic clove.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Garlic Heads
Calories 90 kcal


  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, more to taste
  • salt to taste (optional)


  • Adjust a rack to the middle of the oven and preheat your oven to 400℉.

Preparation Method 1: Whole Head, Top Sliced Off

  • Peel the outer, papery layer of the bulb so you can see individual cloves in their skin. Cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the top of the clove, so a few of the individual cloves are exposed.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, rub into the cloves, and wrap the whole clove loosely in tin foil so it is enclosed fully (jump to "Baking Instructions").

Preparation Method 2: Cut in Half (still Whole)

  • Alternatively, leave the head of garlic in tact (don't peel), and simply cut in half across the middle horizontally. One half should have the "bottom" part of the clove, and the other should have the "top" part.
  • Drizzle each side with olive oil and rub it into the cloves (add a pinch of salt, if desired). Loosely wrap the cloves in a large piece of tin foil (or two pieces put together). It should create a fully enclosed parcel. However, try to avoid having the tin foil directly touch the exposed parts of the garlic, as it may stick.
  • Baking Instructions: Roast the garlic at 400℉ for approximately 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. At this point, check the cloves to see if they are ready. They should be golden brown and soft to the touch. To caramelize them further, you can turn the oven down to 350℉ and bake until they reach their desired consistency (anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes depending on your oven).
  • To remove the garlic from the head, for the whole-method you can simply squeeze the garlic out. If you cut the garlic in half, you can simply pop the cloves of garlic out with a knife.
  • One cooked, remove the garlic cloves from the heads to prevent drying out. They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  • The flavor of the garlic, alone is phenomenal. But if you want to add some additional spices you can experiment with things like parsley, rosemary, basil, or paprika. 
  • You can freeze whole or mashed roasted cloves in a sealed container or plastic bag for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use it, remove from the freezer and allow to defrost in the refrigerator. 
Keyword caramelized garlic, Homemade, quick and easy, Roasted Garlic, Whole Roasted Garlic

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy